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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Baroness Hayman): While the Government sets the framework for environmental policies, local authorities are responsible for dealing with pollution from activities such as motor racing. Part III of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 includes powers for local authorities to require the abatement of excessive noise, smoke, steam, smell and other effluvia emitted from premises. We understand that Northamptonshire County Council and South Northamptonshire Council are promoting the establishment of a trans-national network among European Formula One and other major motor racing circuits. They envisage such a network could, for example, be used to address environmental concerns, including looking at innovative ways of reducing noise and air pollution.
Baroness Hayman: We are proposing that the average guideline rent for 1998-99 should increase from £35.38 to £36.35 a week. This is 97p per week more than the current year's guideline rent in cash terms. Guideline rent increases for individual authorities would range between 72p and £1.22.
To encourage authorities to keep their rent increases within the guideline increase, we propose to continue with the present rule that limits rent rebate subsidy. This gives authorities a strong incentive to keep rent increases down to reasonable levels, but does not affect tenants' entitlement to housing benefit.
Total provision within the subsidy system for expenditure by authorities on management and maintenance in 1997-98 will be more than £3.3 billion. This is about the same per dwelling as in the current financial year.
Our proposals are set out in the draft housing revenue account subsidy and Item 8 determinations for 1998-99, which we have sent to housing authorities today. Authorities have been invited to let the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions have their views by 17 December 1997.
So that they can make full use of the extra capital resources released under the Government's capital receipts initiative, the draft determinations also provide for authorities to receive additional revenue support where these resources are used in respect of council housing.
Baroness Hayman: The list of responses received has been placed in the Library of the House: copies of individual responses may be obtained through the library of the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions. Regulations will be introduced shortly to give effect to the following measures: (i) That, with effect from 1 April 1998, the appointing bodies for the valuation tribunals listed in column 1 below be those authorities listed in column 2 below, who will be entitled to appoint members in the proportion given in column 3--the membership, revised in some cases, being that shown in column 4.
|column 1||column 2||column 3||column 4|
|Berkshire||Newbury (W. Berkshire) DC||2||30|
|Windsor & Maidenhead BC||2|
|Bracknell Forest BC||1|
|Peterborough City Council||1|
|Plymouth City Council||1|
|Essex South||Essex CC||9||30|
|Herefordshire &||Worcestershire CC||3||32|
|Worcestershire||County of Herefordshire DC||1|
|The Medway Town DC||1|
|Blackburn with Darwen BC||2|
|Nottingham City Council||1|
|The Wrekin DC||1|
(iii) Vacancies should be filled as they arise (whether through retirement of members or an increase in complement) by the new appointing authorities, until their entitlement is reached. All subsequent vacancies would be filled by the authority who appointed the departing member.
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