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Sustainable Development

Mr. Edward Davey: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what remit relating to sustainable development is (a) required and (b) undertaken by his Department's (i) executive agencies, (ii) advisory non-departmental bodies, (iii) executive non-departmental bodies, (iv) tribunals, (v) public corporations and (vi) other bodies. [116846]

Mr. Leslie: Departments have a remit to fulfil the "Framework for Sustainable Development" on the Government Estate. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister works to ensure it meets all agreed targets, and where possible, assists all of its agencies and non-departmental public bodies to do so.

Telephone Masts

Bob Russell: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will abolish the 42-day rule for local authorities to refuse a notice for the erection of a telephone mast and replace it with a legal requirement that the erection of all masts should be the subject of a planning application. [117400]

Mr. McNulty: On 22 August 2001, the Government significantly strengthened the planning arrangements for telecommunications development. One change was to increase the time for authorities to deal with prior approval applications from 28 and 42 days to a uniform 56 days. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister strengthened public consultation requirements on mast proposals of 15 metres and below and for masts on buildings and structures so that they are exactly the same as applications for planning permission. We have no plans to change these arrangements.

The arrangements of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister give authorities more time to consider proposals, but with consent deemed to be granted if no decision has been made after 56 days so that development is not delayed. This discipline is needed

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because many authorities are failing to meet their Best Value targets for determining planning applications. Authorities are able to turn down mast applications where they do not consider amenity aspects have been adequately addressed. The arrangements strike the right balance between improving consultation with local people and ensuring that the decision-making process is not open-ended, thus giving the 50 million people who use mobile phones the service they want.

Bob Russell: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what representations he has received during the past 12 months requesting that the 42-day rule for local authorities to refuse a notice for the erection of a telephone mast should be extended; and if he will make a statement. [117401]

Mr. McNulty: In August 2001, we increased the time for authorities to deal with prior approval applications from 28 and 42 days to a uniform 56 days. There are no plans to extend this period of time at present. The Government receive many representations on matters relating to the telecommunications industry, but we are not aware of any particular representations to extend the period for prior approval.

Waste Management

Mr. Bill O'Brien: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will list the capacity of (a) incineration, (b) composting and (c) recycling plants for the years 1999 to 2002; what the estimated capacity will be for the years 2003 to 2005; and if he will make a statement. [115774]

Mr. Meacher: I have been asked to reply.

The following table gives the information available from the Environment Agency on the capacity of facilities for incineration, biological and physical treatment methods for licensed sites. The biological category covers composting, anaerobic digestion and other biological processes that change the properties of waste, while physical treatment covers processes such as filtration and sorting. Figures are not available separately for the capacity of composting and recycling facilities. The figures are the latest and only ones available for the years in question.

FacilityCapacity(Thousand tonnes)
1998–99Incineration4,501
2000–01Biological treatment16,096
2000–01Physical treatment18,226

Estimates of future capacity are not available.

TRANSPORT

Disabled Parking Permits

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what figures he has collated on the number of disabled parking permits that have gone missing in the post after being issued in each of the last five years, broken down by local authority. [117112]

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Mr. Jamieson: There is no legal requirement for local authorities to hold such records and the Department does not currently ask for that information as part of its annual blue badge statistical survey of local authorities in England. The devolved administrations are responsible for the scheme in other parts of the UK.

The issues of misuse and abuse of badges were considered as part of the recent review of the Blue Badge scheme. In concluding the review some 47 recommendations were made to Ministers through the Disabled Persons' Transport Advisory Committee, the Department's statutory advisers on the transport needs of disabled people, including a number of enforcement measures. The Government accepted most of these and will be taken them forward at the earliest opportunity. A summary of the recommendations and the Government's response to them was placed in the Libraries of the House on 18 December 2002.

A75

Mr. Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to review the speed limit for heavy goods vehicles on the A75 euro route between Gretna and Stranraer. [118319]

Mr. Jamieson: This is a matter for the Scottish Assembly.

Congestion Charging

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions he has had with the Mayor of London on the impact of congestion charging. [117826]

Mr. Jamieson: The London congestion charging scheme is the responsibility of the mayor, not the Government. However, Ministers have regular meetings with the mayor at which a wide range of transport matters are discussed.

Energy Efficiency

Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what targets his Department has for improving energy efficiency; and how he intends to achieve these targets. [116652]

Mr. Jamieson: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my hon. Friend the Minister for Fisheries, Water and Nature Protection (Mr. Morley) on 9 June 2003, Official Report column 581W.

Equal Pay

Angela Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress has been made on completing a pay audit in his Department and its non-departmental public bodies to measure any disadvantage in terms of remuneration for (a) women, (b) ethnic minorities and (c) people with disabilities; and if he will publish the results of such an audit. [117429]

Mr. Jamieson: My Department and its agencies have completed the review of their pay systems encompassing women, ethnic minorities and people with disabilities. Action plans for each have been produced. These will be placed in the Libraries of the House in due course after full consideration has been given to the issues identified.

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NDPBs carried out reviews as a matter of good practice. As there was no formal commitment for them to do so, publication will not apply.

Football (Policing Costs)

Kate Hoey: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many officers from the transport police were involved in policing the England football match at Leicester on 3 June; and what the cost was to the police. [118176]

Mr. Jamieson: The British Transport Police (BTP) have advised me that 70 officers were involved in policing the England v. Serbia football match at Leicester on 3 June 2003. The final cost to the BTP was just under £10,000.

Heathrow Airport

Mr. David Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made on the effect in terms of air traffic movements if the Crawford arrangement of Heathrow airport were ended. [118346]

Mr. Jamieson: Ending the restriction on easterly departures from Heathrow's northern runway, known as the Cranford Agreement, would not on its own have any effect on the runway capacity of the airport. To raise the capacity of Heathrow's existing runways by the introduction of a 'mixed mode' pattern operations would require termination or amendment of the runway alternation scheme and the Cranford Agreement. The Government have no plans to introduce mixed mode.

Highway Winter Maintenance

Mr. Peter Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the (a) life expectancy and (b) total maintenance repair costs are of (i) vehicles and equipment involved in road gritting operations using rock salt as the primary de-icing material and (ii) vehicles and equipment not involved in such operations. [118095]

Mr. Jamieson: I have asked the Chief Executive of the Highways Agency, Tim Matthews, to write to the hon. Member.

Letter from Tim Matthews to Mr. Peter Robinson, dated 10 June 2003:




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Mr. Peter Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his estimate is of the annual cost of corrosion on the highways maintenance budgets; and what proportion of that cost can be attributed to (a) structural maintenance and (b) repair of roads and infrastructure necessitated by corrosion from salt used for safety purposes each winter. [118098]

Mr. Jamieson: Information is not held to estimate annual highway maintenance costs due to corrosion alone.

There are many other causes of deterioration on structures, such as physical damage, chemical attack, water damage, weathering and general wear and tear, and sometimes they occur concurrently with the corrosion mechanisms. Structures maintenance work addresses all these deterioration processes.

Approximately 95 per cent. of the trunk road is made of bituminous materials where corrosion is not an issue.


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