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Mr. Greenway: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what her most recent assessment is of the health implications of siting mobile telephone masts in the vicinity of schools; on what information she bases that assessment; and if she will make a statement. 
The advice in PPG 8 is based on the report of the Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones (IEGMP) which was published in 2000. Under the chairmanship of Sir William Stewart, the group considered concerns about health effects from the use of mobile phones, base stations and transmitters. The group did not recommend that base stations be prohibited on or near school grounds.
In the Government's view if a proposed mobile phone base station meets the exposure guidelines set by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), it is not necessary to consider further the health aspects of the development.
However, Planning Policy Guidance Note 8 on Telecommunications makes clear that, when it is proposed to install, alter or replace a mobile base station near a school or college, operators should consult the school or college concerned before submitting an application for planning permission or prior approval to the local authority. The local planning authority should also consult the relevant bodies, and should take into account any relevant views expressed.
The network operators have agreed to provide schools, on request, with information on the level of intensity of radiofrequency radiation from a base station on or near their premises. In an ongoing audit, the Office of Communications (Ofcom) has now measured exposures around more than 500 base stations to date (www.ofcom.org.uk). In all cases exposures have been below, and mostly thousands of times below, the ICNIRP guidelines.
In January 2004 the National Radiological Protection Board's (now the Health Protection Agency) Advisory Group on Non-Ionising Radiation (AGNIR) carried out a detailed scientific review which was published in a report Health Effects from Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields. AGNIR examined more recent experimental and epidemiological evidence for health effects due to exposure to radiofrequency (RF) transmissions, including those associated with mobile telephone handsets and base stations. It also concluded
Exposure levels from living near to mobile base stations are extremely low and the overall evidence indicates that they are unlikely to pose a risk to health.
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what discussions her Department has had with colleagues in the Department
for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform on the (a) next set of building regulations and (b) long- term impact of moving towards a lower carbon grid; 
(3) when the 2016 Taskforce plans to discuss the relationship between housing and energy policy with respect to heating from low carbon electricity as proposed in the 2007 Energy White Paper; and which heating industry representatives the Taskforce plans to invite to attend the meeting. 
Mr. Iain Wright: Ministers and officials from the Department for Communities and Local Government have held regular discussions with colleagues from the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform on a range of strategic energy issues, including the future changes to the Building Regulations and the impact of moving towards a lower carbon grid.
The 2016 Taskforce, whose members already include the Construction Products Association which in turn represent the heating industry, discuss high level strategic issues related to the zero carbon standard, including around energy supply. When appropriate, relevant sectors will be invited to attend the Taskforce meetings to participate in discussions.
Building Regulations already take into account the carbon content of the grid. This is kept under regular review that will be continued as we move towards setting the zero carbon standard in Building Regulations from 2016.
The Building a Greener Future: policy statement document published on 23 July 2007 committed us to developing the definition of zero carbon for the purposes of Building Regulations. This will involve a full consultation within a sensible time frame to allow the industry to adjust before the planned changes in 2016.
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the (a) capital and (b) revenue costs were of the East of England Regional Assembly in each of the last three years. 
|Year ending 31 March:||(a) Cap ital cost||(b) Revenue cost|
Nine new designed-for-purpose buildings have been procured. Contracts to build the RCC buildings were let in 2006 and 2007, and construction is progressing to plan. Four buildings have already reached practical completion. A single contract to deliver facilities management services to all nine buildings will be let by CLG in April 2008;
Procuring new technology: CLG let a contract in March 2007 to EADS Defence and Security Systems Ltd (EADS) to deliver common, networked, IT systems for the nine regional control centres;
FiReControl depends on a significant change management programme. Key developments include the establishment of six of the eight regional delivery companies with regional control centre directors and other senior staff appointed in five of them. Guidance has been developed with the fire and rescue services on organisation design, generic staffing model and terms and conditions of employment. These are currently being finalised and implemented by the Fire and Rescue Services in light of local circumstances. Design work to harmonise ways of working, operational procedures, processes and protocols to achieve interoperability between the 46 Fire and Rescue Service and the nine regional control centres has been completed. The alignment of these designs with the EADS solution prior to detailed planning and implementation by each of the Fire and Rescue Services is under way.
Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the estimated budgets for the regional emergency control centres for the fire service are; what the original estimated budgets were; and how much was allocated to UK fire services in total for 2007-08. 
Mr. Dhanda [holding answer 25 January 2008]: The current estimated cost of implementing FiReControl in England is approximately £360 million (in 2007-08 prices). The original estimated cost (at 2004-05 prices) was £264 million in England. We currently expect to fund £19 million in 2007-08 of transitional costs in implementing FiReControl in England. The Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland assemblies have responsibility for the Fire and Rescue Services in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Mr. Iain Wright: At present, there is no formal definition of green space used by Communities and Local Government for either mapping or planning purposes. Although open space is defined in the Town and Country Planning Act as land laid out as a public garden, or used for the purposes of public recreation, or land which is a disused burial ground, this narrow definition is not considered appropriate for dealing with the complete range of open spaces, including green spaces, that exist and the variety of functions they can fulfil.
The Governments planning policies on open space are set out in planning policy guidance note 17 (PPG17) Planning for Open Space, Sport and Recreation (2002). PPG17 makes clear that these policies should be applied to all types of open space that have public value. An illustrative typology of open spaces which may be of public value, which includes a variety of different types of green space, is included in the annexe to PPG17. The Department will shortly be developing a green space database web resource that will provide information on green space as maps.
Mr. Jeremy Browne: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 23 January 2008, Official Report, column 2047W, on heating: standards, when she expects to publish the Building Regulations review on the safety of hot water systems in homes. 
Mr. Iain Wright: We expect to launch a full public consultation on the draft amendments to part G of the building regulations and the revised supporting guidance in spring 2008 with a view to fully implementing the new requirements in April 2009.
Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 21 January 2008, Official Report, column 1526W, on home information packs, if she will place in the Library copies of those pages of the Lenders' Handbook which list the mortgage lenders' policies on the acceptance of personal searches. 
Mr. Iain Wright: The Council of Mortgage Lenders Handbook is not a published document, but is available at www.cml.org.uk
Mr. Evennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate she has made of the number of home information packs commissioned on properties in the London borough of Bexley since such packs were introduced. 
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many homeless households have been accepted as being in priority need under the category of A person who is vulnerable as a result of having been a member of Her Majesty's regular naval, military or air forces in each year since its introduction in the Homelessness (Priority Need for Accommodation) (England) Order 2002. 
Mr. Iain Wright: Information about local authorities' action under homelessness legislation is collected quarterly at local authority level and includes the number of households accepted by local authorities as eligible for assistance, unintentionally homeless and in priority need, and therefore owed a main homelessness duty. The duty owed to an accepted household is to secure suitable accommodation.
The yearly total number of households accepted as being eligible, unintentionally homeless and in priority need, as well as those having a priority need that is primarily due to their being vulnerable as a result of having served in HM forces, is shown in the following table.
|Year||Total acceptances||O f which : primary priority need ex-HM forces|
It is important to note that some former HM forces personnel accepted as homeless may be included in other primary priority need categories (e.g. when the household includes dependent children), and so will not feature in the figures above. Tables showing acceptances broken down by the main priority need categories are published quarterly in the Statistical Release on Statutory Homelessness, and are placed in the House Library.
Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many houses with (a) one bedroom, (b) two bedrooms, (c) three bedrooms, (d) four bedrooms and (e) five bedrooms or more have been built in each of the last 10 years. 
Mr. Iain Wright: The proportions of new build completions in England by number of bedrooms and dwelling type are in the following table. The information is presented as proportions rather than absolute numbers because number of bedrooms and dwelling type is collected centrally for only about half the new build activity.
|(1) zero or less than 0.5 per cent. Source: National House Building Council and P2 house building return from local authorities.|
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