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Planning Guidance

Lawrie Quinn: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions when regional planning guidance for Yorkshire and the Humber will be published. [12006]

Ms Keeble: My right Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions is today publishing Regional Planning Guidance for Yorkshire and the Humber (RPG12).

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RPG12 provides the spatial development framework for the Yorkshire and Humber region. Its core objectives are to support sustainable economic growth and regeneration and to achieve urban and rural renaissance in the region. Development will be focused on the region's main towns and cities making best use of previously-developed land and helping to reduce the need to travel.

The new Yorkshire and Humber Assembly, launched on 22 October, will be at the heart of the implementation of the strategy, working with the region's local authorities, Yorkshire Forward and other stakeholders.

I am pleased that much of the format and content of RPG12, including the vision, objectives and core strategy, carries forward what was proposed in the original draft RPG prepared by the Regional Assembly. RPG12 reflects very effective working between the Assembly, local authorities and other stakeholders who have made valuable contributions to refine and enhance the original draft strategy. It builds on the new inclusive process for preparing RPG that the Government have put in place. Many of the comments received in response to the consultations carried out earlier this year were constructive suggestions and have been taken on board in finalising the guidance.

The Yorkshire and Humber Assembly will now take the strategy forward and work with partners to ensure its effective implementation, monitoring and review.

Building Regulations

Dr. Iddon: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions when he will publish guidance on amendments to Part L of the Building Regulations, which deals with energy efficiency, to Part H of the Building Regulations, which deals with drainage and solid waste, and to Part J of the Building Regulations, which deals with combustion appliances; and if he will make a statement. [12012]

Mr. Raynsford: The 2002 editions of the Approved Documents which give guidance on ways of meeting the new requirements of Part L1, Conservation of fuel and power in dwellings, Part L2, Conservation of fuel and power in buildings other than dwellings, Part H, Drainage and waste disposal, and Part J, Combustion appliances and fuel storage systems, as introduced by the Building (Amendment) Regulations 2001, SI 2001/3335, were published today by The Stationery Office.

The Building (Amendment) Regulations 2001, SI 2001/3335 and the Building (Approved Inspectors etc) (Amendment) Regulations 2001, SI 2001/3336 were laid before the House on 11 October 2001. The Building (Amendment) Regulations 2001 made changes to the technical requirements with regard to Part L, Conservation of fuel and power, Part H, Drainage and waste disposal, and Part J, Combustion appliances and fuel storage systems in the Building Regulations 2000, SI 2000/2531. Both sets of Regulations also made some consequential administrative changes to both the Building Regulations 2000, SI 2000/2531 and to the Building (Approved Inspectors etc) Regulations 2000, SI 2000/2532. Both sets of Regulations will come into force on 1 April 2002.

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Taken together, these new regulations and their supporting Approved Documents introduce a package of measures that will bring a number of environmental, safety and economic benefits.

The review of Part L has been a noteworthy example of the good relations the Government wish to forge with industry and others with interests in our energy policy and the development of proportionate regulations. The performance standards in the new Approved Documents L1 and L2 are significantly higher than those introduced in 1995 and will set most builders and building services engineers something of a challenge. However the close contact with industry has ensured that the new standards can be achieved by adopting reasonable standards of design and construction practice. They will yield substantial benefits for the occupiers of new dwellings and other buildings through lower heating bills (up to 25 per cent. in the case of dwellings), lower air conditioning bills and/or improved comfort and productivity, and for the nation in the avoidance of carbon emissions. It is estimated that these measures will contribute 1.4 MtC in 2010 of the overall 23 per cent. cut in the UK's greenhouse gas emissions that we set out in our Climate Change Programme published last November, and of course those savings will continue to accumulate thereafter.

On 5 March 2001 I announced the package of amendments that were to be made to Part L following consultation. As industry requested, the material has been split into two Approved Documents, L1 for dwellings and L2 for other buildings. The guidance in the new Approved Documents raises the performance standards for building insulation, introduces new ones for airtightness and solar shading, widens the standards for heating to include boiler performance, widens the lighting standards to include luminaires and display lights, and introduces new ones for air conditioning systems including their controls. To back these physical measures up there are new requirements for testing and commissioning that will help to make designers' intended performance capabilities a reality, and the provision of users' manuals and log books so that occupiers can obtain all of the potential benefits.

To back up the guidance in these Approved Documents we have also published today "Limiting thermal bridging and air leakage: Robust construction details for dwellings and similar buildings". This document was prepared in collaboration with industry and provides construction details which are a way of showing compliance with the new standards for thermal insulation and airtightness.

Part L now also addresses summer performance as well as insulation against winter cold and heating and hot water systems. There are new building fabric provisions aimed at limiting solar overheating, and new air conditioning and mechanical ventilation measures aiming to ensure that, when specified, they can perform efficiently.

These new provisions are not restricted to new buildings. Around half of the carbon benefits mentioned will come from the application of the new requirements for work in existing buildings. For dwellings, we have introduced provisions that apply whenever new windows and glazed doors, boilers and hot water vessels are to be replaced. For buildings other than dwellings the same provisions apply for windows and all the building systems addressed by Part L, such as heating, ventilation, air conditioning and lighting, are also included. These provisions are qualified

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however, in that reasonable provision depends on the circumstances in the particular case. Sympathetic treatment of historic buildings is necessary for instance to enable conservation and restoration and new guidance in both the Approved Documents will help to establish what reasonable provision is in these special cases.

The review of Part J has addressed the increasing risks of carbon monoxide poisoning, the ill-health effects of flue-gas entering living space, and the risks of injuries caused by fires, and also to address for the first time the oil pollution threat from domestic central heating oil storage systems.

The outcome of investigations into possible additional risks posed by lower specification concrete flue liners was announced in November 2000. These investigations found no certain evidence of additional risk but made a series of recommendations. The amendments to Part J and the publication of the 2002 edition of Approved Document J complete our response to these. They incorporate a new requirement (J4) to fix permanent notices indicating hearth, fireplace and chimney performance limits, and the Approved Document gives examples of what are satisfactory provisions using the new European Method for specifying performance of all types of flue liners.

A new requirement J5 makes provisions for reasonable steps to be taken to ensure that when external liquid fuel storage (oil and liquefied petroleum gas) systems are provided they are protected from fire in adjacent buildings or premises.

The new requirement J6 makes provision for oil storage tanks and connecting pipework serving buildings used wholly or mainly as private dwellings to be constructed and protected to reduce the level of risk of oil escaping and causing pollution. This new requirement also makes provisions for notices which give information on how to respond to an oil escape to be fixed in a prominent position.

The publication of a consultation on amendments to Part H of the Building Regulations was announced in July 2000. The outcome of that review is reflected in the amendments to Part H of the Building Regulations and in the 2002 edition of the Approved Document.

The new requirement H4 applies when building work takes place over sewers. This has enabled the repeal of Section 18 (building over sewer etc) of the Building Act 1984. Provision of foul drainage is now required by the Regulations, and this has enabled the repeal of Section 21(1) and (2) of the Act. These changes bring necessary requirements all together into the Regulations, and should simplify matters for practitioners.

The new requirement H2 includes the provision of a durable notice giving information on necessary continuing maintenance for septic tanks, wastewater treatment systems and cesspools. Lack of maintenance is one of the main causes of failure of septic tanks and other non-mains drainage systems, and this new requirement seeks to address this. There is also improved guidance on drainage fields from septic tanks.

Guidance in the Approved Document includes guidance on the use of infiltration drainage systems and a presumption that this method of drainage is the preferred

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option for rainwater disposal rather than storm sewers. This will ease the load on storm sewers and may reduce the risk of flooding due to run off from new development.

Guidance in the Approved Document recommends that drains serving more than 10 properties should have a minimum diameter of 150 mm. This should help to reduce the incidence of private sewers and drains.

Copies of "Limiting thermal bridging and air leakage: Robust construction details for dwellings and similar buildings" have also been placed in the Libraries of the House.

A Regulatory Impact Assessment has been prepared in relation to these Regulations and it too was published today. It has also been placed on the DTLR website at (

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