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In our response we said we would undertake an initial review of the implementation of PPS25, drawing on information such as the Environment Agency's annual Development and Flood Risk reports. This initial review has recently concluded. Communities and Local Government will be writing to local planning authorities to draw their attention to the review's findings and to emphasise the importance the Government places on reducing the risk of flooding to new development. The Department's letter and the findings of the review will be made available on the Departments website.
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to the answer to the hon. Member for Beckenham of 3 September 2007, Official Report, column 1644W, on departments: freedom of information, what requests have been made to her Department under the (a) Freedom of Information Act (FOI) 2000 and (b) Environmental Information Regulations since September 2007; and what the (i) FOI case reference number, (ii) nature and topic of information requested, (iii) request outcome and (iv) where appropriate, reason for exemption was in each case. 
Mr. Khan: I have placed the information requested in the Library of the House in four tables(a) resolved requests considered under the Freedom of Information Act 2000; (b) unresolved requests under the Freedom of Information Act 2000; (c) resolved requests considered under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004; and (d) unresolved requests under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004.
Where the topic of the request as recorded on the database used for entering and tracking progress of requests exceeds the permitted maximum length of 255 characters, the topic descriptor has been abbreviated by the program.
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Meriden (Mrs. Spelman) of 29 January 2009, Official Report, column 771W, on Government offices for the regions: expenditure, if she will request the Government Offices for the regions to publish annually information on the programme budgets they administer. 
Mr. Khan: As I said in my answer of 23 February 2009, Official Report, column 122W, programme budgets administered by the Government Offices are the responsibility of the Secretaries of State for the relevant sponsor Departments. The Departments delegate authority to the Regional Directors to spend against their programmes, though all expenditure incurred is recorded in the accounts of the Department concerned.
Martin Horwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much land has been taken (a) out of and (b) into the greenbelt, excluding land in the New Forest, in each of the last 10 years. 
Mr. Iain Wright [holding answer 12 March 2009]: Information on land taken in and out of the green belt is not held centrally. However, estimates on the total area of green belt land and the net change in that area for England are tabled as follows. These figures exclude the area of green belt land that was transferred to the New Forest National park in 2005. Figures are shown for each of the last 10 years for which data are available.
|Area (hectares)( 1)||Net annual change (hectares)( 2)|
|(1) Excludes the area of green belt land transferred to the New Forest National park in 2005.|
(2) Compared with the previous year or an annual average where the interval exceeds one year.
Communities and Local Government Statistical Releases: Green Belt Statistics, England.
Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many residents of non-coastal towns have been placed in seaside towns under the Seaside and Country Homes Scheme since the schemes inception. 
John Healey: Since 1998, 2,071 households, all from London boroughs, have been placed in new homes under the Seaside and Country Homes Mobility Scheme. The historic breakdown of figures between those moving to either seaside or country locations under this scheme is not available. Figures prior to 1998 are not available.
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many permanent dwellings built with private funds were started in England in each quarter of the last 30 years. 
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) whether her Department authorised representatives of the Homes and Communities Agency to attend the launch of the affordable housing funding package by the Mayor of London on 3 March 2009; 
(a) £93 million to unlock five stalled development sites across London over the next 12 months. The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) estimates this will result in approximately 941 new affordable homes on these five sites; and
(b) £42 million for the "Up2U/First Steps" scheme. The details of this scheme are still being finalised, but it is potentially novel and therefore may require ministerial approval before HCA funding can be committed.
It was appropriate for the HCA to attend the launch event on 3 March to support the first element of this package (the £93 million to support development in London). The joint GLA/HCA press notice issued for this event indicated that funding for the "Up2U/First Steps" scheme was subject to ministerial approval.
Julia Goldsworthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what her latest estimate is of the (a) capital and (b) running costs of the Infrastructure Planning Commission in 2009-10. 
Mr. Iain Wright: In January this year we published an annex to the Planning Bill impact assessment which confirmed that the costs are within the margin of error allowed for within the original impact assessment and the estimated set up and running costs of the Infrastructure Planning Commission remain at £5 million and £9.3 million respectively.
Mr. Iain Wright: The Chair of the Infrastructure Planning Commission will receive £184,000 per annum based on a time commitment of four days per week (that is £230,000 per annum pro rata). The posts of deputy chair and commissioner have recently been advertised at £125,000 and £100,000 pro rata per annum respectively, for a time commitment of three to five days per week. None of the posts are pensionable.
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to her Department's winter supplementary estimate for 2008-09, what the likely effect of the financial corrections imposed by the European Commission will be on the level of resources available for other programmes in her Department. 
Julia Goldsworthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate she has made of the annual cost to (a) local authorities and (b) the Audit Commission of comprehensive area assessments. 
John Healey: The cost of the Audit Commissions work on comprehensive area assessment will be covered, as CPA was, by income from fees paid by local authorities along with grant from my Department. My reply to the hon. Member for Wellingborough (Mr. Bone) on 3 March 2009, Official Report, columns 1547-48W, explained the annual costs associated with the comprehensive performance assessment including estimates for 2008-09. The Audit Commission published in December 2008, a work programme and scales of fees for 2009-10, and indicative fee proposals up to 2012 for new work on the CAA. This does not set out total cost figures for either themselves or for local authorities, but provides both the fixed and scale elements of the different fees for single tier, county and district councils of audit and inspection work.
David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent discussions she has had with local authorities on the steps they are taking to reduce levels of carbon dioxide emissions; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Iain Wright: The important role of local authorities in reducing levels of carbon emissions is often a topic of my and colleagues discussions with local authorities and others, most recently in the context of the Heat and Energy Savings Strategy and Community Energy Savings Programme consultations, which the Government published on 12 February.
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether she plans to increase the retirement pension age for local government pension schemes in line with the planned changes to the state retirement age. 
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the geographic scope is of her proposals to legislate to allow for (a) remote voting by councillors and (b) incentives for electors to vote. 
Mr. Khan: Our proposals on both remote voting for local authority members and incentives for electors to vote relate to England. In the other countries of the United Kingdom these matters are the responsibilities of the Devolved Administrations concerned.
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to the answer of 19 March 2008, Official Report, column 1216W, on Thames Gateway Development Corporation Planning Committee: Business Interests, what reference was made to the Corporation's code of practice prior to the appointment of Mr. Alan Clark to the Planning Committee. 
Margaret Beckett: Potential applicants for the role of independent member of the London Thames Gateway Development Corporation (LTGDC) Planning Committee were sent an 'Information for Candidates' pack. This described the role of independent members of that committee, and the skills sought. In addition, the LTGDC planning code of practice was part of the information pack. That code includes a cross reference to the LTGDC code of practice for board members.
Candidates were informed in the information pack that any conflicts of interest would have to be declared in any application. The application form itself asked for potential conflicts of interest to be declared; a separate political activity questionnaire was also required to be completed.
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 5 March 2009, Official Report, column 1756W, on mortgages: Government assistance, if she will place in the Library a copy of the results of the telephone survey; how the mortgage resale scheme is being publicised; and if she will make a statement. 
Margaret Beckett: The informal telephone survey of 60 local authorities operating the Government's Mortgage Rescue Scheme was conducted by officials at Communities and Local Government on 18 February 2009. The exercise was intended to provide an early indication of take-up among a cross-section of participating local authorities.
Formal monitoring arrangements for all local authorities are currently being finalised, and we expect regional data on the number of households receiving assistance under the scheme to be available from April 2009. Data on the number of completed rescues under the Mortgage Rescue Scheme will be published as part of the Homes and Communities Agency's annual reporting arrangements.
The Mortgage Rescue Scheme is publicised as part of the recently launched 'Real Help Now' campaign, which aims to ensure people are aware of the support available
during the current downturn and how to access it at the earliest opportunity. Details are also available on the Communities and Direct Gov websites and it is referred to in the National Homelessness Advice Service leaflet Are You Worried about your Mortgage? Get advice now, which has been widely circulated to national advice and support services. Individual local authorities have also published literature publicising the scheme in their area and there has been extensive coverage in national and local media.
John Healey: There are no plans for Government to give local authorities greater powers to set business rate locally. The Lyons Inquiry into Local Government considered the case for returning business rates to local control. Its analysis concluded that this would not be appropriate at the current time. The Government agreed. However, Sir Michael Lyons did recommend introducing a new local flexibility to set a supplement on business rates.
In October 2007, alongside the 2007 pre-Budget report and comprehensive spending review, the Government published Business rate supplements: a White Paper. The Business Rate Supplements Bill was then introduced in the House of Commons on 4 December 2008 and gives effect to the Governments proposal in the White Paper. The Bill provides the Greater London Authority and, outside London, upper tier local authorities a discretionary power to levy a supplement on the business rate and retain and invest the proceeds in additional projects aimed at promoting the economic development of local areas.
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