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20 Oct 2005 : Column 1112W—continued

Environmental Impact Assessments

Bill Wiggin: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1)what requirements exist on local authorities to carry out environmental impact assessments on sites being considered for development; [18292]

(2) what requirements exist to ensure that adequate (a) surveys are conducted and (b) scientific data are collected during environmental impact assessments; [18293]

(3) what (a) guidelines and (b) regulations exist concerning how long before consideration of a planning permission application an environmental impact assessment should be carried out; [18294]

(4) what obligations exist for consideration of ecological surveys in consideration of planning applications; and what requirements there are on the (a) age and (b) accuracy of these surveys. [18295]

Yvette Cooper: The requirements relating to environmental impact assessment of development falling within the planning system are set out in the Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) (England and Wales) Regulations 1999 (SI 1999/293).

For some types of development environmental impact assessment (EIA) is mandatory. For others it is required if the local planning authority considers that the particular development would be likely to have significant effects on the environment. Where EIA is required, the developer must provide environmental information (called an Environmental Statement) which includes: a description of the development comprising information on the site, design and size of the development; a description of the aspects of the environment likely to be significantly affected including, in particular, population, fauna, flora, soil, water, air, climatic factors, material assets, including the architectural and archaeological heritage, landscape
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and the inter-relationship between all these aspects; a description of the measures envisaged to mitigate any significant adverse effects; an outline of any alternatives considered; and a non-technical summary of the above information. The Environmental Statement is circulated to statutory consultation bodies, and made available to the public, for comment.

The Regulations do not specify when the EIA has to be carried out. However, a planning authority is prohibited from granting planning permission unless an Environmental Statement has been provided. If the authority considers there are deficiencies in the Environmental Statement it can require an applicant to provide further information or produce evidence needed to verify any information in the Statement. In determining an application the planning authority must take account of the Environmental Statement, any further information provided, and any comments or representations made by statutory consultees and the public.

Home Information Packs

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1)what estimate has been made of the revenue from VAT likely to be raised from home information packs; [17441]

(2) whether value added tax will be levied on home information packs. [17445]

Dawn Primarolo: I have been asked to reply.

The VAT treatment of home information packs will depend on a number of factors. The exact nature of the packs, and how they will be provided, is still under consideration, and draft regulations are expected to be published shortly. HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister are discussing the possible VAT treatment of these packs, and suppliers of home information packs, or parts thereof, will be able to contact HMRC for advice as required and separate guidance will be issued if appropriate.

No estimate has been made of the revenue yield from home information packs.


Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many (a) priority homeless and (b) homeless households were in temporary accommodation in England in each quarter since Q1 1993. [17386]

Yvette Cooper: The number of households accepted by local authorities in England as eligible for assistance, unintentionally homeless and in priority need during each quarter since January—March 1993, and the number of households in temporary accommodation arranged by authorities under homelessness legislation as at the end of each quarter, is tabled.

The duty owed to a person accepted as eligible for assistance, unintentionally homeless and in priority need is to secure suitable accommodation. If a settled home is not immediately available, the authority may secure temporary accommodation until a settled home becomes available. As an alternative to the provision of temporary accommodation some authorities arrange for households to remain in their current accommodation (homeless at home), until a settled solution becomes available.
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Local authority activity on homelessness: England

Total priority acceptances during the quarter(3)
Total in temporary accommodation at the end of each quarter(4)
Quarter 134,68061,380
Quarter 232,52057,920
Quarter 332,16056,500
Quarter 428,27053,580
Quarter 132,41052,340
Quarter 228,76048,660
Quarter 330,41048,110
Quarter 426,91045,630
Quarter 130,77046,350
Quarter 229,22045,940
Quarter 330,91046,690
Quarter 426,59044,140
Quarter 129,83043,240
Quarter 228,35043,300
Quarter 328,81043,830
Quarter 426,60042,190
Quarter 126,85041,250
Quarter 224,26043,720
Quarter 326,26045,290
Quarter 424,63044,870
Quarter 127,28047,520
Quarter 225,59049,390
Quarter 326,87052,510
Quarter 424,89053,790
Quarter 126,91056,580
Quarter 225,97058,430
Quarter 328,02061,450
Quarter 424,47062,180
Quarter 127,12065,170
Quarter 227,59067,520
Quarter 329,21071,860
Quarter 427,42073,080
Quarter 130,45075,200
Quarter 228,95075,920
Quarter 330,59077,800
Quarter 427,84077,510
Quarter 129,28080,200
Quarter 230,46081,660
Quarter 333,31085,010
Quarter 430,79085,140
Quarter 133,98089,040
Quarter 234,09091,870
Quarter 335,77094,440
Quarter 431,75094,610
Quarter 133,82097,680
Quarter 2(5)32,90099,530
Quarters 3(5)32,150101,300
Quarter 4(5)28,890101,030
Quarter 1(5)26,920101,070
Quarter 2(5)27,310100,970

(3)All households eligible under homelessness legislation, found to be unintentionally homeless and in a priority need category and consequently owed a main homelessness duty.
(4)Households in accommodation arranged by local authorities either pending a decision on their homelessness application or awaiting allocation of a settled home following acceptance.
(5)Provisional data.
ODPM: Homelessness returns (quarterly)

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Homes for Life Standard

Mr. Andrew Smith: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will make a statement on progress in the adoption of the homes for life standard in new build. [17609]

Yvette Cooper: The Government expects shortly to provide a response to the Report of the House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee on Ageing Populations, Recommendation 9.19 which covers the Lifetime Home Standards.


Mr. Laws: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister which 25 local authorities in England have (a) the largest number of people on the housing register and (b) the largest waiting lists for processing homeless applications; and if he will make a statement. [18624]

Yvette Cooper: Table A presents the 25 local authorities in England reporting the highest number of households on their housing register as at 1 April this year, and Table B presents the 25 local authorities with the largest number of households accepted as owed a main homelessness duty, and in temporary accommodation (with their households) arranged by the authority awaiting a settled home as at 30 June.

Local authorities do not hold a waiting list for homeless applications; as soon as they have reason to believe that a person is homeless or threatened with homelessness they must make inquiries to determine whether any duty is owed under the homelessness legislation. Information about the length of time taken by local authorities to process applications is not collected centrally, but The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's Homelessness Code of Guidance recommends that wherever possible inquiries should be completed, and the applicant notified, within 33 working days.

The duty owed to an applicant, on behalf of the household, accepted as eligible for assistance, unintentionally homeless and in priority need is to secure suitable accommodation for the applicant and his or her household. In many cases, a settled home is not immediately available, and the local housing authority will secure temporary accommodation until a settled home becomes available. In such cases, the applicant
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household will usually join the housing register for an allocation of housing under Part 6 of the Housing Act 1996 (although other housing options such as a qualifying offer of an assured shorthold tenancy can also bring the homelessness duty to an end).

The Government's homelessness strategy Sustainable Communities: settled homes; changing lives sets out the challenging aim to halve the number of households in insecure temporary accommodation by 2010.
Table A: Local authorities with the 25 highest figures for numbers of households on their housing register(6)as at 1 April 2005

Local authority RegionNumber of households
1. SheffieldYorkshire and the Humber72,604
2. BradfordYorkshire and the Humber32,046
3. LeedsYorkshire and the Humber30,699
4. NewhamLondon25,317
5. Tower HamletsLondon21,183
6. HaringeyLondon19,930
7. SandwellWest Midlands19,655
8. LewishamLondon18,279
9. ManchesterNorth West17,772
10. BirminghamWest Midlands17,493
11. BrentLondon17,351
12. CamdenLondon16,532
13. SunderlandNorth East16,222
14. BoltonNorth West16,096
15. WirralNorth West15,524
16. EalingLondon14,324
17. RotherhamYorkshire and the Humber13,903
18. BarnetLondon13,627
19. Newcastle upon
North East13,099
20. East Riding of
Yorkshire and the Humber12,163
21. WalsallWest Midlands12,024
22. DoncasterYorkshire and the Humber11,937
23. BristolSouth West11,809
24. SeftonNorth West11,637
25. LeicesterEast Midlands11,482

(6)Excludes existing tenants awaiting a transfer. Local authorities may maintain a common waiting list with housing associations in their district, but information is not held centrally where a housing association maintains a separate waiting list.
ODPM Housing Strategy Statistical Appendix (HSSA) (annual)

Table B: Local authorities with the 25 highest figures for numbers of households in temporary accommodation (7), as at 30 June 2005

Local authorityRegionNumber of households
NewhamLondon6,117 E
Tower HamletsLondon2,654
Waltham ForestLondon1,692
Hammersmith and FulhamLondon1,579
Kensington and ChelseaLondon1,053
LutonEast of England945
SwindonSouth West810

(7)Households in accommodation arranged by local authorities awaiting allocation of a settled home following acceptance of a main homelessness duty.
(8)An estimated figure, based on reported totals (which included but did not distinguish, those in TA pending a decision on their homelessness application), or on other available information.
ODPM P1E Homelessness returns (quarterly)

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