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Mr. David Atkinson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement about the impact of the Transport Act 2000 on the CAA pension scheme. 
Mr. Mullin: The Transport Act 2000 enables the Secretary of State to make an order providing for the allocation of assets, rights, liabilities or obligations between different sections of the Civil Aviation Authority Pension Scheme, subject to consultation with the Scheme Trustees. The provisions require the Secretary of State, in making an order, to secure that every potential beneficiary is in materially at least as good a position, as respects pension arrangements, as a result of the order. The Secretary of State proposes to exercise the power before the establishment of the Public Private Partnership for National Air Traffic Services, in order to ensure an equitable division of the fund between separate CAA and NATS sections.
Dr. Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when his Department received the latest planning application for the development of the former Warnborough College site in Boars Hill, Oxford; and when he expects to make a decision. 
Ms Beverley Hughes: The application was received just before the Christmas holidays on 15 December. A decision on whether to call in the application will be made as soon as possible, hopefully within the next few weeks.
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its consideration of the latest planning application regarding the Warnborough College site in Boars Hill, Oxford. 
Ms Beverley Hughes: The Government expect local planning authorities to determine 80 per cent. of planning applications within eight weeks. We have set a Best Value Performance Standard for 15 authorities with the poorest record on processing planning applications, who will be required to determine a minimum of 65 per cent. of applications within eight weeks in 2001-02. A small number of planning applications are called in by the Secretary of State for his own decision. Government Offices for the Regions are asked to issue 80 per cent. of call-in decisions within 13 weeks of receipt of the inspector's report and 100 per cent. within 20 weeks.
Mr. Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what the planning status is of each site in the county of Essex which has been identified as a possible location for a waste incinerator. 
Mr. Mullin: The sites at Whitehall Road, Colchester; North Weald Airfield, Epping Forest; and Courtauld Road, Basildon; have been identified in the draft Essex and Southend Waste Local Plan as potential locations for
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major waste management facilities, but the waste planning authorities recognise that they may be developed for alternative industrial uses. The other five identified sites at Rivenhall Airfield, Silver End, Braintree; land east of Warren Lane, Stanway; Pitsea Landfill site, Basildon; Rayleigh sub-station, A129/A130, Rayleigh; and Sandon, Chelmsford are exclusively allocated for major waste management facilities only. The draft Waste Local Plan does not indicate a preference for a particular type of facility at any of these sites, but states that incinerators with energy recovery may be permitted provided that certain specified criteria are met.
Mr. Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what representations he has received from Essex county council about the county's draft Waste Local Plan; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Mullin: The draft Essex and Southend Waste Local Plan was the subject of a lengthy public inquiry at which all objections were considered by an independent Inspector. The Inspector's report is currently being considered by the waste planning authorities, and in due course they will publish their response to the Inspector's findings and their proposed modifications to the plan.
When this matter was debated in the House on 12 December 2000, I explained that, in view of the Secretary of State's quasi-judicial role, it would be inappropriate for me to comment on the merits of the Essex and Southend Waste Local Plan. I also gave my assurance that we will carefully examine the proposed modifications published by the waste planning authorities in the light of the Inspector's recommendations, the Government's waste strategy and national policies on waste disposal.
Mr. Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will seek medical and scientific evidence from the World Health Organisation and the European Union on the use of incinerators to burn waste in other countries; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Mullin: Incinerators emit a variety of pollutants, of potential concern on health grounds, as indeed do many industrial processes. Our regulation of incinerators therefore requires emissions to be tightly controlled, at a minimum consistent with the limit values prescribed in EU legislation. These regulatory decisions, and the limit values themselves, are based on the best evidence from the scientific and medical community on the effects of air pollutants, including WHO and EU sources, (who commissioned work explicitly for the recently adopted Waste Incineration Directive).
Any new information from the World Health Organisation or the European Union, and any substantial scientific studies of the health impacts of waste incinerators to be published in the scientific literature are kept under review by officials. If necessary this can be referred for consideration by expert advisory committees such as the Committee on Medical Effects of Air Pollutants.
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recent discussions his Department have had with national park authorities about access to water for non-powered craft; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Mullin: My officials have had discussions on access to water for non-powered craft with a number of park authorities in the normal course of business. In addition, we expect shortly to commence a research project on access to water, in which the researchers are likely to consult the park authorities.
Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what plans he has to introduce stricter controls governing the transportation of butterflies and their larvae between farms; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Mullin: The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 is the principal legislation in the UK governing the protection of wildlife and sets out comprehensive statutory protection for endangered wild species and their habitats. Section 9 of the Act prohibits the unauthorised killing, injuring, taking, possession, sale or disturbance in a place of shelter or protection, of any wild animal listed on Schedule 5 to the Act. Certain species are protected only in respect of certain activities.
There are 25 butterflies and fritillaries listed on Schedule 5 of the Act. Six of these are afforded full protection and the rest are protected under section 9(5) which prohibits unauthorised sale. There are also eight moth species listed on Schedule 5, all of which are afforded full protection.
The Government's statutory adviser undertakes a quinquennial review of Schedule 5 and recommends additions and deletions. Any changes from the next quinquennial review are likely to be introduced in 2002-03.
Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what studies he has commissioned in respect of the reliability and robustness of train protection warning system loop aerials. 
Mr. Hill: My right hon. Friend has commissioned no such studies. The Train Protection Warning System (TPWS) aerial loops form part of the equipment fitted to the track. The reliability and durability of this equipment has been demonstrated by factory tests and by extensive trials involving traffic loads. I understand that both Railtrack and the Health and Safety Executive's Railway Inspectorate have accepted the basic design.
Mr. Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what timetable he has set for the assessment of the case for Cornish to be specified for the purposes of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. 
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Ms Beverley Hughes: We will complete our assessment of Government's position on Cornish in relation to the Charter as quickly as possible, with the help of the findings of the independent academic study completed last year.
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