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30 Oct 2008 : Column 1268Wcontinued
Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what change there has been in the funds each regional development agency received for contributions to the Homeowner Support Package in (a) 2007-08 and (b) 2008-09. 
In September 2008 the Government announced that £300 million would be redirected from
the Department's contribution to the RDA single programme budget to fund the HomeBuy Direct scheme. The change in indicative capital allocations for each Regional Development Agency, currently profiled as £25 million in 2009-10 and £275 million in 2010-11 is shown in the following table. RDA budgets in 2007-08 and 2008-09 are not funding HomeBuy Direct.
|RDA Indicative Capital Allocations as a result of funding HomeBuy Direct|
|RDA||Indicative Allocation||Change||Revised Allocation||Indicative Allocation||Change||Revised Allocation|
Ms Keeble: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment has been made of the pilot projects to tackle housing over-crowding. 
Mr. Iain Wright: In 2007-08 the Government funded five London local authorities to develop pilot schemes to tackle overcrowding. The early lessons learnt from the London pilots were published on the Communities and Local Government website in Tackling Overcrowding in England: Lessons from the London pilot schemes and sub-regional coordination in June 2008.
In December 2007 the Government announced an additional £15 million funding over the current CSR period to tackle overcrowding in 38 local authority pathfinder areas across England, starting this year. The evaluation of the London pilots is informing the development of the overcrowding pathfinders strategies and action plans.
Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the planning process is for the sale of educational use land for residential use; and how much educational use land in (a) England and (b) Leicester East constituency has been sold for development for residential use in the last (i) 12 months and (ii) 10 years. 
Mr. Iain Wright: The Department does not collect the data requested centrally. The Land Use Change Statistics (LUCS) provides information on actual changes from one land use to another. However, statistics on where land changes from community buildings includes schools and colleges but also hospitals, police stations and prisons, while data on land changing from outdoor recreation include school playing fields as well as football pitches, golf courses and allotments.
For planning purposes land should be identified and allocated in local development frameworks, which is the overall planning strategy for the area. In some cases speculative applications, outside of the local development framework, may come forwardin which case they should be determined having regard to the overall direction in the framework.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment she has made of the effect of her Departments use of (a) a mix-adjusted house price measure and (b) other types of measure on estimates of house price inflation or deflation in a falling market. 
Mr. Iain Wright: Communities and Local Government (CLG) has looked at differences between the CLG mix-adjusted house price index and other measures of house prices inflation or deflation in a falling market as published by Halifax and Nationwide and the Land Registry.
The main difference is that the CLG and Land Registry indices are based on mortgage completions, whereas the Nationwide and Halifax indices use mortgage approvals data. This means the CLG index is based on actual selling prices and as a result lags about two months behind the Nationwide and Halifax indices. This lag may be increasing with the downturn in the housing market as transactions take longer to complete.
Other differences between the indices exist but have less impact on the differences between the measures.
Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which local authorities have made representations to her Department on the effect of the economic situation on funding for private finance initiative housing schemes. 
Mr. Iain Wright: My Department is in regular contact with all schemes on the housing PFI programme. The manner and topics of individual discussions cannot be disclosed for reasons of commercial confidentiality.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which organisation is providing her Department with research into levels of housing need; and what the terms of reference of such research are. 
Mr. Iain Wright: The Department has recently let a research contract on Estimating Housing Need to Heriot-Watt University. The research team is being led by Professor Glen Bramley.
Communities and Local Government officials produced a detailed specification of what will be required from the research. Broadly the aims of the research are to:
enable the Department to produce better estimates of housing need taking into account the normative nature and multi-dimensionality of need, and the need for housing related support; and
to do this through the production of a robust model which enables estimates of housing need to be provided and which can be easily adapted to examine different scenarios and assess the impact of varying assumptions.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps her Department and its predecessors have taken to reduce the incidence of (a) gazumping and (b) gazundering. 
Mr. Iain Wright: We have introduced home information packs which, by providing consumers with important information early in the house buying and selling process can help to reduce the opportunities for gazumping and gazundering to occur.
John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many residential properties in the UK have solar panels; and what data her Department gathers on residential solar panel installation in other EU member states for benchmarking purposes. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: I have been asked to reply.
As part of a consortium of organisations including the microgeneration industry and energy NGOs, we commissioned research on the growth potential for microgeneration in England, Wales and Scotland, which included current levels of uptake. It found that there
were an estimated 90,000 solar thermal installations at the end of 2007. The research can be accessed at
A further study which is due to be published shortly suggests approximately 105,000 installations to August 2008. These studies did not estimate how many were domestic or non-domestic installations.
We do not collect information on residential solar panel installations for benchmarking purposes with other EU countries. However the Annual PVPS (Photovoltaic Power Systems) Report sets out support for PV and installed capacity in EU countries. The report can be accessed at the website:
Mr. MacShane: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much was paid by local authorities in South Yorkshire to Bramall Construction Ltd. for housing stock renewal in each of the last five years. 
Mr. Iain Wright: The Department does not hold this information.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the timetable is for the mandatory roll-out of the Code for Sustainable Homes across each level in new build (a) social housing and (b) private sector housing. 
Mr. Iain Wright: The Code for Sustainable Homes came into effect in April 2007 as the standard for sustainable new build homes in England. It is currently voluntary for the private sector to build homes to the levels set in the code unless they are building on English Partnerships' land (where they will need to build to at least code level 3), or are subject to a planning requirement.
However, the Government are committed to ensuring that all new homes are built to the highest levels of sustainability and as such in 2010 are increasing the energy efficiency standards set out in Part L (Conservation of fuel and power) of the Building Regulations and in 2009 introducing water efficiency into Part G (Hygiene). In addition all homes that are designed and built with funding from the National Affordable Housing programme will need to be built to code level 3.
Both English Partnerships and the Housing Corporation have committed to raising sustainability standards over time. English Partnerships stated that homes built on their land would need to be built to at least code level 4 from 2010 and code level 6/zero carbon from 2013. For the Housing Corporation their commitment was tied to the timing of the National Affordable Housing programme funding stream. Therefore they would require homes built to code level 4 from 2011 and code level 6/zero carbon from 2014 (subject to the technology needed being cost effective).
The new Homes and Communities Agency is currently considering how to harmonise the standards and commitments made by English Partnerships and Housing
Corporation and will, subject to a cost-benefit analysis, confirm the timetable for building to higher levels of the code in due course.
In practice homes are being built today to the higher levels of the code, both on English Partnerships' sites, with funding from the National Affordable Housing programme and by private developers. Code homes have been built or are going through the final assessment process at levels 3, 4, 5 and 6.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the minimum Code for Sustainable Homes level is that housing in eco-towns must meet. 
Mr. Iain Wright: I refer the hon. Member to the answer that I gave the hon. Member for Beckenham (Mrs. Lait) on 6 October 2008, Official Report, column 306W.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the minimum eco-standards for new homes built in the Thames Gateway area are; and what plans she has to change such standards over time. 
Mr. Iain Wright: New homes built in the Thames Gateway must meet the same standards as in the rest of the UK. The long-term goal is to reduce UK carbon emissions by 80 per cent. by 2050. The intention is for all new homes to be zero carbon from 2016, to be achieved through a progressive tightening of the energy efficiency standards in building regulationswith a 25 per cent. improvement on current standards in 2010 and a 44 per cent. in 2013up to the zero carbon standard in 2016. Our planning policies on climate change enable councils to drive things further and faster than the national timetable through their planning strategies, where local circumstances warrant and allow this. In addition, homes built with funding from English Partnerships, Housing Corporation or the two Thames Gateway Development Corporations are required to be built to Code for Sustainable Homes Level 3. We also announced in the November 2007 Thames Gateway Delivery Plan that we envisage the Thames Gateway as an eco-region. Work continues to develop the eco-region concept and next steps will be announced in a prospectus, to be published later this year.
Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 15 October 2008, Official Report, column 1322W, on housing: sustainable development, if she will break down the number of homes assessed against the Code for Sustainable Homes at each code level by (a) local authority and (b) housing association; and how many of the assessed homes were privately developed properties. 
Mr. Iain Wright: Due to the time lag from when homes are registered, designed, built and assessed against the Code for Sustainable Homes there are only limited useful data available at present. As data become available they have to be further investigated and refined before we are in a position to release them on a regular basis. We therefore do not currently have data in the format that the hon. Lady has requested.
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