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Mr. Redwood: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many EU (a) regulations and (b) directives covering matters within the responsibility of his Department have been repealed since 1 April 2004. 
Yvette Cooper: The information requested is not held centrally in the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, but by the management units responsible for the policy areas concerned. It could be assembled only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Todd: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will publish the risk assessment conducted on the proposal to regionalise emergency fire control; and what steps he is taking to ensure that those engaged in providing services (a) contribute to the design of new systems and (b) maintain services during transition. 
Mr. Raynsford: The Mott MacDonald report The Future of Fire Service Control Rooms and Communications in England and Wales" which was published in 2000 with an update in 2003, undertook a cost/benefit risk analysis of the options for the provision of fire and rescue service control rooms and communications. The original report is available at:
There are a number of control room and other fire and rescue service personnel seconded to the national project team, and a member of the Chief Fire Officers' Association is employed to work on the project full time. These have had, and will continue to have, significant input into the design of the accommodation, the specification for the control room systems and the development of processes and staffing models. We also have a wide programme of engagement with members of the service through regular national seminars, control
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staff workshops and other workstream-focussed working groups, which brings significant expertise to the project and ensures that the service has a voice to influence and guide progress.
Maintenance of adequate staffing levels in control rooms during the transition period is the responsibility of individual fire and rescue authorities. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has provided guidance to authorities on methods of retention.
Keith Hill: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has made £182 million available over the 2004 Spending Review period for gap funding agreements. One gap funding agreement has been signed to date between Shoreline Housing Partnership and the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. The agreement sets out a range of conditions to which the registered social landlord must adhere and requires that specific performance milestones are met to demonstrate eligibility for gap funding payments.
Keith Hill: These are all matters for the South East England Regional Assembly as part of their preparation of the draft South East Plan, upon which they are currently carrying out a public consultation.
New Heartlands, the market renewal pathfinder for Merseyside is making good progress. It is on target for full spend and achievement of target outputs in 200405. But the programme is still in its
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early stages and it is too soon to assess in detail the impact of the programme on the Merseyside housing market.
New Heartlands has an allocation of £34 million grant in 200506 and has been invited to update its strategy and make the case for future funding, including £65 million to £110 million for the two-year period from April 2006.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what assessment he has made of the effects of the Best Value Performance Indicator on litter and detritus on local authorities' performance in this area. 
Mr. Raynsford: The Best Value Performance Indicator on litter and detritus (BV199) was introduced in April 2003. Data has been submitted by local authorities for 200304, and audited data for 200405 will not be received until at least August 2005. With only one year's performance data so far, it is too early to assess the effect on local authorities' performance.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many official visits (a) he, (b) the Minister of State (Local and Regional Government), (c) the Minister of State (Regeneration and Regional Development) and (d) the Minister of State (Minister for Housing and Planning) have made since 1997; and if he will make a statement. 
Yvette Cooper: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister was established in May 2002. Since then we estimate that Ministers have undertaken the following number of official visits (including speaking engagements):
|Minister||Number of official visits|
|My right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister||179|
|The Minister of State for local and regional government and fire||119|
|The Minister of State for regeneration and regional development||217|
|The Minister of State for housing and planning||(17)199|
Bob Russell: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will arrange for an independent inquiry to be held into the building control and inspection procedures of the National House Building Council (NHBC); and if he will invite members of the public dissatisfied with the performance of the NHBC to give evidence. 
There is no evidence to suggest that there is a general problem with the building control inspection regime currently employed by the National House Building Council (NHBC). Consequently the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has no plans to call an
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independent inquiry. However, officials in the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister will continue to work closely with NHBC to resolve the isolated cases involving claims from new home buyers.
Mr. Baron: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) how many decisions by him on a refusal by a local authority to give planning permission for a Traveller site were outstanding in each parliamentary constituency in the last year for which figures are available; and what percentage of decisions on Traveller sites made by the local authority this represented in each case; 
(2) what percentage of planning permission applications for Traveller sites which were refused by local authorities in each of the last five years were awaiting a decision from him at each year end; 
(3) how many and what percentage of Traveller sites applications which had been refused planning permission by local authorities were awaiting a decision from him in (a) the last year for which figures are available and (b) each of the preceding four years. 
Yvette Cooper: There is an ongoing flow of planning appeals resulting from Local Planning Authorities' refusal of an application for planning permission involving Traveller sites. Both the Planning Inspectorate and the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister seek to ensure that these are determined in a timely manner. Information on the number of planning appeals decided and the number that were in the process of being determined at the end of each of the last four financial years, broken down by local authority, has been made available in the Library of the House. This information includes planning appeals determined by Planning Inspectors on behalf of the First Secretary of State, my right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister and those recovered for determination by the First Secretary of State, my right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister. It is not possible to present the information by parliamentary constituency. We do not collect information centrally on the total number of decisions made by Local Planning Authorities.
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