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Bed-and-Breakfast Accommodation

Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many people were housed in bed-and-breakfast accommodation in Eastbourne in each of the last three years. [147421]

Mr. Robert Ainsworth: Information reported by Eastbourne district council is given as follows:

At 30 SeptemberHomeless households resident in bed and breakfast accommodation(22) in Eastbourne
19980
19996
200038

(22) Includes households being accommodated pending completion of inquiries by the local authority.

Source:

DETR P1(E) housing return (quarterly)


Stakeholder Pensions

Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions, pursuant to his answer of 23 January 2001, Official Report, column 527W, if he will list the statutory provisions which prevent local authorities from operating stakeholder pensions. [147385]

Ms Armstrong: Local authorities have no powers under which they can offer stakeholder pensions, therefore it follows that there are no statutory provisions to list as preventing them from operating stakeholder pensions.

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Public Footpaths

Mr. Coaker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when he will make regulations under Part 2 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 for the closure of public footpaths in urban areas for crime prevention purposes. [147558]

Mr. Robert Ainsworth: The provisions in Part II of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 enabling local highway authorities to make orders to extinguish or divert public rights of way in designated areas for crime prevention purposes will be brought into force by commencement order. Secondary legislation is required before these, and other provisions relating to the extinguishment and diversion of public rights of way, can operate properly. As my right hon. Friend the Minister for the Environment stated on 28 November 2000, Official Report, column 886, we expect most of the rights of way provisions in the Act to be implemented in 2002-03.

A66

Mr. Maclean: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many (a) deaths and (b) serious injuries arose from accidents on the A66 in each of the last three years. [147544]

Mr. Hill [holding answer 26 January 2001]: The information requested is shown in the table:

Casualties in accidents on the A66: 1997-99

FatalSerious
1997535
19981464
19991360
Total32159

UK Ports

Dr. Naysmith: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what steps he is taking to ensure that the proposed designations for the approach channels and ports in the UK under the European Habitats and Birds Directives will not adversely affect the competitive position of the UK ports industry, relative to ports on the European mainland and in Ireland; and if he will make a statement. [147791]

Mr. Robert Ainsworth: Ports serve the national interest, supporting the competitiveness of national and regional economies. It is in the national interest that our ports remain able to handle current UK trade and its potential development efficiently and sustainably. Government will seek to ensure that all member states' sites, including those in close proximity to ports, put forward as eligible to be designated as special areas of conservation (SACs) have been selected on their scientific merit in accordance with selection criteria at Article 4 and Annex III to the Habitats Directive.

Dr. Naysmith: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what steps he is taking to ensure that the designation of approach channels and ports in the UK under the European Habitats and Birds Directives is consistent with the approach being taken by all other European member states. [147789]

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Mr. Robert Ainsworth: It is for the European Commission and member states collectively to ensure that a consistent approach is adopted by all member states in the selection and designation of sites under both the Habitats and Birds Directives. If approach channels and ports merit selection on scientific grounds, member states are obliged to put forward these areas.

Dr. Naysmith: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will delay confirming designations of approach channels and ports in the Severn and Humber estuaries, under the European Habitats and Birds Directives, until a common approach to such designations has been agreed with all European member states; and if he will make a statement. [147790]

Mr. Robert Ainsworth: If sites merit selection on scientific grounds, member states are obliged to transmit them to the Commission (in the case of Special Areas of Conservation) or designate them (in the case of Special Protection Areas). Consultations are continuing on the Humber and Severn and I cannot comment, therefore, on the areas included or the merits of these particular proposals.

Wetlands

Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what assessment he has made of the potential benefit to high flood risk areas of restoring drained wetlands and allowing them to flood. [147978]

Ms Beverley Hughes: No specific assessment has been made but current flood management practices provide a measure of flood relief to urban properties in high-risk areas by allowing undeveloped land to flood. The benefits of managed retreat in coastal and estuarial situations have been recognised for some time and this is one of the options identified for assessment through shoreline management plans.

MAFF and the Environment Agency are currently developing guidance on river catchment assessments that will lead to catchment flood management plans. The restoration of flood-plain functions and washlands is likely to be one of the management options that will be considered in such plans. The revised draft PPG 25, on which we will be consulting shortly, will emphasise the need to consider flooding issues at the river catchment level. It will specifically advise that local plans should identify sites where managed realignment of coastal defences or restoration of functions to flood plains, could contribute to more sustainable flood management, as well as to amenity, landscape and biodiversity objectives.

Mobile Telephone Masts

Ms Glenda Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will issue interim planning guidance to local authorities with regard to mobile telephone masts. [147881]

Ms Beverley Hughes: My hon. Friend the Minister for Housing, Planning and Construction wrote to all Council Leaders in England, copied to all Chief Planning Officers, on 29 June 2000. His letter set out what we were doing to take forward the land-use planning recommendations in the Stewart report and indicated that in advance of any possible changes to the planning regime local planning

30 Jan 2001 : Column: 129W

authorities should treat applications for mobile phone development on the basis of the current legislative arrangements and policy guidance. A similar letter was sent to all hon. Members for constituencies in England on the same day.

On 31 July 2000, we issued a consultation paper to seek views on possible changes to the planning arrangements for telecommunications development. In particular, the consultation paper sought views on how to improve public consultation in the planning process. The consultation paper included a draft revised planning policy guidance note (PPG8--Telecommunications). The consultation period ended on 31 October. The Department is currently analysing the responses. We shall announce our conclusions as soon as practicable.

Ms Glenda Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what research he has assessed on the environmental impact of mobile telephone masts. [147973]

Ms Beverley Hughes: The Department has not assessed any research on the environmental impact of mobile phone masts.

Council Tenants

Ms Glenda Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if the right to manage for leaseholders proposed in the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Bill will be extended to council tenants. [147880]

Mr. Robert Ainsworth: There is already a range of options open to all local authority tenants, including leaseholders, who wish to influence or take control of the management of their homes. The Government are working to extend the opportunities for participation in such schemes. We have introduced best value and tenant participation compacts to help improve housing management and tenant participation. We have also broadened the Government's tenant empowerment grants programme to help leaseholders and other tenants look at the options and to help support tenants' groups set up under the existing local authority right to manage.


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