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Advisory Bodies

Tony Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will list all the (a) task forces, (b) action teams, (c) policy reviews and (d) other temporary advisory bodies with external members currently in existence within his Department; and on what date each body (i) was set up and (ii) is expected to terminate. [131455]

Ms Beverley Hughes: I refer to the answer given by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary to the Cabinet Office on 27 July 2000, Official Report, column 799W.


Mr. Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many incinerators have started operation in each of the last eight years in each region; and if he will make a statement. [132570]

Mr. Mullin: Only two new municipal waste incinerators have opened in the past eight years: SELCHP (Thames Region, 1994) and Stockton (North East Region, 1997).

Many other plant were closed down because they did not comply with stringent emissions standards introduced in 1996. Of these, several were refurbished, and re-opened on the following dates:

MidlandsCoventry and Solihull Waste Disposal Co. Ltd, Coventry1996
MidlandsWasteNotts (Reclamation) Ltd., Nottingham1995
MidlandsMES Environmental Ltd., Stoke1995
MidlandsMES Environmental Ltd., Wolverhampton1998
MidlandsMES Environmental Ltd., Dudley1998
MidlandsTyseley Waste Disposal Ltd.1996
North EastSheffield city council1997
North WestGM Waste Ltd., Bolton2000

The London Waste incinerator at Edmonton (Thames Region) was refurbished without a break in operation in 1996.

This information relates to conventional solid municipal waste incinerators within the Integrated Pollution Control regime. I shall respond separately on other incinerators, including plant burning processed wastes.

Transport (London)

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what were the total amounts provided for transport in London in each year since 1990-91, including a breakdown showing the amounts for (a) London Transport, (b) local authority net expenditure, current and capital, (c) Highways Agency expenditure and (d) other. [131999]

Mr. Hill: I will write to the hon. Member, and place a copy of my reply in the Libraries of both Houses.

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Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will advise the Environment Agency during its review of Sellafield discharge authorisations, that it should consider dry storage technologies in addition to the use of magnox fuel and the addition of a head-end plant to THORP. [130874]

Mr. Meacher [holding answer 25 July 2000]: I expect to discuss this with the Environment Agency and the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate at my next meeting with them.

Radiological Protection

Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when he will issue advice on the observance of the justification principle including the needs (a) to carry out full cost-benefit analyses of practices giving rise to radiation exposures, (b) to discuss available alternatives to such practices and (c) to estimate global untruncated population doses from such practices. [132292]

Mr. Mullin [holding answer 25 July 2000]: I expect to issue a statement in the autumn on the way justification issues will be handled, that will take account of the considerations to which my hon. Friend refers.

Press Releases

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many press releases have been issued so far this year; and what the total cost of the production and issuing of press releases was in (a) 1997, (b) 1998, (c) 1999 and (d) 2000 to date. [132783]

Ms Beverley Hughes: The Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions have issued 455 press releases until the end of June this year. This is a 28 per cent. drop from the same time last year.

The total cost of the production and issuing of press releases in (a) 1997, (b) 1998, (c) 1999 and (d) 2000 to date is as follows:

YearNumber of press releasesTotal costs (£000)

(1) Figure at end of June

Deprivation Index

Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) if he will place in the Library the ward level data on ranks and scores for the Index of Deprivation 1999, already given to individual authorities, in (a) hard copy and (b) electronic format; [132892]

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Ms Armstrong: For the last 18 months, my Department has undertaken a review of the 1998 Index of Local Deprivation. The technical side of the review has been carried out by a team from the University of Oxford led by Dr. Mike Noble and has included four public consultations. I am very grateful to Dr. Noble and his colleagues for their hard and excellent work.

There has been considerable interest in the review and quite rightly so, because the Index is one of the main instruments used to allocate resources to the most disadvantaged communities. The review process has taken a long time. This has been necessary if only because the numerous detailed responses received during the consultations have meant that the Oxford team needed to examine and test what were very technical suggestions. I will shortly be issuing a paper that responds to all of the technical points that were raised.

I shall also be publishing the indices, that is the scores and ranks at the ward level which is available for each domain of deprivation and the district level measures.

Hard copies of the technical paper and the summary which will include the scores and rankings on the district level measures will be placed in the Library of the House along with a CD-ROM containing all of the ward and district scores and rankings. The summary report will provide details of where to obtain, subject to any confidentiality constraints, the underlying raw data.

However, the indices are not a definitive instrument and will need to be revised when further substantial small area data streams become available and could be incorporated into the indices. For example, while the review of the Index has been going on, the Social Exclusion Unit's Policy Action Team (PAT) 18 on Better Information has reported. This report of PAT 18 recognised that its recommendations for increasing the availability and coverage of small area data would be useful for the Indices in the longer term. One of its key outputs would be a national ward-level data set which would include as much as possible of the data on which the Indices scores and rankings are based. In the longer term the 2001 Census data will also be relevant. We will also be looking at the way social housing conditions could be incorporated into the indices.

In the meantime, the Government have decided to use the new indices rather than the old Index of Deprivation as the primary but not the sole basis for the allocation of resources for deprived areas. This will not rule out the possibility of other areas being offered regeneration assistance. However, I fully realise that whenever a change of this kind is made, there is the risk that authorities that would have benefited on the old basis for allocations might not do so under the new one. We therefore intend to set up transitional arrangements that make allowances for authorities that had been among the most deprived areas on the old Index and are not among the most deprived areas on the new indices. We will also be considering how areas that have pockets of deprivation can be eligible for help. We will be detailing these transitional arrangements when we publish any proposals for allocating resources that make use of the new indices.

Road Safety

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will list the

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proposals for improving road safety contained in "Tomorrow's Roads--Safer for Everyone", according to whether (a) implementation (i) commenced before the strategy was published, (ii) will commence in 2000 and (iii) will commence in 2001 and (b) they will require parliamentary time. [132850]

Mr. Hill: Each chapter of "Tomorrow's Roads--Safer for Everyone", copies of which are in the Library, includes an "implementation timetable" which tabulates all the proposed actions and shows which ones will require primary legislation. The timetable also indicates whether each action will be implemented "now" or "in the next 2-3 years" or whether it is a "longer term intention". We are still developing a more detailed implementation plan.

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