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15 Dec 2008 : Column 374W—continued

Non-Domestic Rates: Business

Mr. Brazier: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when she expects to make an announcement on proposals to allow businesses facing backdated business rates bills more time to pay. [243989]

John Healey: It is intended that a business rates information letter will be issued shortly setting out the further details.

Ordnance Survey: Copyright

John Howell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will take steps to remove the copyright restrictions imposed by Ordnance Survey on the re-use of its data. [243067]

Mr. Iain Wright: The HM Treasury/Shareholder Executive assessment of trading funds has considered the potential for innovation and growth from increasing commercial and other use of public sector information including Ordnance Survey data. It will shortly publish some key principles for the re-use of this information, and consider how these should be applied to ensure that Government policy is fully reflected in practice.

As part of the assessment, Ordnance Survey is in the process of undertaking a strategic review of its operations and underlying business model. My aim is for Ordnance Survey data to be made more widely available for exploitation for the benefit of the wider UK economy. Further details will be announced in due course.

In the meantime Ordnance Survey will continue to enable users of all types to access a wide range of data through its normal licensing arrangements.

Planning Permission

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the value of section 106 monies held by each local authority was in each of the last three financial years. [240548]

Mr. Iain Wright: Information on the value of section 106 monies held by each local authority is not collected centrally. However, the Department for Communities and Local Government has produced research reports into the value of planning obligations in England for 2003-04 and 2005-06 based on a sample of authorities across the country. It was estimated that the total value of planning obligations agreed in England in 2003-04 was £1.9 billion and in 2005-06 the estimate had risen to £4 billion. These reports are available on the Department's website. New research covering 2007-08 has recently been commissioned and will be published in summer 2009.

Appropriate openness over the collection and use of s106 monies is an important element of local authority accountability and the Government recommend in planning Circular 05/05 that authorities keep accurate records which can be used to inform the public. In July, the Government announced in the Empowerment White Paper that it will explore whether more can be done to strengthen this local accountability.

Property Development: Floods

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent representations she has received on the planning guidance announced on 26 November relating to flood protection for new developments; and if she will make a statement. [241504]

Huw Irranca-Davies: I have been asked to reply.

The Long-Term Initiatives for Flood Risk Environments (LiFE) project, which has produced a guide to help planners and architects develop more integrated and sustainable approaches to site design, was funded by DEFRA’s flood risk management innovation fund. This fund was established under the Government’s Making Space for Water flood management strategy to test new and novel ways for managing flood risk in the future that are sustainable and deliver a range of benefits.

Where the sequential approach set out in Government Planning Policy (PPS25) shows that there are no reasonably available sites in areas with a lower probability of flooding and the need for the development outweighs the flood risk, development may, exceptionally, need to go ahead in flood risk areas. In such cases, PPS25 and its accompanying practice guide emphasises the importance of site layout and design in mitigating the impacts of flood risk. The LiFE guide is a useful contribution towards increasing awareness of flood risk management issues and highlights some potential solutions. It does not however replace current planning policy and guidance set out in PPS25 and the accompanying practice guide.

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Public Lavatories: Disabled

David Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what plans she has to encourage (a) local authorities and (b) commercial operators in charge of public places to install Changing Places toilets. [243200]

Mr. Khan: In March 2008 the Department published a Strategic Guide on Improving Access to Better Quality Toilets, which set out the range of powers and approaches that local authorities and their partners can use to improve public access to toilets for all people. This drew attention to the Changing Places campaign, and the importance of providing suitably equipped toilets for people with profound and multiple disabilities, and their carers.

CLG officials also contribute to the work of the British Standards Institute and have been involved in current work on updating British Standard BS8300 “Design of Buildings and their approaches to meet the needs of disabled people—Code of practice” to provide detailed technical guidance on the design of Changing Places facilities. The revised document is expected to be published in spring 2009.

David Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what plans she
15 Dec 2008 : Column 376W
has to implement the recommendations in the Communities and Local Government Committee’s Twelfth report of Session 2007-08, HC 636, on provision of public toilets that (a) local authorities make appropriate provision for disabled public toilets, taking the British Standard relating to the provision of disabled public toilets as their primary guideline and (b) her Department impose a duty on each local authority to develop a strategy on the provision of public toilets in their areas, including consultation with local communities and reviewed annually. [243205]

Mr. Khan: These issues will be covered in the Department’s formal response to the Committee’s report, which we aim to submit by 12 January 2009.

Regional Ministers: Official Engagements

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the official engagements were of (a) the Minister for London, (b) the Minister for Yorkshire and the Humber and (c) the Minister for the South East in their roles as regional ministers from 1 November to 30 November 2008. [243473]

Mr. Khan: The information requested is in the following table.

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Official engagements for Ministers for London, Yorkshire and the Humber and the South East of England—1 to 30 November 2008

Outline of visit Location


5 November 2008

Speech at launch of LYCPB London Schools Programme for Safety and Cohesion

Tower of London, City of London

12 November 2008

Meeting with the London Youth Crime Prevention Board

Caxton House, Westminster

19 November 2008

Chaired the London Child Poverty Summit

Lovells, Holborn Viaduct, City of London

20 November 2008

Speech at the London Talent Debate

Excel, Docklands, Newham

25 November 2008

Pre-Budget Report Event

British Chambers of Commerce, City of London

25 November 2008

Speech at the Launch of the London Pledge for Children in Care

The Oval Conference Centre, Lambeth

26 November 2008

Speech at the Thames Gateway Forum

Troxy Theatre, Limehouse, Tower Hamlets

Yorkshire and the Humber

3 November 2008

Meeting with The Most Reverend and Right Hon. Dr. John Sentamu, Archbishop of York Meeting with Leeds City Region Partnership


4 November 2008

Meeting with Chairman Lloyds TSB


7 November 2008

Social Inclusion Workshop: Mental Health and Employment Event


10 November 2008

Visit to Hull and Humber including meeting with Humber Economic Partnership (HEP), visit to Nisa-Today's Ltd., Humberside Airport, and World Trade Centre Hull


11 November 2008

Meeting with British Telecom Yorkshire and Humber MPs BT dinner


14 November 2008

Meeting with Environment Agency Climate Change Action Plan High Level Meeting Meeting with right hon. John Denham MP and Business Ambassadors Skills Pledge commitment “ceremony”


17 November 2008

Yorkshire and Humber Economic Development Group Meetings—Financial Task Force and with MPs and Union

Leeds and Halifax

20 November 2008

HBOS/Lloyds Public Meeting


21 November 2008

East Riding Local Strategic Partnership Conference 2008—Achieving Our Ambition


27 November 2008

Yorkshire and Humber Assembly Event: Short-Term Issues/Long-Term Solutions


28 November 2008

Series of engagements for Cabinet visit to the region

Halifax and Leeds

South East of England

4 November 2008

Hampshire Climate Change Commission

Winchester, Hampshire

6 November 2008

RAISE Conference


7 November 2008

Opening of new carpentry workshop

Maidstone, Kent

10 November 2008

Health Stakeholder Event (Jonathan Shaw attended as both the Minister for the South East and Carers Minister, for which has responsibility as a DWP Minister)


10 November 2008

SEEDA Regional Housing Dinner


11 November 2008

Meeting with British Telecom


12 November 2008

Regional Funding Advice (RFA) meeting


13 November 2008

Strategic Skills meeting with John Denham


20 November 2008

CBI dinner


24 November 2008

South East Economic Delivery Council


25 November 2008

Regional Skills Pledge Event—Surrey Chamber of Commerce

Guildford, Surrey

26 November 2008

Thames Gateway Forum Annual Conference


Regional Planning and Development: Coastal Areas

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to the Answer of 25 November 2008, Official Report, column 1277W, on regeneration: coastal areas, if she will consider collecting and holding, at central level, information on the work of the Regional Improvement and Efficiency Partnerships in respect of the principal seaside towns. [241509]

Mr. Khan: We will collect and hold such information in respect of the principal seaside towns as is in line with the principles of measuring success for the Regional Improvement and Efficiency Partnerships set out in the National Improvement and Efficiency Strategy

Regional Planning and Development: South West

Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many people her Department is employing specifically to deal with representations on the South West Regional Spatial Strategy; and if she will make a statement. [243595]

Mr. Khan: Most of the Government Office for the South West’s planning and housing delivery team of 20 staff, including seven chartered town planners, will deal with representations, but none will be devoted exclusively to Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS) work. Work on local development frameworks, casework, New Growth Points and other aspects of housing delivery will continue in parallel with the RSS. The permanent team has been supplemented by three members of staff seconded from the Planning Inspectorate and seven agency staff, who are currently dealing with the responses to the Secretary of State’s Proposed Changes for the Regional Spatial Strategy. Numerous staff at the Department of Communities and Local Government Planning Directorate will contribute to assessing options to respond to representations, but they are not expected to deal with individual representations, and none will be devoted exclusively to work on the South West’s RSS.

Rented Housing: Private Sector

Lyn Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which local authorities have applied to introduce selective licensing of the private rented sector under the provisions contained within Part 3 of the Housing Act 2004. [243349]

Mr. Iain Wright: The following local authorities have been granted departmental approval to operate selective licensing schemes under Part 3 of the Housing Act 2004.

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