some default text...
Previous Section Index Home Page


Local Authorities

Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will list (a) those local authorities that are debt free, (b) the 10 least indebted authorities and (c) the 10 most indebted authorities. [147168]

Ms Beverley Hughes: An authority is defined as debt free if:

29 Jan 2001 : Column: 6W

(i) it has no money outstanding by way of long-term borrowing, from the Public Works Loan Board, the Bank of England and institutions authorised by it, and building societies;

(ii) at the end of the previous financial year, it has a nil or negative credit ceiling.

It should be noted that authorities with high levels of debt are generally those which have undertaken capital investment and that longer-term borrowing to finance capital expenditure is regulated by Government through the issue of

29 Jan 2001 : Column: 7W

credit approvals. Total debt for all English local authorities will be available at http://www.local.detr.gov.uk/finance/ stats/ in February 2001.

On the latest information available the following English local authorities are debt free:





29 Jan 2001 : Column: 8W




This list is updated regularly and can be found at http://www.local.detr.gov.uk/finance/stats/debtfree.htm

(a) The 10 English local authorities, that have the least gross debt and are not debt free, at 31 March 2000, are:


(b) The 10 English local authorities, that have the most gross debt, at 31 March 2000, are:



Single Regeneration Budget

Mr. Coleman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) if he will make a statement on the Single Regeneration Budget 7; [147128]

29 Jan 2001 : Column: 9W

Ms Beverley Hughes: I refer my hon. Friend to my answer of 7 November 2000, Official Report, columns 129-30W, where detailed arrangements for new Single Regeneration Budget activities in the transitional year 2001-02 are currently being considered. An announcement will be made very shortly. We issued RDAs with guidance for corporate plans and indicative allocations for 2001-02 just before Christmas. RDAs are now preparing their proposals for submission by 23 February 2001 and I look forward to receiving these for consideration.

Driving Licences

Mr. Wigley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) what statutory powers the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority has to withdraw from a driver the provisions of a certificate of passing a test of competence to drive, issued under the Road Traffic Act 1972; [147200]

Mr. Hill: The Secretary of State, acting through the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, has power to revoke a test pass certificate only under the provisions of paragraphs 5 and 8 of schedule 1 to the Road Traffic (New Drivers) Act 1995. However, by virtue of section 89(1)(a) of the Road Traffic Act 1988 (which replaced the 1972 Act) a test pass certificate may be produced as evidence of entitlement to the granting of a full driving licence only if the test was passed during a period of two years ending with the date of the licence application.

A driving test must be passed in two parts, the theory test being taken first. By virtue of regulation 47(6) of The Motor Vehicles (Driving Licences) Regulations 1999--made under the 1988 Act--a theory test pass certificate has a validity period of two years.

Motorway Service Areas

Mr. Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when he plans to make an announcement on the outstanding planning appeals in respect of motorway service areas on the M25 south-western quadrant, following the decision of Mr. Justice Richards. [147416]

Ms Beverley Hughes: My Department issued statements to the interested parties on 24 January inviting representations on the matter the Secretary of State wishes to consider further in redetermining the outstanding proposals on the M25 western quadrant and the M4.

Waste Disposal

Mr. Temple-Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when Worcestershire county council submitted a draft plan for dealing with its waste; and what assessment he has made of it. [147505]

29 Jan 2001 : Column: 10W

Mr. Raynsford: Worcestershire county council placed a draft Structure Plan on deposit in January 2000, part of which contains strategic policies on waste management. The Secretary of State made three objections on waste matters. He was concerned about matters of self- sufficiency at County and Regional levels and the need to take account of the draft national waste strategy and the recent guidance on waste planning in Planning Policy Guidance Note 10, particularly the application of the principal of Best Practicable Environmental Option (BPEO). He also wished for clarification on when it is necessary to demonstrate need in relation to landfill sites. The county council's proposed modifications to its plan are expected shortly. In addition, the county council has a duty under Section 38 (2) of the Planning and Compensation Act 1992 to prepare a Waste Local Plan, which will set out detailed policies for the management of waste.

Mr. Temple-Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what guidance he has issued to waste disposal authorities and planning authorities considering applications connected with waste disposal to ensure that waste is generally disposed of as near to its place of production as possible; and if he will make a statement. [147507]

Mr. Meacher: Waste Strategy 2000 and Planning Policy Guidance Note 10 set out the principles on which the Government wish to see waste management decisions based. One of these principles is that waste should generally be disposed of as near as possible to its place of production, because transporting waste itself has an environmental impact.

Countryside and Rights of Way Act

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what commencement orders he intends to make under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000. [147701]

Mr. Meacher: Section 103(2) of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 provides for a number of the Act's provisions to come into force on 30 January 2001. I have now made the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (Commencement No. 1) Order 2001 (SI 2001 No. 114(C.4)) which brings additional provisions into force in England on 30 January 2001 and certain other provisions on 1 April 2001. Further commencement orders will be made in due course.

I will shortly be issuing a circular to local authorities explaining the implications for local authorities of the provisions that have now commenced. I will place copies of both the order and the circular in the Libraries of the House.

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what plans he has to introduce regulations under section 68 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000; and if he will make a statement. [147809]

Mr. Robert Ainsworth: Officials are currently drafting the regulations. Although we have a good overview of the provisions to be included, considerable work is needed on the detail. Provided no unforeseen

29 Jan 2001 : Column: 11W

problems arise, we expect to publish draft regulations for public consultation in March, and lay these before Parliament for approval in May.


Next Section Index Home Page