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Departmental Expenditure

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what the public spending from local charging revenue planned for each year 2001–02 to 2010–11 is at (a) outturn prices and (b) 2000–01 prices. [29938]

Dr. Whitehead: English local authorities have reported receiving £6.5 billion in income from sales, fees and charges in 1999–2000 excluding the amounts paid into the housing revenue account and the capital account. More recent information is not yet available, and projections have not been made for future years.

Planning Consents

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how many planning consents have been granted on green belt land in each of the past 10 years. [30243]

Ms Keeble: The information requested is not held centrally by the Department and could not be obtained without disproportionate cost.

School Buses

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will make a statement about pilot studies being carried out into requiring traffic to stop for school buses. [29914]

Ms Keeble: As far as we are aware, there are no pilot studies being carried out into requiring traffic to stop for school buses. FirstGroup plc will shortly be starting pilots of American-style yellow school buses, but the pilots will not involve traffic being required to stop for the buses as it is required to do in the United States.

Council Tax

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will make a statement on the liability of people in hospital to pay council tax. [29933]

Dr. Whitehead: During temporary stays in hospital, people remain liable for council tax at their normal addresses. However, when someone's main residence is a hospital, their previous home will be exempt from council tax if it is unoccupied.

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Railways (South-West)

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will make a statement about the provision of extra resources for the improvement of railway facilities in the south-west. [29913]

Mr. Jamieson: Each individual rail project and improvements negotiated through franchise agreements will usually benefit more than one part of Britain. The SRA has therefore not attempted to break down its planned expenditure on a regional basis.

Civil Aviation Authority

Mr. Savidge: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he plans to issue guidance on the environmental objectives which the Civil Aviation Authority must follow in exercising its air navigation functions. [30736]

Mr. Jamieson: I am today giving guidance to the CAA under section 70(2) of the Transport Act 2000 on environmental objectives for the authority in exercising its air navigation functions. While safety must always remain the paramount consideration, for the first time guidance is being given to the CAA on the Government's sustainable development strategy and environmental policies and how these relate to the authority's air navigation functions. It includes guidance on environmental problems commonly associated with aviation, including advice on best practice, noise mitigation procedures, and steps the authority should ensure are followed, including consultation, when changes to air navigation procedures become necessary that might have a significant effect on the environment. Links are made to the substantial body of guidance to regional and local planning authorities where there is a read across with air navigation procedures and the design of controlled airspace around larger airports. I have placed copies of the guidance in the Library.

Planning Green Paper

Geraint Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions when he will publish his consultation document on the Use Classes Order that was promised in the Planning Green Paper. [30819]

Ms Keeble: We are today publishing a consultation document entitled "Consultation on possible changes to the Use Classes Order and temporary uses provisions".

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This completes the series of consultation papers that together are designed to deliver a radical reform of the planning system.

Planning permission is required for a material change of use. However, certain uses are so similar, for example in terms of noise, traffic, appearance and parking, that there is no obvious reason why planning permission for change of use from one to the other should be required. The Use Classes Order (UCO) excludes from planning control any change of use where both the existing and proposed use fall within the same class. The General Permitted Development Order (GPDO) provides further flexibility by classifying certain moves between the Use Classes as permitted development, so that a developer does not need to apply for planning permission.

It is important that the Use Classes Order should be up to date and relevant and reflect current policy priorities. In our view, the order and related GPDO provisions should be constructed in a way which allows the maximum possible freedom from planning control consistent with delivering planning policy and wider objectives, including protecting amenity.

The consultation document sets out a range of options for changes to the use class provisions and temporary use provisions. We will consider responses carefully before deciding on the most appropriate way forward.

Copies of the consultation document will be placed in the Library of the House.

Regional Planning Guidance

Judy Mallaber: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions when Regional Planning Guidance for the east midlands will be published. [30820]

Dr. Whitehead: The Regional Planning Guidance for the east midlands (RPG8) is being published today.

The RPG sets out the spatial development strategy that encompasses proposals for the development of the region's economy, infrastructure, housing and other land uses. The guiding principle is that the main urban areas and previously developed land should be the preferred locations for most development. RPG also sets out proposals for the conservation, management and enhancement of the region's natural and cultural environment.

I am pleased that much of the format and content of RPG8, including the vision, objectives and core strategy, carries forward much of what was proposed in the original draft RPG prepared by the East Midlands Regional Local Government Association (EMRLGA). RPG8 reflects very effective working between EMRLGA, local authorities and other stakeholders, all of whom 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. The RPG was prepared before our planning Green Paper proposals were announced in December. I look to the Regional Planning Body to take strategy forward and to monitor and review it in line with the regional planning principles set out in the Green Paper.

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Lord Birt

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (1) how many times he has met Lord Birt to discuss transport; [29314]

Mr. Jamieson: I refer the hon. Member to the answers given today by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister.

Unitary Local Authorities

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what percentage of the population is covered by unitary local authorities. [29299]

Ruth Kelly: I have been asked to reply.

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician. I have asked him to reply.

Letter from Len Cook to Mr. John Mann, dated 24 January 2002:



TRADE AND INDUSTRY

Nuclear Industry

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many people live within the recommended safe distance from nuclear power plants in the UK. [25251]

Mr. Wilson: There is no official recommendation relating to safe distances at which to live from nuclear power plants. All operators of civil nuclear installations in the UK are required to have emergency plans, as a condition of their site licences. These plans include a Detailed Emergency Planning Zone (DEPZ) around each site, defined in relation to the potential release of radiation from a reasonably foreseeable accident. The operators of UK civil nuclear power station sites have estimated that a total of 4,030 people are permanently resident within these DEPZs.

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment she has made of the potential future liabilities that the Government will incur owing to decommissioning in the nuclear industry; and if she will make a statement. [28920]

Mr. Wilson: At 31 March 2001 public sector civil nuclear liabilities—i.e. those liabilities for which UKAEA and BNFL are responsible—were estimated to be over

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£42 billion. Liabilities estimates are reviewed annually by UKAEA and BNFL. Information is published in their annual reports and accounts.

In her statement to the House on 28 November, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry outlined the nature of these liabilities and the Government's plans for improving management arrangements and ensuring that the nuclear legacy is dealt with safely, efficiently and cost effectively. A White Paper will be published in the spring

Mr. Stunell: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the total level of Government financial support to the nuclear industry was in each year between 1980 and 1990, broken down by (a) research grants, (b) non-fossil fuel levy, (c) investment in BNFL facilities, (d) running costs of UKAEA and Ninex and (e) other sources. [27455]

Mr. Wilson: Funding to the UK nuclear industry in this period was provided primarily in the form of grant and grant in aid to the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA). The funding enabled UKAEA to undertake civil nuclear research programmes and to discharge liabilities arising from past programmes.

The sums provided were as follows:

£ million

Grant, and grant in aid
1980–81158
1981–82164
1982–83215
1983–84204
1984–85196
1985–86169
1986–87163
1987–88148
1988–89247
1989–90196

Notes:

Figures are taken from Government Expenditure Plans Reports, which until 1991 did not list separate funding for fusion.


The non fossil fuel obligation and fossil fuel levy were first put in place in 1990 and therefore did not exist in the period in question.BNFL, like other companies, made various applications for and received funding under the first of the Government's Regional Development Grants schemes (RDG I) established under the Industry Act 1972 and the Industrial Development Act 1982. This scheme ended in 1984 and was replaced by a successor scheme (RDG II). BNFL did not receive any payments under the RDG II scheme. The Government's and BNFL's records relating to grants paid to BNFL under the RDG I scheme are no longer available.

Government grants were reported in the source and application of funds statement (which, in accordance with the accounting conventions of the time, did not necessarily disclose actual cash flows) in BNFL's annual report and accounts as follows:

£ million
1980–8124.5
1981–8230.6
1982–8336.4
1983–8440.7
1984–8532.1
1985–8618.5
1986–871
1987–88Nil
1988–89Nil
1989–90Nil

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The costs of UK NIREX were met by subscriptions from its members (UKAEA, the Central Electricity Generating Board, South of Scotland Electricity Board and BNFL.

Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on the status of the dismantling and decommissioning programme for the Windscale Number One Pile at Sellafield. [28522]

Mr. Wilson: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave him on 20 November 2001, Official Report, column 168W.


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