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15 Nov 2004 : Column 1229W—continued

Regulatory Compliance Costs

Mr. Redwood: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) what his latest estimate is of the cost in a year of compliance with the regulations introduced by his Department; [196557]

(2) what is the aggregate annual cost as measured by regulatory impact assessments is of compliance with regulations introduced by his Department since 1997. [196558]

Phil Hope: All proposals which impact on business, charities or the voluntary sector require a regulatory impact assessment (RIA) which includes details of the costs, benefits and risks of the proposal. RIAs are subject to public consultation and copies of final RIAs are available from the Library of the Houses and on the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's website.

Rushenden Link Road

Mr. Wyatt: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the proposed timetable is for the building of the Rushenden Link Road on the Isle of Sheppey. [197728]

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Keith Hill: It is for Kent county council, as the Local Highway Authority, to bring forward any proposals for the Rushenden Link Road scheme. It has not been set out as a priority for the council during their current Local Transport Plan (LTP) period (to 2005–06). If the scheme is progressed it will be through developer funding and as such the time scale is dependent on the private sector.

Solar Electricity

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if his Department will introduce new building regulations obliging each new development to include solar electricity. [198229]

Phil Hope: The building regulations requirements are functional rather than prescriptive to enable compliance in practical and cost-effective ways, and to leave open the possibilities for innovation. It would therefore be inconsistent to prescribe particular technologies such as solar electricity. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is reviewing the energy efficiency requirements however and amendment proposals were published for consultation in July. The proposals include setting minimum overall building performance standards at levels much higher than at present and providing new technical guidance on low and zero carbon systems.

Victims Fund

Mr Battle: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how the victims' fund set up by the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Bill will be administered. [192631]

Paul Goggins: I have been asked to reply.

The Victims' Fund will be funded by a new surcharge on criminal convictions and fixed penalty notices for criminal offences. The Fund will be used to support new and improved services for victims of crime at both local and national level. Criteria for making application to the Fund and the arrangements for administering the Fund are still being developed.