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Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many lettings each transfer association made available to homeless households for each year after stock transfer has taken place. 
17 Jul 2000 : Column: 49W
Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what percentage of correctly presented bills were paid by his Department in (a) 1998-99 and (b) 1999-2000 within 30 days of receipt of (i) goods and services, (ii) a valid invoice and (iii) other agreed payment terms. 
Ms Beverley Hughes [holding answer 11 July 2000]: (a) I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to my hon. Friend the Member for Elmet (Mr. Burgon) on 23 July 1999, Official Report, columns 677-78W.
Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what steps he is taking to improve (a) the effectiveness of the Health and Safety Executive and (b) its responsiveness to the public. 
Mr. Meacher: I place very high priority on improving, with the help of the Health and Safety Commission and Executive (HSC\E), standards of health and safety. I am particularly keen that the procedures to reach those standards should be carried through in the most open, transparent and accountable manner feasible.
The Government will be looking to HSE to deliver improvements in health and safety not only through their Public Service Agreement targets, but also through meeting the challenging targets set out in the Revitalising Health and Safety Strategy Statement.
Since coming to office this Government have significantly increased the resources available to health and safety--additional resources of some £63 million were made available to the Health and Safety Commission and Executive (HSC\E) in the three year Comprehensive Spending Review in 1998. These additional resources are enabling HSE to recruit and train more inspectors. As a result of the additional funding the HSE has agreed to increase the number of its regulatory contacts with employers and duty holders (including inspections) to 200,000 by 2001-02. The number of prosecutions for health and safety offences has been rising each year, as have the number of investigations into complaints from employees and members of the public. We have also been arguing strongly for extra resources through the SR2000 process.
Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what formal means of cooperation there are between the Corporation of London, the Health and Safety Executive and the Environment Agency to facilitate the supervision of construction sites in the City of London. 
17 Jul 2000 : Column: 50W
Mr. Meacher: There are currently no formal standing arrangements between the Corporation of London, the Health and Safety Executive and the Environment Agency to facilitate the supervision of construction sites in the City of London. There is, however close liaison between officers of the three organisations on an individual site basis as the need arises.
Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many inspections by the Health and Safety Executive in the last two years were concerned with safety on construction sites. 
Mr. Meacher: In the two years from 1 April 1998 to 31 March 2000 there were 39,233 preventive inspection contacts made to construction sites out of a total number of construction site contacts of 64,142. Details of other site contacts are shown in the attached table. The figures shown are provisional. It is not possible to distinguish between those contacts dealing only with safety, as opposed to health and welfare issues: the vast majority of inspections will cover all three matters.
|Investigation--Accidents and complaints||15,724|
|Sector work--National issues||23|
Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many deaths and serious injuries have occurred on construction sites in each of the past 10 years. 
|Year||Fatal injuries||Major injuries|
|Introduction of RIDDOR '95|
(1) As defined by the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1985 and 1995
Data prior to 1994-95 are classified under the Standard Industrial Classification 1980 (SIC80)
Data from 1994-95 are classified under the Standard Industrial Classification 1992 (SIC92).
Injury from 1996-97 cannot be directly compared to previous years figures due to the changes introduced by Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) 1995.
17 Jul 2000 : Column: 51W
Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) what steps he is taking to improve the Environment Agency's supervision of waste generated on construction sites; 
Mr. Mullin: The Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions has a range of powers to make regulations on waste under Part II of the Environmental Protection Act 1990; and some limited powers either to direct or to issue statutory guidance to the Environment Agency.
Section 33 of the 1990 Act requires that waste from construction sites must be treated and disposed of in accordance with the conditions of a waste management licence, or within the terms of a licensing exemption, and in a way which does not cause pollution of the environment or harm to human health. Section 34 of the 1990 Act imposes a duty of care on those who produce, carry, keep, treat or dispose of construction waste. Contravention of these controls is a criminal offence.
We are currently reviewing two of the licensing exemptions which allow the use of construction waste and which have been the subject of allegations of abuse. The aim of the revised controls under consideration is to enable the Environment Agency to supervise more effectively the use of construction waste at exempt sites.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what plans he has to ensure that Greek authorities enforce the EU Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species Regulations; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Mullin: The European Commission, rather than the UK Government, is responsible for ensuring that member states meet their obligations under community law. As far as the CITES Convention itself is concerned, following pressure from the CITES Standing Committee (then under UK Chairmanship), Greece announced a series of improvements in February last year which led to the withdrawal of CITES trade sanctions imposed for unsatisfactory implementation of the Convention in September 1998. It will be for the Convention and the Commission to assess whether these improvements have been implemented.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what plans he has to make all requirements of the disabled facilities grants mandatory; and if he will make a statement. 
17 Jul 2000 : Column: 52W
Mr. Mullin: Disabled facilities grants are mandatory in all cases set out under section 23(1) of the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996, and local authorities must follow the provisions of that Act in giving them. The grants are subject to a test of the applicant's resources to ensure that they are directed at those who are unable to afford the cost of adaptations on their own. In addition to their statutory duties, local authorities have powers to approve grants for the welfare, accommodation and employment of disabled people, and to pay grant above the £20,000 limit for the mandatory grant. These discretionary provisions enable local authorities to respond sensitively to individual cases without weakening the statutory entitlement of disabled people to a grant. We have no plans to change these arrangements.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will review the operation of the disabled facilities grant, with particular reference to the needs associated with childhood and adolescence; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Mullin: Earlier this year, my Department reviewed the arrangements for disabled facilities grants in relation to the needs of disabled children and young people. In the light of that review, we introduced changes to the test of resources for the grant in April this year, to reflect the higher housing costs incurred by parents of disabled children. We have no plants to make further changes to the arrangements governing the treatment of disabled children and young people, which are consistent with those for other housing-related benefits.
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