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12. Richard Younger-Ross: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will make a statement on recent construction undertaken (a) at ports, (b) at airports and (c) on railway land under the provisions of the General Development Order. 
Keith Hill: The information requested is not held centrally, and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. The General Permitted Development Order grants permitted development rights to enable generally small-scale development to take place without the need to make a planning application. The Order includes rights granted to statutory undertakers for a variety of development required for the purposes of their undertaking.
Yvette Cooper: A new system of Regional Development Agency (RDA) performance measurement and monitoring was set up in 1 April 2002. The annual report for SEEDA, as with all RDAs, is currently being prepared and will be submitted to the DTI and other Departments in the autumn.
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Phil Hope: The office of the Deputy Prime Minister is promoting modern construction methods to get homes built more quickly, more safely, and to a higher standard through a number of measures including:
the Housing Corporation's target that, from 200405, at least 25 per cent. of grant-funded homes will be built using modern methods of construction; and
Millenium Communities projects, which act as exemplars of using the most efficient construction methodologies. We have asked English Partnerships to give a focus on modern methods at the Millennium Community in Milton Keynes.
Mr. Gray: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what plans he has to revise Circular 6/98, with particular reference to (a) the definition of affordable housing and (b) the site size thresholds which trigger affordable housing planning gains from developers; and when he plans to issue the revised good practice to local authorities on planning obligations. 
Keith Hill: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister published today for consultation an update of the existing guidance on planning for affordable housing. The update addresses a number of matters including how affordable housing should be defined and the size of site on which local authorities can seek affordable housing. The update will be supported by practice advice. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister also intends to issue a consultation document on planning obligations in the near future. Following the consultation, it is our intention to publish a policy document on planning obligations that will replace Circular 1/97.
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Yvette Cooper: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) came into existence following the Machinery of Government changes on 29 May 2002. The estimated cost, subject to final audit, of consultants used by the Office in the period 1 June 2002 to 31 March 2003 was £8,922,000. Consultants are used to bring in additional expertise and help across a wide range of the Office's responsibilities. A few examples of the areas of work where consultants are employed are:
(b) setting up of the NRU website "renewal.net";
(c) use of arboricultural consultant Inspectors to provide advice to the Secretary of State on tree preservation order appeals;
(d) providing senior Bain Review team members and conducting the comparisons between firefighter's pay levels and those in the economy generally;
(e) using expertise within local authorities and suppliers to local authorities to advise on local E-Government.
(f) seeking innovative ways of delivering services on the Strategic Partnering Taskforce.
(g) use of independent Advisory Panel members to advise on Beacon Council selection.
Gregory Barker: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how much correspondence was received by (a) Ministers in his Department and (b) chief executives of agencies from hon. Members in 2002; what the target times for replies were; and how many replies were sent within target times. 
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The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister collects data relating to staff turnover in the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and its agencies for manpower planning. The Regional Co-ordination Unit, as the corporate centre of the Government Office Network, collects data for the Government Offices. These data will be used to make assessments of regional differences in developing our pay and workforce strategy.
Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what measures he is planning to improve the energy efficiency standards of new build to achieve the 10 MtC emissions reduction per annum by 2010 as indicated in the Energy White Paper. 
Phil Hope: The Energy White Paper announced that the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister would start work immediately on the next major revision of the building regulations with the aim of bringing it into effect in 2005, and that we would raise boiler standards to the level of the most efficient types, A and B condensing ones. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister also indicated our intention of raising standards over the coming decade learning lessons from the standards set in comparable European countries. The revision work will, for instance, examine what improvements can be made to the winter and summer performance standards for building fabric and heating, cooling and lighting systems, while ensuring the Regulations remain technically sound, proportionate, cost-effective and sufficiently flexible for designers.
Dwellings include caravans, houseboats and other non-building structures used solely as a permanent dwelling.
Data for 2001 are provisional; 2001 is the most recent year for which data are available.
Mr. Hammond: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister pursuant to his oral answer to the hon. Member for Halifax (Mrs. Mahon) of 30 June 2003, Official Report, column 33, whether there will be a reduction in the response to 999 calls in England as a result of modernisation of the Fire Service; and what definition he will use of reduction in the response. 
Mr. Raynsford: Under integrated risk management, it will be for fire authorities, not the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, to set local standards for responding to fires and other emergencies in the light of a full assessment of the risks faced by their communities. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister believes that by
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developing local standards based on the risks faced by communities and by placing greater emphasis on preventative action to stop fires and other emergencies from occurring in the first place, public safety will be improved and lives will be saved.
Angela Watkinson: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what changes to career prospects in the fire service, in terms of (a) opportunities, (b) training and (c) promotion he estimates will arise from the changes proposed in the Fire and Rescue Service White Paper. 
Mr. Raynsford: The changes to the appointment and promotion regulations announced in the White Paper will mean that people with the right potential and skills, both within and outside the fire and rescue service, can apply for jobs at all levels and in all parts of the service. This will provide wider and more varied opportunities for staff in all sections of the service. The White Paper also announced the introduction of the Integrated Personal Development System which will ensure staff are developed and receive training relevant to their personal needs. In many cases this will include development to help them obtain promotion. This coupled with the removal of the requirement to have served for a specific number of years before obtaining promotion will improve promotion prospects of many staff.
|Year||Number of calls|
Annual returns to Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.
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