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Murder Investigation (Andrew Robb and David McIlwaine)

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the investigation into the murders of Andrew Robb and David McIlwaine near Tandragee, County Armagh, on 19 February 2000. [181937]

Mr. Pearson: Police are actively pursuing lines of enquiry into this live murder investigation and will continue their efforts to bring those responsible to justice.

DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER

"Planning for Housing"

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will place the responses to the consultation paper "Planning for Housing" in the Library; and if he will make a statement. [183542]

Keith Hill: Planning Policy Guidance Note 3: Housing (PPG3) was published in March 2000. The responses to the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions to the consultation draft of PPG3 were made available in the Library of the House on 24 June 1999.

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is finalising the proposed updates to PPG3 titled "Influencing the size, type and affordability of housing" and "Supporting the delivery of new housing" in the light of the responses to the consultation exercise undertaken last year. The aim is to publish the updates to PPG3 in the autumn, at which time the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister will make copies of the responses available in the Library of
 
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the House. In accordance with current practice, a list of those responses will also be made available in the Library of the House.

Car Parking

Mr. Chope: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many off-street car parking spaces have been provided in (a) new housing developments, (b) new office developments and (c) other commercial developments in England in each of the last five years. [183697]

Keith Hill: The information requested is not held centrally, and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Commercial/Industrial Land

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister by what process the protections afforded to land that has been identified as possessing a possible commercial or industrial use can be overturned; and what his role is in the process. [183541]

Keith Hill: The protection afforded to land that has been identified as possessing a possible commercial or industrial use is primarily given through its allocation in a development plan. Planning applications should be decided in accordance with the development plan, unless material considerations indicate otherwise. It is therefore possible that planning permission can be given for another use if material considerations are deemed to outweigh the status of the development plan in a specific case.

This is primarily a matter for local planning authorities, as they have a duty to produce a development plan, and decide planning applications accordingly. The First Secretary of State, my right hon.
 
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Friend the Deputy Prime Minister may intervene in the development plan process, and to call-in individual planning applications for his own decision if the circumstances of the case warrant this.

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) what protections are afforded to land that has been earmarked as possessing potential (a) industrial, (b) commercial and (c) other use; [183545]

(2) what process land that has a potential (a) industrial and (b) commercial use is identified; [183546]

(3) how much land is protected by statute due to it having been identified as having a possible industrial or commercial use; and how much of this land is being developed for a commercial or industrial use. [183585]

Keith Hill: Land that may possess a possible industrial or commercial use is primarily identified through its allocation in a development plan. Local planning authorities have a duty to produce a development plan for their area, allocating sites for a range of land uses. Planning applications should be decided in accordance with the development plan, unless material considerations indicate otherwise.

The allocation of sites for such uses will often match the location of existing development, or sites that have previously been in this use, but are currently vacant. New sites may also be identified and allocated where it is apparent that there is market demand, ideally in consultation with the private sector.

There are no statistics held centrally for how much land has been allocated, and developed accordingly, for specific land uses. This could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Development Fund Bids

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister whether the identity of (a) villages, (b) towns and (c) cities which have had a bid for development funds (i) turned down and (ii) granted by the Housing Corporation is confidential. [183480]

Keith Hill: The Housing Corporation publishes, on its website, a list of all allocations of Social Housing Grant funding through the Approved Development Programme. Details of unsuccessful bids are regarded as commercially confidential and are not published.

Government Estate (Renewable Energy)

Mr. Edward Davey: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what proportion of electricity used by buildings in (a) his Department and (b) its agencies has come from renewable sources for each year since 1997. [182898]

Phil Hope: Since the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister was formed in May 2002, the total proportion of electricity used by buildings in the (a) the office and (b) its agencies that has come from renewable sources for each year is as follows.
 
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Percentage

2002–032003–04
(a) ODPM (including Government offices)4042
(b) Agencies1115

Although the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has overall responsibility for the buildings occupied by Government offices, they carry out functions on behalf of 10 Departments.

Government Estate (Sustainable Development)

Mr. Edward Davey: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what have been identified as the most significant sustainable development impacts in relation to the operation of his Department's estate pursuant to the Framework for Sustainable Development on the Government Estate. [182902]

Keith Hill: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has identified the following as the most significant sustainable development impacts in relation to the operation of the ODPM estate;

In the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's primarily office based estate, the significance of an impact is determined by the likelihood of its occurrence and the severity of its effect upon the environment. Impacts can have positive effects upon the environment, as well as detrimental ones.

Green Belt

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what arrangements are in place for the replacement of buildings within the green belt that are removed due to safety reasons. [183465]

Keith Hill: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Castle Point (Bob Spink) on 19 April 2004, Official Report, column 349W.

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) by what process it is determined that an area of land (a) should be taken within the green belt and (b) no longer constitutes part of the green belt; [183466]

(2) what power of intervention he possesses to overturn the designation of an area of land as (a) constituting and (b) not constituting part of the green belt. [183468]

Keith Hill: The procedure for establishing green belts is set out in Planning Policy Guidance note (PPG) 2. The need for new green belts should be considered through the Regional Spatial Strategy process. Once that need has been established, precise boundaries should be set in Development Plan Documents. If a local planning authority proposes to establish a new green belt, it should demonstrate why normal planning and development control policies would not be adequate, and whether any major changes in circumstances have
 
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made the adoption of this exceptional measure necessary. It should also show what the consequences of the proposal would be for sustainable development.

Where Development Plan Documents are being revised and updated, existing green belt boundaries should not be changed unless alterations to the structure plan have been approved, or other exceptional circumstances exist, which necessitate such revision. Such changes would need to be subject to the formal procedures for taking forward a Development Plan Document, including the need for consultation and statutory right for anyone to make a formal objection to the proposals.

My right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister's statutory role in the development plan process, (which is set out in planning legislation), enables him to object to policies in plans, to direct modifications to plans, and to call-in applications that are not in accordance with national planning policy.

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what statutory protection is provided to land that is located within the green belt. [183467]

Keith Hill: The only legislation that deals specifically with the protection of green belts is the Green Belt (London and Home Counties) Act 1938. This made provision for the preservation from industrial or building development of areas of land owned, or formerly owned, by local authorities in and around the former administrative County of London. There has been no subsequent legislation which specifically protects land within the green belt although, within the planning system, there are measures in place which are intended to protect all green belt land. Planning Policy Guidance note (PPG)2 sets out the policies to achieve this. It contains a general presumption against inappropriate development in the green belt, which is reflected in Structure Plans and Local Plans, and carried through in decisions on planning applications.

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) what statutory obligations are placed upon local authorities to ensure that their provision of land capable of development is not at the expense of the green belt; [183543]

(2) what guidance is given to local authorities to ensure that their provision of land capable of development is not at the expense of the green belt. [183544]

Keith Hill: The Town and Country Planning Act 1990 obliges planning authorities to have regard to any strategic guidance issued by the Secretary of State, my right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister; current national and regional policies (such as PPG2); the resources likely to be available; and such other matters as the Secretary of State, my right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister may direct the authority to take into account.

PPG2, with its general presumption against inappropriate development, sets out the Government's policies for protecting green belts. Local planning authorities are obliged to have regard to the policies contained in relevant PPGs when drawing up their development plans, and in future, in their Development Plan Documents.
 
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