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Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what visits and on what dates has she made to the locations proposed for the development of an eco-town in the last 12 months; and what such visits, on what dates, she plans to undertake in the next two months. 
Mr. Iain Wright: My right hon. Friend the former Housing and Planning Minister made visits to 10 of the locations which were included on the short list of locations set out in Eco-towns: Living a Greener Future consultation paper on 3 April 2008. The details of these are set out in the following table. As Rossington is a part of my right hon. Friends constituency and for reasons of propriety I visited this location. We also plan to visit those locations that we have so far been unable to, including those locations where there have been discussions on the potential for an appropriate scheme such as Rushcliffe. The dates for these are yet to be agreed.
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Since announcement of the shortlist in April, Curborough withdrew from the process before visits could be arranged.
Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment she has made of the effects of (a) changes in the housing market and (b) local opposition on her Departments plans to establish 10 eco-towns. 
Mr. Iain Wright: The Government recognise that the housing market faces significant challenges as a result of turbulence in the global financial markets and is committed to taking action to alleviate pressures in the domestic housing market. Eco-towns are an important element in our long term strategy to provide the homes this country needs and to tackle climate change. Without action to increase the supply of housing, first-time buyers and growing numbers of families will continue to struggle to find the housing they need.
We have undertaken our first stage of consultation on eco-towns in which we sought initial views on the eco-towns vision and potential locations, and will shortly be publishing a summary of the responses. This has informed our second stage of consultation and we will shortly be publishing a draft Planning Policy Statement and Sustainability Appraisal for consultation. We want to hear all views and will be taking account of all the feedback from consultations and events before decisions are taken on those locations with the potential to be eco-towns, and before applications are considered through the local planning process.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if her Department will publish (a) a planning policy statement and (b) a sustainability strategy on eco-towns. 
Mr. Iain Wright: We will shortly be publishing a draft eco-towns planning policy statement and sustainability appraisal for consultation. Copies of the document will be placed in the House Library once published.
Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Bromley and Chislehurst of 4 June 2008, Official Report, column 983W, on eco-towns, whether the leadership role of the Homes and Communities Agency in delivering eco-towns may include the Agency using its planning powers. 
Caroline Flint: I refer the hon. Member to the answer my right hon. Friend the Minister for Housing gave to the hon. Member for Welwyn Hatfield (Grant Shapps) on 7 July 2008, Official Report, column 1354W.
Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Brentwood and Ongar of 30 June 2008, Official Report, column 625W, on the eco-towns challenge panel: business interests, what the declared (a) pecuniary and (b) non-pecuniary interests of each challenge panel member are. 
Mr. Iain Wright: Members of the Challenge Panel were selected for their expertise in matters of the environment, sustainability, transport and design to be part of a short-term independent panel working with bidders during the first stage of the process for taking eco-towns forward.
At the first meeting of the panel in May, members were asked to declare pecuniary and non-pecuniary interests, and to advise us of any changes in their position for the duration of the panel (end July). Six members declared interests and these are set out as follows. None of these interests were deemed to conflict with the role of the panel, which was to help bidders develop and improve their plans, and they had no responsibility for assessing the proposals.
Director of Beyond Green. Beyond Green provided unpaid advice to the promoters of Weston Otmoor, and then withdrew. There was an initial expression of interest for Beyond Greens services from the promoters of Marston Vale and Bordon Whitehill, but no involvement.
Director, BioRegional Development Group, a registered charity. BioRegionals associated consulting company were invited to bid for work by the Weston Otmoor eco-town promoters, but advised on 13 May that this was not going ahead.
Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) President (voluntary basis). TCPA are working with Communities and Local Government (CLG) on the practical implementation of the eco-town criteria and running the Eco-towns Expert Group. TCPAs work is not location/scheme specific.
TCPA trustee (voluntary basis). TCPA are working with Communities and Local Government (CLG) on the practical implementation of the eco-town criteria and running the Eco-towns Expert Group. TCPAs work is not location/scheme specific.
Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) Chief Executive. CABE working with CLG on design aspects for eco-towns. One CABE Commissioner is working for the firm which was a consultant to three of the bidders and another is a consultant to a bidder. Neither has a commercial interest in the eco-town projects concerned.
Royal Institute for Architects (RIBA) President. Sue Smith, Chief Executive of Harborough district council, which is concerned with Pennbury eco-town, was a member of the RIBA Professional Services Board and resigned that position to avoid a potential conflict of interest, given the RIBA and RIBA Presidents involvement in the eco-towns programme.
Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what role she plans for (a) workplace parking taxes, (b) residential parking charges and (c) congestion taxes to play in eco-town developments. 
Mr. Iain Wright: In Eco-townsliving a greener future: progress report, we have set out our thinking on the standards for eco-towns, including those for transport. These set out the outcomes that we want to achieve, and it is for promoters to decide how they will achieve these. As part of the Town and Country Planning Associations work on the practical implementation of the standards they have produced a worksheet on transport. This provides guidance and good practice to help those taking forward eco-towns to plan and implement their transport systems.
Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will make it her policy to reject eco-town proposals where such development would cause indirect, irreparable damage to sites of special scientific interest as a result of interference with ground and surface water flows. 
Mr. Iain Wright: As we set out in Eco-townsliving a greener future: progress report (published 24 July 2008) all eco-towns must comply with existing national policies, except where we have set a specific standard, which is either more specific, or more stretching than that set out in wider national planning policies and this includes protection and conservation of biodiversity and flood risk. Account will also need to be taken of European legislation on issues such as conservation.
We will shortly be publishing a draft Eco-towns Planning Policy Statement and Sustainability Appraisal for consultation, and these will set out more details about the standards, the locations and how their sustainability is assessed.
Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) pursuant to the answer to the hon. member for Bognor Regis and Littlehampton of 19 June 2008, Official Report, column 1135W, on eco-towns: land what the area and proportion is of (a) greenfield and (b) brownfield land use in each of the other short-listed eco-town bids; 
(2) pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Brentwood and Ongar of 1 July 2008 , Official Report, column 789W, on eco-towns: green belt, which proposed eco-town bids would involve development on green belt land for fixed infrastructure; 
(3) pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Brentwood and Ongar of 30 June 2008, Official Report, column 624W, on eco-towns, which proposed eco-town developments will involve development on greenfield land; 
Mr. Iain Wright: An updated description of the proposals for each location was included in Eco-townsliving a greener future: progress report which was published on 24 July 2008. Further information will be published shortly in the Sustainability Appraisal alongside our draft eco-towns planning policy statement as part of our second stage consultation. Copies of these documents will be placed in the House Library.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what contracts (a) her Department and (b) its agencies have with EDF; and how much (i) her Department and (ii) its agencies paid to EDF in each of the last 10 years, broken down by the purpose of the payment. 
Mr. Khan: In all cases expenditure was for the supply of electricity under the Office of Government Commerce Buying Solutions Framework Agreement. Where figures have not been supplied for the full 10 years this was because they could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
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