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20 Dec 2005 : Column 2818W—continued

Free Bus Travel Scheme

Mr. Clelland: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many local authorities have a forecast shortfall in excess of £1 million in relation to allocated funding for the free bus travel scheme following announcement of the local government revenue support grants. [38564]

Mr. Woolas: Expenditure on concessionary fares is funded via the formula grant settlement. Formula grant is an unhypothecated block grant. This means that councils are able to spend the money on any services. It is not therefore possible to calculate how much funding has been allocated to each authority with respect to concessionary fares. Budget estimates and decisions are for councils themselves to make.

Freedom of Information Act

Anne Main: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many requests under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 his Department has received regarding its asset register. [38127]

Jim Fitzpatrick: There have been no requests under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 regarding the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's asset register.
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Green Belt

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how much land within 1997-designated green belt in each region changed to developed use in each year since 1997. [15238]

Yvette Cooper: The available estimates are from Land Use Change Statistics, shown in the following tables. The numbers and table titles are unchanged but the
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units for the tables headed New dwellings within 1997 designated green belt", given previously as hectares", are corrected to dwellings". The order of the tables has also been changed to follow the order of the questions. The estimates for 2003 are provisional and are subject to revision. Figures are not shown for 1999 as the data received for that year were incomplete. Figures for 1997 to 2000 reflect planning policies and decisions made before this Government took office.
Land changing to residential use within 1997 designated green belt

(a) All on designated green belt
North East331271023
North West514639605964434953
Yorkshire and the Humber252721404228415046
East Midlands91013107201769
West Midlands242729333138315635
East of England405041374958683646
South East625249675475645255
South West91481016141399
Proportion of all green belt (percentage)0.0140.0140.0130.0160.0170.0190.0170.0170.016
(b) On greenfield land (not previously developed)
North East221271012
North West261727362923172025
Yorkshire and the Humber181715242521202522
East Midlands6644461236
West Midlands151519141722172414
East of England111412101022131320
South East181012281928141713
South West3946107452
Proportion of all green belt (percentage)0.0060.0060.0060.0070.0080.0080.0060.0070.007

Land changing to developed use within 1997 designated green belt

(a) All on designated green belt
North East4320111431847132118
North West331329367488401223367142222
Yorkshire and the Humber253283182481437164131286285
East Midlands6513219797939210228128
West Midlands173210286130125328155129335
East of England172183159196238273319169339
South East228244482395218554309143151
South West481452075885132753529
Proportion of all green belt (percentage)
(b) On greenfield land (not previously developed)
North East1415710984561610
North West1971502433152621012375359
Yorkshire and the Humber152102752742826052124133
East Midlands4660160617470581360
West Midlands101761436962673552266
East of England838487150716590100120
South East11210310420469389904057
South West289216042539145148
Proportion of all green belt (percentage)

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New dwellings within 1997 designated green belt

(a) All on designated green belt
North East5223225014019112770
North West8797717301,2841,0491,3507991,0191,565
Yorkshire and the Humber373423316630673508891939815
East Midlands143125181194143297289117120
West Midlands390533474610507731817879653
East of England5525804994798469561,181485795
South East6537335538688021,1759507341,053
South West124211109159309271243199163
Proportion of all new dwellings (percentage)232344443
(b) On greenfield land (not previously developed)
North East462019341281721945
North West472285486746486355296329682
Yorkshire and the Humber289269173336361373462361405
East Midlands9377679377391483965
West Midlands220313288276225372462333250
East of England119134132107135331198145286
South East172117147301218278134194322
South West53135469319590327634
Proportion of all new dwellings (percentage)111112111

Greenbelt Land

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will make a statement on his planning policy for development of green belt land. [39125]

Yvette Cooper: The Government's planning policy in relation to green belt land is set out in Planning Policy Guidance note 2 (PPG2), Green Belts". Specifically, there remains a general presumption against inappropriate development in the green belt. Such development should not be approved except in very special circumstances, where it can be shown that the harm to the green belt, and any other harm, is clearly outweighed by other considerations.

Growth Areas Directorate

Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what recent discussions have taken place between officials from the Department's Growth Areas Directorate and officials from the Department for Education and Skills on the provision of a university for north Northamptonshire. [34109]

Yvette Cooper: Northamptonshire recently received a boost to its higher education provision when the University College in Northampton gained the Royal Charter and official university status. This is good news for the communities of Northamptonshire who will benefit from the university located at the heart of the county and the university is looking to expand its provision significantly over the next five years. In addition, the Tresham Institute serves the communities of North Northamptonshire, providing Post-16 education, vocational training and a wide variety of adult learning courses. Tresham is also an associate college of De Montfort university, so offers a range of professional and degree level courses. The institute
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plans to open a new £20 million campus in Kettering in early 2007 as part of a wider programme to renewal all of its campuses by 2010.

The Milton Keynes-South Midlands sub regional strategy identifies the need to expand higher education resources to serve the increasing education and training needs of the sub-region's population and states that it has a key part to play in the growth of the area. I understand that local growth partners in North Northamptonshire recognise that physical presence by a university is an important element in supporting a broad range of jobs, opportunities and economic development of the area and are in early discussions with education providers to explore how this could be best be strengthened. Officials in the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister would expect to be involved in these discussions at the appropriate stage.

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