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Listed Building legislation such as Repairs and Urgent Works Notices;
Completion notices; and
Compulsory Purchase Orders.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether an impact assessment was undertaken in relation to the decision to allow energy performance certificates for the sale of domestic dwellings to have a shelf-life of three years. 
Mr. Iain Wright:
Yes. A preliminary Impact Assessment was published on 13 December 2007 as part of the Public Consultation on EPC Validity and is available on
the CLG website. A final Impact Assessment was produced alongside SI 2363, EPBD Amendment No. 2 Regulations 2008 and placed in the House of Commons Library on 9 September.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) from what date energy performance certificates are required for a residential property sale; and at what stage in a sale; 
Mr. Iain Wright: There has been a requirement to provide a Home Information Pack containing an EPC from August 2007 for the sale of dwellings of four bedrooms and over, September 2007 for dwellings of three bedrooms and all remaining dwellings from December 2007.
An EPC is required for the sale of all homes from 1 October 2008. This includes properties that do not require a HIP, either because they are exempt, or because they were placed on the market before the requirement to have a HIP commenced for their category.
When the building is viewed (even if that means providing the EPC before any written information is provided)
If written information about the building is provided as a result of a request by a prospective purchaser
Before contracts are exchanged
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment has been made of the reliability and accuracy of energy performance certificates for domestic dwellings. 
Mr. Iain Wright: Domestic energy assessors are overseen by accreditation schemes, who are responsible for the quality of EPCs and redress for consumers. All schemes must meet quality standards as a condition of approval: this includes ensuring the quality of assessors and EPCs. As an additional check, the Department has commissioned an independent audit of quality assurance procedures, and the first phase of this is currently being carried out.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what requirements there will be on local planning authorities to produce environmental impact assessments; and to what types of planning application such requirements will apply. 
Mr. Iain Wright:
The latest environmental impact assessment (EIA) regulations have been in force since 1999. They require an EIA to be carried out by a developer to accompany planning applications for certain
types of development which are likely to have significant effects on the environment. EIA is compulsory for certain categories of large scale development (e.g. construction of motorways). The decision whether or not to require EIA for smaller scale developments (e.g. housing developments exceeding 0.5 hectares) falls to the local planning authority.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether regional firecontrol room limited companies are public authorities for the purposes of freedom of information legislation. 
John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many firefighters there were per 100,000 residents in each fire and rescue authority in England in each year since 1997. 
Julia Goldsworthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much has been allocated to assist first-time buyers with property purchases in (a) 2008-09, (b) 2009-10, (c) 2010-11 and (d) 2011-12. 
Mr. Iain Wright: We do not set budgets for individual low cost home ownership products, which fall within the Housing Corporations Affordable Housing Programme. Of the overall £8.4 billion budget available over the three years 2008-11, we have indicated that around £1.5 billion may be used for low cost home ownership. The overall funds available for 2011-12 will be subject to decisions made at the next spending review.
On 2 September we announced a further £300 million over the next two years (2008-10) to help up to 10,000 first time buyers through the new shared equity scheme HomeBuy Direct. This scheme is designed to sell unsold properties that house builders have been unable to sell. The scheme will be offered on specific new build properties brought forward by developers. Buyers will be offered an equity loan of up to 30 per cent. of purchase price, co-funded by Government and the developer.
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government for what reason her Department has decided to cease funding for the
Gigateway; and whether she plans to reassess the spatial data infrastructure during the implementation of the INSPIRE Directive. 
Mr. Iain Wright: The Gigateway metadata service has been in operation for several years through the Association for Geographic Information as a unique service to the GI (geographic information) community. Due to financial pressures, funding support from Communities and Local Government for Gigateway ends on 31 March 2009. The future role of Gigateway within the UK Spatial Data Infrastructure will be developed following publication of the UK Location Strategy. DEFRA is leading the implementation of INSPIRE and the UK Location Strategy.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 8 May 2008, Official Report, columns 37-39WS, on home information packs, what the timetable is for the production of the report of the working group. 
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Welwyn Hatfield of 15 September 2008, Official Report, column 2085W, on home information packs, what assessment (a) her Department and (b) consultants for her Department have made of the typical maximum period within which a local authority search in a home information pack will be accepted as valid by a mortgage lender. 
Mr. Iain Wright: Throughout the roll out of the Home Information Pack programme, the Department conducted a range of interviews with estate agents and other property professionals to help monitor the effectiveness of the mechanisms and processes in place to produce HIPs, including average cost and average length of time taken to prepare.
Mr. Iain Wright: The consultation on the property information questionnaire closed on 30 September 2008. We are currently analysing responses. Decisions on whether to introduce the questionnaire and the timescales for any introductions will follow this analysis.
Mr. Iain Wright: I refer the hon. Member to the answer my hon. Friend the Member for Gloucester (Mr. Dhanda) gave to the hon. Member for Welwyn Hatfield (Grant Shapps) of 15 September 2008, Official Report, column 2085W, on home information packs.
We have allocated £200 million to local authorities and voluntary organisations over the next three years to tackle and prevent homelessness in their areathe biggest ever cash injection for homelessness services. In addition, a further £80 million capital funding has been allocated through our Places of Change Programme to work in partnership with voluntary organisations to build on the success of improving hostels and day centres.
Homelessness prevention measures funded by Communities and Local Government have had a major impact. In the last five years, we have more than halved the number of homeless households in priority need accepted by local authorities; we are now making serious inroads into the backlog of households in temporary accommodation, and local authorities are making good progress on meeting our target to halve the number of households in temporary accommodation to 50,500 by 2010 with one third of authorities having already met the target; we are maintaining levels of rough sleeping at historical low levels and we are now developing an updated Rough Sleeping Strategy that builds on 10 years of success and aim to publish it later in the year.
We established the National Youth Homelessness Scheme (NYHS) jointly led by Centrepoint and YMCA England. NYHS has established nine regional centres of excellence to offer practical examples to neighbouring authorities of effective service models, and a website
and knowledge base to offer accessible information and practical initiatives on preventing and tackling youth homelessness.
In addition, local authorities are making good progress on the commitment that by 2010, no 16 or 17-year-olds should be placed in bed-and-breakfast accommodation by a local authority under the homelessness legislation, except in an emergency. At the end of June 2008, there were 420 16 and 17-year-olds in bed-and-breakfast accommodation (compared to the September 2006 estimated baseline of 1,000) with only 160 accommodated for more than six weeks.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many people aged 18 to 21 years approached their local authority for accommodation on the basis that they were homeless in each local authority area in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Mr. Iain Wright: Information about English local housing authorities actions under the homelessness legislation (Part 7 of the Housing Act 1996) is collected quarterly at local authority level. Data collected include all decisions made on applications for assistance by eligible applicants, and the number of these applicants accepted by local housing authorities as eligible for assistance, unintentionally homeless and in priority need, and therefore owed a main homelessness duty (to secure that suitable accommodation is available). These households are known as accepted households.
Information on applications for assistance under the homelessness legislation by age is not held centrally. However the number of households accepted by local authorities as eligible for assistance, unintentionally homeless and in priority need, and therefore owed a main homelessness duty, is collected by age bands, and includes those applicants who are aged between 16 and 24-years-old.
A table has been placed in the Library showing total acceptances of applicants aged between 16 and 24-years-old, by each local authority, for the most recent quarter for which information is availableApril to June 2008.
Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many free emergency beds are available solely to homeless youths at any one time in (a) the UK, (b) the North East, (c) Tees Valley District and (d) Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland constituency. 
Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much her Department and its predecessors has spent on services for homeless youths in each of the last 10 years. 
Funding for youth homelessness services will typically come from unhypothecated revenue and capital grants given to local authorities and the voluntary and community sector (VCS) by my Department. For example, we have allocated £200 million over the next three years (2008-11) for local authorities and the VCS to tackle and prevent homelessness. It is for them to determine how best to use this money to achieve this aim.
In November 2006, the Government announced a package of measures to prevent and tackle youth homelessness, this included the establishment of the National Youth Homelessness Scheme. During 2007-08, an additional £600,000 for new services was made available. It helped local authorities set up new supported lodgings and other supported housing services, as well as schemes to prevent young people becoming homeless.
Since 2003, administering authorities have been allocated funding through the Supporting People programme, to support the most vulnerable people in their communities through the provision of housing-related support. Authorities, rather than central Government, determine how to focus their Supporting People funding. We do not collect data on how much of the funding authorities spent on services for homeless youths specifically, but do know that in 2005-06, authorities spent £105 million on young people at risk, and £115 million in 2006-07.
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