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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Baroness Hayman): I am tomorrow placing in the Library of the House and in the Printed Paper Office a statement outlining the changes to housing and regeneration policy resulting from the review.
Baroness Hayman: Following consultation with interested parties, we have made a further commencement order under the Housing Act 1996 which will take effect on 11 August 1998. From that date, a court will have the discretion to allow service charge disputes which started before 1 September 1997 to be transferred to leasehold valuation tribunals where the court considers the interests of justice would best be served.
Baroness Hayman: The Government have today issued draft regulations to implement the requirements of the amending EIA Directive (97/11/EC) into the town and country planning system in England and Wales. A copy of the draft regulations has been placed in the Library.
The amending directive does not bring fundamental changes to the existing system and we have taken the opportunity to consolidate, as well as amend, the existing provisions. The two previous consultation exercises on implementation of the directive have brought support for the Government's approach, including the use of thresholds or criteria to assist planning authorities in deciding whether or not a development requires environmental impact assessment. The level and application of these criteria have been set after consultation but, to ensure the maximum protection for the environment and the minimum burden on planning authorities and developers, the system will be reviewed after two years of operation.
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