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Air Traffic Control

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what progress has been made towards the development of a new air traffic control centre at Prestwick; and if he will make a statement. [45705]

Mr. Jamieson: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Galloway and Upper Nithsdale (Mr. Duncan) on 23 January 2002, Official Report, columns 862–63W.

Urban Regeneration

Ms Oona King: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what assessment he has made of the potential for private finance initiatives within urban regeneration. [41387]

Ms Keeble: The Secretary of State has asked English Partnerships to carry out a feasibility study into the use of private finance initiatives within urban regeneration

Mr. Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will list the local government finance assistance schemes available through Leeds City Council to tackle urban poverty. [45373]

Ms Keeble: My Department's main programmes such as the Housing Investment Programmes (HIP) and Revenue Support Grant all contribute to the alleviation of urban poverty. In addition, my Department runs the following programme which specifically addresses this:


NRF is specifically targeted at deprived communities.

The HIP allocation for 2002–03 is £12.8 million. The Major Repairs Allowance allocation is £35.05 million.

Mr. Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will list the inner city budget schemes initiated to tackle urban poverty since June 1997. [45372]

Ms Keeble: Since June 1997, my Department and its predecessor Department have initiated the following programmes which aim to tackle poverty and address social exclusion, particularly in the most deprived local authority areas, including those in inner cities:

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YearName of scheme
1998Single Regeneration Budget round 4
1999Single Regeneration Budget round 5
1999New Deal for Communities
2000Single Regeneration Budget round 6
2000Government's share of the European Regional Development Fund
2001Single Regeneration Budget transitional arrangements for the RDA single programme
2001Community Chest
2001Community Empowerment Fund
2001Neighbourhood Management Programme
2001Neighbourhood Renewal Fund
2001Neighbourhood Skills and Knowledge Programme
2001Neighbourhood Wardens Programme
2001Starter Homes Initiative
2001Street Wardens Programme

Ms Oona King: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what assessment he has made of the impact of EU state aid rules on the use of private sector partnerships to deliver urban regeneration in the UK. [41385]

Ms Keeble: The closure of the PIP programme has restricted the use of regeneration PPPs. We are currently working on ways of removing these restrictions. However, provided public and private involvement in the regeneration PPP acts on the same terms it should not be affected by the state aid rules. The existing gap funding schemes allow PPPs to provide state aid within defined limits. The Single Regeneration Budget, one of the Government's major regeneration programmes, is delivered through local regeneration partnerships and the private sector continues to be an important member of a large number of these.

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what his most recent estimate is of the quantity of previously developed urban land available for development in the London Region; and what estimate has been made of the number of new dwellings that may be accommodated on that land. [45651]

Ms Keeble: Estimates from the National Land Use Database show that, within London in 1998, there were some 2,820 hectares of previously developed land that were unused or may have been available for redevelopment. Estimates from the boroughs suggested that some 1,720 hectares of this were suitable for housing and could accommodate some 82,000 dwellings. The figures provide a snapshot of the land available in 1998. The estimated dwelling capacity reflects the development plan policies applying at the time and were made prior to the publication of revised national planning policy guidance on Housing (PPG3). The figures do not make allowance for new brownfield sites emerging in future, or other sources of additional capacity, not involving greenfield land, such as sub-division of existing housing, flats over shops and empty homes.

In September 2000, the GLA published a report entitled "London's Housing Capacity". The capacity study, undertaken in 1999, estimated that there was potential for 381,000 net additional dwellings in London in the period 1997–2016. If vacancies and non self-contained accommodation are included the capacity is 458,000 household spaces. The study found that of the large identified

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housing sites (which comprised nearly 30 per cent. of the total capacity and where detailed information about former use was available), 97 per cent. were brownfield sites.

The National Land Use Database is currently being updated to 2001.

Play Areas (Children With Disabilities)

Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will meet representatives from interested organisations to discuss the Government's proposed best practice guidance on accessible play areas for children with disabilities; and if she will make a statement. [41297]

Dr. Whitehead: The Government are committed to producing new guidance on play areas for disabled children. I welcome the valuable contribution that outside expertise would bring and I would be pleased to meet relevant organisations.

Fire Service

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will list the awards made by the Arson Control Forum, stating (a) the recipient, (b) the amount and (c) the purpose in each case. [42922]

Dr. Whitehead: I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my hon. Friend, the then Minister for the Home Department (Mike O'Brien) on 8 May 2001, Official Report, column 78W about the Arson Control Forum's new projects bidding exercise for 2001–02.

I shall be writing to the hon. Member about the outcome of the Arson Control Forum new projects bidding exercise for 2002–03 in due course.

Roads

Mr. Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how many road schemes the South West Regional Assembly has recommended to the Department for approval. [45279]

Mr. Jamieson: To date, the South West Regional Assembly (SWRA) has recommended three road schemes for inclusion in the Targeted Programme of Improvements (TPI). These are:


In March 2001, the Dobwalls Bypass was added to the TPI while the two other schemes are currently the subject of further studies being undertaken by the Highways Agency.

Gas Explosion, Newton Heath

Mr. Lloyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will make a statement on the Health and Safety Executive's investigation into the gas explosion in Newton Heath, Manchester on 17 November 2001. [43653]

Dr. Whitehead [holding answer 21 March 2002]: A report by Transco plc on the gas explosion at Newton Heath was received by the Health and Safety Executive

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on 4 March 2002. HSE is discussing with Transco what action the company should take to implement the recommendations. I understand that a copy of the Transco investigation report has been sent to the hon. Member by HSE and that both they and Transco have offered to meet him to discuss the report.

Stadiums

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will set out the criteria used in deciding whether to call in the planning application for (a) redevelopment of Odsal Stadium and (b) a new stadium for Arsenal Football Club. [45477]

Mr. Byers: My general approach, like that of previous Secretaries of State, is not to interfere with the jurisdiction of local planning authorities unless it is necessary to do so. Parliament has entrusted them with responsibility for day-to-day planning control in their areas. Local planning authorities are normally best placed to make decisions relating to their areas and it is right that, in general, they should be free to carry out their duties responsibly, with the minimum of interference.

There will be occasions, however, when I may consider it necessary to call in a planning application to determine myself instead of leaving it to the local planning authority. My policy is to be very selective about calling in planning applications. I will, in general, only take this step if planning issues of more than local importance are involved and if those issues need to be decided by me rather than at a local level. Such cases may include, for example, those which, in my opinion:


Each case is, however, considered on its own facts.

Copies of the letters to call in (a) and not to call in (b) are on the Department's website.

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what discussions he has had with the Department of Culture, Media and Sport on the redevelopment of Odsal Stadium, Bradford. [45491]

Mr. Byers: I have had no discussions with the Department of Culture, Media and Sport on the redevelopment of Odsal Stadium.


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