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Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will list capital projects in Shrewsbury and Atcham since 1997 aimed at improving the environment; and if he will make a statement. 
Ms Beverley Hughes: The table sets out figures for funding provided by DETR to Shrewsbury and Atcham council since 1997, both for all capital purposes, which could include environmental expenditure, as well as for specific capital projects for improving the environment. Returns to the Department also indicate that, between 1997-98 and 1999-2000, Shrewsbury and Atcham council raised around £3 million of usable capital receipts from the sale of assets, which they would have been able to use for any capital purpose, including environmental expenditure, depending on local needs and priorities.
|Basic Credit Approvals(7)|
|Supplementary Credit Approvals(8) for contaminated land|
|Spring Gardens, Shrewsbury||26|
|Renovation of Flaxmill and former malt kiln||2,800|
(7) Basic Credit Approvals are issued annually to all local authorities in England and may be used for any kind of capital expenditure.
(8) Supplementary Credit Approvals are normally issued for specific types of expenditure.
Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make it his policy to review the Bellwin rates to allow local authorities to claim for increased expenditure on flood emergency works. 
Ms Beverley Hughes: Following the floods that were experienced between October and December 2000 my Department is reviewing the operation of the Bellwin scheme in co-operation with the Local Government Association.
A "Bellwin" scheme of emergency financial assistance may be activated to help a local authority with uninsurable clear-up costs following a disaster or emergency that involves destruction of, or danger to, life or property. Grant is normally paid at a rate of 85 per cent. of an authority's qualifying expenditure above a threshold. The threshold is the provision that a prudent authority might reasonably be expected to make for contingencies and emergencies (approximately 0.2 per cent. of its revenue budget).
9 May 2001 : Column: 186W
For the flooding Bellwin scheme grant was paid at a rate of 100 per cent. above the threshold to take into account the exceptional nature of the emergency. Bellwin grant is paid only in respect of current expenditure; capital expenditure is not eligible for grant.
Mr. Opik: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) if his Department will incorporate the text of paragraph 9 to the annexe to Circular 2/92 in the final wording of the paper "Safeguarding Aerodromes, Technical Sites and Military Explosives Storage Areas"; and if he will make a statement; 
(3) what plans his Department has to change its policy on the unofficial safeguarding of gliding sites; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Robert Ainsworth: My Department is currently conducting a public consultation on a proposal to revise Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions Circular 2/92 on the safeguarding of aerodromes, technical sites and military explosives storage areas. The existing circular is concerned mainly with the role of local planning authorities in official safeguarding, but it also recommends a form of unofficial safeguarding to operators of other aerodromes and of gliding sites. No change of policy is proposed on the unofficial safeguarding of these other aerodromes or of gliding sites. But we envisage that instead of this brief reference in a departmental circular there will be a specific safeguarding publication to be issued by the Civil Aviation Authority. This will be addressed in particular to aerodromes licensed by the authority, but the advice will also be relevant to the operators of unlicensed aerodromes and of gliding sites. We will consider, in our further work on the revision of the circular, whether we should complement the Authority's advice with a recommendation to local planning authorities.
Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when he will make an announcement on the action he will take on the voluntary code of practice on commercial property leasing. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement on the distribution of the National Bus Company pensions settlement. 
9 May 2001 : Column: 187W
Mr. Hill: I am very pleased to say that I have been informed by the National Bus Company pension trustees that the representative beneficiaries have now reached an agreement which will enable the trustees to formulate their proposals for the final distribution of the settlement. This agreement removes a major impediment to further early progress.
Court approval will be necessary for the representative beneficiaries' agreement and for the trustees' proposals. I understand that beneficiaries will be given an opportunity to express their views prior to this approval being sought. The trustees and the representative beneficiaries will be issuing an information bulletin in this regard very shortly.
Mr. Burgon: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when he will make regulations under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 in relation to access land, rights of way and local access forums. 
Mr. Meacher: We have issued a consultation paper on proposals for regulations under section 11 of the Act to enable the Countryside Agency to prepare draft maps of open country and registered common land. The closing date for comments is 20 June and we expect to lay regulations before the summer recess. At that time we would expect to consult on a framework for regulations under section 94 of the Act relating to the establishment of local access forums with a view to laying regulations in the autumn. Before the end of the year we propose to consult on regulations relating to the issue of provisional maps of open country and appeals against them with a view to laying regulations early in 2002. We shall also be consulting on regulations relating to exclusions and restrictions under Chapter II of the Act and dedication of land for access under section 16. We would hope to lay such regulations in the first half of 2002. Consultations on the remaining regulations under Part I will follow.
Certain of the rights of way provisions in Part II of the Act are already in force, for example the power to order removal of an obstruction under section 64. However the provisions of Part II are complex and there is much work to be done in producing the required regulations. We shall wish to consult before making many of the regulations, which adds to difficulty in providing specific timings. We are committed to improving the rights of way network as soon as possible and are focusing on a number of key issues to achieve this. Guidance on rights of way improvement plans and further provisions to aid the speedy removal of obstructions will be dealt with as a priority and we would hope to have these in force before the end of this year. Other aspects of Part II will be dealt with as quickly as possible over the next two years.
9 May 2001 : Column: 188W
Sir Nicholas Lyell: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will list those Grade I listed buildings whose facade has had to be compromised by reason of the requirements of the Health and Safety Executive; what procedures are followed by way of consultation between the HSE and conservation bodies to resolve such issues; and if he will make a statement. [R] 
Mr. Alan Howarth: This information is not available. Any such issues would need to be considered on a case by case basis, taking account of the statutory requirement to obtain listed building consent for any works which would affect the character of the building concerned. English Heritage is a statutory consultee in this process.
Mr. Alan Howarth [holding answer 8 May 2001]: When deciding whether to list buildings, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has regard to the statutory criteria set out in section 1 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1979, and to the criteria contained in section 6 of the Government's Planning Policy Guidance Note 15: Planning and the Historic Environment.
Mr. Alan Howarth [holding answer 8 May 2001]: My right hon. Friend is currently considering requests to list two buildings in the Redbridge area--the Odeon Cinema, Gants Hill and Wanstead Police Station. He has asked English Heritage, his statutory adviser on the historic environment, to assess these buildings and will carefully consider its advice and any other available evidence before making his decisions. Since 1994, the Department has been asked to consider 19 buildings in the Redbridge area for inclusion on the statutory list, and of these nine have been listed.
Mr. Alan Howarth [holding answer 8 May 2001]: My right hon. Friend has received a request to consider this cinema for inclusion in the statutory list of buildings of special architectural or historic interest. He has asked English Heritage, his statutory adviser on these matters, to assess the building and will carefully consider its advice and any other available evidence before making his decision.
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