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Written Answers to Questions

Wednesday 4 April 2001


Waste Disposal

Mr. Temple-Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he has carried out an assessment to determine whether the PFI contract for the disposal of waste entered into between Herefordshire and Worcestershire councils and Fosca plc in 1998 complies with guidance issued by his Department on 22 December 2000. [147513]

Mr. Meacher: The Herefordshire and Worcestershire waste PFI scheme was endorsed by the Interdepartmental Project Review Group in February 1998, following an assessment in line with the criteria published on 9 December 1997. General criteria for all PFI projects were

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revised on 21 December 1998 and 23 December 1999. Revised specific criteria for PFI waste schemes in England were published on 22 September 2000. Officials will be writing to authorities with endorsed proposals for waste schemes, including Herefordshire and Worcestershire, to explore with them whether their existing schemes might be brought more closely in to line with the subsequent changes to the PFI criteria.

Departmental Policies (Great Grimsby)

Mr. Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will set out, with statistical information relating as directly as possible to the constituency, the effect on the Great Grimsby constituency of his Department's policies and actions since 2 May 1997. [156242]

Ms Armstrong: The principal kinds of funding that this Department has provided to North East Lincolnshire from 1997 to 2001-02 are shown in the table. These include grants and borrowing approvals for revenue and capital expenditure.

It is not possible to determine how much of this money has been spent on Great Grimsby. It is for the local authority to decide where within its boundary these resources are applied.

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£ million

Nature of funding1997-981998-991999-20002000-012001-02 (where known)
Revenue Support Grant(1)62.131(1)67.07968.86169.53773.971
Income from National Non-Domestic Rates(1)36.222(1)37.35740.22644.99743.876
Housing Investment Programme(2)2.3701.9952.186(3)4.340(4)6.425
Capital Receipts Initiative0.3241.0491.016n/an/a
Cash Incentive Scheme0.0640.0500.000n/an/a
New Deal for Communities Funding----------
Neighbourhood Renewal Funding----------
Transport Supplementary Grant3.3724.0791.26500.359
Transport Annual Capital Guideline3.3834.0801.29200
Transport Block Supplementary Credit Approval0.2840.4900.7732.2703.065
Rural Bus Challenge Grant00000
Rural Bus Subsidy Grant00.0430.0320.0430.054

(1) The amounts of Revenue Support Grant and Income from National Non-Domestic Rates shown for 1997-98 and 1998-99 are the revised amounts allocated under "The Local Government Finance Report (England) 1997-98 Amending Report 1999" and "The Local Government Finance Report (England) 1998-99 Amending Report 2000" respectively.

LGR SCA figures for NE Lincolnshire. As follows:

1997-98--£1.900 million

1998-99--£1.568 million

(2) 1997-98 HIP allocation inherited from the previous Government's spending plans. Present Government introduced CRI from 1997-98.

(3) Single Housing Pot introduced from 2000-01 resulting in CRI being merged with HIP.

(4) Resource accounting has resulted in a change to the way capital resources are allocated for 2001-02, with the introduction of a new Major Repairs Allowance (MRA) to cover the cost of maintaining local authority housing in a sound condition. The North East Lincolnshire MRA allocation for 2001-02 is £4.786 million and, for comparison purposes, is included in the 2001-02 HIP allocation above.


North East Lincolnshire's overall capital allocation of £6.425 million, represents an increase of 171.10 per cent. on the inherited 1997-98 allocation.

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North East Lincolnshire--SRB funding received under Rounds 1 to 6

Round 6--Unlocking potential

A seven-year scheme submitted by the Community Partnership for North East Lincolnshire, it aims to create sustainable local jobs and grow a creative and enterprising culture in deprived communities as a fundamental drive to overcome social exclusion. The scheme has three carefully balanced elements: Job creation and the promotion of entrepreneurship and enterprise, Achieving

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social inclusion; Sustainable regeneration through infrastructure improvements.

SRB total £12.1 million. Scheme total £30.7 million.

Round 5--Yorkshire and Humber Coastal Tourism Initiative

A five-year scheme submitted by the Yorkshire Tourist Board to support and encourage the growth of small tourism based businesses in the East Coast target area from Staithes to Cleethorpes. Support is through a

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range of programmes including grant assistance for product improvements, marketing and environmental improvements, subsidised consultancy, business mentoring, training and benchmarking.

SRB total: £529,000. Scheme total £2 million.

Round 4--Creating A Learning Community

A six-year scheme to tackle a local culture which does not value education or lifelong learning, and addresses a high level of need, by implementing a strategy to raise expectations and foster lifelong learning. The scheme will promote positive attitudes to learning in communities, within families and within the workplace by improving access to support and guidance structures; increasing opportunities to improve basic skills; promoting investment in employee training and development; and nurturing effective partnerships to widen participation.

SRB total: £1.76 million. Scheme total: £5.55 million.

Round 3--Investing in Youth

A seven-year targeting the under 26s, tackling unemployment, educational attainment, skills training and health. It takes advantages of multimedia TV and district cabling to reach otherwise inaccessible groups and builds upon the Safer Cities programme with measures to involve your people in reducing crime and vandalism and engage them in community safety and environmental works.

SRB total: £7.19 million. Scheme total £19 million.

Round 2--Port Districts

A seven-year scheme seeking the economic and social regeneration of the most deprived communities in the ports districts of Immingham and Grimsby. The port areas are a close mix of industrial and residential use. The scheme identifies how local skill/educational levels and aspirations, poor housing and infrastructure and is a comprehensive scheme providing support for the key food and port related industries, housing and community capacity building measures.

SRB total: £8.47 million. Scheme total: £32 million.

Round 1--Nunsthorpe and Bradley Park Resource Centre

The provision of a resource centre at Nunsthorpe and levered in a significant contribution from the private sector as well as the public sector. The Nunsthorpe estate suffers from high unemployment, crime and vandalism. The resource centre complemented initiatives already being delivered under the Estate Action programme by providing facilities for the voluntary sector, support for tenants groups, much-needed leisure facilities and workshop and training opportunities.

SRB total: £187,000. Scheme total: £1.7 million.

European Funding

Under the 1997-99 Objective 2 programme there were a series of Action Plans in the North East Lincolnshire area covering business support and community economic development (worth about £8.2 million in ERDF and £2.4 million in ESF grant) together with capital projects (Europarc development site and Cleethorpes tourism projects worth over £6 million in ERDF/ESF).

For Objective 3 (ESF), NEL had £19,000 in 1997 and £126,000 in 1999-2000.

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For Objective 4 (ESF), NEL support was subsumed into Humberside-wide activity. This is great for fostering partnership working but means that it is almost impossible to disaggregate the figures for an exercise like this.

Water Abstraction Licences

Mr. Simon Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) what representations he has received concerning the impact on a company's ability to plan and invest for the long term of his proposal relating to a time limit on water abstraction licences; [156344]

Mr. Robert Ainsworth: My Department received a number of representations in response to the 1998 consultation document "The Review of the Water Abstraction Licensing System in England and Wales". These were summarised in "Taking Water Responsibly", published in 1999. There was widespread support among respondents for time limited licences on environmental grounds. About a sixth of the respondents were opposed to time limiting. This was mainly because of concerns about the possible impact on business planning and investment. A number of respondents to the draft Water Bill published last year have commented on time limiting licences. Similar comments have been made as were made previously. Many of those expressing concern accept the need for time limits in principle, but want licences to have a duration longer than the standard period in order to allow companies to plan and invest for the long term.

There will be a presumption of renewal with all time limited licences. Also, it will be open to abstractors to apply for licences with time limits of more than 12 years. Each application will be considered by the Environment Agency on a case-by-case basis and will need to demonstrate need and that an assessment has been made of the environmental impact.

Mr. Simon Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions on what grounds he based his proposal for a time limit on water abstraction licences. [156346]

Mr. Robert Ainsworth: The Government's policy on time limiting abstraction licences was set out in "Taking Water Responsibly", published in 1999. There are long-term uncertainties which could lead to some currently acceptable abstractions becoming unsustainable. The principal concern is uncertainty about climate change impact upon water resources replenishment and hence the availability of water for abstraction in future decades.

Another significant concern is the extent to which changing technological or economic patterns will continue to affect the use or non-use of licensed abstractions in the future. Just as there have been changes in past decades in those patterns, so there have been changes in awareness and expectations of the social dimension to the water environment and the activities and values which it supports through "in situ" or abstractive use.

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