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5 Dec 2007 : Column 1246Wcontinued
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many people remain displaced from their homes due to the floods in June and July in England. 
[holding answer 4 December 2007]: With our encouragement, local authorities have improved their collection of data about displaced households in recent weeks and we are currently working with Government offices and local authorities to compile an updated estimate of the number of households that remain displaced as a result of the floods in June and
July. Once we have the result of this exercise we will place a copy in the Library of the House.
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps she is taking to facilitate the return of displaced families to their homes following the summer 2007 floods. 
John Healey [holding answer 4 December 2007]: We expect all local authorities to have plans and procedures in place to tackle emergency repairs and homelessness, and indications are that these have worked well in the aftermath of the summer floods. Government officials and homelessness specialist advisors have been in contact with some of the affected areas, to offer support for local authorities as they help their local communities.
At a national level, the Government are making sure that local authorities and other agencies are supported to help householders, business and communities get back to normal as far as possible without unnecessary delays. To date we have made available a comprehensive package of up to £63 million to assist the affected regions, including up to £20 million in flood recovery grant from Communities and Local Government to support the recovery work of local authorities, and particularly their work with those in greatest and most immediate need. Local authorities have the flexibility to decide how to best to use the grant based on their own local circumstances. In practice, this has covered a wide range of action, including support payments to flood- affected households, and provision of temporary caravans to allow people to remain within their communities while houses are repaired.
Flood-affected local authorities have also been able apply to Communities and Local Government for help through the Bellwin scheme which provides financial assistance to local authorities dealing with emergencies. Exceptionally, the terms of the present schemes have been made more generous because of the circumstances of the recent floods. 50 local authorities have registered for assistance for the June scheme and 52 have registered for the July scheme. 20 local authorities have registered for both schemes. Authorities have six months to spend under this scheme and two have now submitted interim claims.
The Government continue to work closely with the Association of British Insurers (ABI) to establish how the insurance industry is dealing with policy holders who have been hit by the floods. The ABI has made clear the insurance industry's commitment to maintaining momentum over the coming months in dealing with outstanding claims. However, it will still take time for some properties to dry out before the necessary repairs can be carried out, and this means that some people will not be back in their homes until next year.
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent meetings she has held with the local authorities affected by the summer 2007 floods where households are still displaced. 
John Healey [holding answer 4 December 2007]: CLG Ministers, including the Secretary of State, have made a series of visits to those areas worst affected by the summer floods, including those areas where people remain displaced from their homes. As flood recovery Minister I have visited the city of Kingston upon Hull a number of times since the floods in June, with the most recent visit taking place on 14 November.
I and other CLG Ministers have also made various visits to other affected local authorities in the Yorkshire and Humber region, Nottinghamshire, and the South West. The Prime Minister visited several of the worst affected areas in the immediate aftermath of the floods, including Gloucester and Hull.
These visits have been useful opportunities for Ministers to meet local authority staff and members who are leading recovery efforts, and visits to affected areas will continue.
Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the (a) lowest, (b) highest and (c) median salary was of shared ownership property purchasers in each London borough in 2006. 
Mr. Iain Wright: We do not centrally hold data on the lowest, highest and median salary of shared ownership property purchasers in each London borough in 2006. This could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when she plans to update the housing standard on overcrowding. 
Mr. Iain Wright: The Government are committed to addressing overcrowding and we are considering updating the standards. However, we do not believe this in itself will solve overcrowding without having the means in place to help overcrowded families and we are considering how we can most effectively address the problem. We have already announced an increase in the provision of new social housing. We have also invested over £35 million in London pilot schemes in the period 2006-08 to provide innovative solutions to some of the worst cases of overcrowding and will be looking carefully at the lessons learned from these.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what level of private sector housing renewal grant is planned (a) for older people and (b) for people with disabilities in 2007-08; and what the level was in each of the last five years. 
Mr. Iain Wright: Details of private sector renewal assistance since 2002 can be found in the 2006 Housing Strategy Statistical Appendix K which is published on the Department's website at:
The information has also been deposited in the Library of the House.
An element of this goes towards assisting people with disabilities but the figures are not broken down in to specific categories.
Mr. Paul Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when she plans to publish guidance for local authorities on how to run effective citizenship activities. 
Mr. Dhanda: Guidance on how to run a citizens day was published jointly with the Citizenship Foundation on 29 November.
Paul Rowen: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many dormant quarries have planning permission for mineral extraction in (a) the North West and (b) England. 
Mr. Iain Wright: Legislation introduced in 1991 for the review of old mining consents, and in 1995 for the review of old mineral permissions, defines mineral sites as dormant if no mineral development has been carried out to any substantial extent in, respectively, the period 1 May 1989 to 30 April 1991 and the period 22 February 1982 to 6 June 1995. British Geological Survey data record 487 dormant mineral sites in England in 2006, of which 88 are in the North West.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) when she expects regional assemblies to transfer responsibility for regional housing and planning matters to regional development agencies; 
(2) what the procedure will be for designating regional development agencies as regional planning bodies. 
Mr. Iain Wright: The transfer of regional planning body designation to regional development agencies will require primary legislation.
The Government will be consulting on the detailed implementation of the transfer early in 2008.
The Government aim to put new arrangements in place by 2010.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many dwellings were built within the 1997 designated green belt in each year in (a) England and (b) each Government office region between 1997 and 2006. 
Mr. Iain Wright: The 1997 designated green belt covered 1,652,300 hectares of land. Between 1997 and 2005 45,240 homes were built within the 1997 designated green belt, 4 per cent. of all dwellings built within that time. The figures for each region and year over this time can be seen in the following table. Robust data are not yet available for 2006.
|Number of dwellings built on the 1997 designated green belt|
1. There is an inevitable time-lag between land use change occurring and it being recorded, therefore data are constantly being updated.
2. The data in the table are based on records received from Ordnance Survey up to June 2007, published in October 2007.
Mr. MacShane: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 20 November 2007, Official Report, column 786W, on religious buildings, if she will contact local authorities in (a) London, (b) Birmingham and (c) Manchester with a view to establishing the names and addresses of mosques in those cities. 
Mr. Dhanda: The Government currently have no plans to contact local authorities in London, Birmingham or Manchester in order to establish the names and addresses of mosques.
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