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Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment she has made of the effect of the downturn in the housing market on the number of planning applications for substantive new housing developments. 
Mr. Iain Wright: No specific assessment has been made, but the Department does publish a quarterly National Statistics release on planning applications, decisions, enforcement activity, minerals and waste planning decisions at England, regional and local authority levels. The latest release published on 28 March 2008 can be found on the Department's website at:
Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many new residential dwelling starts were made in England in each quarter since the first quarter of 2007. 
|Quarter||Residential dwelling starts|
P2Q returns from local authorities and National House Building Council
Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether the removal of permitted development rights for householders to pave over their front gardens will require secondary legislation or revised guidance. 
Mr. Iain Wright: Current permitted development rights that allow householders to pave over their front gardens will be amended so as to require that the paving will not lead to the front garden area being impermeable. This will be achieved through an amendment to The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995. We intend this change to come into force on 1 October this year and we will publish guidance to explain how householders can comply with this requirement.
Julia Goldsworthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many planning applications were submitted for a change of use from a private garden to a residential property in each of the last five years; and how many of these applications were successful in each year. 
Mr. Iain Wright: The information requested is not held centrally. Communities and Local Government collects quarterly aggregate statistics on development control from all local planning authorities in England. However, we do not collect information on individual planning applications.
Mr. Dai Davies:
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what discussions she and the Minister for Housing have had with the
existing homes alliance on refurbishment and retrofitting of existing housing stock. 
Mr. Iain Wright: Ministers have not yet had direct discussions with the Existing Homes Alliance (EHA). We welcome discussions with stakeholders, such as the EHA, in tackling the vital issue of reducing the carbon footprint of the existing housing stock.
Mr. Iain Wright: Our latest assessment of progress is set out in chapter 7 of the Department's annual report. Copies are available in the Library of the House. Overall based on what social landlords have told us in terms of delivery of decent homes stretching beyond 2010, the amount of money we expect to be spent and progress to date we expect that 95 per cent. of the stock will be decent by 2010.
John Healey: Information on how much local authorities in England have spent on tourism in each of the last five years is published in Annex C of Local Government Financial Statistics (LGFS) England. The 2002-03 information can be found in Table Cld LGFS No. 15: 2004, 2003-04 in Table Cle LGFS No. 16: 2005, 2004-05 and 2005-06 in Tables Cli and Clj respectively in LGFS No. 17: 2007 and 2006-07 in Table Cle LGFS No. 18:2008.
John Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many hereditaments in (a) Leeds West constituency and (b) Leeds Metropolitan District received small business rate relief in each year since 2000. 
Leeds city council reported there were 6,226 businesses in their area in receipt of small business rate relief as at 31 December 2006, the only year for which this information is currently available.
Corresponding information for the Leeds West constituency is not held centrally.
Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidance her Department issues on whether members of staff may claim for travel in first class carriages on trains if there are no seats in standard class. 
Mr. Dhanda: All departmental staff may travel in first class carriages on trains where there are no seats available in standard class carriages. However, staff are asked only to travel if it is necessary and when official business cannot be settled by any other methods such as telephone or video conferencing.
James Duddridge: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many staff are employed (a) full-time and (b) part-time at (i) local, (ii) regional and (iii) national level to work on the implementation of the Review of Sub-National Economic Development and Regeneration; whether she plans to change these numbers before completion of the review; and whether the staff concerned will continue to be employed after completion. 
John Healey: A number of staff in the Department contribute to the implementation of the Review of Sub-National Economic Development and Regeneration, including those working on regional planning, business rate supplements, local authority performance and local economic development.
However, it is not possible, at reasonable cost, to disaggregate staff time spent specifically on the implementation of the review. Full details of my Department's expenditure in 2007-08 can be found in Annex B to its 2008 Annual Report: Community, Opportunity, Prosperity (Cm 3794). There has been no net increase in staffing as a result of the review and decisions on future staff needs will be taken in the context of wider business planning exercises.
Stephen Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what research her Department has undertaken on the price of accommodation in the private rented sector since 2005. 
Mr. Iain Wright: The Department ran the Survey of English Housing as a continuous household survey from 1993-94 to 2007-08. Information collected by this survey from private renting households included a range of characteristics such as rent paid, size of accommodation, tenancy type, whether household in receipt of housing benefit, and location. The results have been used extensively by policy users, academics and researchers to help inform research projects about the private rented sector.
Mr. Kemp: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what plans she has to provide more powers for police and local authorities in relation to private landlords whose tenants engage in persistent antisocial behaviour. 
Mr. Iain Wright: The Housing Act 2004 introduced a range of powersboth mandatory and discretionaryto enable local housing authorities to both require and incentivise private sector landlords to improve the management of their stock, including tackling antisocial behaviour by tenants.
In line with the commitment given to Parliament, we have commissioned a review of how these powers are working from the Buildings Research Establishment (BRE). The review will follow up on work carried out by BRE to map the position when the legislation was introduced.
Stephen Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate she has made of the average cost of private rented accommodation in the Bristol City Council area in each year since 2000 for which figures are available. 
Mr. Iain Wright: The average cost of private rented accommodation is available, but only at a regional level. The Departments data source, the Survey of English Housing, does not have a large enough annual sample to generate reliable private rental estimates at local authority level.
|Average monthly rent( 1 ) of free market( 2) private tenancies , south wes t region and England, 1999-2000 to 2006-07|
|£ per month|
|South W est||England|
|(1) Before deduction of housing benefit where applicable|
(2) Assured shorthold tenancies accessible to the public without special conditions
Sampling variability is too great to provide reliable regional estimates for individual years
Survey of English Housing
Mr. Hepburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many homes have been repossessed in (a) Jarrow constituency, (b) South Tyneside, (c) the North East and (d) England in each year since 1997. 
Mr. Iain Wright: The Department does not collect information on mortgage possessions although information for the United Kingdom as a whole, rather than regions or local authority areas, is published by the Council of Mortgage lenders. These data are available on its website at:
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) which (a) councils and (b) other organisations have bid for funds under the Thames Gateway Parklands programme; 
Caroline Flint: The three sub-regional Thames Gateway Green Grid Partnerships have been invited to submit business plans by the 18 July to Communities and Local Government for projects which they would like to receive funding for from the Parklands budget of £35 million. The Department has not received any plans to date. Funding allocations will be made by the autumn.
Mr. Dhanda: Local planning authorities are required to assess the accommodation needs of Gypsies and Travellers in the same way that they assess the housing needs of other members of their local communities.
The RSS identifies the number of pitches required (but not the location); it is for local planning authorities to consider the location of the pitches required for their area, possibly in conjunction with neighbouring local planning authorities.
In 2004, my Department published an independent study on the health impacts from waste managementReview of Environmental and Health Effects of Waste Management: Municipal Solid Waste and Similar Wastes. The study was peer-reviewed by the Royal Society and concluded that the treatment, including the recovery of energy, from municipal solid waste,
has at most a minor effect on health particularly when compared with other health risks associated with ordinary day-to-day living.
risks to human health from incineration are small in comparison with other known risks.
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