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17 Dec 2007 : Column 1158W—continued


17 Dec 2007 : Column 1159W

Regional Planning and Development: Flood Control

Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what consideration has been given to amending (a) planning statements, (b) local development frameworks and (c) regional spatial strategies to prevent houses being built on a flood plain. [172066]

Mr. Iain Wright: Planning Policy Statement (PPS)25 was published in December 2006 to provide stronger planning policy on development and flood risk. It aims to locate development away from flood risk whenever possible and avoid inappropriate development in areas at risk of flooding. The PPS requires regional planning bodies and local planning authorities to prepare and implement planning strategies in their regional spatial strategies and local development frameworks that reflect the approach to avoiding and managing flood risk set out in PPS25.

Second Homes: Gloucestershire

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many (a) second homes and (b) holiday lets in each local authority in Gloucestershire there were in the latest year for which figures are available. [163265]

Mr. Iain Wright: The following table shows the number of properties designated as second homes in each local authority in Gloucestershire as at October 2006.

Authority Number

Cheltenham

697

Cotswold

1,302

Forest of Dean

346

Gloucester

128

Stroud

367

Tewkesbury

200

Gloucestershire

3,040


The data are from a snapshot taken each year and are as recorded, in council tax base returns submitted annually, by each local authority for formula grant purposes. The information regarding holiday lets is not held centrally and could be collected only at disproportionate cost.

Sleeping Rough

Stephen Hesford: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent estimate she has made of the number of people sleeping rough in England; and what steps her Department is taking to get people off the streets and into secure accommodation. [173624]

Mr. Iain Wright: The 2007 national rough sleeping estimate shows there are currently 498 people sleeping rough on the streets of England on any one night. This figure represents a 73 per cent. reduction in rough sleeping since 1998.


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Communities and Local Government (CLG) is working closely with local authorities and voluntary sector organisations to tackle all forms of homelessness. Local authorities will receive at least £150 million over the next three years to help them prevent and tackle homelessness, including rough sleeping. This is the biggest ever cash injection for homelessness services.

The £70 million Places of Change programme announced by my right hon. Friend the Minister for Housing on 13 November is a new round of funding which has been allocated through the recent Comprehensive Spending Review process. This funding will enable the continuation of our work with the £90 million Hostels Capital Improvement Programme (which runs until March 2008) and will build upon its success in helping rough sleepers move away from the streets permanently through the use of training and skills provision and supported accommodation.

Social Rented Housing: Rents

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate she has made of the difference between actual housing rents charged and notional rents assumed by each local authority in each year since 1990; and what assessment she has made of the areas of expenditure in which any additional income has been spent. [164716]

Yvette Cooper: A table showing the difference between actual rents charged and notional rents assumed by local authority between 2004-05 and 2007-08 has been deposited in the Library of the House. Consistent estimates prior to 2004-05 can be obtained only at disproportionate cost. The figures on actual rents charged are based on unaudited information provided by local authorities.

We do not hold data in a form that would allow us to identify specifically what any additional rental income is spent on by local authorities. However, any extra income will necessarily be spent on the housing revenue account.

Temporary Accommodation

Andrew Stunell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many households with dependent children are housed in temporary accommodation by their local authority in (a) England and (b) each region of England. [173883]

Mr. Iain Wright: Information reported each quarter by local authorities about their activities under homelessness legislation includes the number of households in temporary accommodation on the last day of the quarter, and of those, the number which contain dependent children and/or an expectant mother. This figure includes those households who have been accepted as owed the main homelessness duty, those for whom inquiries are pending, and those found to be intentionally homeless but who are being accommodated for a reasonable period by the authority.

The total number of households with dependent children and/or an expectant mother in temporary accommodation is available in our quarterly statistical release on Statutory Homelessness (table 6, for the
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national figure broken down by type of temporary accommodation). This is published on our website and placed in the Library each quarter. The latest release was published on 10 December 2007 and contains data for the period July to September 2007 at:

Snapshot figures as at 30 September 2007 are shown in the following table, for England, broken down by regions.

Households with dependent children and/or an expectant mother in temporary accommodation under homelessness provisions of the 1996 Housing Act, snapshot as at 30 September 2007
Number

England

62,830

North East

250

North West

1,560

Yorkshire and the Humber

1,190

East Midlands

1,150

West Midlands

1,200

East

3,260

London

45,140

South East

5,500

South West

3,590


At the end of September 2007, 92 per cent. of families with dependent children and/or an expectant mother in temporary accommodation were living in self-contained properties with their own front door.

In January 2005, the Government set a target of halving the total number of households in all forms of temporary accommodation used by local authorities to discharge their main duty under the homelessness legislation. The number of families with children in temporary accommodation has fallen by 15 per cent. since September 2005.

Thames Gateway

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to the answer of 29 October 2007, Official Report, column 662W, on Thames Gateway, what proportion of the planned 160,000 homes will not be built on previously developed land in existing urban areas already protected by flood defences of a high standard. [165939]

Yvette Cooper: It is planned that at least 80 per cent. of all new homes built in the Thames Gateway will be built on previously developed land. All new developments must be in line with Planning Policy Statement 25, and be supported where necessary by flood risk assessments to ensure that the development is designed and laid out to reduce the consequences of river and surface water flooding.

Urban Areas: Sustainable Development

Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what account she will take of eco-town submissions in the approval process for the South East Plan; and if she will make a statement. [171215]


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Yvette Cooper: The Secretary of State is considering the recommendations contained in the report into the regional spatial strategy (RSS) for the south-east (published on 29 August) and expects to publish any proposed changes to the draft regional spatial strategy for consultation in the new year.

Valuation Office Agency: Consultants

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether there is a (a) termination date and (b) option to terminate in the contract between Cole Layer Trumble and Capgemini, in relation to the consultancy services that it provides to assist the ongoing work of the Valuation Office Agency. [173287]

John Healey: I refer the hon. Member to the answers I gave him on 22 October 2007, Official Report, column 74W and to the hon. Member for Beckenham (Mrs. Lait) on 25 July 2007, Official Report, column 1156W. The Valuation Office Agency has no direct contractual relationship with Cole Layer Trumble (CLT) and therefore has no obligation to use CLT’s consultancy services for any defined period.

Waste Management: Hampshire

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment she has made of the ability of waste authorities in Hampshire to meet the requirements of the European Land Directive on waste facilities. [172135]

Joan Ruddock: I have been asked to reply.

I assume the hon. Member is referring to the European Landfill Directive (1999/31/EC) in his question.

No specific assessment has been made by my Department of the ability of the waste authorities in Hampshire to meet requirements on waste facilities in line with the Landfill Directive. Local authorities have no specific requirements in this respect.

Article 5(2) of the directive places requirements on the UK to divert biodegradable municipal waste (BMW) from landfill by target years. In England, the Government have introduced the Landfill Allowances Trading Scheme (LATS) to ensure that our share of these targets are met cost-effectively. LATS places an obligation on waste disposal authorities to landfill only BMW for which allowances are held. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have similar schemes.

Article 5(3) of the directive bans the landfilling of certain classes of waste, (for example liquids and most tyres), while article 6 requires that only waste that has undergone treatment (which includes sorting) may be landfilled.

The remaining provisions of the directive apply principally to the operators of landfill sites and include measures to prevent or reduce potential adverse effects on the environment and risks to human health and for the aftercare and closure of landfill sites. These provisions and others are subject to the need for a permit and are monitored by the Environment Agency, as the regulator for England and Wales.


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DEFRA’s Waste Implementation Delivery Programme (WIDP) is maintaining a national overview of existing and planned residual treatment capacity to ensure that resources are applied in the most effective manner.

Yorkshireurope: Expenditure

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much was
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spent by Yorkshireurope in the last year for which figures are available. [173327]

Mr. Timms: I have been asked to reply.

The following table shows the expenditure of UK Regional European Offices in the last year (2006-07).

UK regional European offices Expenditure 2006-07 (£000) Notes

West Midlands in Europe Brussels Office

757

The income for this office came from a large number of public and private sector subscribers in the West Midlands region.

East Midlands European Office

335

This is not an overseas office focused only in inward investment, but a regional representation office (with wider partnerships, including local government, universities and other public and private sector partners).

North East of England Brussels Office

132

The office is primarily funded by One North East, The Regional Assembly and Local Learning and Skills Council with a number of associate partners making small subscriptions.

North West Brussels Office

113

This office is jointly staffed and funded by the NW Regional Assembly and Northwest Regional Development Agency.

South West UK Brussels Office

385

This office is a partnership office supported by all first tier local authorities in the South West, the South West RDA, the South West Regional Assembly and HERDA (South West Universities).

Yorkshireurope

340

Yorkshireurope is the region’s representation in Brussels, providing information and intelligence about Europe for Yorkshire and Humber as well as promoting the region within Europe. Yorkshireurope is solely funded by Yorkshire Forward.


Transport

A303

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans she has to upgrade and dual stretches of the A303. [174268]

Mr. Tom Harris: Following the recent decision not to proceed with the A303 Improvements Scheme at Stonehenge, the Department for Transport will shortly be discussing with the South West Region the implications of the decision for the wider strategy for improving the A303/A358 corridor to the M5 at Taunton.

Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what her policy is on the improvement of the A303 at Stonehenge; and if she will make a statement. [171861]

Mr. Tom Harris: Our policy on the improvement to the A303 at Stonehenge was announced in my oral statement to the House on 6 December 2007, Official Report, column 959.


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