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Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what measures he has taken to increase the number of buses which have disabled access ramps: and if he will make a statement on disabled access on all forms of public transport. 
Ms Keeble: Accessibility regulations for new trains, buses and coaches have been introduced under Part V of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. Part III of the Act requires public transport infrastructure to be accessible to disabled people. From 2004 this will include the removal of physical barriers to access.
Since 31 December 2000, regulations have required all new single deck buses over 7.5 tonnes and double deck buses on scheduled services to be accessible, including fitting boarding devices (ramps and lifts).
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Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what guidelines govern the eligibility of local authorities for neighbourhood renewal funding. 
Ms Keeble: The list of authorities eligible for the Neighbourhood Renewal Fund has been determined by taking those authorities that are among the 50 most deprived on any of the six measures in the Indices of Deprivation 2000. On this basis 81 authorities would be eligible. In addition, there are transitional arrangements for those authorities that were within the 50 most deprived areas on any of the four measures under the old Index of Local Deprivation, but are not in the list of 81 authorities that qualify using the Indices of Deprivation 2000. Therefore, a further seven local authority areas are eligible for the Fund.
The funding each authority receives is intended to be related to the severity of the deprivation within its area. The sum they receive is based on a standard amount per head of population that live in wards in the most deprived 10 per cent. on the Indices of Deprivation 2000. This is underpinned by a minimum allocation of £200,000 in 200102 for authorities with no wards in the most deprived 10 per cent.
Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions when he intends to review guidance to local planning authorities on securing affordable housing through the planning system. 
Ms Keeble: Our Green Paper on planning which we hope to publish shortly will be supported by a number of consultation documents. These will include our proposals on planning obligations and how we might increase the provision of affordable housing through the planning system.
Mr. Lammy: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will make a statement on his assessment of the performance of New Deal for Communities programmes. 
Ms Keeble: There are 39 New Deal for Communities (NDC) partnerships. The performance of each partnership is currently assessed through an annual review in February each year. The 17 Round 1 Pathfinder partnerships were assessed in February 2001. The Round 2 partnerships were not assessed, as their delivery phase did not begin until April 2001.
The NDC Programme has begun to have some positive impacts. For example, in the Sandwell NDC area in the West Midlands there has been an overall reduction in robberies of 48 per cent. since April 2001. East Manchester NDC has recorded a 30 per cent. reduction in crime following implementation of a crime reduction strategy. In the Haringey NDC area between April and August 2001 soliciting and loitering were down 57 per cent. on the same period last year.
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Ms Shipley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (1) what the average turn-around time is for processing by a local authority of a correctly submitted planning application; 
Ms Keeble: The Social Exclusion Unit published a report on rough sleeping in July 1998 in which the Prime Minister set the tough target of reducing the number of people sleeping rough in England to as near to zero as possible and by at least two thirds by 2002.
The Rough Sleepers Unit (RSU) was subsequently set up to deliver the Prime Minister's target and published it's strategy "Coming in from the Cold", in December 1999, which outlined a raft of new policies and services:
In 1998, there were approximately 1,850 people rough sleeping in England. In June 2001, published figures indicated that approximately 703 people were sleeping rough, (357 in London, and 346 outside of London). This represents a 62 per cent. reduction.
The Rough Sleepers Unit is currently carrying out research and consulting with organisations and individuals that impact on the strategy, with a view to developing a future strategy that will keep the number of rough sleepers as near to zero as possible.
Mr. Miller: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what plans he has to restrict public access to information on major chemical sites held on public registers on security grounds. 
Mr. Byers: I have today made a direction that all safety reports provided under the Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations 1999 should be excluded from the public registers maintained by the Competent Authority, that is the Health and Safety Executive and the Environment Agencies.
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This is a sensible precautionary step taken on security grounds in the light of the current situation following the tragic events of 11 September. It is a temporary measure which will give time for sensitive information to be removed from existing safety reports, and the amended reports restored to the public register.
Hazardous facilities, with the potential for causing major off-site accidents are registered with the HSE, the Environment Agency and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, under the COMAH Regulations. These include major chemical works, petrochemical and gas installations and high quantity users of flammable/ explosive/toxic substances (e.g. chlorine at water treatment works).
The 430 most hazardous ("top-tier") sites have to prepare a detailed safety report describing the hazards presented and safety precautions taken. The regulations require safety reports for top-tier sites to be placed on public registers. The registers are maintained by Environment Agency and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency
At present only a small number of the safety cases are on the public register. The remainder would have been put on over the next few months. The Direction will enable security sensitive information to be identified and a second, more targeted Direction to be considered. This would allow the amended reports to be placed in the public arena.
It is important to note that the action on removing safety reports would not affect the arrangements in place to give the public vital safety instructions on such sites. People who are liable to be affected by an accident at a COMAH site are given specified information about the establishment, the major accident hazards and the safety measures that are in place. It is the site operator who has to provide this information independent of the safety report. This will ensure that the emergency services and the public know how to react in the event of an accident.
Mr. Alan Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions whether there are plans to change the departmental expenditure limit and administration costs limits for 200102. 
Mr. Byers: Subject to Parliamentary approval of the necessary Supplementary Estimate, the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions' Departmental Expenditure Limits for 200102 will change as follows.
(a) The DTLR Main Programmes DEL will be decreased by £263,092,000 from £12,384,874,000 to £12,121,782,000 and the DTLR administration costs limit will be decreased by £61,190,000 from £776,525,000 to £715,335,000 and the DTLR HSE administration costs limit has increased by £2,500,000 from £193,732,000 to £196,232,000. Within the DEL change, the impact on resources and capital are as set out in the table:
The change in the resource element of the DEL arises from:
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Take up of End Year Flexibility of £39,609,000 comprising £3,000,000 for Pneumoconiosis grants, £2,359,000 for Housing Action Trusts, £2,842,000 for building regulations, £4,582,000 for the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, £6,782,000 for the Coalfield Enterprise Fund, £2,300,000 for the Ordnance Survey, £5,500,000 for planning, £1,583,000 for the Single Regeneration Budget, £300,000 for Fire Services, £5,000,000 for social exclusion, £707,000 for Rent Assessment Panels administration costs, £1,786,000 for The Rent Service administration costs and £2,868,000 for the Planning Inspectorate Executive Agency administration costs. An increase of £344,000 from Request for Resources 4 in respect of civil service reform funding for The Rent Service Executive Agency (£97,000) and The Planning Inspectorate Executive Agency (£247,000). An increase of £438,917,000 from non-voted provision for Regional Chambers (£5,000,000), the Regional Development Agencies (£336,124,000), the London Development Agency (£23,337,000) and a technical adjustment (£74,456,000) to remove contributions from other departments to Regional Development Agencies. A net decrease of £253,606,000 arising from the following inter-departmental transfers: Machinery of Government changes of £245,646,000 (£231,556,000 to Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (to whom end year flexibility entitlement of £21,365,000 is also being transferred), £22,158,000 to Department of Trade and Industry; £174,000 to British Trade International; and £8,242,000 from the Home Office); £250,000 from the Home Office for Rough Sleepers, £190,000 from Department for Work and Pensions for Rough Sleepers, £3,800,000 to Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to contribute to costs associated with foot and mouth disease, £3,000,000 from the Home Office for neighbourhood wardens, £5,000,000 to the Department of Health for social exclusion, £5,000,000 to the Home Office for community facilities, £100,000 to Lord Chancellor's Department for Local Authority efficiency and £2,500,000 from the Policy Innovation Fund for (New Ventures) street wardens. There is also a reduction of £450,000 to reflect additional receipts for the Planning Inspectorate Executive Agency.
Take up of End Year Flexibility of £76,268,000 comprising £1,293,000 to meet the costs of shipping inquiries and shipping programmes; £2,959,000 for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency for administration costs (£1,761,000) and project slippage (£1,198,000); £6,088,000 for Civil Aviation programmes and the Air Transport White paper; £197,000 for international subscriptions; £6,767,000 for the Highways Agency to repay a loan to Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions (£6,630,000) and administration costs (£137,000); £10,584,000 for multi-modal studies, consultancy projects, advertising, minicab licensing, transport research, Traveline, the Ultra project, road haulage modernisation projects and to settle the Park Lane UK Single Vehicle Approval claim; £11,000,000 for London Underground PPP advisers and
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rail consultants; £800,000 for the Commission for Integrated Transport; £1,993,000 for Channel Tunnel Rail Link costs; £5,000,000 for the extension of bus fuel duty rebates to coaches; £7,469,000 for the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency including £6,140,000 for administration costs; £2,900,000 for vehicle and traffic enforcement; £11,170,000 for the Powershift and cleaner vehicles programme; and £8,048,000 for the Strategic Rail Authority to reflect the Rail Regulator's Review of Access Charges. A net decrease of £1,556,000 arising from the following inter-departmental transfers: £1,100,000 from Department for Education and Skills for maritime training; £150,000 from Department of Health for Mobility Centres; £452,000 from Home Office to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency; £3,200,000 to Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs towards foot and mouth costs and the Energy Efficiency Best Practice Programme; and £58,000 to Department of Trade and Industry for Framework 5 Helpline. A net transfer of £416,000 from Request for Resources 4 for Civil Service Reform (£1,305,000) and net internal adjustments (£889,000). A transfer of £7,150,000 to the capital element of the DTLR DEL.
Take up of End Year Flexibility of £20,323,000 for Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions administration costs (£19,936,000) and other expenditure (£387,000). A net decrease of £106,908,000 arising from the following inter-departmental transfers: machinery of government changes of £111,004,000 (£11,064,000 from Home Office, £72,690,000 to Cabinet Office, £6,684,000 to Department of Trade and Industry and £42,694,000 to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs); £290,000 for Local Government PSA costs to Department for Education and Skills (£100,000), Department of Health (£100,000), Home Office (£25,000), Department for Work and Pensions (£25,000), Department for Culture, Media and Sport (£20,000) and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (£20,000); and £4,389,000 from the Cabinet Office Civil Service Modernisation Fund. An increase of £8,500,000 to meet administration costs from non-voted provision. A transfer of £1,436,000 to Requests for Resource 1 and 2 for Civil Service Reform funding, and a net transfer of £889,000 from Request for Resources 2 for a technical adjustment. A reclassification of £2,500,000 from the capital element of the DEL for the provision of IT services to the Health and Safety Commission.
(iv) Provision within the non-Voted resource element of the DTLR Main Programmes Departmental Expenditure Limit will be decreased by £596,765,000. This reflects take up of End Year Flexibility of £86,957,000 comprising £82,429,000 for Large Scale Voluntary Transfers, £4,246,000 for the Housing Corporation and £282,000 for the Commission for New Towns. A decrease of £236,305,000 arising from machinery of government transfer to Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. £438,917,000 will be transferred to voted provision on Request for Resources 1 and £8,500,000 will be transferred to voted provision on Request for Resources 4.
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Take up of End Year Flexibility of £5,115,000 comprising £2,477,000 for The Rent Service Executive Agency, £2,306,000 for coalfields, and £332,000 for the Single Regeneration Budget. A net decrease of £183,000 arising from the following Machinery Of Government changes: £363,000 to Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (to whom end year flexibility entitlement of £71,719,000 will also be transferred) and £180,000 from the Home Office. A transfer of £602,764,000 from non-voted resources as a technical adjustment to remove contributions from other departments to Regional Development Agencies.
Take up of End Year Flexibility of £237,066,000 comprising £1,758,000 for the International Maritime Organisation building; £1,816,000 for Maritime and Coastguard Agency project slippage; £12,864,000 for the Highways Agency to repay a loan to Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (£5,370,000) and to meet the additional costs of the Strategy for Financial Management project (£7,494,000); £1,336,000 for the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency; £5,600,000 for Transport for London; £8,000,000 for the Rural Bus Capital Challenge scheme; £1,940,000 for the Midland Metro scheme; £8,800,000 for water freight grants; £194,952,000 for the Strategic Rail Authority for Railtrack Feasibility Studies (£28,000,000) and to reflect the Rail Regulator's Review of Access Charges (£166,952,000). A net increase of £662,000 arising from transfer from the Home Office to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency to support vehicle crime reduction initiatives and implement an electronic interface with magistrates courts. Take up from the Capital Modernisation Fund of £2,700,000 for the Active Traffic Management project (£2,000,000); and the Strategic Rail Authority (£700,000). A transfer of £4,231,000 to non-voted credit approvals for de-trunking roads. A transfer of £7,150,000 from the resource element of the DTLR DEL for Cross Rail.
A decrease of £2,485,000 arising from machinery of government changes (£1,461,000 to the Cabinet Office, £19,000 to Department of Trade and Industry, and £1,005,000 to Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. A reclassification of £2,500,000 to the resource element of the DEL for the Health and Safety Commission.
(ix) Provision within the non-Voted capital element of the DTLR Main Programmes Departmental Expenditure Limit will be decreased by £726,410,000. This reflects take up of End Year Flexibility of £51,054,000 for the Urban Regeneration Agency (£30,157,000) and £20,897,000 to be transferred to the non-voted capital element of the DTLR Local Government DEL. A net decrease of £160,672,000 arising from the following Machinery of Government changes: £59,682,000 from the Home Office and £220,354,000 to Department for Environment, Food and
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Rural Affairs. Transfers of £602,764,000 to Request for Resources 1 and £4,231,000 to non-voted credit approvals for de-trunking roads from Request for Resource 2.
(b) the DTLR Local Government DEL will be increased by £65,021,000 from £36,975,168,000 to £37,040,189,000. Within the DEL change, the impact on resources and capital are as set out in the following table:
Take up of End Year Flexibility of £29,210,000 for: the Valuation Office Agency's modernisation programme (£100,000), research (£910,000), PFI Special grant (£3,500,000), and support for local authorities (Bellwin) (£20,200,000), Best Value Intervention (£4,500,000). An increase of £811,000 arising from machinery of government changes transfer from the Home Office. A reclassification of £2,300,000 from the capital element of the DEL for research. A transfer of £1,000,000 from non-voted provision.
(ii) Provision within the resources non-voted element of the DTLR Local Government DEL will be reduced by £1,000,000 to reflect a transfer of resources to Request for Resources 3 for the Valuation Office Agency.
(iv) Provision within the capital non-voted element of the DTLR Local Government DEL will be increased by £35,000,000 to reflect the take up of End Year Flexibility (£14,103,00) and a switch from DTLR Main DEL (£20,897,000) to provide support for local authorities in exercise of the Secretary of State's powers under the Local Government Act 1999.
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