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Telephone Kiosk Advertising

Geraint Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions when he will announce the outcome of the consultation exercise on the future treatment of telephone kiosk glass advertising in the regime for the control of advertisements; and if he will make a statement. [56243]

Ms Keeble: Existing planning rules do not address telephone kiosk glass advertising, which is a relatively new form of advertising. The issue raises a wide range of considerations including visual amenity, highway safety, public safety and crime, and the cost and other resource implications of formal regulation. The consultation paper which we issued on 11 July 2001 invited views on possible options for clarifying the position. I am grateful to all those who took the trouble to respond.

We have carefully considered the responses received and the range of factors involved. We have concluded that kiosk glass advertising should benefit from deemed consent but subject to certain conditions and limitations. This will mean that, subject to meeting conditions and limitations relating to geographical coverage, illumination and size of advertisement, such advertisements may be displayed without the express approval of the local planning authority. The siting of kiosk glass advertisements in conservation areas, areas of outstanding natural beauty, National Parks and the Broads will require the express consent of the local planning authority, as will advertising on more than one face of a kiosk.

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We believe that this approach strikes a strikes a fair balance between the need to preserve and where possible enhance the character of the environment and the public realm, the need to ensure public safety, and the business needs of industry, including payphone providers and advertisers. It is designed to resolve the current uncertainty, and promote a consistent approach, by providing an appropriate degree of control but without excessive and burdensome statutory regulation.

Provisions to give effect to these changes will be set out in the new Advertisement Control Regulations due to come into force in the Summer.


Mr. Michael Jabez Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions when he will bring into force the new homelessness legislation in the report "More than a Roof"; and what resources will be provided to ensure its effective implementation. [56244]

Ms Keeble: The homelessness report, "More than a roof', was published on 13 March. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State set out his response to that report on 13 March in the reply he gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Wigan, Official Report, column 1091W. Together, those documents set out a new approach to tackling homelessness, one that focuses as much on people and the problems they face, as on the places in which they live. New legislation is a key part of this new approach.

The Homelessness Act 2002 received Royal Assent on 26 February. The Act will strengthen the safety net which local authorities provide for people who are homeless, or threatened with homelessness. It will, for the first time, place a new duty on local authorities to conduct a review of homelessness and develop, in consultation, a strategy to meet the housing and support needs of all homeless people in their district. It will also ensure that people are given greater choice in applying for social housing.

We will be making an Order later this Session to bring the main homelessness provisions of the Act into force in July.

We will also be laying an Order for approval by Parliament to extend the groups of people who have a priority need for accommodation under the homelessness legislation. This will ensure that vulnerable homeless people leaving institutions, young people including those leaving care, and people fleeing domestic, racial and other forms of violence get the help they need. We intend, subject to Parliament's approval, to bring these changes into force in July, at the same time as the main provisions of the Homelessness Act 2002.

We will also issue revised statutory guidance on homelessness in June, up-dated to reflect the new legislation.

Section 8 of the Homelessness Act 2002, which provides for applicants to seek a review of the suitability of accommodation offered by a local authority as a settled solution to homelessness, and paragraphs 3 and 7 of Schedule 1 of the Act, came into force on 26 February. Interim statutory guidance has been issued to housing authorities in respect of these provisions.

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We will also be issuing in the next few weeks a draft of the code of guidance on allocation of accommodation for a twelve week consultation period. Following that consultation, we plan to issue the revised statutory code in the Autumn, with the provisions on allocations in the Homelessness Act 2002 coming into force from January 2003.

In order to help local authorities and other agencies to implement these changes effectively, the Government has increased the resources available for housing, homelessness and support services.

In addition to this increased investment, an extra £8 million has been added to local authorities' Revenue Support Grant settlement from 2001–02 to cover the additional duties imposed by the new homelessness legislation.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State said in his response to "More than a roof" that we would provide additional resources to enable local authorities to deliver the new Priority Needs Order. I can confirm today that we will be providing £10 million for this purpose in 2002–03, from a total of £125 million being provided specifically to tackle homelessness. The extra £10 million will be allocated to local authorities by the new Homelessness Directorate in my department following consultation with the Local Government Association on the most appropriate method of distribution.

The Homelessness Directorate is working with local authorities and other key agencies to ensure that the new legislation—and the Government's new approach to tackling homelessness—is implemented efficiently and effectively to make a real difference to the lives of homeless people.

Housing Definitions

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what definition he uses of the terms affordable housing and social housing; and if he will make a statement. [55304]

Ms Keeble: Social housing normally refers to subsidised housing provided by local authorities or registered social landlords for rent. For the purposes of securing affordable housing through the planning system, affordable housing encompasses low-cost market and subsidised housing, whether for rent or shared ownership, that will be available to people who cannot afford to rent or buy houses generally available on the open market. Local authorities are expected to define in their local plans what they consider to be affordable in the plan area, in terms of the relationship between local income levels and house prices or rents for different types of households.

Key Worker Housing

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (1) if he will set out his definition of key workers in the public services for the purposes of providing Government land for pre-fabricated key worker housing; [55321] (2) what proportion of the housebuilding targets in each county will be provided by prefabricated key worker housing; [55324]

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(3) if the named planning rules will apply to the development of pre-fabricated key worker housing; [55316] (4) if the public land to be made available for the provision of pre-fabricated key worker housing will include land owned by (a) Government departments, (b) local authorities and (c) Government agencies; [55319] (5) if he will list those organisations to whom free public land will be made available for the provison of pre-fabricated key worker housing; [55323] (6) if he will list the sites of Governerment land that will be made available for the provision of pre-fabricated key worker housing. [55322]

Mr. Byers: The Government recognises that there is an urgent and growing need to assist the number of keyworkers and others on intermediate incomes who cannot afford to rent or buy in high demand areas where house prices have risen sharply over the last few years. We are looking at a number of options for helping overcome this problem, including the potential to increase housing supply by using surplus public sector land of all types for affordable housing and by using modular unit construction techniques as illustrated by the Peabody Trust scheme at Murray Grove, Hackney. These techniques offer significant time savings and potential cost reduction. Normal planning rules have applied to recent modular developments.


Depleted Uranium

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the UK sites where armour piercing and hard target penetrating warheads containing depleted uranium have been used, indicating the numbers used on each site in each year since 1990. [43414]

Dr. Moonie: Since 1990, Depleted Uranium (DU) has been fired on the ranges at Kirkudbright, Eskmeals and West Freugh.

Details of the amount of DU fired are as follows. Because of the way in which data was collected at each establishment the figures for Kirkudbright and West Freugh are given in terms of numbers of rounds fired whereas the Eskmeals data is quoted in mass (Kg) of DU:



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YearMass Kg

West Freugh

Approximately 215 rounds of the Phalanx weapons system were fired in 1990, all of which entered the sea 2km below low-water mark. There have been no DU firings since.

Errors have unfortunately been identified in the figures for DU projectiles fired at the Kirkudbright Training Area given in the responses on 5 December 2001, Official Report, column 342W, to the hon. Member for Galloway & Upper Nithsdale (Mr. Duncan) and on 14 June 2000, Official Report, column 644W, and 19 June 2000, Official Report, column 27W, to the then hon. Member for Galloway & Upper Nithsdale (Mr. Morgan). It is unclear how these inconsistencies occurred but it is possible the source figures came from data for planned firings rather than actual firings or there may have been a simple miscalculation. The above figures correct these errors.

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