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Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government who the applications for new town developments are from; and what the timetable is for the selection of the 10 candidate sites. 
Mr. Iain Wright: As the Prime Minister told the House on 6 November we have received over 50 expressions of interest in respect of eco-towns. These have come from both local authorities and developers, and will be considered in a cross-government strategic review. The intention is then to announce the selected schemes in February 2008. We expect that there will be up to five eco-towns by 2016 and 10 by 2020.
I regret that I am not able to divulge the identities of those applying for eco-towns in advance of the completion of the process to assess the expressions of interest that have been received. This would have the potential to be detrimental to the Department's interests in the award of funding and obtaining best value, as well as to the commercial interests of those applicants not selected.
Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what powers the Planning Inspectorate has to consider applications which the local planning authority has deemed invalid; under which regulations this power exists; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Iain Wright: The Court of Appeal held in Regina v. Bath and North East Somerset district council 1999 that a determination of invalidity by the local planning authority does not exclude the right of appeal to the Secretary of State on the question of validity. The court reached its decision on the basis of a purposive construction of statutory provisions, in particular section 78 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and section 20 of the Planning (Listed Building and Conservation Areas) Act 1990.
When considering validity of an appeal, the Planning Inspectorate, acting on behalf of the Secretary of State, must take full account of the statutory requirements
under the Town and Country Planning (Applications) Regulations 1988 and those within the General Development Procedure Order 1995.
Andrew Stunell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many appeals were lodged with the Planning Inspectorate in (a) 2004, (b) 2005 and (c) 2006; and how many Planning Inspectorate site visits were outstanding (i) three months, (ii) six months, (iii) nine months and (iv) 12 months after the date an appeal had been lodged in each of these years. 
Mr. Iain Wright: The following table shows the numbers of planning appeals lodged (received) and determined by the Planning Inspectorate in (a) 2004, (b) 2005 and (c) 2006, where a site visit was carried out. The table also shows the proportion of appeals where site visits had been carried out and the numbers outstanding and waiting for a site visit (i) three months, (ii) six months, (iii) nine months and (iv) 12 months after the date the appeal had been lodged in each of the three years.
|Planning appeals (England) received and numbers of site visits carried out|
|(a) 2004||(b) 2005||(c) 2006|
|Period||Site visits carried out||Number outstanding||Site visits carried out||Number outstanding||Site visits carried out||Number outstanding|
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will increase funding for (a) management and maintenance allowances and (b) major repairs allowances. 
Mr. Iain Wright: Management and maintenance allowances and the major repairs allowance inside the Housing Revenue Account Subsidy system will be announced when the Department consults on the HRA subsidy determination for 2008-09. Consultation is imminent and it would be premature to make any announcement at this point.
Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment she has made of the ability of Lancashire county council to meet its quota for extracted sand for the period 2001 to 2016. 
Mr. Iain Wright: In relation to Lancashire county councils quota for extracted sand, as set out in its sub-regional apportionment of the Aggregates Guidelines 2001 to 2016, plan making and planning policy delivery is devolved to the appropriate regional or local planning body. The agreed sub-regional apportionment, including the ability of a Mineral Planning Authority (Lancashire) to meet it, will be tested during the development plan preparation and scrutiny process by Government Office North West; and subsequently by an independent planning inspector.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment she has made of the impact of itinerant Traveller settlements on local communities; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Iain Wright:
The Government recognise the problems that unauthorised encampments (where Gypsies and Travellers camp on land they do not own) can cause for both the settled community and Gypsies and Travellers themselves. Increased authorised site provision, coupled with effective use of enforcement powers is vital to addressing these problems. The Government have established a new framework to increase authorised site provision, and provided additional resources to support the framework and is
working with the Local Government Association and Improvement and Development Agency to assist local authorities and others to use enforcement powers more effectively.
Mr. Iain Wright: The Department for Communities and Local Government publishes data on the number of Gypsy and Traveller caravans on authorised public and private sites, and unauthorised encampments and developments twice yearly. Copies of the latest publication Count of Gypsy Caravans on 18 January 2007: Last Five Counts is available on the Department's website at:
Mr. Iain Wright: Local authorities are required to assess the accommodation needs of Gypsies and Travellers in their areas in the same way as they are required to assess the accommodation needs of all of the communities in their area.. Regional Assemblies are using these assessments to determine in regional spatial strategies how many pitches should be provided across the region and in each local planning authority area. These assessments are now under way in all local authorities in England, and the large majority are complete. Councils in Devon published the final report of their assessment in early 2007, and it is available on East Devon district council's website at:
Mr. Binley: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what powers the Government have to regulate the activities of the West Northamptonshire Development Corporation; and what regulatory mechanisms are in place. 
Mr. Iain Wright: West Northamptonshire Development Corporation (WNDC) is an executive non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Communities and Local Government. As such the broad framework within which it operates is set out in its management statement and associated financial memorandum as required by Cabinet Office guidance.
The management statement includes information on the aims, objectives and targets of WNDC and provides for performance to be monitored through the Corporate Plan, Business Plan and Annual Plan Targets. WNDCs detailed financial framework and
funding arrangements including conditions attached to receipt of grant in aid, financial delegation and reporting requirements are set out in the financial memorandum.
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the effect of the recent decision to keep the UK Hydrographic Office at Taunton on the ongoing review of the Office's structure and ownership. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO) is a trading fund within the Ministry of Defence. In February 2007, we announced that we would carry out a review of the structural and ownership options for UKHO. This is due to report at the end of the year.
As the review work matured and the options were defined in more detail, it became clear that the decision on UKHO's future status was independent from the decision on its future location. As a result we were able to take forward the site investment appraisal.
In order to end the uncertainty facing UKHO's staff, we sought to announce the results of this appraisal as quickly as possible. The decision to keep the UKHO in Taunton was taken on value for money grounds.
Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans are being made to commemorate the 90(th) anniversary of the Armistice of 1918 next November; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth [holding answer 12 November 2007]: There are currently no plans for the Department to commemorate specifically the 90(th) anniversary of the end of the first world war but we are keeping this under review. While not denying the importance of any milestone related to the great war, our priority is to arrange commemorations which provide living veterans with an opportunity to remember their experiences on significant anniversaries which are generally the 25(th), 50(th) and 60(th). In addition, we also mark the centennials of major conflicts that have a central place in the national memory and this will be the case for the first world war in 2018.
My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Defence, announced, on 27 June 2006, Official Report, column 6WS, our plans for a major national event to mark the passing of the first world war generation some months after the death of the last known veteran resident in the UK. The overall aim will be for a reverential national event that is both commemorative and educational.
While the Department is not planning specific commemorations for the 90(th) anniversary, we will of course provide support where possible to veterans associations or other organisations that may be planning their own events.
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Records indicate that no baton rounds have been used in Afghanistan since July 2006. There are no centrally-held records prior to that date, but we believe it is highly unlikely that any baton rounds would have been used by UK forces in Afghanistan between 2001 and July 2006.
Records indicate that around 70 baton rounds were used in Iraq in 2004, 1,520 in 2005, 1,070 in 2006 and 200 in 2007. There are no centrally-held records for the period prior to 2004, although records suggest that no baton rounds were used during the initial combat phase of the operation. In addition, records indicate that three anti-riot CS grenades were used in Iraq in 2005 and 10 in 2006. None were used in 2004 or, to date, in 2007.
Derek Twigg: The number of awards made under the armed forces compensation scheme in each year since 2005 is shown in the following table. The armed forces and reserve forces compensation scheme (AFCS) came into force on 6 April 2005 to pay compensation for injury, illness or death caused by Service on or
|Awards( 1, 2, 3)|
|Tariff Level||April 2005 to March 2006||April 2006 to March 2007||April 2007 to September 2007|
|(1 )Where more than one condition is claimed for, the table shows the highest tariff level that a claimant has been awarded for a single condition. (2) Data have been rounded to the nearest 5. "" refers to a value of zero, while "*" refers to a negligible value (greater than zero, but less than five). Numbers may not add to totals because of rounding. (3) Under the AFCS, individuals have up to 5 years in which to make a claim. The figures shown in the table reflect the year in which the claim was decided, not necessarily the year in which the injury occurred.|
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