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3 July 2006 : Column 781W—continued

Social Housing, (Islington)

Emily Thornberry: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much was spent on social housing in Islington in each year between 1979 and 2006, broken down by source. [80876]

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Yvette Cooper: The following table shows the total expenditure on the provision of social housing in Islington since 1997-98 through the Housing Corporation Approved Development Programme and Local Authority Social Housing Grant.

£ million



















Housing Corporation Annual Investment in London publication.

These figures include expenditure on new build schemes as well as for acquisition and refurbishment. Information on expenditure before 1997-98 is not readily accessible.

Statutory Overcrowding

Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what plans she has to revise the definition of statutory overcrowding. [72419]

Yvette Cooper: The current statutory standard is set out in Part 10 of the Housing Act 1985. It has not changed since 1985. The Government believe that this is out of date and will publish a consultation paper on options for reform this summer.

Sustainable Buildings

David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what incentives for sustainable construction techniques in housebuilding have been introduced since 1997. [79377]

Margaret Hodge: I have been asked to reply.

The Low Carbon Buildings programme, with an £80 million budget over 3 years, provides grant support for the installation of microgeneration technologies to householders, communities and business including housebuilders.

Furthermore, the Department has introduced a number of fiscal research initiatives since publication of Sir John Egan's reports “Rethinking Construction”, in 1998. These have been aimed at improving the supply chain, enhancing knowledge transfer and encouraging focus upon the wider aspects of sustainability throughout the Construction Industry.

Sustainable Communities

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Meriden, of 25 May 2006, Official Report, column 2067W, on the
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sustainable communities plan, if she will place in the Library copies of the written submissions and responses by the water companies on planning for the growth areas and regional planning. [78240]

Yvette Cooper: The water companies have and will continue to make a number of representations as part of the development and review of Regional Spatial Strategies, including modifications to consider additional housing in growth areas. For example, in the recent East of England Examination In Public, Anglian Water and Thames Water both made representations to the independent panel outlining their views on the impact on water supply as a result of house building. However, such representations by water companies can be made at different stages of the planning process, both formally and informally. These are not held centrally by Government and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Sustainable Regeneration

Joan Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment she has made of the Sustainable Development Commission's “Mainstreaming Sustainable Regeneration” report; and what action has been taken to implement its recommendations. [80858]

Yvette Cooper: I welcome the Sustainable Development Commission “Mainstreaming Sustainable Regeneration” report as a useful contribution to bringing sustainable development principles into regeneration. Since the report was published in 2003, the Department has continued to embed sustainable development principles into its regeneration work. Examples of this work include:

Thames Gateway

Mr. Evennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what progress
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has been made towards meeting job creation targets in the Thames Gateway area; and if she will make a statement. [75820]

Yvette Cooper: Later this year, the Department will publish a Strategic Framework for the Thames Gateway. It will have at its core an economic rationale for the Gateway, developed in partnership with the three Thames Gateway regional development agencies and the Thames Gateway sub-regional partnerships. The Department plans to publish a baseline report alongside the framework, which will describe the position at the start of the programme in 2003. We intend to use this to produce progress updates at appropriate intervals thereafter.

Mr. Rogerson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps are being taken to ensure that the views of local people within the Thames Gateway redevelopment area are taken into account with regard to infrastructure and planning. [79285]

Yvette Cooper: The Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 requires local planning authorities, including those in the Thames Gateway, to prepare a statement of community involvement for their area. The statement of community involvement sets out how the local planning authority will engage with the local community and stakeholders in the preparation of local development documents and on consultations for planning applications. Where local authorities have not adopted a statement of community involvement, they are required to comply with the minimum requirements set out in the Town and Country Planning (Local Development)(England) Regulations 2004 in terms of engaging the local community and stakeholders in the preparation of local development documents.

At the regional level, regional planning bodies are responsible for preparing draft Regional Spatial Strategies (RSS) and are required to prepare a statement of community involvement on how they intend to engage the public and on how the public were involved in the preparation of the draft RSS. The adequacy of community involvement and how the views of the community have been taken on board is one of the tests of soundness which is considered at the public examination of the draft RSS.

Mr. Rogerson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what environmental initiatives are being planned as part of the redevelopment of the Thames Gateway. [79286]

Yvette Cooper: The Government believe that communities are more successful and enjoy a better and healthier quality of life if they have easy access to an attractive well designed and managed green environment which is rich in biodiversity.

In 2004 the Government published “Greening the Gateway”, a strategy for Thames Gateway which established the principle that new and existing residential and commercial areas should be set in a network of varied and well-managed green space, known as green grids. Green grids create green pathways and wildlife corridors through commercial
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and residential areas to link rural and green spaces together, making them more welcoming and accessible.

To date, £26 million has been allocated to green space projects from the Thames Gateway programme fund including:

Marshes Plan Implementation

£1 million to enable Groundwork to develop and deliver a Marshes Plan for Dartford, Crayford and Erith, including a strategic cycle route, heritage trail and other access improvements, habitat creation and education areas.

Flood Storage along River Cray

£500,000 as part of a plan to improve access down to and along the River Cray. Funding for works to improve habitat creation and optimise flood storage capacity

Lower Roding Valley

£1 million for Lower River Roding valley environmental, flood alleviation and path works.

Rainham Marshes

£5.25 million for this green grid flagship project, involving the construction of a continuous 3.65 km long, 3 m wide footpath and cycleway across the Rainham, Wennington and Aveley Marshes (the 640 hectares of which is known as the London Riverside Conservation Park).

Ranscombe Farm Country Park:

£665,000 towards the £l,348,000 project to create flagship country park and nature reserve, within the Kent Downs area of outstanding natural beauty and within reach of urban developments in Medway and Kent Thameside. Ranscombe Farm is one of the richest botanical sites in the British Isles and home to the single most important arable flower field in the UK. The 600 acre site also includes ancient woodland and relict fragments of chalk grassland.

Mr. Rogerson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what regulations are in place in relation to the building of new housing in the Thames Gateway to reduce (a) carbon levels, (b) waste production, (c) electricity use and (d) overall environmental impact; and how the regulations will be enforced. [79287]

Yvette Cooper: Part L of the Building Regulations covers conservation of fuel and power as it relates to a building. Building Regulation standards for new housing in England and Wales have been improved by 40 per cent. since early 2002. It covers all energy used for space heating and hot water.

Part H of the Building Regulations covers drainage and waste disposal. It states that adequate provision shall be made for storage of solid waste. It does not cover reduction of waste.

The Building Regulations do not cover carbon levels or general environmental impact.

The Government are also introducing a new code for sustainable homes to go further than building regulations.

The Government have announced a feasibility study into the extent to which we can facilitate the Thames Gateway becoming a low carbon development area within the next decade, with the ultimate goal of
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achieving zero carbon development area status. We envisage that the results of this work will inform future decisions about the Government’s wider approach to environmental standards within the Thames Gateway.

Visual Arts Facility

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what involvement her Department had in the decision to grant planning consent for the Visual Arts Facility at Colchester. [76466]

Yvette Cooper: The Department carefully considered all the planning issues raised about the application for a Visual Arts Facility in Colchester. In reaching the decision not to call it in for the Secretary of State's determination, the main matters relevant to this decision were her policies:

Having considered carefully these and other relevant planning issues raised by the proposal together with all representations received, and having regard to her policy on call in, the Secretary of State concluded on balance that intervention would not be justified as there was insufficient conflict with national planning policies on the above matters to warrant calling in the application for her own determination.

Water Provision

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when she last met Water Voice to discuss the long-term provision of water to meet the future development needs of London and the south-east; what conclusions were reached; and if she will make a statement. [80387]

Yvette Cooper: The Secretary of State has not met with Water Voice. The Department for Communities
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and Local Government (DCLG) and Consumer Council for Water (formerly Water Voice) do meet to discuss matters concerning the sustainable use of water resources as members of the Water Saving Group, chaired by the Minister for Environment and Climate Change at Defra. This important forum is exploring how water industry stakeholders can work together in practical ways to promote the efficient use of water in households, to help protect the long-term sustainability of supply. DCLG is also working with a number of key stakeholders, including Ofwat, water companies and the Environment Agency, to ensure that the long-term provision of water meets the needs of an ageing and growing population.

Deputy Prime Minister

Departmental Budget

Sir Paul Beresford: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the planned budget is of his office in each of the next three years. [81936]

The Deputy Prime Minister: Expenditure will be accounted for in the Department's annual report and accounts in the usual way.

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