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Mr. Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will make a statement of his policy on light pollution and its control by the planning system. 
Ms Keeble: Light pollution from development can be a material consideration in planning decisions. In recognition of this, the former Department of the
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Environment published in 1997 "Lighting in the countryside: towards good practice". This guide was based on comprehensive research including a desk study of existing policies, controls, procedures, standards and advice, consultations and structured interviews with planning and highway authorities and a wide range of other interested parties. It provides a valuable reference source and tool for preventing and alleviating the adverse effects of poorly designed and installed lighting schemes on the English countryside. The good practice it sets out can, where appropriate, be material to individual planning decisions by local authorities, inspectors and the Secretary of State.
Mr. Gordon Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions for what reasons and with what aims his Department decided to establish the Coalfields Regeneration Trust to support the regeneration of former coalfields areas. 
Ms Keeble [holding answer 19 December 2001]: The Coalfields Regeneration Trust is an independent, UK-wide, grant-making body launched in 1999 as part of the Government's response to the 1998 Coalfields Task Force report. The Task Force concluded that the problems of the coalfields were unique, due to a combination of factors that included concentrated joblessness, physical isolation, poor infrastructure and severe health problems. These factors, coupled with the speed of the collapse of the coal mining industry, meant that special measures were needed to bring about the physical, social, economic and environmental regeneration of these areas.
The Trust's remit is to support the range of community initiatives identified by the Task Force as being key to rebuilding healthy and prosperous communities. It also sponsors projects targeted on workers displaced from mining-related industries, who have been unemployed for a long time and who face particular disadvantages at getting back to work. In addition it has an important role to play in community capacity building, providing a forum for good regeneration practice to be exchanged across the coalfield communities.
Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how many local authorities provide a disability vehicle sticker for people with temporary disabilities; and what plans he has to encourage more authorities to provide such a service. 
Ms Keeble: The Blue Badge scheme of parking concessions for disabled people is available only for people whose disability is long-term and substantial. Badges can be issued only for a minimum period of three years. Any stickers which local authorities issue for people with temporary disabilities are therefore outside the statutory scheme and no statistical records of their issue are kept by this Department. Extending the Blue Badge scheme to people with temporary disabilities is one of a number of possibilities currently being considered as part of a review of the scheme which the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee (DPTAC) is co-ordinating on behalf of the Government.
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Mr. Stinchcombe: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how many motorists bought a VED licence in the year starting July 2000 with a single payment. 
Mr. Jamieson: The total number of annual licences taken out in the UK in July 2000 was some 1.8 million. Of this total, some 1.5 million were vehicles licensed in the Private Light Goods tax class (mainly private cars and light vans).
Mr. Stinchcombe: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what representations his Department has made to the Chancellor on rebates for vehicle excise duty under the Finance Act 2001. 
Mr. Jamieson: The normal consultations took place prior to the Budget.
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how many people in the age groups (a) 0 to seven, (b) eight to 13 and (c) 14 to 18 years died as a result of fires in each of the last five years for which figures are available. 
Dr. Whitehead: The table shows the number of children who have died in fires attended by local authority fire brigades in the United Kingdom from 1996 to 2000 in the following age groups: 07, 813 and 1418.
(13) 2000 data are estimated, and are subject to revision as later information from inquests and death certificates confirming cause of death is received
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how many people in the age groups (a) 0 to 7, (b) 8 to 13 and (c) 14 to 18 years died as a result of road crashes in each of the last five years for which figures are available. 
Mr. Jamieson: The table shows the number of young people killed in road accidents.
|Age of casualty||1996||1997||1998||1999||2000|
|0 to 7||78||71||70||68||59|
|8 to 13||101||125||91||97||83|
|14 to 18||405||354||286||310||298|
Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what
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changes he proposes in the borrowing arrangements for English local authorities to enable the construction of new council housing; and if he will make a statement. 
Ms Keeble: The current arrangement whereby central Government approval is required for borrowing will be replaced, for local authorities in England, by a system where authorities are free to determine the amount of borrowing they undertake, subject to having the necessary resources to meet the costs of the borrowing. The change requires primary legislation and we are aiming to implement the new system by April 2004, or earlier if possible.
It is a matter for local authorities to decide how these and other capital resources are used, based on the needs of the area. However, we expect the provision of new social housing to be provided through Registered Social Landlords rather than by the council itself as this provides a greater number of units from the available resources and increases choice and competition between social sector landlords.
Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how many council tenants in each English local authority have been evicted for racist behaviour in each of the last three years. 
Ms Keeble: This information is not collected centrally.
Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what assessment he has made of causal links discovered in studies in the United Kingdom and elsewhere between the use of (a) cannabis, (b) alcohol, (c) amphetamines and (d) anti-histamines and the incidence of road accidents. 
Mr. Jamieson: The causal link between alcohol and road accidents has long been established through research and evidence. The impairing effects of drugs, whether medicinal or illegal, on road accidents are not so well understood. Research demonstrates that cannabis affects driving but the effects may not be as severe as for alcohol. Amphetamines act as a stimulant but their effect may be very unpredictable, and repeated use can lead to fatigue. Anti-histamines can cause sedation and thus driver drowsiness.
The issue for road safety is the impairment that drugs may cause to drivers. That is why the Department has supported the police in the training of officers to recognise the outward signs of drug consumption and in using field impairment tests to help them judge whether a driver may be impaired due to drugs.
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions on what legal basis NATS charges private aircraft weighing less than 100 tonnes for night and IFR flights outside controlled airspace. 
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Mr. Jamieson: In accordance with section 73 of the Transport Act 2000, the Civil Aviation Authority specifies the charges which are to be paid by users of air traffic services. These charges are published in the London, Edinburgh and Belfast Gazettes, and are to be paid to Eurocontrol or to National Air Traffic Services Ltd. (NATS), depending on where the flight to which they relate took place. The Eurocontrol route charges system, of which the UK is a member, exempts flights performed by aircraft of which the Maximum Take-Off Weight Authorised is less than two metric tonnes, but provides that flights made under Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) shall be subject to charges. Member states of the Eurocontrol route charges system have discretion as to whether to exempt flights made under Visual Flight Rules (VFR) and the UK does exempt these flights where they are undertaken by aircraft of which the maximum total weight authorised is 5.7 metric tonnes or less. This has been UK practice for many years.
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