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Dr. Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how much of Birmingham's HRA notional rent surplus has been spent on rent rebates in each of the past five years; how much he estimates will be spent in this way in the (a) current and (b) forthcoming financial year; and for each year what his estimates are of the (i) number and (ii) proportion of tenants not in receipt of rent rebates. 
Mr. Robert Ainsworth: The table shows the surpluses on the Housing Element of Birmingham's Housing Revenue Account which have been or will be deducted from the authority's entitlement to rent rebate subsidy.
Figures for 2001-02 are not available but, following the introduction of the Major Repairs Allowance, it is very likely that Birmingham will have a positive housing element in 2001-02 and, therefore, no surplus to apply to its rent rebates.
|National Housing Element Surplus deducted from rent rebate subsidy||Housing Investment Programme and Capital Receipts Initiative allocations||Estimated percentage of rental income not rebated|
|Financial year||£ million||£ million||Percentage|
Percentage of income not rebated estimated by comparing rent rebate spending with income from rents and service charges as recorded on Housing Revenue Account subsidy claim forms.
5 Feb 2001 : Column: 385W
Mr. Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what recent representations he has received on amending legislation dealing with abandoned vehicles on the public highway. 
Mr. Robert Ainsworth: We have received a number of suggestions recently from Members, the police, local authorities and members of the public for improving the way in which abandoned vehicles are dealt with. We are considering these as part of a review of the current legislation covering abandoned vehicles.
Ms Armstrong: We intend to announce the Beacon Councils for 2001-02 on Tuesday 6 February. At the same time we will publish the Report of the Advisory Panel on Beacon Councils giving details of the Panel's recommendations on Beacon Councils, together with a brochure "The Beacon Council Scheme: Where to Go and What to See 2001-2002", setting out the best practice the Beacons have to offer. Copies of the two publications will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.
Ms Armstrong: We have today concluded the first local Public Service Agreements. The agreements are with the following authorities: Blackburn with Darwen borough council, Kent county council, Middlesbrough borough council, Stockton-on-Tees borough council, Tameside Metropolitan borough council, and Warwickshire county council. Copies of these agreements will be placed in the Library.
Mr. Hill: GLA transport grant is paid to the Greater London Authority under section 101 of the GLA Act 1999 for the purposes of Transport for London. I have today, with the consent of HM Treasury, decided to vary the level of grant for 2000-01 after consultation with the Mayor of London. The grant is £396,161,000, an increase of £3,421,000 over the original determination.
5 Feb 2001 : Column: 386W
mobile phone masts had been erected in (a) school grounds and (b) hospital grounds by (i) 1 January 2000 and (ii) 1 January 2001; 
(3) what estimate he has made of the number of new mobile phone masts which will be erected in (a) 2001, (b) 2002 and (c) 2003. 
The Stewart Group recommended that a national database be set up by Government giving details of all base stations and their emissions. The Government have accepted this recommendation and are in the process of bringing together information on base station sites into a single co-ordinated database. This information will be made available to the public and local planning authorities.
The number of new masts required is dependent upon a range of factors. The Department is not in a position to give an estimate of the numbers which may be involved. This is a matter for the individual telecommunications operators. However, they are fully aware of the importance we attach to keeping the number of masts to the practicable minimum and to ensuring that those which are needed are designed and sited with sensitivity and care.
Mr. Green: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) what recent representations he has received from (a) schools and (b) hospitals about the safety of mobile phone masts; 
Ms Beverley Hughes: In response to the recent consultation exercise seeking views on possible changes to the planning laws relating to telecommunications masts and associated guidance one response was received from a school, none from hospitals and 231 from local authority officials and Councillors.
Otherwise, the Department has received centrally in the last year one letter from a school, no letters from hospitals and 114 letters from local authority officials and Councillors about amenity or health aspects of mobile phone masts.
Ms Beverley Hughes: The Government's policy is firmly to encourage mast and site sharing where that is the optimum solution in the individual circumstances. Indeed, conditions attached to individual operating licences granted by the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry include a requirement to investigate mast sharing before seeking to put up any new mast.
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DETR Circular 4/99, "Planning for Telecommunications", makes clear our expectation that developers should provide evidence to local planning authorities that they have carefully considered the use of existing masts, buildings and other structures before seeking to erect any new mast, regardless of size. The authority may be justified in refusing prior approval or planning permissions if it considers the evidence regarding the consideration of such alternative sites is not satisfactory.
Mr. Green: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will list (a) the meetings between Ministers at his Department and representatives of the mobile phone industry, and (b) the Ministers present at each such meeting, between 1 January 2000 and 1 January 2001. 
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