|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. Mullin: My Department does not keep a central register of contaminated land in England. Under Part IIA of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, which institutes a new regime for contaminated land, and which came into force on 1 April 2000 in respect of England, local authorities must keep a register of land in their area which they determine is contaminated land under that regime. Arrangements in the other parts of the United Kingdom are matters for the Northern Ireland departments, the Scottish Executive and the National Assembly for Wales.
11 Apr 2000 : Column: 121W
Mr. Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what proposals he has for imposing environmental obligations on owners of land which was contaminated prior to their ownership. 
Mr. Mullin: In 1995, Parliament inserted Part IIA into the Environmental Protection Act 1990. This sets out a new regime for dealing with contaminated land., which came into full effect in England from 1 April 2000. Under it, where land is identified as contaminated and the person or persons who caused or knowingly permitted the contamination cannot be found, the owner or occupier of the land can be required, subject to the provisions of the Act, to carry out the necessary remediation. These provisions restate obligations which have existed as part of the statutory nuisance regime since 1860. Although the Government consider that some amendments to the new regime are desirable, we have no proposals to change this aspect.
Mr. Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when he will reply to the questions from the hon. Member for East Worthing and Shoreham tabled for answer on 13 and 17 March, Refs 114399, 114400 and 115124. 
Mr. Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make it his policy to permit parish councils to object to the grant of licences by the Traffic Commissioners; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Hill: The possibility of allowing parish councils a statutory right of objection to applications for goods vehicle operator licences was considered as part of the last major review of the operator licensing system, but was ruled out at that time. This review resulted in the present legislation, the Goods Vehicles (Licensing of Operators) Act 1995. Bodies which may object to licence applications, such as local authorities, are listed in the Act. There may be a case for including parish councils in this list, but it is too early to carry out another major review of the system. In the meantime, I hope that local authorities will consult parish councils on applications for operator licences which may affect them and take their views into account in considering whether to use their statutory right of objection.
Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions, pursuant to his answer of 3 April 2000, Official Report, columns 322-23W, on traffic growth, if he will list the levels of traffic growth for the South East in (a) 1979, (b) 1990 and (c) for each year from 1992 to date. 
11 Apr 2000 : Column: 122W
Mr. Hill: The table provides annual growth estimates for all motor vehicle traffic on major roads in the South East of England from 1984 to 1998. Comparable estimates for earlier years and for traffic on minor roads are not available.
|Year||Estimated annual percentage change in all motor vehicle traffic|
Data relate to the area covered by the South East Government Office Region
The relatively small sample sizes used to produce regional traffic growth estimates mean that the confidence intervals around the annual growth estimates provided are larger than for comparable estimates at the national level. The 95 per cent. confidence interval surrounding the above figures is of the order of plus or minus 4 per cent. This compares to an interval of plus or minus 2 per cent. for the same data at the Great Britain level.
Mr. Lepper: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what responses have been received by the Lord Chancellor's Advisory Board on Family Law to the consultation paper on parental contact in cases where there is domestic violence; and when it is expected that the results of the consultation will be published. 
11 Apr 2000 : Column: 123W
Its Mental Health Sector deals with matters under Part VII of the Mental Health Act 1983: The Sector's Protection Division overseas the activities of private receivers appointed by the Court of Protection to manage financial affairs for mentally incapacitated individuals. Its Receivership Division manages the financial affairs of mentally incapacitated people who have no one else to manage their finances. The Sector also deals with matters under the Enduring Powers of Attorney Act 1985.
The Court Funds Office is a banking and investment service for funds deposited in court. These are held under jurisdiction of the Chief Executive of the Public Trust Office, acting as Accountant General of the Supreme Court.
In November 1999, the Lord Chancellor published the Quinquennial Review of the Public Trust Office. He welcomed the Review's clear diagnosis of the challenges faced by the Public Trust Office, agreed that radical change was required and undertook to explore the Review's recommendations in a programme of change.
The Change Programme for the Public Trust Office, announced today, will improve services received by clients and, in particular, the vulnerable. The Government's overriding objective will be to ensure that the interests of the Public Trust Office's clients are fully protected. The changes proposed will deliver a step change in the quality of services. This will be achieved through centralised planning and monitoring, balanced by service delivery through those agencies which are best placed to meet the needs of clients. Where this means establishing new partnerships with the private and voluntary sectors, we will do this. Throughout the reforms, we will target resources on those clients who are most in need.
The Lord Chancellor will separate the disparate functions of the existing Public Trust Office, transferring the Trust function and the Court Funds Office to the bodies best placed to provide them: the office of the Official Solicitor to the Supreme Court and the Court Service respectively. The Office's remaining core functions of oversight of receivers and functions in relation to Enduring Powers of Attorney will be reviewed to provide a cohesive and greatly improved service.
The Lord Chancellor will ensure that he retains responsibility for the most vulnerable of Public Trust Office clients. There will be clear lines of ministerial accountability for those functions remaining within the Lord Chancellor's Department and he will establish and monitor clear standards of service provision both for those functions remaining within the Department and for those services provided in future by other parts of the public sector, and in the voluntary and private sectors.
The Lord Chancellor will want to be satisfied that reform does not entail placing a greater financial burden on some of the poorest and most vulnerable members of society. The new regime will deliver much improved value for money. Services received will be tailored to the individual's requirements; there will be much greater
11 Apr 2000 : Column: 124W
advice and assistance available; and it will genuinely protect the vulnerable. A new clearer and simpler fee system will be introduced and backed by the introduction of fee remissions for those who cannot afford to pay for the services they receive.
The Lord Chancellor envisages that plans for the more significant changes proposed will be taken forward during 2000-01 with the intention that the Public Trust Office would cease to exist as a separate and distinct Office from April 2001 onwards.
The Change Programme reforms to the Public Trust Office will also play an important part in paving the way for the Government's "Making Decisions" policy proposals to modernise and clarify the law governing decision making by and on behalf of the mentally incapacitated. The Government is committed to legislating on "Making Decisions" when parliamentary time allows, and the Change Programme will provide a firm basis for these reforms.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|