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Environmental Taskforce

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement on the percentage of those registered under the Environmental Taskforce who go on to secure permanent employment in the environment sector. [159728]

Ms Beverley Hughes: Of those people whose destinations following participation in the Environment Taskforce is known, 41 per cent. have gone on to secure permanent employment. Details of the specific employment sectors to which this figure relates are not currently available without disproportionate cost.

Air Accidents

Mr. Tyler: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for North Cornwall of 26 April 2001, Official Report, column 313W, whether

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the Air Accidents Investigation Branch is investigating another incident of hazardous vapours from an engine lubricant seal leak into the cabin air in a BAe 146 aircraft on 18 April, flying between Jersey and Gatwick, and other similar incidents affecting this type of aircraft; and if he will make a statement. [159842]

Mr. Robert Ainsworth [holding answer 1 May 2001]: The Air Accidents Investigation Branch has confirmed that it is conducting an investigation into the exact cause of the incident on 18 April 2001. The incident and the one on 5 November 2000 are the only incidents involving fumes on BAe 146 aircraft being investigated by the AAIB. The AAIB would not normally investigate incidents occurring outside the UK.

Civil Aircraft (Life-saving Equipment)

Mr. John M. Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what his policy is on the carrying of life-saving equipment on civil aircraft carrying passengers, with particular reference to the availability of defibrillators on short-haul flights to treat coronary emergencies. [160133]

Mr. Robert Ainsworth: Minimum international requirements for the carriage of medical equipment on board aircraft are laid down in Joint Aviation Requirements. Decisions on the provision of equipment to deal with emergencies which go beyond these requirements are primarily a matter for airlines. I understand that many UK carriers already exceed existing requirements through the provision of items such as external automatic defibrillators, and are at the forefront of developing such initiatives as ground to air medical advice centres.

The Government are keen to ensure the widest possible use of best practice in this area, and is pursuing the matter through the recently established Aviation Health Working Group. This will include consideration of the current use of defibrillators and the benefits that they provide.

Motorcycle Training Industry

Mr. Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement on the motorcycle training industry [159056]

Mr. Hill: The motorcycle training industry has played a positive role in the Government's Advisory Group on Motorcycling through the Motorcycle Rider Training Association, and in regular meetings with the Driving Standards Agency. Their participation helped us to frame the reforms to rider training, testing and licensing which were implemented in February. They have also assisted the independent inter-agency task group set up to prevent work-related road accidents for those who ride powered two-wheelers as part of their job. We welcome their involvement and look forward to carrying on the productive working relationship in the future. In particular, we shall look to the industry for assistance as we develop the statutory register of all those engaged in professional motorcycle training, which was announced in our Road Safety Strategy.

Council Funding Distribution

Mr. Ron Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what the per capita allocation of funds was to (a) England, (b) Northern

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Ireland, (c) Scotland and (d) Wales for (i) local government and (ii) housing, and what percentage of his Department's total expenditure this allocation represented, in each of the five years prior to July 1999. [160137]

Ms Beverley Hughes: The table shows Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions public expenditure on housing and local government for each year from 1994-95 to 1998-99 (i) as a percentage of the Department's total expenditure and (ii) on a per capita basis.

The Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions allocates housing and local government funds only to England. The equivalent expenditure in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales is a devolved matter for the relevant devolved administration and was previously a matter for my right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Northern Ireland, for Scotland and for Wales.

Allocation of housing and local government funds by Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions 1994-95 to 1998-99: England(11)

HousingLocal government
Outturn as percentage of Department's total expenditure:
1994-9515.779.7
1995-9615.183.0
1996-9714.382.7
1997-9813.083.0
1998-9912.484.9
Outturn per capita: £/per person
1994-95145.99741.34
1995-96135.10743.13
1996-97130.24754.26
1997-98117.46750.10
1998-99111.85768.12

(11) There is a degree of overlap between total housing expenditure and the housing element within local government expenditure


Bellwin Rules

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how much funding was allocated to England and Wales under the Bellwin rules for each year since 1971. [160453]

Ms Beverley Hughes: Under arrangements currently in force in England sufficient funds are allocated to the Bellwin scheme to meet any eligible claims. In a separate answer I am giving details of payments made to local authorities in past years.

The Bellwin scheme in Wales is the responsibility of the National Assembly for Wales.

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how much money was paid out to councils in England and Wales under the Bellwin rules for each year since 1971. [160454]

Ms Beverley Hughes: Payments made to local authorities in England since 1987 are as follows (to the nearest £100,000):

Year£
1987-8820,000,000
1988-896,200,000
1989-90600,000
1990-914,900,000
1991-92300,000
1992-930
1993-94200,000
1994-95600,000
1995-96100,000
1996-97200,000
1997-98300,000
1998-99400,000
1999-2000300,000
2000-014,100,000

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Records of payments made earlier than 1987 could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

The National Assembly for Wales is responsible for Bellwin schemes in Wales.

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how recent aid given to English counties for flooding and foot and mouth payments using the Bellwin rules was calculated; and if revenue and capital aspects were treated differently. [160456]

Ms Beverley Hughes: A "Bellwin" scheme of emergency financial assistance may be activated to help a local authority with uninsurable clear-up costs following a disaster or emergency that involves destruction of, or danger to, life or property. Grant is normally paid at a rate of 85 per cent. of an authority's qualifying expenditure above a threshold. The threshold is the provision that a prudent authority might reasonably be expected to make for contingencies and emergencies (approximately 0.2 per cent. of its revenue budget).

For the flooding Bellwin scheme grant was paid at a rate of 100 per cent. above the threshold to take into account the exceptional nature of the emergency. The Bellwin scheme for Foot and Mouth Disease will pay grant at the normal rate of 85 per cent.

Bellwin grant is paid only in respect of current expenditure; capital expenditure is not eligible for grant.

Angela Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will provide financial assistance to Essex Police Authority under the Bellwin scheme in respect of costs incurred following the Korean air crash in the county on 22 December 1999. [160583]

Ms Beverley Hughes: I am satisfied that financial assistance under the Bellwin scheme is justified in the case of Essex Police Authority given the exceptional nature of the air crash and the clear up operation. A scheme will, therefore, be established under section 155 of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989. Grant will be paid to cover 85 per cent. of the eligible costs above a threshold, which the Authority has incurred in dealing with the air crash.


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