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HGV Accidents

Mr. Hurst: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how many road traffic accidents in England and Wales involved a heavy goods vehicle in each year since 1995. [35617]

Mr. Jamieson: The number of injury accidents in England and Wales involving goods vehicles of over 3.5 tonnes maximum permissible gross vehicle weight is shown as follows:

Number
199511,714
199611,684
199712,333
199812,484
199913,053
200013,046

Figures for 2001 are not yet available and no information is available regarding damage only accidents involving heavy goods vehicles.

Hospitality Events

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (1) if he will list those functions, engagements and events which he, his Ministers, officials and advisers have attended which have been wholly or partly sponsored, funded, and promoted by the British Airports Authority since 1997; [35657]

Dr. Whitehead: The information is not available in the form requested.

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Archaeological Services

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what has been the level of expenditure on archaeological services by local authorities in (a) 1996–97, (b) 1997–98, (c) 1998–99, (d) 1999–2000 and (e) 2000–01. [35664]

Dr. Whitehead: The information requested is not available centrally.

Ports

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what assessment he has made of the effect the proposed Directive on Market Access to Port Services would have upon the monopoly that UK port owners hold upon pilotage in their ports. [35869]

Mr. Jamieson: Our aim in relation to pilotage provisions in the proposed Directive is to preserve the integrated approach to safety management promoted by the Port Marine Safety Code. There is nothing in the proposed text that is inconsistent with the Code or the present regulatory functions of competent harbour authorities under the Pilotage Act 1987.

Under the Commission's proposals these authorities may in certain circumstances be required to include a tendering process in deciding what contractual arrangements are appropriate for the provision of the pilotage service. Pilots' organisations have told us that they oppose introducing the principle of competition into pilotage, and they support the European Parliament's proposal to exclude pilotage from the Directive.

Park Homes

Margaret Moran: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will introduce legislation to improve conditions for park home owners. [35553]

Ms Keeble: Proposals for legislation to amend the control regime for park homes were included in the recommendations of the Park Homes Working Party. Following consultation, we issued our response to the Working Party's report on 29 November last year, and placed copies of it in the Library of the House. This gives a detailed response to each of the Working Party's recommendations and indicates how we intend to take them forward.

Margaret Moran: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what recent discussions he has had with the National Park Homes Campaign Group. [35554]

Ms Keeble: We have had no discussions with the National Park Homes Campaign Group.

Regeneration

Margaret Moran: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will introduce a scheme to accredit the skills of the community involved in regeneration projects. [35552]

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Ms Keeble: We are committed to ensuring that the skills of community residents involved in neighbourhood renewal work are accredited and recognised. The Learning and Development Strategy for Neighbourhood Renewal, to be published in spring 2002, will consider how best to achieve this as part of its work to ensure that everyone involved in neighbourhood renewal has the skills, knowledge and support they need to help them succeed.

Teenagers

Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what discussions he has held with local authorities with regard to improving facilities for teenagers. [35618]

Dr. Whitehead: Regarding English local authorities, Ministers and officials in DTLR and other Departments have frequent discussions with local authorities about the provision of services to their residents, including teenagers and other children.

Community Strategies

Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions for what reason he has made it a statutory duty for county councils to prepare community strategies. [35425]

Ms Keeble: The duty in section 4 of the Local Government Act 2000 was introduced to confer on all principal councils (including county councils, district councils and unitary authorities) the statutory authority to develop strategies which promote or improve the economic, social and environmental well-being of their area and contributing to the achievement of sustainable development in the United Kingdom. This measure forms part of the Government's wider initiative to modernise local government.

Local Planning

Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what assessment he has made of the impact of removing the link between county councils and land use planning and (a) public service agreements, (b) local transport plans, (c) education development plans, (d) social services plans, (e) library plans, (f) waste management strategies and (g) community safety. [35429]

Ms Keeble: The Government do not propose to remove the link between county councils and land use planning. Partly because of the functions referred to by the hon. Member, the Planning Green Paper seeks views on the role that county councils can continue to play in the preparation of planning strategies at the regional and sub-regional level, and in assisting district councils with the preparation of Local Development Frameworks.

Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how many tiers there are in the planning system and how many are proposed in the Green Paper. [35427]

Ms Keeble: Planning Guidance is produced at the national and regional level. In two-tier local authority areas plans are prepared at county level (structure plans) and by district authorities (local plans). In single-tier

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areas unitary authorities either produce a plan which incorporates both county and district plan functions (unitary development plans) or prepare a joint structure plan and a local plan.

Under our proposals set out in the Green Paper "Planning: delivering a fundamental change", we propose to simplify the existing arrangements by abolishing the structure plan tier of plans. They will be replaced, together with unitary development and local plans, by a new single level of plan called a Local Development Framework to be prepared by district and unitary authorities.

Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will make a statement on how the Green Paper's proposals on planning will improve integration with other strategies and plans. [35428]

Ms Keeble: The Green Paper "Planning: delivering a fundamental change" sets out proposals for better integrated and more effective planning at both strategic and local levels. The new statutory Regional Spatial Strategy will take full account of the spatial planning aspects of other relevant regional strategies and provide the longer term planning framework for Regional Development Agencies and other regional stakeholders.

At the local level local authorities are already required to produce community strategies to provide an integrated approach to the improvement of the economic, social and environmental well being of their areas.

The core policies of the proposed Local Development Framework will help deliver the land use and development aspects of the Community Strategy, with action plans integrated with other initiatives, such as those for regeneration and neighbourhood renewal.

Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (1) for what reason the Green Paper on planning proposes county councils have no statutory role in planning; and what role county councils will have in promoting sustainable development; [35426]

Ms Keeble: The Green Paper recognises the continuing need for strategic planning at regional level and for local planning to be undertaken as close to local communities as possible. It proposes abolition of structure plans but invites comments on whether the counties should have a role in assisting the regional, district and unitary authorities in preparing their plans (para 4.37). We propose that mineral and waste planning should continue to be a county function. In addition, county councils will continue to have responsibilities for other functions which bear upon sustainability such as countryside management and the preparation of local transport plans.

Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions for what reason he proposes to end the county councils' role in the development system. [35592]

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Ms Keeble: The Government do not propose to end the county councils' role in the development planning system. We are seeking views on the future planning role of the county councils in addition to their continuing responsibility for minerals and waste planning.

Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what reasons underlie his proposal to remove from the statutory consultees for planning decisions groups concerned with environmental protection or local interest which do not have a role in health and safety; and by what means he will ensure that the views of local people are taken into account in planning decisions. [35431]

Ms Keeble: We are concerned that the present arrangements for consulting expert bodies on planning and other cases are not working as effectively as they might. The distinction between statutory and non- statutory consultees has become blurred and consultation can often be a source of delay. One option proposed in our consultation paper "Planning: Delivering a Fundamental Change" is to clarify the basis of determining whether bodies should be statutory consultees and reduce their number. Decisions about which bodies might in future be statutory consultees will be made in the light of the consultation. The consultation paper also contains a number of proposals to promote better engagement of local communities in shaping the future development of their areas.

Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what action has been taken to identify where the delays in the planning process are; and if he will publish a list of (a) the average time taken to decide on planning applications by district, unitary and county councils and (b) the average time taken for Ministers to decide on call in decisions in the last 12 months. [35432]

Ms Keeble: The Government have reviewed the planning system and published a Green Paper "Planning: delivering a fundamental change" which sets out a range of measures and proposals to deliver a faster, simpler, more accessible planning system for business and local communities.

The average time for local authorities to decide planning applications in 2000–01 was 11.7 weeks. Detailed information for each local authority is published in "The Best Value and Audit Commission Performance Indicators Actual Outturn Data 2000–01".

Performance on the issuing of called-in applications is measured as the proportion decided within 13 and 20 weeks of receiving the Inspector's Report. In 2001–02, 61 per cent. of called-in planning applications were decided in 13 weeks and 73 per cent. were decided in 20 weeks.


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