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12 Apr 2000 : Column: 174W
has made to the request from Devon county council for dispensation to pay for its redundancy and restructuring costs over a period of years. 
Ms Armstrong: Devon county council asked to be allowed to treat these revenue costs as capital expenditure. Such applications are granted only when we conclude, in accordance with published criteria, that the costs could not be met out of available revenue resources. My officials have notified the council that, on the basis of the figures provided in January, the criteria are not satisfied and that consent will not be given.
Mr. Hunter: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions, pursuant to the oral statement by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, the hon. Member for Stretford and Urmston (Ms Hughes), of 21 March 2000, Official Report, column 181WH, what his assessment is of the potential for Hampshire county council to (a) reconsider the designation of land in its current plan and (b) increase further the provision for housing on previously used land. 
Hampshire county council together with the unitary authorities will, in the light of advice in Planning Policy Guidance Note PPG3 and the emerging Regional Planning Guidance for the South East (RPG), need to review their structure plan and bring forward alterations they consider necessary.
Meanwhile, the district and unitary authorities are required to consider PPG3 and the emerging RPG in preparing their local plans in conformity with the newly- adopted structure plan. The structure plan only distributes housing to district level, and apart from the four Major Development Areas, is not prescriptive. The districts, therefore, need to consider how to meet their requirements taking account of the advice in PPG3 on such matters as maximising use of land, avoiding inefficient development, encouraging higher densities and a wider variety of dwellings, thus reducing land take. In bringing forward their local plan proposals they should also take account of our advice to recycle existing buildings and to review all non-housing allocations including industrial and commercial allocations.
Mr. Alasdair Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what powers he has to alter the speed limit for heavy goods vehicles on single carriage-way trunk roads. 
Mr. Hill: Vehicle speed limits are set out in the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 and may be varied by regulation under the provision of section 86 of that Act. There are no plans to amend the maximum speed limits applicable to heavy goods vehicles on single carriageway roads. These are 50 mph for goods vehicles up to 7.5 tonnes maximum laden weight and 40 mph for those exceeding 7.5 tonnes.
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Mr. Hill: The Maritime and Coastguard Agency obtains data on UK seafarers from the Chamber of Shipping. The latest data available for UK ratings employed (by companies who are members of the Chamber) show that the figure is 11,340 as at May 1999.
These figures relate only to cadets supported under the Government funded training schemes Government Assistance for Training (GAFT) prior to 1997-98 and Support for Maritime Training (SMarT) since then.
Mr. Prosser: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many new vessels were delivered to UK private-sector shipowners in each of the last five years; and what were their total cost and total tonnage. 
Mr. Hill: Detailed information for the last nine available years is presented in Table 7.8 of Maritime Statistics 1998, a copy of which is available in the Library of the House. This shows the number and value of expenditure of new ships delivered to UK private sector ship owners.
|Number||Value of Expenditure (£ million)|
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arrangements in UK ports in each of the last five years; of those how many and what proportion had to be detained; and what percentage of inspected ships were found to have deficiencies. 
|Year||Number PSC Inspections||Number detained||Percentage detained||Percentage with deficiencies|
(9) Provisional figures
Mr. Prosser: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many inspections were carried out by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency in each of the last five years. 
|Year||Part State Control Inspections||Inspections of UK Ships|
(10) Provisional figure
Mr. Prosser: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many marine surveyors were employed by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency in each of the last five years. 
Mr. Sayeed: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) what contingency plans he has made for providing continuing cover for parking for disabled drivers if badges were not received by 1 April; 
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Distribution of the new blue badges took place during the last week in March to local authorities who had placed orders. The majority of those local authorities received badges ready for business on Monday, 3 April. However, owing to some technical problems at the printer/supplier, some authorities did not receive the badges until Tuesday, 4 April.
My Department were informed by our supplier at the end of March that some local authorities had not placed orders for badges, despite letters prompting them to do so from both the Department and the badge supplier. Officials have since written again to all local authorities on this issue. From the checks we have carried out, and from the information provided by the supplier, we believe almost all local authorities have placed orders and have received a supply of badges. We have, however, taken the precaution of writing to ACPO (Association of Chief Police Officers) asking them to advise members not to take enforcement action against anyone displaying an orange badge which expires in April which is otherwise being used in accordance with the regulations.
We regret that the transition has not been as smooth as we would have wished, but we hope the action we have taken will avoid any distress or confusion for any disabled motorist who has difficulty getting a blue badge.
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