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Beacon Councils

Mr. Bennett: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how much money his Department has awarded to (a) Stockport MBC and (b) Tameside MBC to celebrate beacon status; and what guidance he has issued on how the money is to be spent. [128879]

Ms Armstrong: This year we are providing £700,000 for beacon councils. Subject to approval by the House of the Special Grant Report (number 64) which was laid on 27 June, this amount will be distributed as specified in the report among the 33 successful applicants for beacon status, including Stockport and Tameside, as a contribution to the costs they incur as beacons in disseminating their good practice.

Guidance on the special grant was contained in the Beacon Council Application Brochure published in May 1999, and in the draft Special Grant Report circulated to each of the beacon councils earlier this year.

Brownfield Development

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what percentage of planning decisions made in the last year resulted in brownfield development. [128634]

Ms Beverley Hughes: Information on the number of planning decisions resulting in development on brownfield sites is not available centrally. However, the latest estimates show that, in 1994, 48 per cent. of land changing to urban uses (as defined for DETR's Land Use Change Statistics) was previously developed.

London Underground

Mr. Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions, pursuant to his answer of 19 June 2000, Official Report, column 6W, concerning the provisions of European Community treaties affecting the expenditure of London Underground, what communications he, or his predecessors, have received from the Commission of the European Communities, (a) based on Article 88 of the Treaty of European Union and (b) under any other title of that or any other Community or Union Treaty, relating to public

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borrowing or revenue support, or the manner of its subsequent expenditure; and what arrangements are made for any such communications to be inspected. [128850]

Mr. Hill: We have received no such communications concerning London Underground.

Transport Infrastructure (St. Albans)

Mr. Pollard: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what action his Department is taking to improve the transport infrastructure in the St. Albans constituency. [128893]

Mr. Hill: In last December's Local Transport Plan Financial Settlement Hertfordshire County Council received a total block allocation of £9,467,000. This consisted of £5,000,000 for integrated transport, an increase of 19 per cent. from the previous year, and £4,467,000 for maintenance and bridges, an increase of 83 per cent. from the previous year reflecting the poor condition of some of the County's roads.

It is of course for the County Council to decide how this funding should be used and which schemes to promote and we must leave these local projects to the responsible authorities to develop in conjunction with local partners and interests. The local transport plan process emphasises the need to work with the full range of transport providers, businesses, communities and interest groups.

Hertfordshire County Council will be submitting their full Local Transport Plan in July and I understand that they will be including an Area Plan for mid Bedfordshire. Within this is a programme of improvements for St. Albans which includes, among other elements, improving bus infrastructure, cycling and pedestrian facilities.

PFI Contracts

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what standard penalty clauses are included in private finance initiative contracts for roads; and how many of these have been invoked. [128589]

Mr. Hill: Penalties in contracts are not enforceable at law. My Department's privately financed contracts for roads include provisions for ensuring proper performance. In all these contracts performance defaults may lead to the accumulation of points which, through a hierarchical structure, could lead to increased monitoring at contractor expense and ultimately, to contract termination. A number of such points have been awarded on seven of the eight privately financed trunk road contracts in England.

Council Tax (Carers)

Mrs. Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will estimate the cost of extending carers' council tax discounts by (a) five per cent. and (b) 10 per cent. to those caring for partners or disabled children in (i) Scotland and (ii) the UK. [128171]

Ms Beverley Hughes [holding answer 4 July 2000]: As council tax is a devolved matter, it is for the Parliament and Assembly to answer about the situation in Scotland and Wales.

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The information for England is not readily available and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Council tax does not operate in Northern Ireland.

RDAs

Mr. Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will list the projects successfully undertaken by each of the regional development agencies since April 1999 and make a statement on their progress to date. [129113]

Ms Beverley Hughes [holding answer 4 July 2000]: The Regional Development Agencies were responsible for approximately 5,000 projects in 1999-2000. Collating this amount of information could be completed only at disproportionate cost.

Telecommunications Masts

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will list for each of the last three years (a) the number of applications for mobile telecommunication masts that were the subject of appeals to the Secretary of State and (b) the number of appeal decisions where the local planning authority's decision was upheld. [128937]

Ms Beverley Hughes: Information is not held about telecommunications masts specifically. The following is information relating to appeal decisions about telecommunications development generally.

1997-981998-991999-200
Number of appeal decisions made in each year for telecommunications development122142184
Number of appeal decisions made in each year that upheld the local planning authority's decision686783

Rents

Mr. Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what his latest estimate is of the comparative rent levels of council tenants and housing association tenants. [129122]

Ms Armstrong: The latest period for which both Local Authority and Registered Social Landlord rent figures in England are available is the financial year 1998-99. Average Local Authority rents for 1998-99 were £42.33 per week and those for Registered Social Landlord rents in England were £51.65 per week. Registered Social Landlords are former housing associations that are officially registered with the Housing Corporation.

The average rent figures for local authorities and RSLs are not directly comparable because they do not take into account differences in the composition of stock, e.g. size and type of dwellings, their age and condition.

Housing Green Paper

Mr. Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will publish the representations received in response to the Housing Green Paper. [129121]

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Ms Armstrong: The consultation on the Housing Green Paper runs until 31 July. Responses will in due course be made available for public inspection in the Department's library, unless submitted on a confidential basis.

Pollution Prevention and Control Regulations

Mr. Alan Keen: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when he proposes to issue guidance on the forthcoming Pollution Prevention and Control Regulations. [129582]

Mr. Hill: Advance copies of "Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control: A Practical Guide" have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses. The guidance describes the main provisions of the new Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control regime to be set up under the Pollution Prevention and Control Regulations, a draft of which was laid before Parliament on 15 June. The guidance will set out how the Secretary of State expects to see the regulatory regime applied, and how certain terms are to be interpreted. It will complement the Environment Agency's package of technical guidance.

The guidance will be made more widely available once the regulations have been made.

Road Safety

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when the Government plan to launch the Road Safety Advisory Panel, announced in the road safety strategy "Tomorrow's Roads--Safer For Everyone". [129583]

Angela Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when the Government plan to launch the Road Safety Advisory Panel, as announced in the road safety strategy "Tomorrow's Roads--Safer For Everyone". [129603]

Mr. Hill: The new Road Safety Advisory Panel was launched today, and my noble Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Lord Whitty) chaired the first meeting. The Panel includes representatives of the main stakeholders in road safety, including the police, local authorities, road safety organisations, road user groups and other Government Departments. Its remit is to provide advice to Ministers on road safety policies and to advise on the planned three yearly reviews of progress towards the casualty reduction targets set in the road safety strategy.


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