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John Healey: The Department is seeking the relevant permissions to enable us to publish the underlying indicators of the Index of Multiple Deprivation 2007 at Lower Super Output Area level, including those in the geographical barriers sub-domain. I will place a copy of these indicators in the Library of the House.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what changes were made to the methodology of the Index of Deprivation in (a) 2000, (b) 2004 and (c) 2007 in relation to the manner in which the geographical barriers sub-domain was calculated. 
John Healey: The Index of Multiple Deprivation 2000 (IMD 2000) is a ward level measure of multiple deprivation. For the geographical access sub-domain, average distance travelled to each service was calculated as the average distance that claimants in a particular ward would have to travel to that service, as the crow flies. The distances to post offices, doctors' surgeries and food shops were computed for claimants of means tested out-of-work benefits, while the distance to primary schools was computed for all children aged 5 to 8.
The same four indicators were used in the IMD 2004 and 2007. However both these indices are based on Lower Super Output Area (LSOA) geography, rather than ward geography. The measurement of distance changed from ;as the crow flies' to measuring road distance, to each service. The distances were measured to the nearest 10 metres. In 2004 and 2007 distance was measured for all people rather than just for people claiming out-of-work benefits. In the case of primary schools, the population used is the relevant child population.
Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what advice her Department has received from the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) on the number of cases which would have been reported or determined by PINS, which are likely to be dealt with by the Infrastructure Planning Commission. 
Mr. Iain Wright: The advice that the Planning Inspectorate has given to the Department is that fewer than 10 cases per year that are or would have been dealt with by the Inspectorate would be handled by the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) on the basis of the definitions contained in the Bill. This is consistent with departmental statements that it would only be a handful of cases that would pass from the Inspectorate to the IPC.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate she has made of the average number of planning applications which will be considered by the Infrastructure Planning Commission each year. 
The Planning Bill Impact Assessment, published in November 2007, estimated that the Infrastructure Planning Commission would consider
around 45 major infrastructure projects a year. In addition, the May 2007 Planning White Paper made clear that there would also be a larger number of less complex cases, such as works necessary to ensure the operational effectiveness and resilience of the electricity transmission and distribution network.
Mr. Iain Wright: Communities and Local Government has not given advice to local authorities on carbon offsetting. However, in January 2007, DEFRA wrote to local authorities to inform them of the work it has been doing to develop a voluntary code of practice for offsetting. Government are continuing to develop this work, in the form of a voluntary quality assurance scheme.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what changes have been made to the equalisation formula for local government funding in England since May 1997. 
John Healey: The method of calculation of formula grant is detailed in the Local Government Finance Report (England) for each financial year. The Local Government Finance Report (England) for each year has been placed in the Library of the House.
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 (Mr. Pickles) of 31 January 2008, Official Report, column 586W, on local government: consent regimes, how many (a) listed building consents made by the Local Planning Authority (LPA), (b) Conservation Area Consents, (c) less than best price disposals, (d) allotments disposals and (e) LPA TPO consents were considered by the Government Office for London in the last year for which figures are available. 
The requirement to apply to the Secretary of State under LPA Tree Preservation Order (TPO) consents was repealed on 2 August 1999. However, there were 123 TPO Appeals (including 30 withdrawn) decided in the financial year 2006-07 and there have been 86 (including 28 withdrawals) decided in the current financial year up to and including 22 February.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidance (a) her Department and (b) the Government Office for London has issued on the Mayor of London's new powers to grant and refuse planning permission. 
Mr. Iain Wright: The Town and Country Planning (Mayor of London) Order 2008 sets out which planning applications must be referred to the Mayor, the process for considering them and the test the Mayor must apply to decide whether his intervention would be justified.
GOL Circular 1/2008 is the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government's guidance on the arrangements for strategic planning in London. Section 5 of the circular explains how the Mayor's powers over planning applications will operate.
John Healey: The purpose of the buoyancy factor is to adjust the gross provisional revenue contribution by local authorities to the non-domestic pool to take account of additions and removals of properties from the local authority's lists and the impact of appeals which will impact on the overall rateable value of the local authority's list.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will introduce in England a scheme with similar structure and objectives to the Northern Ireland scheme of business rate relief for automatic telling machines in rural areas. 
John Healey: There are no plans to introduce a mandatory rate relief for automatic telling machines in rural areas. However, the existing rural rate relief allows local authorities to grant up to 100 per cent. discretionary relief to a hereditament in a rural settlement with a rateable value of up to 14,000, where they judge that the business is of benefit to the community.
Caroline Flint [holding answer 28 April 2008]: All planning applications for new urban development are determined in accordance with the development plan unless other material considerations indicate otherwise. This is also the case for eco-towns and the planning process is set out in the recently published consultation documentEco-townsLiving a greener future. Copies of the document are available in the House Library.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidance her Department provides to planning authorities on the potential for excess water to flood neighbouring properties following the displacement of water by new developments. 
Mr. Iain Wright: Planning Policy Statement 25 Development and Flood Risk, sets out the Government's policy for managing flood risk, including that from surface water. It requires local planning authorities to prepare strategic flood risk assessments in consultation with the Environment Agency, which should form the basis for preparing appropriate policies for flood risk management in those areas. Planning applications for development on sites of 1 hectare or greater in areas with low probability of flooding and all proposals in areas with medium and high probability of flooding should be accompanied by a site-specific Flood Risk Assessment. This will identify and assess the risks from all forms of flooding to and from the development, and demonstrate how these flood risks will be managed, so that the development will be safe and will not increase flood risk elsewhere. Annex F of the PPS specifically deals with the management of surface water.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the Answer of 18 February 2008, Official Report, columns 49-50W, on quarrying: public participation, which local authorities have submitted minerals development plan documents for examination. 
Hampshire county council joint with New Forest National Park, Portsmouth and Southampton on 31 May 2006;
Shropshire county council (two Minerals Development Plan Documents) on 27 October 2006;
Kent county council (three Minerals Development Plan Documents) on 29 November 2006;
Suffolk county council on 22 July 2007;
Lancashire county council joint with Blackburn and Darwen and Blackpool on 30 November 2007;
Wiltshire county council joint with Swindon on 26 March 2008; and
North Yorkshire county council on 22 of January 2008.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many local authorities will be represented on the proposed leaders fora for scrutiny of regional development agencies. 
Mr. Dhanda: On 31 March 2008, the Government published Prosperous Places: Taking forward the Review of Sub-National Economic Development and Regeneration. This document states that the Government believe that local authorities should decide the most effective structure for a leaders forum and that it expects that this will differ between regions. However, each forum should be streamlined, manageable and representative of local government across the region. The consultation seeks views on this proposal and on whether the Government should take powers to intervene if local authorities were unable to reach consensus on a forum that met the criteria set out above or a forum failed to operate effectively.
Mr. Iain Wright: Our consultation document Prosperous Places: Taking forward the Review of Sub-National Economic Development and Regeneration, which was published on 31 March, proposes that local authorities would be involved in signing off the draft strategy before the RDA submits it to Ministers for approval. The consultation seeks views on this proposal.
Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what representations she has received from the Environment Agency about the South West Regional Spatial Strategy; which parts of the Strategy the Environment Agency has objected to; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Iain Wright [holding answer 25 April 2008]: The Environment Agency were consulted on the draft Regional Spatial Strategy in the summer of 2006. In their response the Agency supported the sustainable construction, green infrastructure, renewable energy, waste and overarching sustainable development policies. The Agency also:
sought further amendments to the policies on flood risk, renewable energy and sustainable development;
advised that the relevant water companies should be consulted with regard to the capacity for accommodating increased sewage flows in Cheltenham, Salisbury, Truro and Swindon and also water supply with regard to the latter;
raised issues of flood risk in the Plymouth and west of England sub-regions and nature conservation issues in south east Dorset;
objected to the policy on airports;
suggested amendments to the text on climate change and CO2 emissions and the relationship between future growth and infrastructure provision.
The panel appointed to undertake the examination in public (EiP) of the draft RSS considered all of the submitted representations. In drawing up the matters and timetable the panel invited the Environment Agency to participate in further discussions.
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