|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Ms Beverley Hughes: There are no plans to introduce restrictions on the sale of garden plots for development. The planning system is the appropriate means for regulating the development and use of land in the public interest.
Mr. Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make the (a) quality of life and (b) availability of a varied range of properties a condition of granting planning approval for residential development. 
Ms Beverley Hughes: Planning Policy Guidance note 3 "Housing" (March 2000) requires local planning authorities to (a) promote good design in new housing developments in order to create high-quality living environments; and, (b) provide wider housing opportunity and choice and a better mix in the size and type of housing than is currently available.
Mr. Michael J. Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what recognition is given through the Standard Spending Assessment formula to the impact upon fire authorities of coping with major inland waterways in relation to (a) rescue activities and (b) flooding incidents. 
Ms Beverley Hughes: No specific indicators are included within Standard Spending Assessments (SSA) for fire authorities in England with respect to calls to flooding and rescue activities related to inland waterways. However, to the extent that expenditure arising from such calls is included in the 1990-91 expenditure of fire authorities, upon which SSAs are calibrated, indirect allowance is made.
Mr. Greenway: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many (a) playing fields and (b) green spaces available for public use have been lost to development in each of the past three years. 
Ms Beverley Hughes [holding answer 6 February 2001]: The English Sports Council, now Sport England, was made a statutory consultee on 5 August 1996 for planning applications involving the development of playing fields. The information requested is not available
7 Feb 2001 : Column: 534W
as Sport England did not distinguish between public and private use of playing fields, which are the subject of planning applications, during the period specified.
The Government have introduced a number of new initiatives to meet their commitment to avoid the loss of playing fields. The Town and Country Planning (Playing Fields) (England) Direction 1998 requires referral to the Secretary of State of planning applications for development of local authority-owned playing fields and others in educational use, where Sport England has objected but the local planning authority is minded to grant permission.
The Government set up the Playing Fields Monitoring Group last year to oversee the effectiveness of these initiatives and to collate more reliable data on proposals to dispose of and develop playing fields.
A draft revised version of PPG17: "Sport and Recreation", to be issued shortly for consultation, will update national planning policy on the provision and protection of playing fields and other green space.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what provision he has made in future Standard Spending Assessments for the increase in new teachers' pay; and if he will make a statement. 
Ms Beverley Hughes: We took account of all pressures on local education authorities when setting the level of provision in the spending review, including teachers' pay. Parliament has recently approved the Local Government Finance Settlement 2001-02 which provides an increase in Education Standard Spending Assessment (SSA) of over £1 billion (4.8 per cent.). The spending review provides further increases in Education SSA of £1.35 billion in 2002-03 and £1.4 billion in 2003-04.
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what provision exists for Legacy plc to receive compensation from public funds for costs incurred in bidding for the Dome site in the event of negotiations failing; and if he will make a statement. 
Ms Armstrong: The Government continue to negotiate with Legacy plc as the preferred bidder. The rules of the competition make no provision for meeting the cost of unsuccessful bidders, and that applies to the Legacy negotiations as long as the Government comply with the relevant requirements of the preferred bidder offer in its dealings with Legacy. The details of the preferred bidder documentation are commercially confidential.
7 Feb 2001 : Column: 535W
Mr. Robert Ainsworth: Cohousing is an innovative form of housing that attempts to create a sense of community for its residents. It is characterised by private dwellings with their own facilities but also extensive common facilities. I am aware that a number of cohousing projects have been introduced in the UK, including one in Stroud. The Government note this development with interest and wish these projects every success. Since cohousing is confined to the private housing sector, however, any possible future growth in cohousing in the UK will primarily be a matter for private householders and private developers.
Mr. Fabricant: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many (a) deaths and (b) serious injuries have arisen from road traffic accidents (i) between 17 October 2000 and to the latest date for which data is available and (ii) the corresponding period 12 months earlier. 
Mr. Hill: National statistics for road accident deaths and serious injuries are not yet available for any period from 17 October 2000 and therefore no comparison can be made with any corresponding period in the previous year.
Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what the overall change in journey times is in person minutes per week as a result of the installation of the M4 bus lane according to the TRL survey. 
Mr. Hill: The M4 bus lane was designed to reduce traffic congestion on the M4, especially during rush hour, and to make journeys more reliable. The latest information on the experiment shows it is achieving both objectives.
TRL have found that, following the introduction of the M4 bus lane, journey times have reduced by 252,000 person minutes per week during weekday peak periods. This reflects the increased reliability of journey times.
These benefits for users are offset by an increase in journey times of a similar amount during weekday off-peak periods, and increased journey times during Saturdays and Sundays averaging 75,000 person minutes a week. These changes in journey times are mainly due to the speed limits introduced at the same time as the bus lane, which have already led to road safety benefits. For instance, there has been a reduction in personal injury accidents on the eastbound M4 between Heathrow and the elevated section since the introduction of a 50mph speed limit.
7 Feb 2001 : Column: 536W
has been made in implementing the new ethical framework for local government established under the Local Government Act 2000. 
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions, pursuant to his answer of 26 January 2001, Official Report, column 732W, on the Powershift Programme, what meetings his Department's ministers have had over the past 12 months with vehicle manufacturers to encourage them to manufacture production line gas vehicles; what other measures his Department has taken in pursuit of this objective; and what the response has been from vehicle manufacturers. 
Mr. Hill: Over the past 12 months my Department's Ministers and officials have met a range of gas vehicle manufacturers and converters and the relevant trade associations--the LP Gas Association and the Natural Gas Vehicle Association--to discuss the development of the gas vehicle market, including the introduction of production line vehicles. This issue was also discussed within the Cleaner Vehicles Task Force which my colleague, Lord Macdonald, the Minister for Transport, co-chaired.
The Energy Saving Trust, which administers the DETR funded Powershift programme, maintain an on-going dialogue with vehicle manufacturers, encouraging them to introduce production line gas vehicles. I am encouraged to know that several vehicle manufacturers are considering this.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|