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Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what his latest assessment is of the availability of brownfield land suitable for housing purposes in urban centres. 
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Ms Beverley Hughes: Estimates for 1998 of the amount of previously developed land that is unused or may be available for redevelopment, including how much may be suitable for housing, are published on the National Land Use Database website (www.nlud.org.uk). Figures are available for England and the Government Office Regions. Figures for local authority districts show amounts of previously developed land with planning allocation or permission for housing. There are no estimates for "urban centres".
Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what his targets are for the percentage of new homes in Shrewsbury and Atcham to be built on brownfield sites. 
Ms Beverley Hughes: The Secretary of State expects Shrewsbury and Atcham Borough Council to contribute towards the regional target of 61 per cent. contained in Regional Planning Guidance for the West Midlands (RPG 11: April 1998). Local authorities are required to set their own land recycling targets in development plans which will contribute to attaining the regional target. It is understood that in its review of the local plan the borough council proposes to exceed the regional target. The Government's Planning Policy Guidance Note 3: Housing (March 2000) confirms the national target of 60 per cent. of additional housing on previously developed land and requires local authorities to give priority to the re-use of such land within urban areas in allocating sites for housing in development plans.
Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many new homes are currently projected to be built in (a) St. Edmondsbury Borough Council and (b) Mid- Suffolk District Council area between 2000-01 and 2015-16; and what corresponding projections were used by his Department in 1997-1998. 
Ms Beverley Hughes: The adopted Suffolk Structure Plan provides for 540 dwellings per annum for St. Edmundsbury and 420 dwellings for Mid Suffolk over the period from 1998 to 2006. These totals are relevant to both 1997-98 and 2000-01. The structure plan is currently under review and the totals for 2006-16 will
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Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many (a) fatal and (b) non-fatal road accidents were recorded as taking place on the A14 between Bury St. Edmunds and Stowmarket in (i) 1996-97, (ii) 1997-98, (iii) 1998-99 and (iv) 1999-2000. 
Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will list the visits outside Britain made by his Department's Permanent Secretary on official business since 1 January 1999, indicating the date and purpose of the visit in each case. 
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many zoos within the UK use (a) electric goads and (b) other weapons to discipline animals; and if he will make a statement. 
Responsibility for the licensing of zoos under the Zoo Licensing Act 1981 rests with local authorities. Inspectors, appointed by the Secretary of State, assist local authorities in reaching their decisions.
Statutory guidance to inspectors is given in the "Revised Secretary of State's Standards of Modern Zoo Practice", which came into effect on 3 April 2000. The revised Standards require that handling must be done with care in order to protect an animal's well being, and avoid unnecessary discomfort, stress or physical harm. Appendix 7 further advises that training methods should be based on positive reinforcement and that if negative reinforcement is used, it must never compromise the welfare of the animal.
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Mr. Hilary Benn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what plans he has to amend the law relating to assured tenancies; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Mullin: We remain firmly committed to the current legal framework of assured and assured shorthold tenancies. Certainty and confidence are essential if we are to persuade reputable landlords and investors to increase the supply of decent rented housing.
Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when he received a request to provide Private Finance Initiative credits for community and leisure use aspects of an educational Private Finance Initiative programme in Newcastle- upon-Tyne; what amount of Private Finance Initiative credits was involved; and when a decision was given to the City of Newcastle-upon-Tyne authorities. 
Ms Beverley Hughes [holding answer 17 July 2000]: The first contact with Newcastle City Council about this proposal was in August 1999. A formal outline business case was submitted in February 2000 and supporting information provided on 31 May 2000. This was assessed in preparation for the July endorsement round. Newcastle City Council was informed of the outcome of that assessment on 14 July. Details of the sums involved are a matter for the local authorities.
Mr. Denzil Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what has been the cost to public funds in the most recent financial year of the administration of the Yorkshire and Humberside Government Regional Office. 
Running costs allocations do not include any provision for pay rises. Therefore any increases in costs have to be met by efficiency savings which usually run at around 3 per cent. per year. Any additional funds provided by Departments are only given for new areas of work.
Mr. Denzil Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what has been the total cost to public funds from inception to the latest available date of administering the Yorkshire and Humberside Regional Development Agency. 
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existence on 14 December 1998 and became fully operational when it was designated on 1 April 1999. Administration costs were as follows:
|Salaries and wages||144||5,645|
|Other administration costs||342||(1)6,692|
(1) From 14 December 1998 to 31 March 1999
(1) Includes initial setting up/office costs
The administrative resource allocation for 2000-01 is £8.525 million.
Further information is available in Yorkshire Forward's Annual Report and Accounts 1999-2000 which will be available as a public document, after it has been laid before Parliament before the summer recess.
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