14 Dec 2000 : Column: 195W

Written Answers to Questions

Thursday 14 December 2000

ENVIRONMENT, TRANSPORT AND THE REGIONS

Rent Increases

Mr. Efford: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will list those registered social landlords in the London Borough of Greenwich who have imposed rent increases over the rate of inflation in the last two years. [141650]

Mr. Mullin: Twenty registered social landlords (RSLs) owned stock in Greenwich in both 1998 and March 2000. The percentage increase in average rent in March 2000 compared with March 1998 was higher than the rate of inflation over that period for eight of these RSLs. They were:









Comparisons of rent levels in March 1998 and March 2000 for these RSLs may not be on a like-for-like basis because of acquisitions or disposals of stock during that period.

Mr. Efford: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many appeals have been made against rent increases approved by the rent officers in each of the last four years; and how many have resulted in a higher rent being imposed for (a) private landlords and (b) registered social landlords. [141651]

Mr. Mullin: Consistent information on the number of appeals (in England) against rent officer fair rent decisions is available from 1996-97, as follows:

YearNumber
1996-977,653
1997-986,265
1998-997,754

Data for 1999-2000 are not yet available.

The results of these appeals (the percentage of appeals that lead to lower, unchanged and higher rents) are published in "Rent Officer Statistics" but without a separate split by private landlords and registered social

14 Dec 2000 : Column: 196W

landlords. Analysis of the 1998-99 appeals against fair rents shows the following figures:

Private landlordsRegistered social landlords
Percentage of appeals resulting in:
Lower rent1113
Unchanged rent2916
Higher rent6071

Mr. Efford: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what reasons have been given by rent officers in the London Borough of Greenwich for approving rent increases for tenants of registered social landlords above the level of inflation. [141652]

Mr. Mullin: Rent officers are required to determine rents for properties with a registered fair rent in accordance with the rules set out in the Rent Act 1977. This requires them to take into account a number of criteria including age of dwelling, its state of repair, character and locality but to disregard any premium resulting from a scarcity of similar accommodation in the area.

In addition, on 1 February 1999, the Government introduced the Rent Acts (Maximum Fair Rent) Order 1999 which had the effect of limiting most fair rent increases to RPI plus 7.5 per cent. or RPI plus 5 per cent. The Order was quashed in a judgment of the Court of Appeal in January but was declared lawful in a judgment by the House of Lords on 7 December. The effect of the judgment is that the Order has been in force continuously since 1 February 1999 and all applications for registered fair rents since then must comply with it.

Mr. Efford: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will list the (a) rent increases for each registered social landlord in the London Borough of Greenwich that were applied for in the last two years; and (b) increases that were approved by the rent officers. [141654]

Mr. Mullin: Registered social landlords (RSLs) only apply to rent officers for approval in "fair rent" cases. Figures on applications by individual RSLs for registered fair rents are not held centrally.

Mr. Efford: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what has been the average rent increase for tenants of registered social landlords in the last two years (a) in the London borough of Greenwich, (b) in London and (c) nationally. [141653]

Mr. Mullin: The average rent increase for tenants of registered social landlords between March 1998 and March 2000 was as follows:

Percentage
Greenwich3.7
London7.9
England6.6


14 Dec 2000 : Column: 197W

Number Plates

Mr. Welsh: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions which EU regulation stipulates that the national identification symbol on number plates must be that of the member state. [141518]

Mr. Hill: Council Regulation (EC) No. 2411/98 of 3 November 1998 provides for the recognition of specified distinguishing signs on number plates as an alternative to the requirements set out in Annex 3 to the Vienna Convention of 1968. The Regulation defines the distinguishing sign as a set of one to three letters indicating the member state in which the vehicle is registered. The use of such signs on number plates for vehicles registered in the United Kingdom will be voluntary.

Excess Flow Valves

Mr. Sayeed: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will take steps to ensure that excess flow valves are fitted inside dwellings. [141363]

Mr. Meacher: This is one of the issues that will be addressed by the Health and Safety Commission and the Health and Safety Executive in taking forward the recommendations following from the Commission's recent Gas Safety Review. In particular, the Commission will develop with industry a strategic research plan that will cover the contribution of technological developments, including safety devices, to the safe use of gas in residential premises. The Commission and the Executive will review the safety case for the fitting of excess flow valves, whether as a legal obligation or as recommended good practice, when the results of this further research are available.

Climate Change Levy

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what is his most recent estimate of the amount of carbon saved each year by 2010 as a result of the introduction of the climate change levy. [142423]

Mr. Meacher [holding answer 12 December 2000]: Our most recent estimates of the levels of carbon saved were published in the UK's climate change programme on 17 November 2000. The programme shows that the climate change levy is estimated to save 2 million tonnes of carbon equivalent (MtC) each year by 2010. The climate change agreements which are being negotiated with energy intensive sectors are estimated to save a further 2.5 MtC by 2010. Additional energy efficiency measures using levy receipts and the establishment of the Carbon Trust are estimated to save a further 0.5 MtC. This means that the climate change levy package as a whole is estimated to save 5 MtC per annum by 2010.

Energy Efficiency

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what targets have been set for improvements in energy efficiency on the Government estate; and what progress has been made in achieving them since May 1997. [142420]

14 Dec 2000 : Column: 198W

Mr. Meacher [holding answer 12 December 2000]: The target is a 20 per cent. improvement on the 1990-91 levels by the end of 1999-2000. By March 1997, overall progress was 16.0 per cent.; by March 1999, it had risen to 18.9 per cent. Results for FY 1999-2000 should be available in 2001.

I am placing in the Libraries of both Houses a revised set of tables of Government estate energy efficiency results. These supersede the tables deposited in the House on 13 November. However, the headline figure of 18.9 per cent. overall progress to the 20 per cent. target is unaffected.

Recycling

Mr. Green: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how much additional funding will be available for local authority recycling schemes as a result of SR2000; and if he will make a statement. [142287]

Mr. Meacher [holding answer 12 December 2000]: The Spending Review 2000 provided substantial extra resources for waste and recycling:




SR2000 also provided significant resources to the Waste and Resources Action Programme to overcome market barriers to the refuse and recycling of waste. Currently, total funding from Government and the devolved Administrations over the three years is planned to be around £30 million.


Next Section Index Home Page