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Joan Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement on the changes which he is proposing to make, in responses to the Phillips report on BSE, into the operation of the Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment, with special reference to the recommendations that (a) the secretariat is totally independent of his Department and should consist of administrators and not scientists, (b) the committee addresses risk assessment and not risk management, (c) the committee does not give policy advice and (d) the secretariat does not provide draft advice for the Committee. [142571]

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Mr. Meacher: The Phillips Inquiry report raises a wide range of issues, of which nearly a quarter concern the management, operation and role of scientific advisory committees, such as the Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment (ACRE).

The Phillips report does not recommend that the secretariats of Advisory Committees should be composed of administrators and not scientists. In fact the report flags the importance of Government Departments retaining 'in house' scientific expertise to enable then to understand and review the advice given by their committees.

The Government are considering the implications of this extensive, and complex report, including issues raised at (b)-(d) and will publish a response in due course. If any changes are proposed in the operation of ACRE, they will be announced subsequently.

Road Casualties (London)

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many fatal accidents occurred on metropolitan London roads in (a) 1970, (b) 1980, (c) 1990 and (d) 2000. [142532]

Mr. Hill: The number of fatal road accidents on "Greater London" roads in (a) 1970, (b) 1980, (c) 1990 and (d) 2000 were:

Data for the years 1970 and 2000 are unavailable. The number of fatal accidents on "Greater London" roads for the last year for which figures are available (1999) was 254.

A3 (Hindhead)

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what representations he has received from the Director General of the National Trust in the past three years on the A3 at Hindhead. [142994]

Mr. Hill: None, although the National Trust is represented on the Steering Group of the current road based study of the A3 at Hindhead.

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when he expects to consider the consultants' report on the A3 tunnel at Hindhead; and if he will set out a timetable for action. [142993]

Mr. Hill: We anticipate that the Consultant's Report on the A3 Hindhead study will be presented to the South East England Regional Assembly plenary meeting on 14 February 2001. It will then be for the Assembly to make recommendations to Ministers, and decisions on the way forward will be taken in the light of these recommendations.

Air Conditioning

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what estimate he has made of the amount of energy and electricity consumption in the service sector that is attributable to the use of air conditioning in offices. [142823]

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Mr. Meacher: The Building Research Establishment estimates that about 11 PJ of energy consumption is attributable annually to the use of air conditioning in offices within the service sector. The estimated total annual energy consumption in the services sector attributable to air conditioning is about 48 PJ.

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what estimate he has made of the number of new office buildings built in each year between 1990 and 1999 which had air conditioning. [142824]

Mr. Meacher: The Department has not estimated the specific figures centrally. However, the Building Research Establishment estimates the office space built each year between 1990 and 1999 with some air conditioning as follows:


YearM(15) new build offices with some air conditioning

The approximate amount of office space built with some air conditioning as a proportion of all new office space built in each of the above years is 50 per cent.


Mr. Hilary Benn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what powers local authorities have to require supermarkets to source a proportion of their products from local suppliers in considering the granting of planning permission; and if he will make a statement. [143083]

Ms Beverley Hughes: The sourcing of products by supermarkets is not normally a material planning consideration. There may, however, be circumstances where it could be demonstrated that the impact of a new supermarket would result in a significant reduction in local purchasing, which in turn would result in material harm to the local economy. For example, in a market town where local food shops currently source their stock locally, a significant reduction in local purchasing as a result of a new supermarket opening and local food stores reducing their purchasing or going out of business could have an adverse effect on the local economy. In such circumstances this might be a material consideration and, if so, would be taken into account in making the decision.

Neighbourhood Renewal Fund

Mr. Hilary Benn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when he expects to issue guidelines to local authorities on the implementation of the Neighbourhood Renewal Fund. [143378]

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Ms Beverley Hughes: The Action Plan for Neighbourhood Renewal, which will be published shortly, will set out the way in which funding from the Neighbourhood Renewal Fund should support local Neighbourhood Renewal Strategies. A Special Grant Report, early in 2001, will set out the basis for the distribution of grant and the conditions attached to the funding.

Council Tax

Mr. Breed: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions whom he plans to consult on his proposals to end the 50 per cent. Council Tax discount for second home owners; when the consultation will be completed; and on what date he estimates that local authorities will first be able to charge the full tax. [143260]

Ms Beverley Hughes: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Stroud (Mr. Drew) on 12 December 2000, Official Report, column 76W. The usual period for Government consultations is 12 weeks.

Community Service Fund

Mr. Breed: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what system will be used to allocate funding from the Community Service Fund; and if he will estimate the size of the allocation for communities in the South-East Cornwall constituency. [143286]

Mr. Mullin: It will be for the Countryside Agency to decide how best to allocate the Community Service Fund, which will not come into operation until 2001-02. No decisions have yet been taken on allocation methods or amounts.

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Rural Transport

Mr. Breed: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what schemes have been funded through the Rural Transport Partnership scheme; and how much funding each scheme received. [143257]

Mr. Hill: The Rural Transport Partnership (RTP) scheme was launched in the autumn of 1998 to address social exclusion by bringing about long-term transport improvements in rural areas. Grants of up to 75 per cent. of the eligible partnership and project costs are available up to a current maximum of £250,000.

A partnership is formed between relevant bodies in a particular area (e.g. local authorities, voluntary sector, health and employment bodies) to take a strategic view of the transport needs and provision of that area. Typically partnerships begin with the appointment of a partnership officer, who then conducts a transport needs analysis to produce an action plan of proposed projects for funding to address the needs identified. Once the partnership officer is appointed, a period of typically six months is needed to prepare the action plan for agreement with the Agency. Action plan projects require specific Agency approval and are listed in the table.

In addition each RTP can also draw down a delegated fund of £10,000 per year in each of the partnership years, for small scale, stand alone transport projects.

Although there are 71 RTPs set up to date, the table only covers 34, because the remaining 37 have been set up recently and are still developing their action plans.

There are also two national RTPs not covered in the table. They are the Community Transport Association's RTP, which has received £39,313 and the Association of Community Rail Partnerships (Acorp) RTP. Acorp has received £27,810 to date. Both of these are national development projects to support community transport and rail activity. Rather than initiating their own schemes, these partnerships support projects promoted by others.

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Region and running total RTP name Projects funded to date Project start dateAgency contribution
Yorkshire and Humber
1HarrogateDriver TrainingJune 200025,000
2HarrogateCommunity MinibusSeptember 20008,000
3HarrogateTravelwise NewsSeptember 200025,000
4HarrogateComputer SchedulingSeptember 200021,600
5HarrogateNight Out BusSeptember 200026,400
6CravenBrokerage PostJuly 2000--
7CravenDriver TrainingJune 200025,000
8Hambleton and RichmondBrokerage PostJuly 2000--
9Hambleton and RichmondWheels to WorkNovember 200077,300
10Hambleton and RichmondDriver TrainingJune 200025,000
11Ryedale and ScarboroughDriver TrainingJune 200025,000
12BarnsleyTransport Co-ordinationJan 200080,000
13KirkleesCommunity Car ShareNovember 200013,400
14KirkleesTaxi VouchersNovember 200014,000
15North LincolnshireIsle of Axeholme MinibusNovember 200035,600
North East
16TynedaleInterchange ImprovementFebruary 20011,000
17TynedaleTravel InformationFebruary 20012,500
18TynedaleDriver TrainingFebruary 20012,000
19TynedaleEncouraging Rural TaxisDecember 20002,000
20TynedaleImproving Provision for Walkers and CyclistsJanuary 20004,500
21TynedaleBringing Services to PeopleFebruary 20012,000
22Tyne and WearTransport InformationFebruary 200115,000
23Tyne and WearTransport InformationFebruary 200110,000
24West DurhamMidas TrainingNovember 2000840
25East DurhamGP Car ServiceNovember 20001,556
East of England
26EssexCommunity TransportNovember 200026,640
27EssexHospital LinkNovember 200025,650
28EssexCar ShareMarch 200034,780
29CambridgeshireDial a RideOctober 20009,100
30East NorfolkFlexi BusSeptember 200022,010
31East NorfolkCommunity TransportNovember 200027,000
32East NorfolkFlexi BusAugust 200022,410
33West NorfolkMarket BusAugust 200029,580
34West NorfolkFlexi-BusNovember 200012,600
35West NorfolkDevelopment OfficerNovember 2000--
36BedfordshireLink a RideSeptember 200026,320
37BedfordshireTravel ClubNovember 200035,490
North West
38North LancashireLink BusNovember 20009,000
39Ribblesdale RoverNovember 200028,000
West Midlands
40HerefordshireCommunity TransportJune 200043,221
41HerefordshireGreen Transport PromotionMay 200030,164
42HerefordshireWheels to WorkDecember 200052,727
43North WarwickshireBusy BeelineDecember 200015,064
44North WarwickshireWheels to WorkJanuary 200039,135
45Telford and WrekinCommunity Car, Wheels to WorkJuly 200043,700
46Telford and WrekinInterchange ProjectApril 200030,000
47Telford and WrekinWrekin RiderJuly 200056,300
South West
48WiltshireVolunteer Link DriversJune 200026,000
49GloucestershireJumpstart JobsearcherApril 20003,500
50GloucestershireVolunteer DriversApril 20005,600
51GloucestershireDrivers for the ElderlyApril 200020,000
52GloucestershireTransport Co-ordinatorsApril 200010,000
53CornwallWheels to WorkApril 200022,500
54DorsetLeisure BusApril 20001,000
55DorsetScootersSeptember 200014,000
East Midlands
56NottinghamshireVolunteer Driver TrainingNovember 200025,000
South East
57North and mid-HantsAccess to ServicesOctober 1999696
58North and mid-HantsTransport Co-ordinationOctober 199913,447
59South East HantsTransport Co-ordinationOctober 199910,064
60South West HantsTransport for WorkOctober 199912,605
61South West HantsAccess to ServicesOctober 19992,440
62South West HantsTransport Co-ordinationOctober 19996,217
63CherwellCommunity ServicesOctober 199914,233
64Information and TrainingOctober 1999756
65West OxfordshireCT DirectoryOctober 1999745
66Mini-busOctober 1999421
67Co-ordinationOctober 199920
68South OxfordshireInfo and TrainingOctober 199978
69Access and InfoOctober 1999532
70East BerkshireTrain, Coach, TaxisAugust 199911,325
71IntegrationAugust 199921,438
72BluebirdCT ServiceApril 200050,774
73East SussexCo-ordinationNovember 199973,000

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21 Dec 2000 : Column: 293W

Mr. Breed: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions whom he plans to consult on plans to relax restrictions on rural community transport; and when the consultation will be completed. [143258]

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Mr. Hill: We plan to consult representatives of all the bodies that have a role in the provision and regulation of community transport in rural areas, including Traffic Commissioners, the Community Transport Association, the Confederation of Passenger Transport and the

21 Dec 2000 : Column: 295W

Countryside Agency. In addition we will place a copy of the consultation paper on the Department's website so that any other body and members of the public may contribute their views.

We expect the consultation to be completed next summer, to give adequate time for views to be submitted.

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