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Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the Answer of 19 July 2008, Official Report, columns 1635-36W on housing: sustainable development, if she will assess whether it would be possible for a home using any tumble dryer currently available on the market to achieve over 90 per cent. of the credits available within the Code for Sustainable Homes. 
Mr. Iain Wright: Yes, providing that it is rated either A or B, of which there a number available on the market. To achieve code level 6 the house builder must achieve at least 90 per cent. of all the available credits within the code and all the mandatory elements. To achieve the credits within the Energy Labelled White Goods (Ene 5) category of the code, either a washer dryer or a tumble dryer that has at least a B rating under the EU Energy Efficiency Labelling Scheme must be installed or information on the EU Energy Labelling Scheme is provided to each dwelling. There is also a credit available within the code for providing a space for air drying clothes.
Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps her Department is taking to ensure access to supported accommodation for vulnerable young adults who abuse alcohol and other substances. 
Mr. Iain Wright: As part of our drug strategy, 'Drugs: protecting families and communities' (February 2008), we will be encouraging local authorities to work with partners to meet locally-identified need for housing and support for those affected by drug use, including young people. We will also work to develop more personalised approaches to treatment services, to help us best support those leaving and planning to leave treatment with packages of support to access appropriate housing.
Through the Housing Corporation's affordable housing programme we are providing capital investment to deliver affordable housing for vulnerable groups including young adults who abuse alcohol and other substances. In 2007-08 the Housing Corporation approved over £30 million for social rented schemes to assist young people at risk and people with alcohol related problems.
The Supporting People programme funds housing-related support services to vulnerable people, including young people at risk and people with alcohol and/or drug problems. In the financial year 2006-07, £42,506,026 of supporting people funding was spent on services in England for people with drug or alcohol problems.
Mr. Iain Wright: As a result of the Planning Inspector's recommendations on Policy S11 (Areas of Attractive Landscape) and the adoption of the Milton Keynes Local Plan, the council identified that further work was needed to formulate a workable policy approach for the Core Strategy and other Local Development Plan Documents.
This has led to the preparation of two documentsthe Local Landscape Designations Study (October 2006) and the draft Landscape Character Assessment (March 2007) both prepared by the Landscape Partnership. The draft Landscape Character Assessment covers the rural part of the borough. The next stage is to seek wider views of borough residents in order to assess the extent to which the different landscapes are valued. This work
is currently under way and is being taken forward via a randomised postal survey to households and will be incorporated into the final version of the LCA. This is expected to be published in January 2009.
John Healey: Government guidance to local government on investments, which was issued in 2004 following the 2003 Local Government Act, emphasises that priority should be given to the security and liquidity of invested funds. The guidance says that it would be appropriate for local authorities to seek the highest rate of return, but makes clear that this should be consistent with the proper levels of security and liquidity.
John Healey: Local authorities are under a general duty to make arrangements to secure continuous improvement in the way in which their functions are exercised, having regard to a combination of economy, efficiency and effectiveness. How authorities fulfil this best value duty is largely left to their discretion.
Under the provisions of Part 7 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 we have streamlined best value and refocused it away from prescribed process and more towards involving local people. Best value now gives authorities more discretion in the way they achieve continuous improvement in their functions better reflecting the needs of local people.
On 9 July 2008 we issued statutory guidance to best value authorities and their partners on creating strong, safe and prosperous communities. This includes guidance on how best value authorities should continue to meet their best value duty under the new regime. It also covers their duties around Local Area Agreements. The guidance can be found on the Communities website at:
Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether local authorities will be able to use directed surveillance under the provisions of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 to monitor tensions between different communities. 
Mr. Khan: Local authorities are permitted under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) to access some types of communications data (including billing and subscriber data), to use directed surveillance (essentially covert surveillance in public places) and deploy covert human intelligence sources (such as undercover officials or informants) for the purpose of preventing or detecting crime or disorder.
RIPA requires that authorisation of any of these covert investigatory techniques must be necessary and proportionate to what the local authority seeks to achieve. DCLG is not aware of any local authorities using the powers available under RIPA to conduct their tension monitoring. RIPA also provides for independent oversight to ensure that local authority authorisations of these techniques meet RIPA requirements. It is a matter for the local authority and the Office of Surveillance Commissioners, the oversight body for directed surveillance, having regard to the circumstances of a particular case as to whether individual authorisations fulfil those requirements.
Tension monitoring is not a mandatory requirement for local authorities. Local authorities and their partners will wish to take legal advice to ensure that their local tension monitoring arrangements are lawful.
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether there will be a presumption or expectation that local authorities in a two-tier area should join a joint waste authority. 
Under powers in the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007, local authorities that wish to work together to discharge their waste functions can submit a proposal to the Secretary of State requesting the establishment of a statutory Joint Waste Authority (JWA). There will be no element of compulsion: it is for authorities to determine whether JWA status is appropriate for their area and whether they wish to pursue this voluntary option for partnership working.
John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much local government business growth initiative funding has been given to Bassetlaw Council over the last four years. 
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John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what requests her Department has received from Bassetlaw Council for new local government business growth initiative funding. 
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidance has been given to local authorities and public corporations in relation to investing or depositing in overseas or foreign-owned banks. 
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment her Department has made of how the financial situation in Icelands banks has affected the investments of UK local authorities. 
John Healey: The Economic Secretary to the Treasury and I met the Local Government Association (LGA) on 9 October to discuss local authorities investments in Icelandic banks. At that meeting it was agreed that, once the LGA has completed its urgent analysis of the effects of the situation on individual local authorities, we will look at issues arising on a case by case basis.
Sir Gerald Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when she plans to respond to the letter to her dated 22 July from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton with regard to Miss C. Doran. 
John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment she has made of the use the National Fraud Initiative has made of information from joint bank accounts on the financial affairs of spouses. 
Mr. Khan: The NFI is a data matching exercise carried out by the Audit Commission to assist in the prevention and detection of fraud. Data matching involves comparing sets of data, such as the payroll or benefits records of a body, against other records held by the same or another body to see how far they match. A number of different data set types are collected for the NFI, including payroll data. The limited type of payroll data collected includes the bank account number and sort code details of the employee. Transactions relating to the bank account cannot be accessed or disclosed within NFI. NFI data matching is based on a combination of the data subjects surname, forename, date of birth, national insurance number or address depending on the data available for the match and/or the desired outcome from the data match. NFI does not collect the name in which the bank account is held, so has no way of linking the employee details back to a partner/spouse.
The intelligence that bank account details provides ensures that investigators prioritise their resources on cases where employment income has potentially been withheld (e.g. in an undeclared bank account) when benefits are claimed. For example, matches between payroll and housing benefit claimants can reveal whether the bank accounts declared to the employer or the housing benefit paying body are the same or different.
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment her Department has made of the effect of planning policy guidance on the preservation of back-garden land and maintenance of bio-diversity in urban and suburban neighbourhoods. 
Mr. Iain Wright: It is for local planning authorities, in consultation with communities, to decide the priorities for housing development in their area within an overall national target that 60 per cent. of development should be on previously developed land.
If local authorities wish to preserve existing residential areas from over-development then they are able, under PPS3, to develop policies that set out the circumstances in which applications will and will not be considered.
Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what area of land situated on the western border of the M1 in the Milton Keynes unitary authority area is currently subject to (a) outline and (b) detailed planning permission; and what percentage this represents of all land in that area. 
Information on extant planning permissions for housing and employment development across the whole authority area will be available from the council's local development framework annual monitoring report. Milton Keynes council should be able to supply more detailed information if required.
Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which bodies are the planning authorities for the land (a) on the eastern boundary of the M1 and (b) on the western boundary of the M1 in the Milton Keynes unitary authority area. 
Mr. Khan: Milton Keynes borough council is the planning authority for land to the east of the Ml within the Milton Keynes unitary authority area. It is also planning authority for areas west of the Ml motorway within the unitary authority area, except for areas where the Milton Keynes Partnership exercises planning controls, as set out in the Milton Keynes (Urban Area and Planning Functions) Order of 2004.
Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate she has made of the (a) number and (b) cost of additional bridges required to cross the M1 to facilitate the proposed development in the latest edition of the South East Plan east of the M1 in Milton Keynes. 
The South East Plan will provide a broad development strategy for the region for a 20-year period. Once completed, this overarching strategy will be taken forward by more local and detailed planning strategies, implementation plans and development schemes, each of which will make an assessment of the level of infrastructure needed to support new development. For this reason it is not possible to state the number or cost of any new bridges required to support potential development east of the Ml at Milton Keynes.
Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment she has made of the likely effects of development east of the M1 proposed in the most recent revisions of the South East Plan on traffic congestion on key routes into Milton Keynes, with particular reference to junctions 13 and 14 of the M1. 
Mr. Khan: The draft South East Plan is intended to provide a broad development strategy for the region for a 20-year period, and as such it is not possible to forecast the precise impacts of new development at this strategic scale. More detailed matters including the planning and delivery of infrastructure requirements will be addressed through local development frameworks produced by local authorities in partnership with the development industry. Any new proposals would be expected to meet Government policy requirements to support public transport and assist modal shift from car-based transport.
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