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13 Jan 2004 : Column 720W—continued

Waiting Lists/Times

Andy King: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average waiting time for an initial referral to a consultant rheumatologist is in each strategic health authority. [144547]

Mr. Hutton: The table shows average waiting times for a first rheumatology out-patient appointment following general practitioner (G(D)P) referral.

Average (median) waiting times for first consultant out-patient appointment following G(D)P referral: rheumatology specialty: Strategic health authorities:
England: Quarter 2 2003–04

Strategic health authority Median waiting times (weeks)
Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire HA 11.1
Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire HA9.9
Essex HA8.3
North West London HA10.2
North Central London HA8.6
North East London HA10.8
South East London HA9.1
South West London HA14.0
Northumberland, Tyne and Wear7.6
County Durham & Tees Valley7.7
North and East Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire HA10.5
West Yorkshire HA8.8
Cumbria & Lancashire HA9.7
Greater Manchester HA10.6
Cheshire & Merseyside HA10.2
Thames Valley HA7.7
Hampshire and Isle of Wight HA7.8
Kent and Medway HA9.6
Surrey and Sussex HA8.9
Avon, Gloucestershire & Wiltshire HA8.7
South West Peninsula HA10.6
Somerset & Dorset HA7.2
South Yorkshire HA8.0
Trent HA8.7
Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland HA10.4
Shropshire and Staffordshire HA11.1
Birmingham and The Black Country HA8.2
Coventry, Warwickshire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire HA12.6


Department of Health form QM08


Brownfield Sites

Llew Smith: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what proportion of the planned new communities development in the south-east is to be undertaken on brownfield sites; and if he will make a statement on criteria used in choosing between brownfield and greenfield sites. [147025]

Keith Hill: Through Planning Policy Guidance Note 3 Housing (PPG3) the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has introduced a series of tough new measures designed to meet the country's future housing needs in the most sustainable way possible. This includes a sequential approach which gives priority to re-using brownfield sites in urban areas in preference to developing greenfield sites. In addition, we have a national target that, by 2008, 60 per cent. of additional

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housing should be provided on previously-developed land and through conversions of existing buildings. Performance against this target has risen from 58 per cent. in 1998 to 64 per cent. in 2002 for England as a whole. In the south-east, including London, the proportion is about 75 per cent.

The Sustainable Communities Plan sets out a strategy for carefully planned, sustainable growth which will protect communities from unplanned suburban sprawl. Much of the £610 million the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is ploughing into the four growth areas through the Sustainable Communities Plan will go into reclaiming poor quality brownfield land, or into transport improvements which will enable high density developments. For instance, the development of new communities at Ebbsfleet, Eastern Quarry and Barking Reach within the Thames Gateway all involve the redevelopment of large redundant industrial sites. However, in some cases sustainable urban extensions involving some greenfield land will be necessary.

Detailed planning of individual sites within the housing growth areas is not yet complete and it is not therefore possible to provide a figure for the proportion of development which will occur on previously developed land. The sequential approach described above will, however, apply.

Energy Performance of Buildings

Norman Baker: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what studies he has commissioned regarding the policies being adopted by other member states of the European Union concerning obligations on owners of larger privately-owned buildings to implement Article 7.3 of the energy performance of buildings directive. [147406]

Phil Hope: By January 2006, the energy performance of buildings directive requires the United Kingdom to oblige owners of larger buildings, occupied by certain types of public authorities and institutions, to openly display energy performance labels. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is considering how best to implement the directive, and, whilst the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has not yet commissioned studies of other member states' intentions, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister seeks relevant information in due course.

GP Services (Thurrock)

Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what powers and additional resources are available to Thurrock Urban Development Corporation (a) to stem the reduction in general practitioner services within Thurrock and (b) to attract additional general practitioners to meet the projected growth planned by the urban development corporation; and if he will make a statement. [147011]

Keith Hill: The statutory objectives and powers of the Thurrock Urban Development Corporation (UDC) are set out in section 136 of the Local Government, Planning and Land Act 1980. The Thurrock UDC's overriding objective is to secure the regeneration of its area and to achieve this it has a general power to ". . . do anything necessary or expedient for this purpose, or for purposes incidental to those purposes".

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The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has earmarked an initial budget in the region of £60 million to enable the UDC to kick-start the growth, development and regeneration of Thurrock over the next three years. In order to access this funding the UDC's Board will need to develop a comprehensive area strategy, which clearly demonstrates how its intervention will achieve the regeneration of Thurrock.

As part of its work, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister would expect the UDC to liaise with other Government bodies and agencies that, while not directly involved in regeneration activity, are responsible for the wider social infrastructure that will influence the UDCs ability to deliver sustainable, balanced communities in Thurrock. To this end the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister would expect the UDC to assist and/or influence local, regional and national social/health care providers in the development of plans and strategies that directly relate to the growth, development and regeneration of Thurrock.

Local Government Funding (Nottinghamshire)

Paddy Tipping: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the grant settlement for Newark and Sherwood District Council was for each of the last five financial years, and what the provisional grant settlement for 2004–05 is, in (a) cash and (b) percentage change terms. [146847]

Mr. Raynsford: The following table shows the grant settlements for Newark and Sherwood District Council for the period 1999–2000 to 2003–04, and for the provisional 2004–05 grant settlement.

YearPrevious years grant adjusted on a like-for-like basis with the current year(£ million)Current years grant (£ million)Change(£ million)% change

During the above period, there have been a number of changes to the functions and funding of local services that have affected Newark and Sherwood. For this reason care must be taken in looking at year-on-year changes. The above table shows the year-on-year changes on a like-for-like basis over the period.

Mayor of London

Mr. Prisk: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the level of financial provision estimated for the Mayor of London is for the financial years (a) 2004–05 and (b) 2005–06 is. [147160]

Mr. Raynsford: The Greater London Authority will receive the following funding for 2004–05 from the Government for itself and its four functional bodies (Transport for London, Metropolitan Police Authority, London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority and London Development Agency):

13 Jan 2004 : Column 723W

Grant£ million
GLA general grant36.3
GLA transport grant (for TfL)2,224.5
Police grant (for MPA)1,123.1
Revenue Support Grant (for MPA and LFEPA)796.5
Non-domestic rates (for MPA and LFEPA)171.3
LDA grant(23)326.4

(23) This figure is still indicative, and does not include LDA's share of the RDA performance fund.

Funding for 2005–06 will be decided later this year following the Government's 2004 spending review which will be concluded in the summer.

Planning (Housing and Car Parking)

John Mann: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what advice was last sent to planning authorities about car parking minimum requirements for new housing development; and when it was sent. [147735]

Keith Hill: Planning Policy Guidance Note 3: Housing (PPG3) makes it clear that car parking policies should not be expressed as minimum standards. It advises that car parking standards that result, on average, in development with more than 1.5 off-street car parking spaces per dwelling are unlikely to reflect the Government's emphasis on securing sustainable residential environments.

The most recent advice for local authorities was set out in an Office of the Deputy Prime Minister Parliamentary Statement of 17 July 2003. This clarified that the PPG3 car parking policy did not expect that 1.5 spaces per dwelling should be provided for every dwelling in all new developments. Parking needs vary and that's why it was announced in the Statement the intention to carry out research to consider how varying car parking levels can be achieved in ways consistent with the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's policy on securing sustainable residential environments.

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