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Neighbourhood Renewal

Mr. Hendrick: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement on the neighbourhood renewal funds. [154522]

Ms Armstrong: I am pleased to announce that I have laid before the House the Special Grant Report that sets out the allocations and conditions for receipt of the Neighbourhood Renewal Fund.

The NRF will provide £900 million to certain local authorities over the next three years to enable them to improve services in their most deprived areas, including contributing to the achievement of Government PSA targets to narrow the gap between deprived areas and the rest of the country. It is both acceptable, and strongly desirable where service quality is at risk or requires improvement, that NRF funding should be devoted to mainstream services, such as schools, provided that the funding benefits the most deprived areas. The grant can be used to support services provided not only by the local authority, but also by organisations that are members of the local strategic partnership (where one exists) and by others.

Joint Nature Conservation Committee

Mr. Dobbin: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what progress has been made with the review of the Joint Nature Conservation Committee announced in July. [154636]

Mr. Meacher: We have published today the report of the first stage of the financial, management and policy of the JNCC, and have placed copies in the House Libraries. I am inviting interested parties, including the devolved

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administrations and the respective country conservation agencies to offer their considered views on the report within three months.

Foot and Mouth

Mr. Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what action is being taken by (a) the regional development agencies and (b) the Countryside Agency to help combat foot and mouth disease. [154210]

Mr. Meacher: The primary responsibility for measures to combat foot and mouth disease rests with the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. The regional development agencies and the Countryside Agency, together with other organisations, have been developing their ideas for actions they can take to help to respond to the wider consequences. They are represented on and are contributing their ideas to the task force on the economic effects of the disease which my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has asked me to chair.


Ministerial Code of Conduct

Mr. Loughton: To ask the Prime Minister if he will amend the Ministerial Code of Conduct to cover the letting of rented accommodation to civil servants. [153783]

The Prime Minister [holding answer 15 March 2001]: No. Paragraph 1 of the Ministerial Code makes it clear that Ministers must ensure that no conflict arises, or appears to arise, between their public duties and their private interests.

The right hon. Member for Hartlepool

Mr. Redwood: To ask the Prime Minister for what reason he accepted the resignation of the former Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. [153969]

The Prime Minister: I refer the right hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Stone (Mr. Cash) on 24 January 2001, Official Report, column 915.

Environmental Policy

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Prime Minister if he will place in the Library a copy of his environmental speech presented to the WWF conference at Chatham House on 6 March; and what steps he is taking to allow the public access to the contents of his speech. [154192]

The Prime Minister: I have today placed a copy in the Library of the House. It is also available on the No.10 website.

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Parliamentary Pay and Allowances

Mr. Win Griffiths: To ask the Prime Minister when he will publish the Review Body on Senior Salaries report on parliamentary pay and allowances. [154520]

The Prime Minister: The Government are publishing the Review Body on Senior Salaries report of parliamentary pay and allowances today. I am grateful to Sir Michael Perry and members of the SSRB for their work and the Government have noted their recommendations.

This will be a matter for decision by Parliament.

Foot and Mouth Taskforce

Mr. Nicholls: To ask the Prime Minister if he will set out the (a) terms of reference and (b) membership and (c) programme of the taskforce set up to consider the impact of foot and mouth disease on rural areas; when the taskforce is to report; if he will publish the findings of the taskforce; and if he will make a statement. [154212]

The Prime Minister: I have asked my right hon. Friend the Minister for the Environment to chair a taskforce with the following terms of reference:

The taskforce include representatives (including Ministers) of the following organisations:

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The first meeting of the taskforce took place on Wednesday 14 March and it will meet again early next week. I have asked for the specific guidance to the public and businesses on access to the countryside to be prepared by the weekend, and for a report on immediate initiatives to help those caught up in the crisis as soon as possible next week. The taskforce will meet regularly.



Mr. Gale: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what (a) munitions and (b) delivery systems associated with nuclear warfare have been demolished at (i) the Shoeburyness Sands and (ii) adjacent mud flats/sand banks. [149518]

Mr. Spellar [holding answer 8 February 2001]: Rocket motors from the Polaris missile were destroyed at Shoeburyness Sands during the 1990s. Conventional high explosives from nuclear weapon systems have been and continue to be disposed of in the demilitarisation facilities of the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency range at Shoeburyness. The level of radiation from the explosives disposed of in this fashion is minute and does not constitute a hazard to the environment or to public health.

Type 45s

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what criteria were used in deciding to accept BAE System's bid for the Type-45s. [150523]

Mr. Hoon: I assume that this question refers to the contract recently placed in keeping with the existing procurement strategy for the Demonstration and First of Class Manufacture (DFM) Phase of the Type 45.

In November 1999, BAE Systems was nominated as the Prime Contractor for the Type 45 Programme following the end of the tri-national Horizon Programme. BAE Systems was nominated because of the previous involvement of GEC Marconi in the Horizon International Joint Venture Company, so it could make maximum re-use of the outputs of the Horizon definition work, and they demonstrated an ability to resource the programme to achieve the timeliness in partnership with the IPT. A competition to select the Type 45 Prime Contractor risked delaying the ISD by at least six months and probably longer.

The criteria under which BAE Systems was contracted in December 2000 for the DFM Phase are to deliver the first three Type 45 Destroyers, on schedule and to time. The DFM contract has a successive incentive arrangement encompassing all Prime Contractor work, including the ship build elements, in accordance with the existing competitive Procurement Strategy.

Pipework Insulation

Mr. Levitt: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what standard of heat insulation is specified for pipework in PFI projects in his Department. [151658]

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Dr. Moonie: In the Private Finance Initiative projects we set the services and performance levels we require. These requirements are recorded as the key outputs in PFI contracts. We deliberately avoid specifying how contractors should meet our requirements, or the nature of the assets they should use in doing so. Like other companies, PFI contractors do of course need to meet statutory requirements.

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