Previous Section Index Home Page

4 Nov 2004 : Column 437W—continued

Park and Ride Schemes

Mr. David Atkinson: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what his Department's latest guidance to local authorities is on the development of park and ride schemes. [195709]

Keith Hill: Policy on park and ride schemes is set out in Planning Policy Guidance note (PPG) 13 (2001) on Transport. The key elements are that schemes need to be developed as an integral part of the planning and transport strategy for the area, schemes need to be subject to robust assessment, including the consideration of alternative sites, the impact on local amenities and travel. PPG 13 Annex E amends PPG 2 on park and ride schemes in the green belt.

Phone Masts

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister in what circumstances it is acceptable for a mobile communications mast to be operated without a valid ICNIRP certificate being available for public inspection. [194692]

Keith Hill: The Stewart Group recommended that, as a precautionary approach, the ICNIRP guidelines for public exposure be adopted for use in the UK rather than the NRPB guidelines (paragraph 1.27 of the report) but were not convinced of the need to incorporate the ICNIRP guidelines in statutes. (1.28)

The Government agreed that in line with the recommended precautionary approach, that the emissions from mobile phones and base stations should meet the ICNIRP guidelines for public exposure as expressed in the EU Council Recommendation of 12 July 1999 on the limitation of exposure of the general public to electromagnetic fields (0 Hz to 300GHz). The Government further agreed that the guidelines did not need to be incorporated into statutes.

Planning Policy Guidance Note 8 on Telecommunications states that

4 Nov 2004 : Column 438W

John Cryer: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what powers are available to local authorities to prevent the erection of mobile telecommunications masts when permission has been refused. [194729]

Keith Hill: Development that has gone ahead without the required permission can be considered by the local planning authority to be a breach of planning control and the local planning authority can take remedial enforcement action. They have a wide range of discretionary powers. The local planning authority must decide the most appropriate action in each case in the light of local circumstances.

Under powers in the 1990 Town and Country Planning Act, as amended by the 1991 Planning and Compensation Act, local-planning authorities have:

Mr. Spring: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what discussions about mast sharing he has held with (a) telecommunication companies and (b) local authorities as an alternative to the development of new mast sites. [194940]

Keith Hill: Ministers in the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister meet regularly with the Mobile Operators Association to discuss a range of issues including the operators' progress in meeting their 10 commitments which includes a commitment on site sharing. The Association also sends statistics relating to site sharing
4 Nov 2004 : Column 439W
to the Planning Minister every quarter. Ministers have not discussed this issue with representatives of local planning authorities.


Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what plans his Department has to revise Planning Policy Guidance Note 8. [195253]

Keith Hill: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has no plans to change Planning Policy Guidance Note 8 (revised) at present.

Regeneration Funding

Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what plans he has to incorporate the information contained in the 2004 Index of Multiple Deprivation into future allocations of regeneration funding; and if he will make a statement. [193689]

Phil Hope: It will be up to individual Government Departments how to use the revised Indices of Deprivation 2004 (ID04) to allocate their funds. For funds distributed by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, such as the Neighbourhood Renewal Fund (NRF), no decision has yet been taken on how ID04 might be used to help determine future allocations.

Spending Review 2004 (SRO4) made available just over £1 billion of new NRF resources (£525 million in 2006–07 and £525 million for 2007–08). No decisions have yet been made on how these resources are to be allocated. Ministers are considering options for allocating the NRF for these years in the light of all available evidence, including the ID04. A decision on the final allocations is expected in the new year.

The allocation of NRF resources has already been determined for 2004–05 and 2005–06. For these years the resources will continue to go to the 88 existing NRF areas.

Housing Development

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what interim guidance his Department will give to district local authorities on housing numbers up to 2016 if county structure plans are withdrawn before regional spatial strategies are adopted; and if he will make a statement. [195257]

Keith Hill: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister issued policy guidance in September, entitled "Planning Policy Statement 12: Local Development Frameworks", explaining what local planning authorities need to take into account when preparing their frameworks. It advises how authorities can deal with issues such as housing numbers during the transition from the old system of local plans to local development frameworks. In order to ensure there is strategic policy in place for developing local development frameworks, PPS12 provides for structure plan policies to be saved for a period of three years from commencement of Parts 1 and 2 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 or adoption of the structure plan, whichever is the later. Structure plans can also be saved for a longer period to avoid a policy void provided that there is sufficient justification.
4 Nov 2004 : Column 440W

Officials in the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister are currently undertaking a series of regional events with key stakeholders, including local planning authorities, to explain the Government's approach towards local development frameworks and address issues such as this, which, by their nature, will vary according to local circumstances. Following these events, we will consider the need for interim guidance or whether such issues are still best addressed at the individual level.

Next Section Index Home Page