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Road Accidents (Yeovil)

Paddy Ashdown: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what his estimate is of the number of road accident (a) fatalities and (b) injuries within the Yeovil constituency for each year since 1971; and if he will make a statement. [144608]

Mr. Hill [holding answer 18 January 2001]: Road accident casualties are not recorded by the Department at constituency level, however the figures for South Somerset local authority area as a whole are available from 1979 onwards:



Ms Atherton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what recent research the Government have (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated regarding the health effects of landfill sites; and if he will make a statement. [146160]

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Mr. Mullin: In 1999 the Government commissioned the Small Area Health Statistics Unit (SAHSU) to conduct a broad-based study on health outcomes of people living near landfill sites. The study is designed to determine whether there is a statistical association between the location of landfill sites and the rates of certain adverse health effects in the nearby population. This report is now expected in summer 2001.

In addition, in September 1999 the Government announced a programme of research to investigate the possible impacts on human health of landfill sites throughout the UK. The following studies have since been commissioned: a review of the potential teratogenicity of substances emanating from landfill sites; a review of the known causes of congenital malformations; and a study of the geographical variation in overall rates of congenital abnormalities and the rates of specific abnormalities.

In 1998 the Government's independent expert committee, the Committee on the Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (COT) reviewed the results of the EUROHAZCON study on the risk of congenital abnormalities near hazardous waste landfill sites in Europe (Dolk et al, 2000, The Lancet, volume 352, pp 423-427) and an assessment by Fielder et al of the impact on health of residents living near the Nant-y-Gwyddon landfill site in South Wales (subsequently published in the British Medical Journal, 2000, volume 320, pp 19-22). The COT agreed with the author of the EUROHAZCON study that there was a need for further investigation. The full assessment can be found in the COT's Annual Report for 1998, available in the Library or on the Department of Health website at

Local and Unitary Development Plans

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if, further to the speech made by the Minister for Housing and Planning on 14 December 2000, he will list the local planning authorities which have no adopted development plan, the local planning authorities which have not placed a development plan on deposit, the local planning authorities which have not begun a public inquiry, the local planning authorities with a redevelopment plan that ends in 2001, and the local planning authorities which have no proposals for amending an existing development plan. [146079]

Ms Beverley Hughes [holding answer 18 January 2001]: A report--"Progress on Adoption of Area Wide Local Plan and Unitary Development Plans"--which shows the position reached by each local authority in England by 31 December 2000 in adopting or reviewing its area-wide local plan or unitary development plan, will be placed on the Department's website shortly. I will also arrange for copies of the report to be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

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Stray Horses

Mr. Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) what powers local authorities have to impound stray horses on the highway; and if he will make a statement; [146099]

Mr. Hill [holding answer 18 January 2001]: Section 155 of the Highways Act 1980 provides that if any horses, cattle, sheep, goats or swine are at any time found straying or lying on or at the side of a highway their keeper is guilty of an offence, for which the penalty is a fine of up to £1,000.

A person found guilty is also liable to pay the expenses of any person, including a local authority, who removes an animal to a pound or returns it to the keeper and for the cost of looking after the animal until it is claimed. Enforcement is a matter for the police.

This section does not apply in relation to a part of a highway passing over any common, waste, or unenclosed land.

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Repossessions (Chatham and Aylesford)

Mr. Shaw: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many homes were repossessed between 1990 and 1997 within the area covered by the Chatham and Aylesford constituency. [146161]

Mr. Mullin: This information is not collected by my Department. Data are compiled by the Council of Mortgage Lenders, but only for the United Kingdom as a whole and not for individual regions of constituencies.

Local Authorities (Political Structures)

Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) if he will list those local authorities which have not decided their future political structures under the Local Government Act 2000; [146163]

Ms Armstrong: This information is not held centrally.

New Homes (Islington)

Mr. Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what estimate he has made of the number of new homes (a) completed in Islington in the years 1995 to 2000 and (b) predicted for 2001-02; indicating the proportion built for the local authority and registered social landlords. [146127]

Mr. Mullin: The numbers reported by the local authority are as follows.

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Private enterprise Registered social landlords Local authority
Period NumberPercentage of totalNumberPercentage of totalNumberPercentage of totalTotal

(13) To November

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The Department does not produce forecasts of the number of dwellings.

English Cities Fund

Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what the basis is of the allocation of resources of the English Cities Fund between English regions and English cities; and if he expects to have allocations ready for the financial year 2001-02. [146393]

Ms Armstrong: The idea of an English Cities Fund is being developed by English Partnerships and its private sector partners. The Fund would attract long-term private finance to invest in urban regeneration schemes. It follows-up the recommendation of Lord Rogers' Urban Task Force that national public/private investment funds for regeneration should be established. Details of the Fund are currently being considered within Government and

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with the European Commission. The Fund will operate at a national level in England investing in schemes on a commercial basis in priority areas identified by the Regional Development Agencies. Resources from the public and private sectors would be combined and invested in eligible schemes identified by the Fund. This will determine the regional allocation of expenditure. We hope to see the Fund launched in 2001-02.

Albatrosses and Petrels

Valerie Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what proposals he plans to make at the forthcoming international meeting to consider the conservation of albatrosses and petrels. [146977]

Mr. Mullin: There are currently severe threats to albatrosses and petrels in the southern hemisphere, and the need to counter them was highlighted in August by

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the launch of BirdLife International's "Save the Albatross Campaign". The UK is one of the three principal range states for these species, and takes its responsibilities very seriously. We played a very prominent role in the international meeting held in Hobart last July, which resulted in an advanced draft of a new Agreement on conservation action under the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals.

South Africa will, with financial assistance from my Department, host a further meeting on the proposed Agreement at the end of January, and I hope that this will be able to resolve most outstanding points. The most important of these will be in relation to by-catch regulation, where we shall seek results that build effectively on FAO and CCAMLR initiatives, but are not so onerous as to discourage wide support of the Agreement. We shall also seek to promote the precautionary principle, and to secure effective dispute settlement procedures, a right of accession to the Agreement by the European Union, and fair and satisfactory arrangements for funding the Agreement's work.

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