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31 Jan 2008 : Column 586W—continued

The administration costs incurred by English Partnerships, the Housing Corporation and Communities and Local Government for the HomeBuy and First Time Buyers Initiative form part of the overall costs for the policy and delivery of affordable housing.

Local Government: Consent Regimes

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will list the consent regimes for local authorities that are overseen by the government offices for the regions. [182092] [Official Report, 29 April 2008, Vol. 475, c. 3MC.]

Mr. Dhanda: The consent regimes for local authorities that are currently overseen by the government offices for the Regions are:

Whilst not strictly LPA consent cases, the Government Office network also discharges the respective Secretaries of State’s statutory functions in respect of the following matters:

Non-domestic Rates

Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether transitional relief will be applied to the rates levied through (a) supplementary business rates and
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(b) business improvement districts (i) at and (ii) following the 2010 business rates revaluation. [182585]

John Healey: Although decisions have yet to be taken on many aspects of the transitional relief scheme for the 2010 revaluation, there are no plans to change the arrangement which excludes from the current transitional relief scheme amounts payable through BID levies. Also, ‘Business rate supplements: a White Paper’ makes clear that transitional relief will not be applied to supplements.

Parish Councils: Finance

Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Brentwood and Ongar of 11 December 2007, Official Report, column 553W, on parish councils: finance, what the estimated average precept is that will need to be levied by a parish council in London in the first 12 months after establishment. [182910]

John Healey: It will be for the relevant London borough, when carrying out a community governance review, to estimate the first precept to any new parish council. In subsequent years the precept is a matter for the individual parish councils.

Government have not made estimates of the precepts set by parish councils. Government expects parish councils to budget prudently and to take into account the views of local people on how their money should be spent.

Planning Permission: Floods

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidance she has issued to planning inspectors on the account to be taken of flood risk in planning appeals in the last six months. [181110]

Caroline Flint: Planning Policy Statement (PPS) 25, published in December 2006, sets out the Government’s policy on development and flood risk. It aims to ensure that flood risk is taken into account at all stages of the planning process, to avoid inappropriate development in areas at risk of flooding and to direct development away from areas at highest risk.

Planning Inspectors are aware of the heightened importance of flood risk management and apply the policies in PPS25 and related Government documents to relevant appeal cases. The Inspectorate has measures in place to alert Inspectors to new information relating to development and flood risk.

Planning Permission: Opencast Mining

Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what changes have been made to mineral planning guidance on opencast coal mining since 1997. [182596]

Mr. Iain Wright: There have been a number of changes. The most significant is in paragraph 8 of
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Minerals Planning Guidance 3, which establishes a presumption against coal extraction unless a proposal can meet one of two tests. The tests are:

Planning: Renewable Energy

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether under proposed changes to the Merton Rule in the new Planning Policy Statement on Climate Change, the developer would have to demonstrate that they could not achieve the 10 per cent. target on-site before the new proposed off-site rule applied; and what definitions her Department uses of off-site in these circumstances. [165247]

Caroline Flint [holding answer 19 November 2007]: The new planning policy statement (PPS) on climate change will boost the use of local renewable and low carbon energy in new development. The PPS sets out our ‘Merton-Plus’ approach. This (like existing Merton rules) expects a council-wide target and, additionally, tailored targets for sites where there is greater potential for using decentralised energy to supply new development. These targets should be flexible enough to consider community schemes (for example, wind turbines or CHP schemes serving more than one site) as well as building specific technologies. When there are clear carbon savings to be had from local energy sources, they should not be subject to a requirement for on-site options to be tested before they can be considered.

Explanations of the terms used in the PPS are set out in its glossary. This makes it clear that decentralised energy is energy supplied from “local renewable and local low-carbon sources (i.e. on-site and near-site, but not remote off-site)”.

Regional Planning and Development: Finance

Mrs. Maria Miller: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how the additional infrastructure support funding announced on 5 December 2007 will be allocated to (a) designated new growth points and (b) growth areas. [173386]

Caroline Flint [holding answer 11 December 2007]: Out of the £732 million for the growth fund, to support the delivery of infrastructure in the growth areas and the growth points announced in the written ministerial statement of 4 December 2007, Official Report, columns 53-54WS, 224m has been allocated in 2008-09, with indicative awards of £336 million for 2009-10 and 2010-11. A further allocation of around £172 million for 2009-10 and 2010-11 will be made once we have consulted the growth authorities and other stakeholders and reviewed the new approach to funding. A breakdown of the allocations to the growth areas and the growth points has been deposited in the Library of the House.

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Simplification Plan

Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether her Department has produced a simplification plan. [182569]

Mr. Dhanda: This Department first published a simplification plan in December 2006. A further update was published on 11 December 2007 and is available at:

Tattooing: Licensing

Mrs. Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what account is taken of the competency of the practitioner in local authority licensing of the providers of tattoos and body piercing; [178635]

(2) what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of local authority regimes for the licensing of tattooing or skin piercing premises, with particular regard to the revocation of licences held by businesses that have closed; [178637]

(3) how many licenses for tattooing or skin premises have been revoked by a local authority in each year between 2000 and 2005; and if she will make a statement. [178639]

Dawn Primarolo: I have been asked to reply.

The Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982, as amended by the Local Government Act 2003, gives local authorities (LAs) powers to require tattooing and cosmetic piercing businesses in their area to register and observe byelaws on hygiene and cleanliness. It is an offence for such a business to trade without being registered with the LA or to breach local byelaws.

LAs in London generally use the London Local Authorities Act 1991 (private legislation) which provides for a licensing scheme for businesses providing special treatments such as tattooing and cosmetic piercing. It is an offence to trade without being licensed or to breach licence conditions.

LAs also have general enforcement powers under health and safety at work legislation. This allows LAs to use improvement and prohibition notices, and ultimately prosecute tattooing and piercing businesses, if appropriate. This would include where there are concerns about a practitioner's competency. Under the licensing regime that exists in London, LAs may refuse a licence on grounds relating to a person's competency.

Information on the local regulation of tattooing and cosmetic piercing businesses by LAs is not collected centrally. However, we keep the legislation under review, taking account, for example, of any feedback from stakeholders such as LAs and their associations.

Thames Gateway

Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which (a) public authorities, (b) public corporations and (c)
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partnership bodies are involved in the Thames Gateway development. [182570]

Caroline Flint: The public and partnership bodies involved in the Thames Gateway are set out as follows.

Public authorities

Local authorities




Regional authorities

Regional assemblies

Government offices

Public corporations

Partnership bodies

Local regeneration partnerships




Sub-regional partnerships

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Regional development agencies

Other public bodies

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