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Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether he plans to extend the appointment of Councillor Les Byrom as Chair of the Business and Community Safety Forum; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Malik: Arrangements for an extension to Councillor Byrom's appointment as Chair of the Business and Community Safety Forum are currently being finalised. The extension would mean Councillor Byrom continuing in the role of Chair until March while a review of the forum's effectiveness is undertaken.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much local authority housing debt has been removed following large-scale voluntary transfers since 1997. 
Mr. Betts: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what progress has been made on the London Brownfield Sites Database; and whether he plans to extend the database across England. 
Mr. Ian Austin: The London Brownfield Sites database was launched on 8 October 2009 by the London Development Agency and the Homes and Communities Agency. The database is a freely available online tool. It is being used by all 33 London local planning authorities and other stakeholder groups including the Environment Agency, Natural England and English Heritage. Visitors to the database website are able to identify sites suitable for development, and explore and understand a site's context due to the themed data made available. Data include transport routes, deprivation, social infrastructure, as well as heritage and natural environment assets. The Homes and Communities Agency is considering options for the development of similar systems in other English regions. As part of this process HCA will monitor the effectiveness of the London Brownfield sites database over the coming months.
Mr. Betts: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what progress has been made on establishing the National Brownfield Forum; and whether the forum will include non-governmental environmental organisations. 
Mr. Ian Austin: The first meeting of the National Brownfield Forum was held in February 2009. It has since met twice further. Membership of the forum is made up of both governmental and non-governmental organisations, including Environmental Protection UK, the Environmental Industries Commission and the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what recent assessment he has made of the level of (a) demand and (b) funding available for disabled facilities grants in Somerset; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) what his latest estimate is of disabled facilities grant allocations in each local authority in England as a percentage of assessed grant need in the latest year for which information is available; and if he will make a statement. 
Local authorities are required to complete an annual claim and monitoring form to the Department for disabled facilities grants. This includes information on the level of contribution claimed from central government, levels of expenditure and levels of demand. The most recent data collection exercise, which has been expanded in 2009-10 to gather more information on levels of grant need, is nearly complete and we will be publishing the figures early in the new year.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much his Department has allocated for disabled facilities grants (DFG) in each local authority (a) per head of population, (b) per person of retirement age and (c) per person in receipt of disability living allowance and/or attendance allowance in 2009-10; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ian Austin: Communities and Local Government provided £158 million in 2009-10 to support local authorities in their responsibilities to deliver disabled facilities grants. Funding has grown steadily from £57 million in 1997-98. That funding is allocated to local authorities using a formula which takes into account regional level data from the English House Condition Survey on the number of disabled people in each region living in unsuitable housing and a regional building cost index. For each local authority there is also a local needs indicator, based on the number of individuals in that authority in receipt of either disability living allowance or attendance allowance.
The levels of funding ranked by head of population, per person of retirement age and per person in receipt of disability living allowance and/or attendance allowance are not collected by Communities and Local Government.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent estimate he has made of the average time taken for the award of disabled facilities grants in each local authority in Somerset; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ian Austin: Communities and Local Government does not collect information from local authorities on the average time taken for the award of disabled facilities grants. Responsibility for the management and delivery of the programme rests with local housing authorities.
Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment he has made of the proposals on protecting and enhancing biodiversity in eco-towns published by the Town and Country Planning Association on 1 December 2009. 
The biodiversity worksheet published by the Town and Country Planning Association on 1 December is part of a series of best practice worksheets
to support those taking forward eco-town proposals. Like all the worksheets in the series it is advisory and not a statement of Government policy. All the worksheets have been produced with the input of a range of stakeholders, including from Government and agencies.
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether a business continuity assessment will be included in the comprehensive area assessment in respect of the fire and rescue service in the next assessment period; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Malik: Effective contingency planning and emergency preparedness by authorities is a performance expectation set out within the Government's National Framework for the Fire and Rescue Service. An assessment of general preparedness in each fire and rescue authority has already taken place as a part of this year's comprehensive area assessment and will be publicly reported on 9 December on the new "oneplace" website.
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether he plans to make a formal response to the ministerial submission of 2 April 2009 from the Business and Community Safety Forum on the fires in timber-framed constructions; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Malik: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Minister of State, Department for Transport on 28 May 2009 to the joint ministerial submission from the Business and Community Safety Forum and Practitioners Forum. I have placed a copy of the reply in the Library.
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent discussions he has had with (a) the Chief Fire Officers Association, (b) the Health and Safety Executive, (c) local authorities and (d) the Building Research Establishment on regulation of the construction of timber-framed buildings on construction sites; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Malik: The implications for fire safety on timber framed construction sites was discussed at my meetings with the joint Business and Community Safety Forum and the Practitioners' Forum on 13 October and, in the light of the recent fire in Peckham, with the Chief Fire Officers Association Presidential Team on 1 December.
Officials are in regular contact with representatives from all these organisations on a wide range of issues, including fire safety on construction sites where timber-framed buildings are being erected. Most recently, officials met on 3 December with representatives from the fire service, local authority building control bodies, Association of Consultant Approved Inspectors and the Health and
Safety Executive to consider what use could be made of the statutory consultation process between Building Control bodies and the fire safety departments of local Fire and Rescue Services to aid their operational pre-planning.
Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what percentage of all households were in (a) private owner-occupied, (b) private rented and (c) social rented accommodation in each London local authority area in each of the last five years. 
Local authorities report the number of private and total dwellings within their local authority area in their Housing Strategy Statistical Appendix returns. There is no distinction between owner-occupiers and private renters. Table 1 provides the percentage of all dwellings that were privately owned.
Additionally, local authorities also report the number of dwellings owned by local authorities and registered social landlords in their local authority area. Table 2 provides the percentage of all dwellings, within the social sector.
|Table 1: Percentage of dwellings that are private housing within each London local authority, 2004-08|
|Private housing dwellings as a percentage of total dwellings|
|London local authority||2004||2005||2006||2007||2008|
Housing Strategy Statistical Appendix (section A)
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