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Mr. Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what discussions he has had with the Federation of Master Builders in the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions, pursuant to his answer of 11 July 2000, Official Report, column 505W, if the Government are considering applications for grant aid for track access charges from Freightliner's competitors. 
Mr. Mullin: The Countryside and Rights of Way Bill, currently before Parliament, contains provisions to enhance the protection given to Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), including those designated for wetland interests in the inter-tidal area. The Bill will provide for, among other things, for a more structured approach to management advice and a new power to refuse consent for damaging activities, the development of management schemes to help combat neglect, the introduction of management notices, increased penalties for deliberate damage, a new court power to order restoration of the damaged special interest, where this is practicable; and a new general offence to apply to damage by any person.
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In addition, public bodies will be under a statutory duty to further the conservation and enhancement of SSSIs, both in carrying out their operations and exercising their decision-making functions.
My Department has also set up a review to evaluate the success of previous statutory and voluntary marine nature conservation measures and to put forward proposals for improving marine nature conservation in England. Among other things, this involves looking at the protection currently afforded to inter-tidal areas. The Review may also inform separate proposals for marine conservation in Wales.
Mr. Breed: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what plans he has to relax the planning regulations with regard to the establishment of farmers' markets. 
Ms Beverley Hughes: Part 4 of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 (GPDO) SI 1995 No. 418 grants a general planning permission for the temporary use of land for up to 28 days in any calendar year, subject to a number of restrictions and conditions. In the case of markets, the permitted use is limited to a total of 14 days in recognition of the parking, litter and noise problems that often arise from such uses. We have no current plans to relax these provisions.
Sir Sydney Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions, pursuant to his answer of 9 May 2000, Official Report, column 360W, concerning fifth freedom rights, for what reason the UK Government have rejected applications from Singapore for fifth freedom transatlantic rights. 
Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions, pursuant to his answer of 3 July 2000, Official Report, column 83W, if he will provide a breakdown of the cost to date met by his Department and the Government Office for the South-east of distributing copies of draft regional planning guidance for the South-east; and if he will make a statement. 
Ms Beverley Hughes: The costs to date met by my Department were for the initial despatch of draft regional planning guidance for the South-east, from the Department's distribution contractor. The cost incurred by the Government Office for the South-east, covered postal distribution from the Government Office and included a small amount for courier distribution.
Mr. Hinchliffe: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if a quinquennial review of the Joint Nature Conservation Committee is due; and if he will make a statement. 
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Mr. Meacher: A review of the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) will begin shortly. In accordance with standard practice, the review will begin by examining the functions and structure of JNCC before moving on, if appropriate, to look at performance issues. Detailed terms of reference are being drawn up. I expect the review to be completed by the early summer of 2001.
Sir Teddy Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what assistance will be provided to local councils in England which have had areas classified as having Objective 2 status following the spending review. 
Ms Beverley Hughes: When the guidelines for the Objective 2 programmes were drawn up, it was agreed that any funds provided by the EU would have to be "matched" by corresponding funds drawn from the public and private sector of the member state.
In England it was decided that to emphasise the fact that the drawing up and implementing of these programmes rested with the local partnerships, they should be responsible for securing the match funding.
The role of the central Government in the framework of the structural funds is to provide advice, guidance and monitoring. In terms of match funding, its role is to guide partnerships toward the many sources of potential funding, both private and public.
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While the Government make no guarantee of direct match funding, the spending review has increased funding available in the regions for those programmes which local partners can look to for match funding. This is obviously good news for those areas with EU Structural Funds.
Ms Rosie Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement on progress on the distribution to National Bus Company pensioners of the settlement sum paid over last July. 
Mr. Hill: Distribution of the settlement is the responsibility of the National Bus Company pension trustees. We recognise this is a complex and substantial task but we have made clear to the trustees that we expect it to be completed as quickly as possible.
I am pleased to note that interim payments were made in April to 8,000 pensioners who began receiving their Standard Life pension before April 1986 and that there will be interim payments from 1 August for post-1986 Standard Life pensioners who were members of the NBPF or who are widows of BEST or NBPF members.
The Government hope that all concerned will do their utmost to remove any remaining obstacles to completion of the distribution without any unnecessary delay. We will remain in close touch with the trustees.
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