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Plastics (Waste)

Mr. Simon Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what proportion of waste from plastics has been recycled in each of the last five years for which figures are available. [146470]

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Mr. Robert Ainsworth: The British Plastics Federation has provided the estimates for the UK. They include packaging and non-packaging waste and, in the total figure, an estimated 425,000 tonnes of recycled pre-consumer plastic waste each year.

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20001999199819971996
Amount of plastic waste produced (tonnes million)3.002.942.882.832.77
Post consumer recycling (tonnes thousand)238218145121115
Post consumer recycling (per cent.)7.97.45.04.34.2
Total plastic waste recycled (tonnes thousand)663643570546.5540.5
Combined recycling (per cent.)22.121.919.819.319.5

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Community Transport Schemes

Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when he plans to announce the future funding arrangements for (a) Vale Link Community Transport, (b) Yate and Sudbury dial-a-ride and (c) other community transport schemes in South Gloucestershire. [147203]

Mr. Hill [holding answer 25 January 2001]: Funding for three years' operation of the Vale Link Community Transport scheme and the Yate and Sodbury dial-a-ride scheme was given to South Gloucestershire Council as part of a successful award of £612,000 from the 1998 Rural Bus Challenge. We have not received a bid for further funding of the existing services. However, the Council has bid in the 2000 Rural Bus Challenge for funding to extend the operation of the current schemes to cover peak times. We will announce the results of that competition shortly.

I announced on 16 January our intention to give local authorities more flexibility in the use of the Rural Bus Subsidy Grant to assist the provision of ongoing support for services initially supported by the Rural Bus Challenge. Whether to use the grant in this way would be a matter for decision by South Gloucestershire Council.

Any bids for funding of these projects, and other community transport schemes, would continue to be considered in future Rural Bus Challenge competitions. Our Rural Transport Partnership, administered by the Countryside Agency, is another source of funding for rural schemes. Bids for urban schemes would be eligible for consideration under the new Urban Bus Challenge.

Cheam and Sutton Stations

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what progress the shadow Strategic Rail Authority has reported to him in respect of the refurbishment works at (a) Cheam station and (b) Sutton station. [147486]

Mr. Hill: The following works have been completed at Cheam station: platform repairs, refurbished canopy, resurfaces car park to eliminate flooding, new handrail in subway, CCTV installation and a customer information system.

The major refurbishment works at Sutton are progressing well although there has been some slippage in the original timetable. In a project of this size and when working on an old building it is not unusual for timetables

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to change as a result of some of the works proving to be more complicated or additional work proving necessary. Particular issues encountered at Sutton station include drainage, the state of lift shaft 4 and additional work proving necessary to the roof. The waiting room and platform surfaces and lift shaft 1 should now be completed in mid to late February; the ticket hall by the end of February; lifts 2 and 3 and the disabled car park by middle of March. These dates are not guaranteed and must be regarded as best estimates provided by the contractors.

Co-operative Housing

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) if he will make a statement on his Department's discussions with the Housing Corporation with regard to co-operative housing. [147539]

Mr. Robert Ainsworth: Resident empowerment is at the core of the Government's policies for social housing. We want to bring choice, self-reliance and responsibility to social tenants by giving them a direct stake in managing their own homes. Tenants should be encouraged to explore and to choose from a range of options including tenant management and, where the circumstances are right, developing a resident controlled organisation, including housing co-operatives.

Local authorities have a vital role to play in promoting resident control as part of their housing strategies. Stock transfers, in particular, provide an opportunity for tenant management and control. All housing transfer landlords have at least one-third tenant members on their governing bodies. Where tenants want it, a resident controlled registered social landlord can take on local authority stock. We want to encourage more tenants to think about the opportunities for taking on ownership and management of their homes in stock transfers. We would expect new landlords to honour existing arrangements for resident control and to support its development in the stock they take on.

Officials in my Department and from the Housing Corporation are in regular and close contact to ensure that we have a joined up approach that gives maximum benefit to residents.

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Telecommunication Masts

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions under what powers telecommunication companies and freeholders of a property can obtain planning permission for mobile phone masts under 15m high without consulting leaseholders and tenants; and if he will make a statement. [147537]

Mr. Raynsford: Licensed telecommunications code system operators are authorised under Part 24 of Schedule 2 to the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 (GPDO) (as amended) to install specified telecommunications apparatus without the need to make a planning application to the local authority.

Under the GPDO certain types of development, such as the installation of ground-based masts of up to 15m in height, are subject to a prior approval procedure, under which the local planning authority has the opportunity to say whether it wishes to approve details of the siting and appearance of the installation. Following amendments to the GPDO in 1999, local planning authorities have 42 days to carry out this process in respect of ground- based masts and the operator is required to erect a site notice to publicise the development proposed so that local people can let the local planning authority have their views on a mast proposal. The local planning authority can supplement this requirement by publishing proposals themselves.

For development such as the installation of masts on a building or structure the equivalent period is 28 days. While there is no statutory requirement for local planning authorities or operators to consult on the proposals, DETR Circular 4-99 advises local planning authorities to publicise proposals for permitted telecommunications development that are subject to this procedure so that people likely to be affected by the proposal can make their views known to the authority.

Under the prior approval procedure, if, after due consideration, the authority considers that the development will pose a serious threat to amenity, it is able to refuse approval.

Following the publication of a report into the health effects of mobile phone technologies by the Independent Expert Group of Mobile Phones (IEGMP), chaired by Sir William Stewart, the Government issued a consultation paper seeking views on changes to the planning arrangements to allow better opportunities for public consultation on applications for new telecommunications masts.

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when the new Policy Planning Guidance on Telecommunication Masts will be published. [147536]

Mr. Raynsford: A consultation exercise seeking views on possible changes to the planning laws relating to telecommunications masts ended on 31 October 2000. The consultation paper also contained draft revised planning policy guidance. The Department is currently analysing the responses. We shall announce any changes as soon as practicable.

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Road Accidents

Mr. Maclean: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will list the number of (a) deaths and (b) serious injuries on all roads in December for each of the last three years. [147548]

Mr. Hill: The following table includes the number of casualties on all roads in December for the three most recent available years.

Casualties in December in 1997, 1998 and 1999

Severity
Accident yearFatalSerious
19973103,700
19983283,374
19993583,388


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