12 May 2000 : Column: 481W

Written Answers to Questions

Friday 12 May 2000


Housing Improvement Agencies

Sir Paul Beresford: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions, pursuant to his answer of 30 March 2000, Official Report, column 228W, on housing improvement agencies, what previous experience Collective Enterprises Ltd. has had in administering Government grants; and on what basis he determined that CEL possessed (a) broad-based expertise in housing and care issues, (b) the capacity to support individual agencies and their managing agents across England and (c) the ability to deliver services from a position of independence and impartiality. [121844]

Mr. Mullin: Officials of my Department and the Department of Health evaluated the tenders received from Care and Repair England Ltd. and Collective Enterprises Ltd. (CEL) against a range of criteria, including those mentioned by the hon. Member, and recommended that CEL's tender as a whole offered a more effective approach to the delivery of the requirements of the national co-ordinating role. My Department's contract with CEL does not require them to administer the system of grants to individual home improvement agencies.

Environment Agency

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) what the average fine imposed on businesses prosecuted by the Environment Agency was in each of the last three years; [121843]

Mr. Mullin: The Environment Agency publishes prosecution statistics in its annual reports. Although these figures do not distinguish between companies and individuals, and it would cause disproportionate cost to do so here, most prosecutions are against businesses. The 1999-2000 annual report will be laid before Parliament in July. Figures for the previous two years are as follows.

Function/yearNumber of prosecutionsAverage fine (£)
Water Quality
Integrated Pollution Control
Radioactive Substances
Water Resources
Flood Defence

(1) The average fines for Water Quality offences in 1998-99 has been adjusted to reflect the reduction in the amount the Milford Haven Harbour Authority was fined for its part in the Sea Empress disaster. On appeal the fine was reduced from £4 million to £750,000.

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Urban Design

Angela Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when he will publish good practice guidance on urban design in the planning system. [122345]

Mr. Raynsford: The good practice guidance we have prepared in partnership with the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment will be published on Monday 15 May. Copies of "By Design. Urban design in the Planning System; towards better practice" will be placed in the Library of the House.

"By Design" will form a key part of the Government's strategy for promoting better urban design in the planning and development system. It provides sound, practical advice on how to implement the Government's commitment to good design as set out in Planning Policy Guidance, in particular PPG1 "General Policy and Principles" and PPG3 "Housing". It also reinforces the call in the Urban Task Force's report "Towards an Urban Renaissance" for earlier, greater and better-informed attention to urban design.

Regional Development Agencies

Angela Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what the total budget is for each of the regional development agencies for 2000-01; and if he will break it down in each case by programme. [122460]

Ms Armstrong: The budgets of the regional development agencies for 2000-01 are as follows.

Land and Property15,9308,18013,3708,2506,9902,0003,20019,40077,320
Partnership Investment Programme21,96072,68020,00018,20013,4106,50012,50011,800177,050
Single Regeneration Budget93,500140,900127,70037,70086,40018,40047,20023,700575,500
Rural Development2,8591,2833,3753,3811,8833,1001,7997,02324,703
Skills Development Fund2,3056,0274,4003,6234,9694,2425,9293,67935,174
Skills Administration1862942412152572332902331,949
Inward Investment1,7151,4431,4651,0641,3899659651,55410,560
Competitiveness Development Fund4404404404404404404444443,528
Gross Total 150,108245,081180,77581,531124,97042,18579,56476,919981,133
Land and Property-15,770-14,670-8,800-9,100-4,000-650-3,500-14,950-71,440
PIP receipts-5,830-21,190-2,000-2,700-6,000-150-4,000-1,950-43,820
Rural Development-236-270-453-590-183-145-142-575-2,594
Other Current-13,920-11,468-5,335-2,048-1,395-4180-3,416-38,000
Total Receipts-35,756-47,598-16,588-14,438-11,578-1,363-7,642-20,891-155,854
Net Total 114,352197,483164,18767,093113,39240,82271,92256,028825,279

12 May 2000 : Column: 483W

12 May 2000 : Column: 483W

Rail Schemes

Dr. Marek: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what his policy is on checking the reliability of privately-produced studies of proposed rail schemes, with particular reference to Virgin Trains' commercial study of electrification of the North Wales main line. [121839]

Mr. Hill: The Franchising Director would normally verify the accuracy of any privately produced railway study, using external consultants where necessary. Virgin Trains' study was presented to the former Office of Passenger Rail Franchising (now the shadow Strategic Rail Authority), and the Franchising Director judged its conclusions to be valid, having considered it in line with the organisation's process of due diligence.

Departmental Inquiries

Mr. Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions, pursuant to his answer of 18 April 2000, Official Report, column 444W, which of the reviews, public inquiries and commissions of inquiry listed have been carried out by paid appointees; who are the paid appointees; and what is their level of remuneration. [121845]

Ms Beverley Hughes: The information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

London Underground

Mr. Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement on (a) train, (b) signal and (c) track failures in each financial year since 1994-95 for each line of the London Underground and the cumulative figures for all lines. [119670]

Mr. Hill: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to his earlier question on 21 December 1999, Official Report, column 523-24W. London Underground has provided the figures for the extra years which have been requested and these are included in the table, along with the figures for the full year 1999-2000.

12 May 2000 : Column: 484W

Service disruption due to failures in:
TrainsSignal/pointsOther track

These figures show a significant reduction in train failures in 1999-2000 compared with the previous year. This is attributable to the new or refurbished stock now available on the Northern, Jubilee and Piccadilly lines. The reduction of signal or points failure in 1999-2000 compared with the two previous years reflects investment and maintenance work enabled by the additional funding provided by the Government.

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