|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Ms Beverley Hughes: Under the previous Government, long-term projections of household growth were converted using a "predict and provide" methodology into inflexible targets for new housing. This Government's approach is to enable public consideration at the regional level about the likely rate of housing provision required in a region over the foreseeable future, expressed as an annual rate, and to keep this under regular review.
23 Apr 2001 : Column: 74W
that, by 2008, 60 per cent. of additional dwellings should be provided by redevelopment of previously developed land or through conversion of existing buildings. These policies have been supported by the issue of new planning guidance on housing, (PPG3).
Ms Beverley Hughes: Planning Policy Guidance Note 3: "Housing" advises local authorities to improve the quality of residential development by good design and layout (para 54). It further advises local authorities to have clear policies for the protection of open space and playing fields (para 53). We are presently consulting on revised guidance on planning for sport, open space and recreation (PPG17) which reinforces this message.
23 Apr 2001 : Column: 75W
Mr. Green: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if it is Government policy to allow (a) development on green belt land and (b) a review of the green belt in certain circumstances. 
Ms Beverley Hughes: Planning Policy Guidance Note 2--"Green Belts" states a presumption against most built development on land designated as green belt. It allows review of established green belts and the alteration of boundaries in exceptional circumstances. If such an alteration were proposed, the Secretary of State would then wish to be satisfied that the authority has considered opportunities for development within urban areas before allowing it to take place.
Mr. Green: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will publish figures for (1) (a) the number of hectares of green belt land in each region and (b) the proportion of land that is green belt in each region of the United Kingdom; 
Mr. Green: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) how many hectares of non-green belt greenfield land have been (a) developed on and (b) given planning permission for development, since 1 May 1997; 
Ms Beverley Hughes: The information requested on planning permissions within and outside green belts is not available centrally. The Department's land use change statistics provide estimates of the annual aggregate change to residential use within and outside green belts in England. In 1998, the latest year for which figures are available and during which the last Government's policy guidance on housing was still operational, 2,650 hectares of 'not previously developed' land outside green belts changed to residential use. Over the same period, 140 hectares of land within green belts changed to residential use, about 0.01 per cent. of the total area of green belts.
Mr. Green: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what steps have been taken since May 1997 to allow open green spaces of land in built-up areas to be designated as green belt. 
Ms Beverley Hughes: Designation of land as green belt is a matter for local planning authorities having regard to the advice in Planning Policy Guidance Note 2--Green Belts. Advice on designation of land as green belt has not changed since the publication of the January 1995 edition of PPG2.
23 Apr 2001 : Column: 76W
The Government have recently issued for consultation a revision of PPG17--Sport, Open Space and Recreation, which emphasises the need to safeguard existing urban open spaces and to supplement provision where appropriate.
Mr. Green: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what plans he has to change the rateable value thresholds for mandatory rate relief following the recent business rate revaluation. 
Ms Beverley Hughes: Rateable value thresholds for mandatory rate relief were increased on 1 April 2000, when the recent business rate revaluation came into effect. The rateable value thresholds under the village shop rate relief scheme were increased from £5,000 to £6,000 for mandatory relief and from £10,000 to £12,000 for discretionary relief. The rateable value threshold below which rates are not payable on empty properties was increased from £1,500 to £1,900. These increases reflect average changes in the rateable values of properties below the old thresholds. The £2,500 reduction in rateable value of properties used for the breeding and rearing of horses and ponies remained unchanged at the 1 April 2000 revaluation, because there was no significant change in the rateable values of such properties.
Mr. Green: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what steps he has taken to allow councils to place conditions on planning permission to require materials to be constructed from local sources. 
Ms Beverley Hughes: It is for local planning authorities in the first instance to decide on specific planning conditions. The advice in DOE Circular 11/95--The Use of Conditions in Planning Permissions--is that the use of conditions may be acceptable to secure a high quality of design in a proposal to make a positive contribution to a site and its surroundings and show consideration for its local context. Conditions may, for example, specify matching materials or the use of only original materials on listed buildings but the source of materials is a matter for the developer or builder.
23 Apr 2001 : Column: 77W
published by 20 June 2001. As at the beginning of April this year, the Environment Agency was able to confirm that at least 91 per cent. of authorities had work in hand to develop their inspection strategies.
In any case where a local authority formally identifies any land as being contaminated land for the purposes of the Part IIA regime, either that authority or, in some cases, the Environment Agency, has a duty to ensure that appropriate remediation is carried out. Each local authority is required by section 78R of the 1990 Act to maintain a register of details of remediation carried out on contaminated land in its area. The Environment Agency has a parallel duty to compile a register of remediation on sites for which it is the enforcing authority. Part IIA does not, however, include any provisions establishing a single national register.
Mr. Derek Twigg: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many acres of derelict land there are in (a) England, (b) the North West Region and (c) Halton; and what percentage of derelict land in (i) the North West Region and (ii) Halton is contaminated. 
Ms Beverley Hughes: The most recent estimates from the National Land Use Database show that, in 1998, the area of derelict land and buildings was 19,340 hectares in England, 3,400 hectares in the North West Government Office region and 31 hectares in Halton. Information on how much of this land is contaminated is not available.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|