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Regional Assemblies

Mr. Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what the individual budget of each regional assembly and regional planning authority in England (a) was last year, (b) is for the current year and (c) is budgeted for next year. [141724]

Ms Beverley Hughes [holding answer 11 December 2000]: Budgets for voluntary regional assemblies and regional planning fora are matters for them. The Department does not have information on budgets for the assemblies but is currently collecting information on regional planning budgets. The Department has provided an additional £6 million in 2000-01 to 2003-04 for expenditure on regional planning in recognition of the new arrangements set out in PPG11.

Agencies

Mr. Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will list all the agencies responsible to his Department, the number of people they employ and their budgets. [141730]

Ms Beverley Hughes [holding answer 11 December 2000]: The nine Executive Agencies for which DETR is responsible, their staff numbers and budgets are set out in the table.

Agency2000-01 Staff2000-01 Gross cash budget (£ million)
Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency4,773226.7
Driving Standards Agency1,71780.0
Highways Agency1,7071,451.3
Maritime and Coastguard Agency1,045106.7
Planning Inspectorate69134.7
QEII Conference Centre528.2
Rent Service91836.1
Vehicle Certification Agency875.6
Vehicle Inspectorate1,80877.3

Source:

2000-01 Agency Business Plans


21 Dec 2000 : Column: 286W

Planning Inspectorate Employees

Mr. Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many people are employed in the Planning Inspectorate; and what is their salary bill. [141731]

Ms Beverley Hughes [holding answer 11 December 2000]: As at 3 April 2000, 724 people were employed in the Planning Inspectorate. This figure includes 15 people who are employed by the National Assembly for Wales. The Planning Inspectorate's anticipated salary bill for 2000-01 is £23 million.

Regional Development Agencies

Mr. Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what proposals are being evaluated for the transfer of responsibilities for regional development agencies and regional policy to another Department. [141547]

Ms Beverley Hughes [holding answer 11 December 2000]: None.

Railway Transport

Mr. Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many people are employed in transport on the railways; and how many were so employed in May 1997. [141728]

Mr. Hill [holding answer 11 December 2000]: Statistics derived from the Annual Employment survey are available quarterly from the Office for National Statistics. The relevant survey figures for rail transport for June 1997 and June 2000 are 43,000 and 49,000 respectively. The figures comprise staff employed directly by the various rail companies.

Government Office for London

Mr. Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will list the responsibilities of the regional Government Office for London and its budget for (a) last year, (b) the current year and (c) next year. [141725]

Ms Beverley Hughes [holding answer 11 December 2000]: The current administrative budget for the Government Office for London is £14.76 million. Their administrative budget for 1999-2000 was £16.33 million. We are not able to provide budget figures for the next financial year (2001-02) as they are yet to be agreed.

The Government Office for London is responsible for managing programmes on behalf of the parent Departments, supporting and facilitating effective linkages between partners and programmes, informing the development of the Department's policies from the regional perspective and liaising with the Greater London Authority.

Millennium Dome

Mr. Norman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what future expenditure by (a) the Government, (b) NMEC and (c) English Partnerships on the site of the Dome is required by the Heads of Agreement for the sale of the Dome to Legacy plc, under any eventuality. [142176]

21 Dec 2000 : Column: 287W

Ms Armstrong: The financial implications of any sale to Legacy plc will of course be addressed as part of the ongoing sale process. Such details are, though, commercially confidential while negotiations continue.

Mr. Norman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what is the minimum amount payable by Legacy plc on completion of the agreement for the sale of the Dome. [142177]

Ms Armstrong: Details of the proposed overall financial consideration for the sale of the Dome to Legacy plc must remain commercially confidential at this stage.

Waste Disposal

Mrs. Organ: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how the Government will allocate the extra resources that are needed to achieve the changes to be made to meet the targets in the new National Waste Strategy, the European Landfill Directive and the recent Best Value Performance Indicators on Recycling; how they will be allocated to (a) waste disposal authorities and (b) waste collection authorities in two tier areas; if they will be ring-fenced; and if they will be allocated via supplementary credit approvals. [142727]

Mr. Mullin: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Minister for the Environment on 14 December 2000, Official Report, column 200W.

The additional provision for revenue spending on environmental and cultural services will be distributed through Standard Spending Assessments. We are developing proposals for the allocation of the £140 million provided specifically for waste and recycling, and will consult in the new year. The £220 million PFI credits will be allocated in line with the general criteria set out in my official's letter of 23 December 1999, and the specific criteria for waste projects which I announced on 22 September 2000.

Mrs. Organ: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how the Government will protect local authorities if the targets in the National Waste Strategy change after waste disposal companies have introduced plant and infrastructure; and what compensation will be available for local authorities that have built energy-from-waste plants. [142730]

Mr. Mullin: The Government have since June 1998 made it clear that we wish to see a firm emphasis on recycling and composting in future local authority waste management. We expect local authorities to take this into account when developing infrastructure. We have no plans to make compensation available to authorities that have built energy from waste plant.

Mrs. Organ: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will assist local authorities which have let their new waste disposal contracts before the national strategy takes effect. [143616]

Mr. Mullin: I refer to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Minister for the Environment on 14 December 2000, Official Report, column 200W. The Government are providing substantial extra resources for waste and recycling.

21 Dec 2000 : Column: 288W

Targets to recycle 25 per cent. of household waste have been in place since the early 1990s. The Government announced their intention to review the national waste strategy in January 1998 and published consultation documents in June 1998 and June 1999. Local authorities were, therefore, given notice of the intention to make a step change in waste management practices.

Mr. St. Aubyn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how the proximity principle in waste management will be applied to incinerators that depend for their safe and profitable operation on (a) economies of scale and (b) a constant feed of large volumes of waste taken from a large catchment area. [143395]

Mr. Meacher [holding answer 19 December 2000]: It is for Local Authorities to determine how the proximity principle, that waste should generally be disposed of as near to its place of origin as possible, can best be applied in their area. "Waste Strategy 2000", published in May, emphasises that energy from waste facilities should be appropriately sized and that care must be taken to ensure that contracts are sensitively designed to avoid 'crowding out' recycling.

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many incinerators he estimates will need to be installed to meet the Government's waste targets; and if he will make a statement. [144096]

Mr. Mullin: It is for local authorities to decide what mix of waste management facilities is appropriate for their area. The number of incinerators built will depend on how successful we are in tackling waste growth and in increasing recycling and composting.

"Waste Strategy 2000" makes clear the Government's commitment to substantial increases in recycling and composting, and announces statutory targets for the recycling of household waste--doubling it in three years and nearly tripling it in five. Where a local authority does decide that an incinerator is needed, the authority should ensure that the plant is appropriately sized and that contracts are carefully designed so as not to compete with recycling. Incinerators should also incorporate Combined Heat and Power technology--where heat is used to produce electricity and to provide hot water to local homes and businesses--wherever practical.


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