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Lord Whitty: Approaches to and correspondence with the Advertising Standards Authority would be conducted on behalf of Defra by its Communications Directorate and no such approaches have been made or correspondence taken place over the past 12 months.
Lord Whitty: The grey squirrel is a long-established invasive non-native species which has impacted significantly on native wildlife and also causes significant economic damage. Article 8(h) of the Convention on Biological Diversity places obligations on contracting parties to take action in respect of invasive non-native species.
Research was undertaken into the feasibility of using contraception to control the impact of grey squirrels, with input from the Forestry Commission and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee, but this was discontinued in 2002 when the results failed to give the partners any promise of a practical application in a reasonable time-frame. Although laboratory trials of the technique had proved encouraging, enclosure and field trials were inconclusive and highlighted the enormous difficulties of putting such a method into practice.
Further research on contraceptive vaccines is likely to be extremely costly and the Government have no plans to continue it at present. Nevertheless, we retain a strong interest in non-lethal and humane measures for controlling populations of wild animals that cause problems. Government scientists will keep a technology watch on developments that might offer innovative techniques of wildlife management. Departments and agencies involved in wildlife management and woodland protection have to weigh priorities very carefully among the many calls on their research budgets.
Lord Whitty: The arrangements for compensation for different animal diseases have been brought into effect on a case-by-case basis. Inevitably the overall approach has become fragmented and inconsistent. The Government therefore plan to consult on a rationalisation of compensation arrangements for animal diseases in the early summer.
Officials are currently examining options for simplified legislation that sets out a single compensation mechanism that can be applied to all notifiable animal diseases. Consideration is being given to how livestock market prices can be used to calculate transparently a national average market price for different categories of livestock.
Lord Whitty: We are not aware of European legislation which would prevent farmers from making insurance claims for losses arising out of government measures to control exotic diseases, nor are we aware of any European action to prevent farmers from taking out such insurance.
Lord Whitty: More than 330,000 sheep have so far been genotyped under the National Scrapie Plan for Great Britain and have been identified by ruminal bolus. One case of reticulitis has been attributed to the presence of the ruminal bolus. The ram lamb in question made a full recovery following surgery.
Lord Whitty: Under the National Scrapie Plan for Great Britain over 330,000 sheep have so far been genotyped and identified by the use of a bolus. A total of 69 sheep have died, or have been humanely destroyed, following administration of ruminal boluses. Compensation to the full value of the sheep is paid to the owner in all such cases. The Government also bear the costs incurred in determining the cause of death where this might be attributable to the administration of the bolus.
What barriers are faced (a) by disabled students and (b) by students from ethnic minority groups in their access to opportunities for higher education.[HL1273]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Education and Skills (Baroness Ashton of Upholland): Ethnic minorities as a whole are well represented in higher education in the United Kingdom but there are some pockets of under-representation. We have commissioned a study to examine the experiences of ethnic minority students which will identify and assess the factors which affect participation, student achievement and transition into the labour market. The Higher Education Funding Council for England and universities and colleges admissions services are also looking to see whether data can be extracted to test whether there are any issues around universities' admissions in respect of ethnicity.
The Higher Education Funding Council for England announced in December 2002 the introduction of a new performance indicator for access of disabled students to higher education institutions based on the percentage of students who are in receipt of the disabled students' allowance.
Baroness Ashton of Upholland: The Teacher Training Agency is using a range of strategies to promote the recruitment of men to teaching, especially to the primary schools sector, where they remain most acutely under-represented. In addition to its main Those who can, teach campaign, the agency discusses and disseminates approaches to the recruitment of men to teaching at twice-yearly conferences with teacher training providers. Men who contact the agency's information line are sent direct marketing material illustrating, through the use of case studies, the challenges and rewards which male teachers have found teaching in primary and secondary schools. The agency also makes male teaching advocates available for recruitment events and for one-to-one telephone discussions with men interested in applying to teach.
Whether they will announce how they intend to proceed on the Use Classes Order before the Licensing Bill begins its Report stage in the House of Lords, and whether they will make nightclubs a sui generis use before the Bill comes into effect.[HL1260]
Lord Evans of Temple Guiting: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is considering the responses to the consultation paper on possible options for change to the current Use Classes Order provisions and will make an announcement about how we intend to proceed as soon as possible.
Lord Evans of Temple Guiting: Yes. As the noble Baroness knows, the Deputy Prime Minister announced last July that we would be making an additional £350 million available to local authorities over the period 200306 to improve the delivery of planning services. We have now decided the basis on which we will distribute this new Planning Delivery Grant in 200304 and will be informing recipients of their allocations.
The grant is being paid out of additional resources from Spending Review 2002. The aim of the grant is to improve the planning system to ensure the effective delivery of our objectives for sustainable communities which we set out in the document Sustainable Communities: Building for the Future. It is specifically targeted towards meeting the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's Public Service Agreements 5 and 6. PSA 5 aims to achieve a better balance between housing availability and demand. PSA 6 requires all authorities to have local development frameworks in place (in accordance with agreed local development schemes) and to meet the best value development control targets by the end of 200607.
The amount of grant distributed in 200304 is £50 million. It will be paid to local planning authorities, regional planning bodies and the Greater London Authority. The grant is a performance reward grant and rewards local authorities both for improvements towards and achievement of best value development control targets in the period June 2001 to June 2002. Those meeting the development control handling targets both at the start and the end of the year are rewarded separately for consistently high performance. No authority will receive an allocation of less than £75,000 in 200304 so that every authority has additional resources to help drive improvement in performance towards the targets. The grant allocations are enhanced for those local authorities within the high housing demand and growth areas identified in the document Sustainable Communities: Building for the future.
Regional planning bodies were notified in December of their share of the £6 million of existing funding which will, from 200304, be paid directly to them. They will also receive a share of the new planning delivery grant for their work on new regional spatial strategies (due to replace regional planning guidance under the Bill) and their review of existing
County councils will not receive direct resources from the grant. The counties' planning functions are being changed under the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Bill currently before Parliament. Subject to Royal Assent, county councils will cease to have a duty to prepare structure plans but their resources will not be reduced accordingly. Therefore, while in some cases counties may need to continue with structure plan preparation over the next year and possibly beyond, given the transitional period set out in the Bill, as this function winds down they will be able to take advantage of freed up resources. It will be important that these freed up resources and the expertise available in county councils are retained and used to deliver other county planning responsibilities and to undertake their function as statutory consultees in the preparation of regional spatial strategies and local development frameworks. Counties can be engaged to conduct work related to regional spatial strategies on an agency basis.
The criteria for grant allocations have been designed to drive up performance in the delivery of planning functions, both in respect of development control and plan making. Authorities should be aware that they will need to continue to secure improvements in performance in order to receive money in further years. Grant allocations are not ring-fenced and authorities have complete discretion in the way they spend this money. Areas that authorities may consider concentrating on include: contribution to the preparation of regional planning guidance and the future regional spatial strategies; completing current reviews of existing development plans and preparing for the new system of local development frameworks; better resourcing of IT systems; assistance from consultants; outsourcing of certain planning services; increasing staffing levels; training for staff and councillors; supporting mediation services; encouraging a more diverse planning workforce; bursaries for employees to gain planning qualifications and more use of technical staff.
Letters to all leaders of local and county planning authorities, chief executives of the regional planning bodies and the Mayor of London have been laid in the Libraries of the House. They set out the details of each recipient's grant.
|Barking and Dagenham
|Basingstoke and Deane
|Bath and North East Somerset UA
|Blackburn with Darwen UA
|Bracknell Forest UA
|Brighton and Hove UA
|City of London
|Crewe and Nantwich
|East Riding of Yorkshire UA
|Ellesmere Port and Neston
|Epsom and Ewell
|Forest of Dean
|Hammersmith and Fulham
|Hinckley and Bosworth
|Isle of Wight UA
|Isles of Scilly
|Kensington and Chelsea
|King's Lynn and West Norfolk
|Kingston upon Thames
|Lake District NP
|Milton Keynes UA
|Newark and Sherwood
|Newcastle upon Tyne
|North East Derbyshire
|North East Lincolnshire UA
|North Lincolnshire UA
|North Somerset UA
|North West Leicestershire
|North Yorkshire Moors NP
|Nuneaton and Bedworth
|Oadby and Wigston
|Redcar and Cleveland UA
|Reigate and Banstead
|Shrewsbury and Atcham
|South Gloucestershire UA
|Southend on Sea UA
|Stoke on Trent UA
|Telford and Wrekin UA
|Tonbridge and Malling
|Vale of White Horse
|West Berkshire UA
|Weymouth and Portland
|Windsor and Maidenhead UA
|Yorkshire Dales NP
|East Midlands Region Local Government Association
|East of England Local Government Conference
|Greater London Authority
|Regional Assembly for the North East
|North West Regional Assembly
|South East Regional Assembly
|South West Regional Assembly
|West Midlands Local Government Association
|Regional Assembly for Yorkshire and the Humber
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