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Dr. David Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will set out, with statistical information relating as directly as possible to the South Shields constituency, the effects on South Shields of his Department's polices and actions since 2 May 1997. 
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Ms Beverley Hughes: The principal kinds of funding that this Department has provided to South Tyneside Metropolitan Borough Council in 1997 to 2002 are shown in the table. These include grants and borrowing approvals for revenue and capital expenditure.
It is not possible to determine how much of this money has been spent on South Shields. It is for the local authority to decide where within its boundary these resources are applied.
|Nature of funding||1997-98||1998-99||1999-2000||2000-01||2001-02 (13)|
|Revenue Support Grant||67.806||71.803||77.809||76.875||81.201|
|Income from National Non-Domestic Rates||34.132||35.529||38.344||43.029||41.716|
|Housing Investment Programme||3.203||3.652||3.693||10.809||(14)3.284|
|Housing Revenue Account Subsidy||17.224||15.952||15.527||15.741||(15)--|
|Capital Receipts Initiative||0.896||3.128||3.065||n/a||(15)--|
|Loan Charges Defective Housing||0.062||0.062||0.062||0.062||0.062|
|Neighbourhood Renewal Funding||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a||2.692|
|Transport Supplementary Grant||0.409||0.254||0.536||0||0|
|Transport Annual Capital Guideline||0.409||0.254||0||0||0|
|Transport Block Supplementary Credit Approval||0.880||0.880||1.400||1.876||3.171|
|Rural Bus Challenge Grant||0||(17)1.255||(17)0.361||(17)0.560||(15)--|
|Rural Bus Subsidy Grant||0||(17)0.054||(17)0.059||(17)0.082||(15)--|
|(Supplementary Credit and Basic Credit Approvals)||(18)0.399||(18)1.118||(18)0.0001||0||0|
(13) £ million (where known)
(14) This figure does not include the Major Repairs Allowance allocated to the authority which amounts to £11.071 million
(15) Not known
(16) 1997-98 SRB figure includes Round 3 funding for "South Shields Challenge"
1998-99 SRB figure includes Round 4 funding for "People, Employment and Pride"
1999-2000 SRB figure includes Round 5 funding for "Extending the South Shields Challenge"
2000-01 SRB figure includes Round 6 funding for "Jobs and Community"
(17) Figures quoted are the full amounts given to the Tyne and Wear Passenger Transport Executive of whom the authority is a partner
(18) Tyne and Wear Fire Brigade also received Capital Challenge funding. This was spent on the training centre at Barmston Mere, Washington, although the whole of Tyne and Wear benefited from the investment
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13 Mar 2001 : Column: 535W
Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when he expects to announce a decision on the franchise for the east coast main line; when the pause in the franchise process announced on 14 February by the Strategic Rail Authority will be ended; and if the guidance given to the SRA includes a new alignment for the east coast main line. 
Mr. Hill: The Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) announced on 2 March that they were lifting the pause they imposed on the replacement process for the East Coast Main Line (ECML) franchise. A decision will be announced in due course. No guidance has been given to the SRA on a new alignment for the ECML.
Mr. Dobson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) what the estimated costs of track renewal on the east coast main line are under the franchise bids by (a) GNER and (b) Virgin; [153625R]
Mr. Hill: Details of the bids put forward by GNER and Virgin for the replacement of the East Coast Main Line franchise are commercially confidential.
Mr. Andy King: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) how many parliamentary constituencies in England and Wales have constituents who have unadopted main sewers; [R] 
Mr. Robert Ainsworth: There is currently no reliable information on the extent of private (unadopted) sewers. My Department, as part of a review of private sewers and drains, is preparing a research contract to assess the likely numbers and condition of these sewers.
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Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will list the reasons for which an environment statement is required for the Slapton to Streetgate road. 
Ms Beverley Hughes: An environmental statement is required for any development listed in Schedule 1 or in the case of developments listed in Schedule 2 where it is likely to have significant effects on the environment by virtue of facts such as size, nature and location, of the Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) (England and Wales) Regulations 1999. In this case it is for Devon county council to determine whether the work they propose to undertake requires an Environmental Statement. The Secretary of State can be called upon to give a Direction on the need for and/or scope of any EIA and it would be inappropriate for me to comment further on this case.
Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) if he will make a statement about the criteria used in deciding whether to apply environment impact regulations; and how many times they have been invoked in the last year in the consideration of planning applications; 
Ms Beverley Hughes: The Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) (England and Wales) Regulations 1999 give effect to the requirements of Directive 85/337/EEC on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment. The Regulations apply to categories of projects specified in Schedules 1 and 2 of the Regulations. For development listed in Schedule 1 of the Regulations environmental impact assessment is always required before planning permission may be granted. For development listed in Schedule 2, an assessment is required if the development is likely to have significant effects on the environment by virtue of factors such as its nature, size or location.
Local planning authorities are required to screen all planning applications for projects that fall within a class
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of development listed in Schedule 2 of the Regulations to identify development requiring EIA. In doing so they have to take account of prescribed selection criteria relating to the characteristics, location and potential impact of the development.
An environmental statement is required in support of every planning application which is subject to EIA. It is estimated that approximately 300 applications have been subject to EIA in the last year.
Mr. Walter: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how his plans for a revised grant distribution system will meet the needs of authorities which have urban and rural characteristics. 
Ms Beverley Hughes: Last September's local government finance Green Paper consulted on options for making the current grant distribution system for local authorities fairer. A White Paper will be published later this year setting out our decisions on the way forward.
Any reforms to the revised grant distribution system will first be discussed with local government. Like the present grant distribution system, it would be expected to take account of a wide range of factors, including the needs of authorities with different characteristics.
Mr. Walter: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will take steps to reduce the financial pressure on local authorities resulting from the implementation of the Government's policy on concessionary bus fares. 
Mr. Hill: Our estimate of the overall extra annual cost to local authorities in England of the statutory minimum requirement for local authority concessionary fares introduced in the Transport Act 2000 is £54 million. The Local Government Finance Settlement 2001-02 takes account of this additional cost.
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