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Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on how many occasions a Minister from his Department has visited the North Down and Ards Institute in each of the past three years. 
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will place in the Library a copy of the presentation and handouts produced by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency for the February 2006 Integrating Geographical Information System and Computer Assisted Mass Appraisal Conference in Orlando. 
The presentation was made by a private sector company working with the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) on behalf of the Valuation and Lands Agency (VLA). No member of NISRA or VLA was present at the conference.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many images are held in the Valuation and Lands Agencys Photoviewer database; in what graphic format they are held; how much was spent on building the database; and what the maximum number is of images that can be stored. 
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the Valuation and Lands Agencys estimated expenditure is on preparation required to implement the planning gain supplement. 
Mr. Hanson: Preparations for the introduction of Planning gain Supplement (PGS) are likely to comprise staff training and the development of an interface between the IT systems of the Valuation and Lands Agency and Her Majestys Revenue and Customs.
No estimates of cost have yet been prepared for these as the nature of the interface required is only at the early stages of specification and the volume of cases to be processed will not be determined until after the public consultation period on Valuing Planning Gain and Paying PGS ends on 28 February 2007.
David Cairns: The Department of the Environment is currently considering the recruitment of two landscape architect assistants (in the PTO Grade). A candidate information pack has been prepared and is with Recruitment Service, but a timetable for advertising has yet to be agreed.
Dr. Alasdair McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the expenditure of his Department's planning service was on landscape architects in 2005-06; and how much is estimated to be spent in 2006-07. 
David Cairns: During 2005-06, expenditure by the Department of the Environment's Planning Service on landscape architects was £596,000. Estimated expenditure for landscape architects in 2006-07 is £386,000.
Dr. Alasdair McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many landscape architects are employed by the planning service in Northern Ireland; and how many were employed in each of the previous five years. 
David Cairns: The Department of the Environment currently employs 10 landscape architects, including one casual member of staff. Until 1 April 2006, landscape architects were employed by the Department of Finance and Personnel and I understand from that Department that the numbers employed in each of the previous five years are as follows:
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what discussions his Department has had with the Police Service of Northern Ireland on the police raid at the home of Declan Murphy in Camlough in December 2006. 
Paul Goggins: The hon. Gentleman raised this issue during Questions to the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on 10 January 2007, Official Report, column 266 and at that time I advised that no arrests had been made. Subsequent advice from my officials indicated that two arrests had been made. I apologise to the hon. Gentleman for this unintended error.
The Secretary of State and I receive regular confidential briefings from the Chief Constable on a range of issues. It would be inappropriate to comment on any individual case, particularly where an investigation is ongoing.
Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what planned improvement works to enhance public safety are scheduled for 2007 at unmanned railway crossings on the rail networks in Northern Ireland. 
Capital works projects are scheduled at four unmanned crossings. These are Robinsons (near Moira) and Menarys (Portstewart), both of which will be miniature stop light controlled crossings and where site works are due to begin imminently; Meeting House Lane (Dunmurry), where a gated crossing facility is to be erected; and McConaghies
(Myroe), currently at economic appraisal stage. In addition, a continuous programme of maintenance inspections is undertaken for all such crossings and minor remedial works are undertaken as necessary.
Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what financial support is available from his Department for the regeneration of town centres on the east coast of the Province; and how much such support has been provided by his Department in each of the past three years. 
Financial support for the regeneration of town centres is provided by several NI Departments. The Department for Social Development (DSD) has primary responsibility for urban regeneration and allocates its budget on the basis of needs identified across the whole of Northern Ireland. DSD works with councils, other agencies and the private sector to deliver a range of programmes which tackle dereliction and enhance town and city centres. Other Departments contributing to this work include the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD), which has invested funding through the Fisheries Taskforce specifically in a number of towns and villages on the eastern coast. The Department for Regional Development's (DRD) Roads Service may also contribute to regeneration initiatives in addition to its normal work in respect of traffic management and maintenance work to improve roads within town centres.
Dr. Alasdair McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether his Department plans to introduce a licence system for developers wishing to fell trees similar to that which operates in England. 
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, pursuant to the answer of 29 November 2006, Official Report, column 714W, on the Valuation and Lands Agency, if he will place in the Library a copy of the presentation given by (a) the Chief Executive of the Agency and (b) the Director of Domestic Rating and Assessment to the annual conference of the International Association of Assessing Officers in Milwaukee in October 2006. 
Mr. Hanson: A copy of the presentation given by the Chief Executive of the Agency will be placed in the Library. The Director of Rating and Assessment was part of an international panel discussion and did not give a formal presentation.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, pursuant to the Answer of 29 November 2006, Official Report, column 714W, on the Valuation and Lands Agency, what the technical definition is of a value neighbourhood. 
the largest possible contiguous grouping of properties where significant economic forces on those properties are generally uniform.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, pursuant to the answer of 29 November 2006, Official Report, columns 716-17W, on the Valuation and Lands Agency, what the average numerical value is of the constant (a variable) used in the calibrated multiple regression formula in each of the 25 market areas. 
|Constant values in the calibrated multiple regression formula|
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, pursuant to the answer of 29 November 2006, Official Report, columns 716-17W, on the Valuation and Lands Agency, which property
attribute variables had co-efficients of greater than +/- zero in the calibrated multiple regression formulae in (a) some of and (b) all the market areas. 
Mr. Hanson: A list of property attribute variables which had co-efficients of greater than zero in the calibrated multiple regression formulae in (a) some; and (b) all of the market areas is given in the following table:
|Property attributesVariables used throughout the 25 models|
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