Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page

Eco-towns offer great potential to test a wide range of innovative and emerging technologies because of the scale of the projects. To ensure we make the most of these opportunities, and to support business innovation, the Technology Strategy Board will work with the selected eco-towns to capture this potential. The Technology Strategy Board will look to co-ordinate and align with the work on eco-towns a range of activities drawing on current investments worth over £200 million through innovation platforms in the areas of low-impact buildings, intelligent transport systems and services and low carbon vehicles and its programmes in the area of energy generation and supply and advanced materials.

Eco-towns can play a leading role in the development of electric cars through building in infrastructure such as charging points as a standard provision in all major public and services buildings. We will work with all the eco-town locations to develop their potential for supporting this technology and in piloting the next generation of electric and hybrid cars.

Eco-towns will be major building projects which could employ large numbers of local people, many new to the sector and who will require training in the industry. They offer an opportunity to ensure that existing skills are upgraded to deliver the low carbon built environment and equip the construction workers of the future with the skills in sustainable design and building. Where public funds are committed, public sector agencies will look to use clauses in delivery contracts to ensure a proportion of apprenticeships are offered and these are green skills apprenticeships.

Eco-towns can pilot and test new ways of delivering public services, as well as making them more sustainable and responsive to climate change, such as new and innovative schools to meet the needs of new and existing residents. The Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) will support eco-towns to ensure the design of schools, including travel to them, and the delivery of play and youth services and facilities are both innovative and sustainable. We will work closely with the promoters of eco-towns and the relevant local authorities to look at how best to meet those needs with the aim of ensuring that each of the eco-towns has a zero carbon school in place by 2013.

We want schools to be sustainable socially as well as environmentally. By 2010 all schools should be providing access to extended services for children and families. Eco-towns in particular should explore opportunities for co-locating children's and other support services alongside schools for example through Sure Start children's centres which bring together childcare, early education, health and family support services.

Eco-towns will be designed as healthy and sustainable environments encouraging healthy living for all through active design principles, community involvement and encouraging healthy behaviours. The Department of Health will work with other government departments

16 July 2009 : Column WS131

and associated research bodies in seeking to achieve a zero carbon standard for health and social care facilities in the eco-towns.

Eco-towns also need to be sustainable travel towns, demonstrating how using smarter choices can secure significant increases in cycling, walking and public transport. All the homes in the demonstration projects should have secure cycle storage designed in from the outset.

Good transport links are essential to the success of any new community. Three of the four eco-town locations I am announcing today are well located for rail transport. For the fourth, Bordon, I am announcing funding support for the next stage of feasibility work, working with Hampshire County Council, to establish if restoration of a rail link can be achieved sustainably and subject to a sound business case.

We want nature to be at the very heart of eco-towns and the development process will be used to restore wildlife habitats and weave the living landscape back together. We expect the eco-towns to become working demonstrations of the ways that biodiversity can contribute to safe, healthy and prosperous communities. Biodiversity projects are being developed at all four locations, and include the potential to work with the Eden Project team.

Eco-towns are large developments which will require all parts of the public sector to work together, and close working relations between local and central government. I therefore propose to invite each of the eco-town local authorities to look at how their LAA could provide a suitable framework for planning future service provision and delivery in and around the eco-town area, for example through a stronger focus on a lower-tier local authority within the LAA arrangement or sub-area locality agreement.

I propose to establish a formal relationship between local and central government, in an arrangement based on the model of multi-area agreements (MAA), to negotiate the freedoms and flexibilities eco-town areas will need to realise their aspirations. I wish also to offer certainty that central government is willing to work closely with the local authority and local communities to make the most of their new eco town opportunities.

In addition I am asking the Homes and Communities Agency to provide support, expertise and advice to local partners and I expect the HCA's first step to be inclusion of the four eco-town locations in the first wave of single conversations between the agency and local authorities, with the agency assessing the detailed proposals as they come forward from the promoters in each location, and advising each location on funding, including growth funding. Providing there are proposals which represent good quality and value for money and are deliverable within a mixed community context, provision of affordable housing support in these locations will be presented by HCA as a regional priority in the allocation of resources from the National Affordable Housing Programme.

The eco-town locations I am announcing today all have existing communities close by or within the area and I want them to benefit from their new eco-towns. We will therefore be inviting existing communities in

16 July 2009 : Column WS132

the first eco-town locations to participate in the Green villages, towns and cities challenge for communities announced in the DECC low carbon transition plan published yesterday. In total, 15 communities will be selected to participate as test-hubs, with local residents, businesses, and the public sector playing a leading role.

The need to develop thriving and sustainable communities able to take a strong role in shaping their community is at the heart of the eco-town concept. To support community anchor organisations in taking a leading role in shaping the eco-town proposals, and subject to local proposals, Government will invite eco-town pilot projects to apply for support within the £70 million Community Builders Fund for community organisations, including for the purchase of community assets.

We have been well served by the Eco-towns Challenge Panel of independent experts and we want to maintain the creative contribution that independent professionals can make through the CABE design review process, CABE design support at local level, and the continuation of an independent advisory panel as the eco-town schemes are developed.

Despite the difficult current market conditions caused by the recession I expect 10,000 homes built by 2016 of which 30 per cent will be affordable. To start this process we will support early demonstrator buildings to test and develop from the new technologies needed, and so that local communities can help shape their further development. For the next two years I am providing £60 million start-up funding from the growth fund for this work for the four locations identified today. This is additional to mainstream funding for services. We expect that the bulk of investment in these schemes will be from the private sector, but eco-towns will also benefit from similar levels of public investment to any comparable large housing scheme and this will include continued growth funding over the period of major development.


With the new PPS, eco-towns set the gold standard in development planning, but low carbon living means planning for all new development to cut carbon emissions.

Our climate change planning policy statement (PPS) published in December 2007 has put climate change at the heart of what is expected from good planning and complemented our earlier PPS on renewable energy. Neither now fully reflects the scale of the challenge we face. But neither fully reflects the scale of the challenge we now face in supporting the UK's transition to a low carbon country. We will therefore review and combine them, consulting in detail on proposals later this year.

Police: Deputy Commissioner


The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The Secretary of State for the Home Department, Alan Johnson, has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

16 July 2009 : Column WS133

I am pleased to announce Her Majesty the Queen's Appointment of Timothy Godwin OBE, QPM as the next Deputy Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis.

I made my recommendation to Her Majesty following an open competition for the selection of a new deputy commissioner and having regard to the recommendations made to me by the Metropolitan Police Authority and representations from the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis.

I am confident that Timothy Godwin will be an excellent Deputy Commissioner and will help the Commissioner to lead the Metropolitan Police Service in delivering for the public both in London and nationally.

Public Expenditure: Provisional Outturn


The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): My right honourable friend the Chief Secretary to the Treasury (Liam Byrne) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

The Treasury is today publishing the 2008-09 Public Expenditure Provisional Outturn White Paper.

The White Paper is an annual report to Parliament on the provisional outturn for public expenditure. It focuses on spending within departmental expenditure limits (DEL) and annually managed expenditure (AME), and includes information on individual supply estimates, and administration costs and near-cash limits.

The outturn figures are described as provisional because, in some cases, they will be revised when departments publish their final accounts.

A copy of the White Paper will be available in the Libraries of the House and will be accessible on the Treasury website.

Railways: Crossrail


The Secretary of State for Transport (Lord Adonis): My right honourable friend the Minister of State for Transport (Sadiq Khan) has made the following Ministerial Statement.

On 14 July last year, my honourable friend Tom Harris made a Statement offering assurance to Parliament that a Statement would be published at least every 12 months until the completion of the construction of Crossrail, setting out information about the project's funding and finances. This assurance was placed on the Crossrail Register of Undertakings and Assurances.

The Government are committed to ensuring that there is a high level of transparency as to the progress and cost of the Crossrail project. Our intention in this area was set out in the heads of terms which were signed in November 2007. The heads of terms have now been superseded by the Crossrail core agreements, binding legal documents which set out the funding, governance and delivery arrangements for the Crossrail project. These were signed by the Secretary of State for Transport, Transport for London and Cross London Rail Links Limited on 3 December last year and were

16 July 2009 : Column WS134

published in the House Library, with an accompanying Statement to the House. Since the assurance was given, Cross London Rail Links Limited has also changed its name to Crossrail Limited.

In line with my honourable friend's assurance to the House, I am therefore publishing this Statement within 12 months of the Crossrail Act 2008 coming into force on 22 July 2008, and set out below the information outlined in that assurance:

Total funding amounts provided to Crossrail Limited by the Department for Transport and TfL in relation to the construction of Crossrail in the period 22 July 2008 to30 May 2009

£200.922 million

Expenditure incurred by Crossrail Limited in relation to the construction of Crossrail in the period 22 July 2008 to 30 May 2009 (excluding recoverable VAT on land and property purchases)

£196.803 million

Total expenditure incurred by Crossrail Limited in relation to the construction of Crossrail to the end of the period 22 July 2008 to 30 May 2009 (excluding recoverable VAT on land and property purchases)

£196.803 million

The amounts realised by the disposal of any land or property for the purposes of the construction of Crossrail by the Secretary of State, TfL or Crossrail Limited in the period covered by the Statement


The numbers above have been provided by Crossrail Limited and are drawn from its accounts for the relevant periods.

I can also confirm that the costs of the construction of Crossrail are likely to fall within the agreed budget, based on best current estimates of costs provided by Crossrail Limited.

The Government remain fully committed to Crossrail. This is a long-term major infrastructure project, helping and responding to the transport needs of London and the south-east for the next half century and more.

We remain confident that Crossrail will be delivered on time and on budget and that the project can be funded as planned.

Royal Botanic Gardens


The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Davies of Oldham): My honourable friend the Minister for Marine and Natural Environment (Huw Irranca-Davies) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I wish to update the House on recent developments related to the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (RBG, Kew).

I am pleased to announce that on 1 August 2009 Sir Neil Chalmers, Warden of Wadham College, Oxford and a former Director of the Natural History Museum, will commence an independent review of RBG, Kew. Sir Neil will be supported by a small team of independent consultants. The last review was carried out in 2001, although there was a separate independent audit of Kew's scientific activities in 2006.

16 July 2009 : Column WS135

Non-departmental public bodies such as RBG, Kew benefit significantly from regular and objective reviews, which examine their role, performance and priorities. To carry out such a review now gives us a timely and valuable opportunity to examine how RBG, Kew can continue to deliver its statutory functions effectively and maintain the quality and value of its scientific contribution in critical areas such as the conservation of global biodiversity.

The following terms of reference have been drawn up to guide the review:

to conduct an evaluation of the performance of the Royal Botanic Gardens, (RBG) Kew in fulfilling its statutory obligations since the last review in 2001;as part of the evaluation, to pay particular attention to resourcing and the effectiveness of income generation, infrastructure and heritage management and support; to consider how the scientific and other activities of RBG, Kew support the objectives of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and other government departments; and to review the existing Defra sponsorship arrangements;to consider in the light of this evaluation and the views of other customers and stakeholders whether the services, activities, and organisational arrangements at RBG, Kew remain the most effective means of achieving its own, Defra's, as well as Government-wide objectives, such as those relating to climate change, conservation and biodiversity, overall science policy, and the operational efficiency agenda;to assess what changes, if any, are needed in the light of the findings of the review to improve the quality, effectiveness and value for money of RBG, Kew services, and to set out the rationale and to recommend appropriate options to Ministers. These should address how best to ensure a sustainable financial future for RBG, Kew and its world-class science.

The review will be carried out openly and transparently and users, customers and stakeholders of RBG, Kew will be consulted. Sir Neil's recommendations will be published along with the Government's response.

I will update the House as necessary.

Rural Payments Agency: Performance Targets


The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Davies of Oldham):My right honourable friend the Secretary of State (Hilary Benn) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

Service Delivery Quality

To administer common agricultural policy and other schemes to meet the following requirements:

To have paid 75 per cent by value of valid single payment scheme 2009 claims by 31 January 2010 and 90 per cent by value of valid 2009 claims by 31 March 2010.

16 July 2009 : Column WS136

To process and pay at least 90 per cent of valid claims by volume for non-single payment scheme schemes within ministerial guidelines and 99 per cent within the set European Commission deadlines or in their absence within 60 days of receipt of the claim.To record 98 per cent of notifications of births, deaths and movements of cattle on the cattle tracing system within 14 days of their receipt.To make 98 per cent of rural development programme for England payments for Natural England and regional development agencies in accordance with agreed service level agreements.

To demonstrate a continued commitment to customers by achieving a minimum annual average customer satisfaction score of 7.0 out of 10.0, as measured through surveys of external customers, and by reducing the number of complaints received compared with 2008-09.

Value for public money

To demonstrate clear progress towards achieving the Treasury disallowance target of 2 per cent or less of fund value, for all CAP Schemes administered by the RPA.To demonstrate a 9 per cent reduction from the 2008-09 year in the cost of administering the agency without compromising service delivery.

Capacity and capability

To demonstrate improved capacity and capability to meet targets and implement change.

Further details are given in the RPA Business Plan for 2009-10, copies of which will be placed in the Libraries of the House.

Science Advisory Committee on the Medical Implications of Less Lethal Weapons


The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and Ministry of Defence (Lord Drayson): My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence (Kevan Jones) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I am pleased to inform the House that a new non-departmental public body (NDPB) has been set up, entitled the Science Advisory Committee on the Medical Implications of Less Lethal Weapons (SACMILL).

Previously SACMILL was a sub-committee of the Defence Science Advisory Council (DSAC), known as DOMILL (DSAC sub-committee on the medical implications of less lethal weapons). DOMILL had become recognised as a valuable and authoritative group on the medical implications of the use of less lethal weapons, providing cross-government advice.

A review by MoD's Director General Management and Organisation (DGMO) has recommended that DOMILL should become a cross-government NDPB in its own right, sponsored by the Surgeon General. This has placed the group on a permanent footing,

16 July 2009 : Column WS137

allowing it to work with other departments directly rather than through MoD. I will retain oversight on behalf of MoD and will remain informed of the committee's activities.

Tax Law Rewrite Project

Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page