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Housing Investment

Dr. Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what has been the investment in (a) council housing and (b) housing

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owned by registered social landlords in each year since 1990; and what investment is planned in future years. [146835]

Mr. Robert Ainsworth: The capital resources made available by central Government to support housing investment by local authorities and registered social landlords in the years since 1990-91 are as follows:

£ million

Housing capital allocations to local authorities(6) Housing capital allocations to registered social landlords(7)

(6) Covers credit approvals, capital grants, PFI schemes for council housing and the resources to be made available under the arms length management initiative but exclude Estate Action allocations (which are now part of Regeneration Budgets). Local authorities housing capital programmes provide resources to improve poor condition private sector housing or develop new affordable housing as well as renovating or improving the council housing stock.

(7) Public funded investment in RSL housing through the Housing Corporation's Approved Development Programme (ADP) and, from 2001-02, the Safer Communities Supported Housing Fund.

Overseas Visits

Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will list the overseas visits he has undertaken on official business over the last year, with the cost of travel and accommodation in each case for him and his party. [146370]

Ms Beverley Hughes [holding answer 22 January 2001]: This Government have given a commitment to publish an annual list of visits overseas by Cabinet Ministers costing more than £500 as well as an annual figure on spend by all Ministers on overseas visits. The list for 1999-2000 was published on 28 July 2000, Official Report, column 969W. The list for 2000-01 which will include my Department's details will be published in due course.

Environmental Appraisal

Mrs. Brinton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many of the (a) Bills and (b) draft Bills in the Queen's Speech have had an environmental appraisal undertaken of them. [147317]

Mr. Meacher: The Government's policy is that significant environmental costs and benefits should be identified alongside economic and social considerations, during policy development or review. All Departments have procedures for screening their policies for

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environmental impacts and the systems in place are detailed in Chapter 4 of "Greening Government", the Second Annual Report of the Green Ministers Committee 2000, published in November last year.

On DETR measures mentioned in the Queen's Speech there has, as yet, been no environmental appraisal for the Homes Bill. It is proposed that seller's packs, introduced as a result of the Bill, will include information on the energy efficiency of homes and this should lead to improvements by buyers that benefit the environment. An environmental appraisal will be carried out when the contents of seller's packs have been determined, following consultation with interested parties.

Our initial assessment of the proposals for the draft Safety Bill suggests there is no need for an environmental appraisal. If, as the proposals develop, it becomes apparent that there is an effect on the environment, we will review the position.

DETR also has the lead interest in the leasehold elements of the Lord Chancellor's Commonhold and Leasehold Bill. These relate to the respective rights and obligations of residential long leaseholders and their freeholders, which carry no environmental implications.

M4 Eastbound Bus Lane

Mr. Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will publish figures indicating the average usage, on an hour-by-hour basis, of the M4 eastbound bus lane between Heathrow and the elevated section, for the most recent period for which figures are available. [147388]

Mr. Hill: As the hon. Member may be aware, the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) has been monitoring the usage of the M4 bus lane for the Highways Agency. The most recent period for which TRL has provided figures of average usage on an hour-by-hour basis is the week beginning 5 June 2000. Those figures are as follows:

Time of dayTaxiMinibusBus/coachTotal

On average, 3,700 vehicles per day used the bus lane during the first year of operation. It is worth noting that, while this represents an average of 7 per cent. of the traffic on the M4 in to London, the vehicles carried 21 per cent. of the people using the road. During peak periods, each bus has saved on average 3.5 minutes and each car has saved on average 1 minute. Journey times for all vehicles have become more reliable following the introduction of the bus lane.

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A copy of a report entitled, "Monitoring of the M4 Bus Lane: The First Year" prepared by TRL for the Highways Agency covering the first year of operation from June 1999 to May 2000 is available in the House of Commons Library. A synopsis of the report with the same title is also in the Library and it is available on the Highways Agency's website.

Housing Safety

Ms Drown: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when he plans to consult on the responsibilities of local authorities for enforcing the housing, health and safety rating system, as set out in the statement on the Housing Green Paper in December 2000. [148056]

Mr. Robert Ainsworth: We plan to publish in March a consultation paper setting out our proposals for the framework of legislation and guidance within which local authorities would use the housing, health and safety rating system as the basis for action against unacceptable housing conditions.

Ms Drown: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what steps he is taking to ensure that primary legislation to implement a national licensing scheme for houses in multiple occupation can be introduced at the earliest opportunity. [148053]

Mr. Robert Ainsworth: I refer my hon. Friend to the remarks of my hon. Friend the Minister for Housing and Planning on Second Reading of the Homes Bill on 8 January 2001, Official Report, column 708.

Ms Drown: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when he plans to strengthen the Housing (Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation) Regulations 1990, announced by the then Under-Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions, my hon. Friend the Member for Sunderland, South (Mr. Mullin), on 8 November 2000. [148055]

Mr. Robert Ainsworth: Proposals are being developed and will be discussed informally with local authorities and other interest groups during the next few months.

Aircraft Movements

Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what are the (a) shortest elapsed recorded, (b) longest and (c) average times recorded between captains of aircraft being given clearance at (i) London Heathrow and (ii) Gatwick airports, and the actual time of touchdown, in the last 12 months. [148137]

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Mr. Robert Ainsworth: The information requested is not available. The time differences between aircraft pilots being give clearance to land and the actual time of touch down are not recorded, or stored, at either Gatwick or Heathrow airports.

Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what estimate of sustainable hourly runway movements is being used in the new aviation policy. [148166]

Mr. Robert Ainsworth: In the studies we are undertaking in preparation for the new aviation policy, we are not using a single standard assessment of hourly runway movements. The hourly capacity depends on a range of factors, including the separations and staggers between runways, the provision of parallel taxiways and the extent of taxiing movements across runways. We are therefore assessing the capacity of each option individually.

Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what incidents of go-arounds and late clearances to land at Gatwick airport have been recorded (a) in the last 12 months and (b) in the previous 12 months. [148165]

Mr. Robert Ainsworth: The number of go-arounds recorded at Gatwick airport were (a) 501 in the year 2000, and (b) 383 in 1999. Clearances to land are not categorised as to their timing and, therefore, the information sought on "late clearances" is not available.

The go-around figures for 2000 are currently being analysed by National Air Traffic Services Ltd. and the airport authority (BAA plc) but there are no indications that weakness/failure in the safety system is to blame for the increase.

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