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Mr. Burstow: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how much the (a) Department and (b) non-departmental bodies for which the Department is responsible has spent on advertising, broken down by media type in the last three years. 
Mr. Drew: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will make a statement on his decision to order an environmental impact assessment on Aston Down; and what representations he has received on the matter. 
[holding answer 23 June 2005]: The applicants requested the Secretary of State's screening direction on the matter of whether or not the application made to Stroud district council is an 'EIA application'
11 Jul 2005 : Column 792W
within the meaning of the Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) (England and Wales) Regulations 1999.
The Secretary of State issued a screening direction on 11 May 2005. In the opinion of the Secretary of State, taking into account the selection criteria in schedule 3 to the 1999 regulations, the proposal is likely to have significant effects on the environment by virtue of factors such as its nature and location. The development proposed, namely, change of use of buildings to a mix of classes B1, B2, B8, and sui generis uses falls within thedescription at paragraph (10)(a) of schedule 2 to the 1999 regulations. The reason for this conclusion is the proposal is for an industrial estate development on a site in excess of 0.5 hectares. Since the proposal exceeds the threshold in column 2 of the table in schedule 2 to the 1999 regulations and is located in a sensitive area, theSecretary of State considers the application to be a 'Schedule 2 application' within the meaning of the 1999 regulations.
However, the Secretary of State's opinion on the likelihood of the development having significant environmental effects is reached only for the purposes of the screening direction. Since a further planning application is expected in respect of this site, it is possible that the site will come before the First Secretary of State in the future either as the subject of a call-in or on appeal, therefore any comments regarding the merits of any proposal for the site could prejudice the First Secretary of State's position.
Jim Cousins: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister who gave the approval for Bridging Newcastle Gateshead Pathfinder to commission an area planning consultation from the Beyond Green consultancy on the area around the former Newcastle Brewery; what the cost was of the commission; whether Bridging Newcastle Gateshead Pathfinder knew that the same consultancy was also conducting planning consultations for a major developer in the area; and what protocols regarding the avoidance of conflicts of interest applied. 
Yvette Cooper: Discussions on individual projects are devolved to the board of the Bridging Newcastle Gateshead Pathfinder and do not require approval from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. The pathfinder has standard processes for appraisal and approval of projects. No information on this project is held centrally.
Jim Cousins: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister who the members of the (a) Bridging Newcastle Gateshead Pathfinder Board and (b) North East Regional Housing Board are; if he will place in the Library a copy of the declaration of interest by each member; and whether each organisation is required to have board meetings open to the public. 
Mr. Woolas: Boats are not in themselves subject to council tax. A mooring occupied by a boat which is somebody's sole or main residence is deemed to be a dwelling" for council tax purposes and will therefore attract a council tax liability in the same way as other domestic types of property. A dwelling consisting of a mooring which is not occupied by a boat is exempt from council tax.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister whether (a) councils, (b) registered social landlords and (c) private sector investors are charged for the services of his Department's Housing Task Force. 
Yvette Cooper: The Community Housing Task Force refer authorities to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's Housing Transfer Manual 2005 Programme which gives guidance on the procedures to be followed during the consultation process.
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