Previous Section Index Home Page


Mr. Horam: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will list the sites identified by Scott Wilson in the work on the South East Regional Airports Study as being suitable for development as airports. [155424]

Mr. Robert Ainsworth: The work undertaken by Scott Wilson identified a significant number of sites which might be suitable for development either as a very large new airport or to serve particular sectors, such as air cargo. From that list Ministers selected a small number of options for further study and appraisal, alongside options for the development of existing major airports. We will proceed through successive sifts to narrow down these options to a final shortlist, on which there will be a full public consultation before Ministers come to conclusions.

In advance of the consultation, it would be premature to comment on the status of any specific option. Releasing information at this stage, in advance of final options, could result in unnecessary and lengthy blight, as well as multiplying uncertainty and anxiety. This approach is consistent with my Department's Code of Practice on the Dissemination of Information during Major Infrastructure Developments.

Compulsory Purchase

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what conclusions he has reached from his Department's review of existing law relating to compulsory purchase. [155421]

26 Mar 2001 : Column: 427W

Mr. Raynsford: The Urban White Paper ("Our Towns and Cities: the Future". Cmnd 4911), published last November, set out our approach in response to the recommendations of the Advisory Group, which conducted a review of the laws and procedures relating to compulsory purchase and compensation, published in July last year. New guidance on the operation of the system will be available in the next few months, and the Law Commission will shortly publish a preliminary scoping study, which they have undertaken at the Department's request, of ways of simplifying, consolidating and codifying the law. Consideration is being given to proposals for changes to the law made by the Advisory Committee and in responses to their report. In doing this we are taking account of the provisions of the Human Rights Act 1998 and it may be necessary to await the outcome of legal challenges to the system currently before the courts before further proposals for changes to the law can be put forward.

Foot and Mouth

Mr. Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when he will conclude his consideration of the further business rate relief he will provide to those indirectly affected by foot and mouth disease; and if this relief will be extended to the self-catering holiday accommodation sector. [155250]

Mr. Meacher [holding answer 23 March 2001]: As I indicated in my statement to the House on 20 March, the Government will underwrite 95 per cent. of local authority costs in offering discretionary hardship rate relief to businesses badly affected by foot and mouth disease.

Any type of businesses with a rateable value of £12,000 or less in rural local authority districts, which adopt the scheme, will be eligible for a reduction of up to £1,290 for a three month period, provided they can show that they have suffered serious economic loss through the impact of foot and mouth disease. For some businesses this could amount to all of their rate bill for the period in question. The scheme will allow impacts beyond three months to be kept under review.

Businesses with properties above £12,000 rateable value level affected by Foot and Mouth disease will be eligible to benefit from existing local authority hardship relief provisions in which Government meet 75 per cent. of the cost.

The scheme will be available in the rural local authorities as set out in the list.

26 Mar 2001 : Column: 428W

26 Mar 2001 : Column: 429W

26 Mar 2001 : Column: 430W

Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions which parts of South Gloucestershire Unitary Authority come within the scope of the proposed measures to assist rural areas with the consequences of foot and mouth disease set out in his oral statement of 20 March. [155304]

26 Mar 2001 : Column: 431W

Mr. Meacher [holding answer 23 March 2001]: Wherever they are located, rural businesses experiencing financial hardship as a consequence of foot and mouth disease will benefit from the Government's commitment to give them sympathetic treatment on tax and other payments as set out in my statement of 20 March 2001, Official Report, column 191. The increase from 75 per cent. to 95 per cent. in the contribution to the cost of rate relief is being made available to the most rural authorities. South Gloucestershire is not one of these.

Quality Mark Scheme

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) what has been the cost to date of introducing and operating the Quality Mark scheme in the pilot areas; [154854]

Mr. Raynsford: In total the Department has paid out just over £700,000 to support the development of the Quality Mark scheme and its implementation in the two pilot areas of Birmingham and Somerset. Likely costs for running a national scheme will be identified as part of the review of the pilot.

Some 280 builders and allied traders are now pursuing the Quality Mark, and nine have already achieved it.

The Government will carry out a review of the pilot scheme towards the end of the year, following which a decision will be made about extending the scheme to the rest of the country.

I refer the hon. Member to my reply of 28 February 2001, Official Report, column 688W, to my hon. Friend the Member for Edmonton (Mr. Love).

Mr. Grieve: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what assessment has been made of the quantity and effect of emissions into the air of dioxins resulting from the burning of coal slag, railway sleepers and the other materials being used for the incineration of animals culled for the purpose of eradicating foot and mouth disease; and if he will make a statement. [155435]

Mr. Meacher: My Department has asked the National Environmental Technology Centre of AEA Technology to calculate amounts of air pollutants, including dioxins, particles (as PM 1 0 ) and nitrogen oxides, released from the burning of carcases and fuels on the pyres. At present, it is estimated that the amount of dioxins released from the burning on pyres to date is about 10-20g. This is equivalent to about 3-6 per cent. of the total annual emissions of dioxins in the UK. This is roughly equivalent to the amount released annually from domestic burning of coal and wood and is less than one third the amount

26 Mar 2001 : Column: 432W

released annually from accidental fires and other open burning sources. I will write to the hon. Member with more accurate figures as they become available.

Infected animals must be killed quickly to prevent the further spreading of the disease and their carcases have to be destroyed. Burning on farms, although not without its pollutant emissions, is the quickest and most appropriate method to dispose of the large number of carcases, at present. We are investigating other methods of disposal, such as rendering, landfill and burial on farms, where appropriate. We will also continue to assess the levels of emissions from the pyres, including dioxin levels.

Next Section Index Home Page