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Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will list those small district councils which will be exempted from the regime of an executive/scrutiny split under the Local Government Act 2000. 
Ms Beverley Hughes: All councils are required by the Local Government Act 2000 to have separate scrutiny arrangements in their new constitutions. Under the Act these new constitutions for district councils in two tier areas with a population below 85,000 (as estimated by the Registrar General on 30 June 1999) may involve either executive or alternative arrangements. I have placed a list of those councils in the Library of the House.
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many properties in the Leeds, Central parliamentary constituency have benefited from improvements funded through the Home Energy Efficiency Scheme in each of the last 10 years. 
|Financial year||Number of grants||Value of grants (£000)|
(4) A further 503 households are awaiting permission from the social or private landlords for work to be carried out
The new Home Energy Efficiency Scheme (HEES) for England was launched on 1 June 2000. It replaced the more basic scheme that operated since 1991. HEES provides packages of insulation and heating measures, linked to the condition of the property and the type of householder. The grant maximum increased from £315 up to £2,000. As a consequence, the average value of work per household has substantially increased.
Mr. Hunter: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will introduce legislation to prevent the importing of waste into the United Kingdom for disposal. 
Mr. Meacher: The UK already prohibits most imports of waste for final disposal. Under the legally binding United Kingdom Management Plan for Exports and Imports of Waste, which came into effect in June 1996, the UK accepts wastes only from those countries which cannot reasonably be expected to deal with specific wastes in an environmentally sound manner. This is because we have the necessary treatment facilities which meet tough environmental standards. This policy is designed to encourage countries to become as self- sufficient as possible in waste disposal.
Consistent with European law, however, the UK cannot prohibit imports of wastes for recovery, which could include shipments of municipal wastes for incineration with energy recovery. However, shipments of municipal waste still require the prior consent of the UK enforcement authorities and would have to meet specific criteria set out in the UK Plan. There may be grounds for objecting to individual shipments if the primary purpose of the importing facility is to treat local wastes and those wastes will be displaced by the proposed imports. Available data show that no imports of municipal waste have taken place since the existing UK Plan came into effect in 1996.
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Sir Brian Mawhinney: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what reports he has received about movement in the loop railway lines around Hatfield since 17 October. 
Mr. Hill [holding answer 10 November 2000]: After the accident at Hatfield on 17 October, services were diverted on to the line via Hertford. The Hatfield line has now re-opened, with the first passenger service on Friday 10 November.
Mr. Hill [holding answer 13 November 2000]: DVLA statistics show that from the end of June 1997 to the end of June 2000, the number of goods vehicles (over 3.5 tonnes gross vehicle weight) running on gas increased by 126 to a total of 175. Over the same period, the number of buses running on gas increased by 62 to a total of 103. DVLA's figures do not distinguish between the road fuel gases liquid petroleum gas and compressed natural gas.
Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what steps he is taking to ensure relevant information in respect of incineration is drawn to the attention of Ministers in his Department. 
Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement on the information made available to Ministers in the last six months relating to anticipated deaths and pollution-related illnesses associated with proposed incinerators. 
Mr. Mullin: Ministers have been kept fully in touch with work on the health effects of incinerators. Most recently, information provided to Ministers has included the correction by the consultants Entec UK Ltd. to their estimate of benefits of the proposed waste incineration directive 1 , showing that some of the figures for health effects currently in circulation are very significant over estimates. (The error is explained in EM 10417/00 on the proposed waste incineration directive).
Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions, pursuant to the letter to the hon. Member for Linlithgow of 12 October CM/23437/00, what information as to the basis of his policy he has received from English Nature and their
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contacts with those in other countries, undertaking research into frog disease and mortality; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Mullin: English Nature, our statutory advisers, regularly review the work undertaken within the international scientific arena on issues that may affect native species, including amphibians, and will shortly be meeting with the Declining Amphibian Populations Task Force (a specialist group that co-ordinates and funds work on amphibian diseases) to discuss a contingency plan should significant pathogens be detected in British frog populations.
Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what plans he has to strengthen the powers of local authorities to require retrospective planning applications. 
Ms Beverley Hughes: None. Local planning authorities can already invite a retrospective planning application in respect of unauthorised development where they judge that there are no planning objections to it. Otherwise, authorities already have wide ranging enforcement powers to control development undertaken without planning permission. We have no current plans to strengthen these powers further.
Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what was housing density, as measured by homes per hectare, in (a) 1996, (b) 1997, (c) 1998, (d) 1999 and (e) from January. 
Ms Beverley Hughes: New dwellings in England were built at an average density of 25 per hectare between 1994 and 1998. Figures for individual years have not yet been published. My Department is conducting research looking at this and other aspects of the publication of these statistics. This research should be completed next year.
Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what recent representations regarding delays to trains on the Liverpool Street, London to Norwich line, since 17 October have been (a) received by his Department and (b) made by his Department to Railtrack plc. 
Mr. Hill: We have received one representation from a member of public about delays on the London Liverpool Street to Norwich line. We have made no representations to Railtrack specifically on delays to trains on this line but we are meeting regularly with Railtrack and the Association of Train Operating Companies to discuss progress with the national track recovery plan.
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