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Radioactive Waste

Ms Drown: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the results were of the consultation on managing radioactive waste supply. [63038]

Mr. Meacher: We received 330 replies to the consultation paper "Managing Radioactive Waste Safely" published last September by the UK Government and the devolved Administrations for Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. We are evaluating the outcome, and we shall shortly publish a summary of responses as well as announcing what we plan to do next.

Farmers (Bureaucracy)

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment she has made of the length and complexity of the forms that her Department requires farmers to complete. [63017]

Mr. Morley: Many of the forms farmers are required to complete relate to CAP support schemes. These forms are reviewed each year for need and content. No overall assessment of the Department's forms aimed at farmers has been made since the creation of DEFRA. The Department is currently considering its overall approach to reviewing forms.

Empty Properties

Mr. Breed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the (a) average and (b) recommended turnaround time has been over the last 12 months for making affordable empty homes available for new tenants. [61177]

Mr. McNulty: I have been asked to reply.

The average time taken by local authorities in England to re-let their housing stock is one of the best value performance indicators for housing (BVPI 68) for 2001–02. The Audit Commission expects to publish information on authorities' performance against this indicator in 2001–02 in January 2003. The latest available information is in respect of lettings during 2000–01, as reported to the Audit Commission, and can be found in their publication "Local Authority Performance Indicators 2001/2002 Council Services Compendium for England, Volumes 1 and 2". Because of variations in the way local

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authorities maintain lettings records and compile these estimates, average figures and any comparisons between authorities should be treated with caution.

BVPI68 is a "top quartile" performance indicator. The Government expect local authorities to set targets for these BVPIs which are consistent with reaching the performance standard set by the top quartile of authorities over five years (i.e. by 31 March 2005). For 2001–02 the top quartile performance standards were:

Days
London boroughs42
Metropolitan boroughs29
Unitaries28
District councils25

Corresponding information in respect of re-lettings by registered social landlords (RSLs) is collected by the Housing Corporation and a summary of the most recent data, for 2000–01, was published in "Housing Associations in 2001: Performance Indicators" (Source Research 56). The Housing Corporation's regulatory code does not set recommended turnaround time for RSLs to make affordable empty homes available to new tenants.

FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH AFFAIRS

Convention on the Future of Europe

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what correspondence he has received from the European Academy of Sport with particular reference to the Convention on the Future of Europe; when he last met representatives from that body; what his policy is towards continuing funding of it by the European Union; what the target audiences of its publications have been; what assessment he has made of the compatibility of their use in schools and universities with the requirements in the Education Act 1996 for balance in the provision of information; and if he will make a statement; [64049]

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Peter Hain: The hon. Member asks about a huge range of organisations. The Convention on the future of Europe encourages the widest possible discussion at all levels, and we welcome the engagement of as many NGOs as possible to bring balance to this debate. It was exactly this requirement for balance across the political spectrum which the 1996 Education Act stipulated.


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