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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Baroness Hayman): We will be launching the first stage of the review process, a consultation paper on Sustainable Production and Use of Chemicals, on Monday 27 July 1998. Copies of the consultation paper will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses and also in the Vote Office. This consultation paper is part of the Government's family of consultation papers on sustainable development.
Baroness Hayman: We are today issuing a consultation paper on the transitional arrangements for the building regulations amendments which we announced in March this year. These amendments will extend access requirements to new houses from October 1999.
We are proposing that the transitional provisions should ensure that new buildings where construction work starts on or after the coming into force date of the regulations will in general be subject to the new Part M requirements. However, new buildings begun after the coming into force date in accordance with full plans deposited with a local authority at least two months before that date, or in accordance with plans covered by an approved inspector's plans certificate accepted by a local authority before the coming into force date, will not have to comply with the new requirements.
In this way the transitional provisions will distinguish between cases where detailed design work has been completed and submitted to the relevant building control body before the coming into effect of the regulations, and other cases. This will prevent developers from giving premature building control notices simply in order to gain exemption from the new requirements for houses that have not been designed and could not be built until long after the coming into force date.
The consultation letter sets Wednesday 9 September as the deadline for receipt of responses. After assessing the responses, and subject to the outcome of the separate process of notifying the technical changes to the European Commission, we intend to make and publish the new regulations, and a revised Approved Document, in October.
Baroness Hayman: My Lords, the Government do not collect information on the sexual orientation of rough sleepers. An independent evaluation into the second phase of the Rough Sleepers Initiative, From Street to Home published in 1996, found that the most commonly cited reasons for refusing to accept a place in a hostel were; the behaviour of other residents, not feeling safe, the extent of drink or drug use in hostels and a lack of privacy or space.
Baroness Hayman: No separate evaluation of the Merseyside Development Corporation (MDC) has been undertaken by or for the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR). However, a review of the activities and performance of the MDC is contained in a report recently published by the DETR, Urban Development corporations: Performance and Good Practice. This report covers
Baroness Hayman: A post and rail fence is the most common type of fencing used on motorways. It is preferred over other fence types because of its general appearance, long life span and relative ease of repair following damage. Where there are special circumstances which warrant some form of better protection, such as where a motorway runs through land where deer may be present, higher, close boarded or other types of fencing are specified. The timber used in the construction of a post and rail fence is specified to be capable of achieving a desired life of 40 years. The average national cost per linear metre is £9.50 at 1997 prices.
For motorways, the Secretary of State undertakes in a fencing covenant to provide and maintain a sufficient fence to prevent cattle or sheep and--at the request of the landowner--horses and pigs, from straying on to the motorway. Other small stock are, however, regarded as the liability of the owner/occupier, although there is no objection to a landowner tacking wire netting along the bottom of the fence to contain them.
In the case of the all purpose trunk road, fencing is provided by the Highways Agency, but to a specification agreed with the landowner as part of the accommodation works when a road is constructed or improved. The maintenance of the fencing is the responsibility of the landowner.
Baroness Hayman: Eurostar (UK) Ltd. has the beneficial ownership rights to all of these trains. Seven of the Class 373 intercapital trains are subject to finance leases which were put in place when the company was in the public sector. These leases are between the company and the National Westminster Bank and the Abbey National and are for a period of 25 years. Four Class 373 intercapital trains and 7 Class 373/2
Baroness Hayman: If Eurostar (UK) Ltd. were to carry domestic passengers on any of their services they would need a licence from the Regulator to enable them to do so. Before issuing such a licence, the Regulator would need to consult with a number of interested parties including the holders of the west and east coast main line franchises.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Customs & Excise levy charges for the provision of their services at ports and airports under the Implementing Provisions of the Community Customs Code, which is European Community legislation, and the Customs & Excise Management Act 1979. Charges are levied when traders request official attendance at places where officers are not normally on duty or at times outside normal authorised hours. They reflect the economic costs of the staff attending and are not negotiable.
Additional, or particular services are provided by the Immigration Service at the request of the port operator or carrier under Section 9(4) of the Immigration Act 1988. The charges are based on the principle of full cost of recovery and are not negotiable.
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