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7 Jan 2004 : Column 401W—continued

Telecommunications Masts

13. Mr. Gibb: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will make a statement on his Department's code of best practice on the siting of TETRA telecommunications masts in the vicinity of schools and hospitals. [145897]

Keith Hill: The Code of Best Practice on Mobile Network Development does not distinguish between different types of mobile communications base stations. The Code lists the factors that should be taken into account by network operators and local planning authorities in determining whether a school or college should be consulted. The Code makes no reference to hospitals.

Mobile Phones

14. Colin Burgon: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what recent discussions he has had with the Mobile Phone Operators Association about their voluntary code. [145898]

Keith Hill: I have not had any recent discussions with the Mobile Operators' Association. My hon. Friend for Pontefract and Castleford will be meeting representatives of the Mobile Operators' Association and the five commercial network operators on the 19 January 2003.

Area Partnerships

Mr. Steen: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many area partnerships have been established in England; what their terms of reference are; and what funding has been awarded to each partnership, broken down by (a) county council, (b) district council, (c) town or parish council, (d) regional development agency, (e) market and coastal towns initiative and (f) other sources of funding. [145817]

Yvette Cooper: The key partnership in any area is the Local Strategic Partnership (LSP). A survey in summer 2002, as part of the Government's research into LSPs, showed that the vast majority of areas, at county and

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district local authority level, either had an LSP in place or were in the process of forming one. There are now approximately 365 LSPs across England.

LSPs must include representatives from and reflect an appropriate balance between the public sector including local authorities and other public services, and private, voluntary and community sectors. LSPs will operate by consensus, in order to reflect and retain the buy-in of partners.

The Government guidance, published in March 2001, states that it will be for local partners to decide the full range of work of their LSP. However, it does set out four core tasks.

LSPs are not statutory bodies and as such do not receive funding directly. However the Neighbourhood Renewal Fund (NRF) enables the 88 most deprived authorities, in collaboration with their Local Strategic Partnership (LSP), to improve services, narrowing the gap between deprived areas and the rest of England. £1,875,000 has been allocated for the period 2001 to 2006 and a full breakdown by local authority district is available.

More generally LSPs will work collaboratively with and through partners to access sources of funding to meet local needs.

Planning and Compulsory Purchase Bill

Mr. Beggs: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what plans he has to extend the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Bill to Northern Ireland. [145315]

Keith Hill: There are no plans to extend the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Bill to Northern Ireland.

Fire Service College

Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will list the commandants and chief executives of the Fire Service College, Moreton-in-Marsh, since 1992, stating whether they were a temporary or permanent appointment; what steps he is taking to secure a permanent appointment as Chief Executive; and whether payments have been made in respect of (a) early retirement and (b) unfair dismissal of senior officers at the college in the last 10 years. [145791]

Phil Hope: Details of Fire Service College Chief Executives and Commandants are given in the table. The post of Chief Executive is to be advertised shortly on open competition.

No payments have been made either in respect of unfair dismissal or early retirement. In one case, a postholder received a payment (details of which are confidential) on leaving office, in accordance with his employment law rights.

Fire Service Chief Executives and Commands from 1992

NamePositionDates of serviceStatusNotes
Brian FullerChief Executive(and Commandant)Until April 1994Permanent
Nigel FinlaysonChief ExecutiveMay 1994 to November 1997PermanentPosts to Chief Executive and Commandant split
Frank DavidCommandantMay 1994 to May 1996Two-year secondment
Terry Glossop CommandantJune 1996 to November 1997Fixed-term contract
Terry GlossopChief Executive(and Commandant)1 December 1997 to 19 December 2002PermanentPosts re-combined
Robin CurrieChief Executive1 February 2002 to 20 December 2003SecondmentTerry Glossop suspended on 1 February 2002
Anne FrostChief Executive20 December 2003 to datePermanent member of College staffActing Chief Executive, pending open competition

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Buildings (Energy Performance)

Sir Sydney Chapman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister whether he plans to implement the requirements of Directive 2002/91 on the energy performance of buildings under the European Communities Act 1972. [145750]

Phil Hope: The Government are still considering how implementation may be best achieved. Present thoughts are that the way forward could be a combination of amendments to the Building Regulations made under the Building Act 1984, and new regulations, made under the European Communities Act 1972, where this is more appropriate.

Public Land

Dr. Whitehead: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what criteria his Department applies in respect of sustainability in the rules governing the sale or disposal of public land. [145753]

Keith Hill: Each Government Department assesses ways and means of delivering its objectives, and appraises the relevant options in line with the guidance in "The Green Book—Appraisal and Evaluation in Central Government"—including the costs of implementation. If, for example, a Department wishes to secure sustainability objectives, and in order to do so, has to dispose of assets, the disposal should be done in such a way that meets the requirements of Government Accounting chapter 24. This should ensure that overall value for money is achieved and that the disposal is effectively and properly done. Overall value for money goes beyond maximising proceeds by including the impact of effective public service delivery. Disposal of land by local authorities is governed by section 123 of the Local Government Act 1972. Local authorities may dispose of land in any manner they wish: my right hon. Friend The Deputy Prime Minister's only involvement is to grant or withhold consent where authorities wish to dispose of land at less than the best consideration reasonably obtainable and the proposed disposal falls outside the scope of the General Consent in The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister Circular 06/2003. The rules on disposal do not, therefore, directly address issues of sustainability. These would be considered as part of the project appraisal or reasons for disposing of the land.

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Historic Wrecks

Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps she is taking to enlist the help of vocational divers in South Devon in investigating historic wrecks off the South Devon Coast. [145774]

Mr. Caborn: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has no specific plans for vocational divers in South Devon. The Department has enabled the development and implementation of English Heritage's initial policy for maritime archaeology, Taking to the Water, which clearly states the desirability of engaging with the sport diving and wider communities. Any proposals for initiatives can be made directly to English Heritage where they will be considered according to national priorities and subject to available resources. English Heritage are already encouraging sport diving initiatives in the Solent, the North East and the Isles of Scilly together with providing support for an England-wide training programme and shipwreck projects through the Nautical Archaeology Society.

Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what considerations resulted in her Department stopping vocational divers investigating (a) the wreck of a suspected Barbary pirate ship off Gara rock in South Devon and (b) the Salcombe Canon site shipwreck. [145775]

Mr. Caborn: The sites referred to as (a) and (b) are the same site designated under the Statutory Instrument 1997/2536, known as the Salcombe Cannon Site. The reference to the suspected Barbary pirate ship has arisen after research has shown that Barbary pirates were active around the period of the ship wreck in the area of Salcombe. Since designation the Secretary of State has issued licences to survey, surface recover and excavate the site. At the time of writing there are no current licences on this site, as there has been no application made to the Secretary of State. The issuing of licences since 1997 has enabled continued investigation of this site by vocationally based teams backed up by professional archaeological advice. Over the last 18 months this system has been supported by English Heritage. The Government's contractor for archaeological services in support of the 1973 Act has also visited this site and

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others in South Devon this summer, managed by English Heritage and fully involving the divers licensed to investigate the sites.

Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the role is of English Heritage regarding applications for licences to investigate shipwrecks off the South Devon coast. [145819]

Mr. Caborn: English Heritage's role is to carry out administrative functions exercisable by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State under the 1973 Act. English Heritage considers the merits of each case, consults the Advisory Committee on Historic Wreck Sites, the archaeological diving contractor and other interested parties as appropriate, before submitting a report and recommendation to the Secretary of State.

Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the additional cost to public funds is of involving English Heritage in the process of licensing historic wreck sites; and what the advantages are. [145820]

Mr. Caborn: The transfer of responsibility for licensing designated wreck sites and acting as secretariat to the Advisory Committee on Historic Wreck Sites to English Heritage has resulted in no additional cost to public funds. The administrative budget hitherto spent by this Department on these activities was transferred to English Heritage in 2003.

Benefits from the transfer include greater specialist expertise in the decision-making process and the management of protected wreck sites. Underwater archaeology projects are also now able to compete on equal terms with land archaeological projects for English Heritage grants.

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