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Planning Inspectorate

Ms Rosie Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what performance targets he proposed to set the Planning Inspectorate agency for 2001-02. [156323]

Mr. Raynsford: The Planning Inspectorate continues to play a key role in improving the efficiency and certainty with which the planning system delivers quality services to business and other users. I have therefore set demanding key performance targets for the Inspectorate for 2001-02. These include tougher targets for handling planning appeals in line with our Public Service Agreement targets.

The tougher appeals targets I am setting the Inspectorate to continue improving its service to customers makes it essential that all parties to the appeals process play their part by cooperating with the Inspectorate in meeting deadlines and agreeing dates offered for inquiries.

The targets for 2001-02 are as follows:

80 per cent. of all planning appeals decided by written representations to be determined within 16 weeks;
80 per cent. of all planning appeals decided by hearings to be determined within 22 weeks;
80 per cent. of all planning appeals decided by inquiries to be determined within 30 weeks;
to provide an Inspector for development plan inquiries in at least 90 per cent. of cases on the date requested by the local authority, provided that the objection period has ended and at least six months' notice has been given;
to deliver 90 per cent. of Inspectors' reports on development plan inquiries to local authorities according to timescales agreed under service agreements.

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The table shows the Planning Inspectorate's performance against its timeliness targets for 1998-99 to 2000-01.

80 per cent. of all planning appeals should be decided within the following number of weeks:
Written representation181817
Written representation171817

To generate a 3 per cent. improvement in the use of running costs compared to 2000-01.
To satisfy the Advisory Panel on Standards, and thus the Secretary of State and the National Assembly for Wales, annually and following rigorous monitoring, that the quality of all the Inspectorate's work is being maintained at a high standard, with 99 per cent. of its casework free from justified complaint.
Information and Guidance
To survey customer satisfaction with the Inspectorate's performance in handling rights of way cases and to act upon the results.

Housing PFI Schemes

Mr. Mudie: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when he will announce the outcome of the second round of applications for housing private finance initiative schemes. [156324]

Mr. Raynsford: I am announcing today the names of 12 local authorities with whom my Department will work on the development of a second round of housing PFI schemes.

The authorities are: Ashford borough council, the London borough of Camden, the London borough of Islington, the London borough of Hackney, Leeds City council, The London borough of Lewisham, Manchester City council, The London borough of Newham, North East Derbyshire district council, Oldham metropolitan borough council, Rochdale metropolitan borough council, and Sandwell metropolitan borough council.

Whether schemes ultimately proceed will depend on authorities working up business cases which satisfy the scrutiny of the inter-Departmental Project Review Group (PRG), which considers all local government PFI schemes seeking central government support. Endorsement by PRG is essential before schemes can proceed to EU competition.

These projects are all aimed at tackling the backlog of renovation and repairs in existing council housing and many include wider estate regeneration proposals. They form an important element in authorities' wider housing and regeneration strategies.

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PFI credits worth £760 million are available to support housing PFI schemes in the current spending review period. There will be a further opportunity for authorities to apply for support later this year.

Exclusion Zone Footpaths

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what guidance he plans to give relating to the use of footpaths in exclusion zones; and if he will make a statement. [155271]

Mr. Morley: I have been asked to reply.

Government published advice to the general public on countryside activities and visits, based on guidance from the Chief Veterinary Officer, on 16 March. Further guidance for local authorities on use of footpaths will be issued shortly.


Census 2001

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will break down the publicity budget for publicising the 2001 census; what the timetable is for the publicity campaign; what its objectives are; what initiatives are being taken to target specific ethnic groups and regions; what are the objectives of each; and what initiatives are being prepared to make children aware of the census. [146679]

Miss Melanie Johnson [holding answer 23 January 2001]: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician. I have asked him to reply.

Letter from Len Cook to Mr. Kevin McNamara, dated 28 March 2001:

As National Statistician and Registrar General for England and Wales I have been asked to reply to your question asking for a breakdown of the publicity budget for the 2001 Census and other matters related to the publicity of the Census (146679).
The breakdown of the paid publicity budget for the period 2000/01 to 2001/02 is:
Main advertising campaign: £4,728,000
Other publicity activities: £933,000
A carefully planned calendar of public relations events has been organised enabling Census Area Managers to run successful local, yet nationally coherent, campaigns.
The objectives of the overall publicity campaign are to establish the necessary level of advance awareness of the Census across the population and to build up public confidence in the Census as a socially worthwhile exercise that is undertaken in the strictest confidence. The banner logo 'Count Me In' aims to encourage universal self-inclusion in the Census.
The campaign encompasses both paid and free media with the latter being instigated at local level by Census Area Managers working to a centrally co-ordinated PR calendar. Local PR in England has also benefited greatly through a strategic partnership with BBC Local Radio.
The full range of ethnic titles will be used to advertise the Census to ethnic minorities as a component within the main campaign designed to address these communities in a sympathetic and appropriate way.
The Census form questions and the information leaflet have been translated into 24 commonly used foreign languages--in addition to Welsh in Wales--and will be available from April 1, as will the

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dedicated Language Helpline which can offer help in 12 languages. In addition, an ethnic version of the promotional video has been produced using an Asian celebrity, which we hope to place in unused air-time on Asian cable TV.
Customised press notices associated with all the main PR events will be disseminated to all ethnic minority media outlets. For our Recruitment Blitz the press notice directed at ethnic minority media carried a supporting quote from Civil Service Commissioner Karamjit Singh CBE, and we specifically targeted metropolitan areas at 14 sites around the country where there would be good links with local TV and radio as well as a high concentration of ethnic minority populations. Our partnership with BBC Local Radio has gained us influence over the BBC's Asian Language Network, which has already run a number of Census promotions.
These several activities complement the Community Liaison Programmes pursued at local level by Census Area Managers with the overall aim of raising general public awareness about the census, facilitating the enumeration to ensure the fullest possible coverage and helping to provide a source of potential field staff.
The Census2001 Count Me In website contains a wealth of material about the Census in general including a number of factsheets as well as covering specific areas such as recruitment.
There are two major initiative to make children and teachers aware of the Census:
CensusAtSchool is an outline census for schoolchildren asking questions with youth appeal (covering topics such as mobile phone/pet ownership; football team; height of children compared with 1830s). There are on-line classroom activities that will enable the findings to be analysed using statistical techniques. The results from CensusAtSchool attracted major national and regional press coverage when released in February. The national findings are available on the website for schools to make comparisons of local and national trends.
Census In School is an educational package for teachers containing modules dealing with the use of Census information which is mapped to the National Curriculum. A CD-ROM version is attached to each pack, and these have been distributed to both junior and secondary schools.

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