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Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what estimate he has made of the number of partnerships that have come together for the delivery of the Connexions Service. 
"The Connexions Service: prospectus and specification" which was published on 4 May, invites partners to come together in the 47 Learning and Skills Council areas to develop outline Partnership Proposals which should be submitted by 9 June.
Mr. Wigley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions, pursuant to the answer of 3 May 2000, Official Report, column 168W, concerning the carcinogenicity of fibre glass products, what advice his Department gives to local authorities about the safest materials that should be used for house insulation; and if he will make a statement. 
The Department issued advice to local authorities on man made mineral fibres (including fibre glass) used as house insulation last year through the publication "Asbestos and man made mineral fibres in buildings, practical guidance". The publication is also available on the DETR website (www.environment.detr.gov.uk/ asbestos/guide//index.htm).
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This guidance updates and replaces the advice on man made mineral fibres and loft insulation issued to local authorities in England and Wales in 1987 by the Department of the Environment and the Welsh Office.
Mr. Hurst: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many planning applications in England and Wales to install telecommunications masts of more than 15 metres in height were (a) granted and (b) refused in 1999. 
Mr. Green: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what plans he has to enforce the sharing of mobile phone base station sites; and if he will make a statement. 
Ms Beverley Hughes: The Government's policy is firmly to encourage mast and site sharing where that is appropriate. Conditions attached to the use of powers granted to individual mobile operators by the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, and incorporated in their operating licences, include a requirement to investigate mast sharing before seeking to put up any new mast.
DETR Circular 4/99, "Planning for Telecommunications" makes clear our expectation that developers should provide evidence to local planning authorities that they have carefully considered the use of existing masts, buildings and other structures before seeking to erect any new mast, regardless of size. An authority may be justified in refusing prior approval or planning permission if it considers the evidence regarding the consideration of such alternative sites is not satisfactory.
Mr. Green: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what plans he has to change the planning regulations for mobile phone masts; and if he will make a statement. 
Ms Beverley Hughes: In their response to the report of the Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones, issued on 11 May 2000, the Government said that they were minded to introduce a requirement for full planning permission for all new telecommunications masts, but would need to consult widely before doing so, including on the purpose and precise scope of any new arrangements. We shall issue a consultation paper on this and related guidance as soon as practicable.
Mr. Green: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when the Sustainable Development Commission will hold its first meeting; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Meacher: The Sustainable Development Commission, which will replace the UK Round Table and British Government Panel on Sustainable Development, is expected to begin work in the summer. The DETR is currently in the process of completing appointments to the Commission and hopes to make an announcement on the Chairmanship of the Commission in June. The date of the first meeting will need to be agreed with the Chair, possibly in July. It will be for the Commission to decide the frequency and timing of its meetings from that point, along with its other working arrangements.
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Shona McIsaac: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many leasehold residential properties there are in each electoral ward in Cleethorpes constituency. 
Shona McIsaac: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what statutory provisions govern the rights of family members to purchase the freehold of a leasehold residential property they have inherited. 
Mr. Mullin: Section 7 of the Leasehold Reform Act 1967 allows certain family members who were resident in a leasehold house at the time of the deceased's death to satisfy the residence test even where they would not normally do so. They must still have resided in the premises for at least three years in the last ten and meet the other conditions that normally apply. We are considering whether to extend these provisions as part of our leasehold reform package.
For flats, only half the group buying the freehold (enfranchising) need to satisfy the residence test (we propose to abolish the residence test as it applies to collective enfranchisement). Subsection 6(3)(b) of the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 allows the residence test to be satisfied even where the tenant's previous occupation of the flat was not by right of the lease. Therefore, an individual who inherits a long lease on a flat should be able to participate in enfranchisement in the usual way. Subsection 14(5) deals with the possibility that a participating tenant might die during the enfranchisement process. Section 16 makes provision in the event of the death of the nominee purchaser.
Shona McIsaac: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what guidelines his Department has issued on setting a price for the purchase of the freehold of leasehold residential properties. 
Mr. Mullin: There is no set formula for deciding on the price of a freehold. The Leasehold Reform Act 1967 (as amended) sets out the basic principles to be used when deciding how much should be paid for the freehold of a house. The Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 makes similar provision for flats.
Guidance on this point is included in our booklets "Leasehold flats: your right to buy the freehold of your building or renew your lease" and "Leasehold houses: your right to buy the freehold of your house or renew your lease". Both are available free of charge from DETR Free Literature, PO Box 236, Wetherby, LS23 7NB. This guidance is for information only--it has no legal authority.
Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will list all casualties and accidents on the A14 involving heavy goods vehicles in the last 10 years. 
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Mr. Hill [holding answer 16 May 2000]: The data from 1995 to 1998 are given in the tables. The A14 has been in its present form only since 19 July 1994, when the A45 between Felixstowe and the M11 at Cambridge and the A604 between the M11 and the A6 at Kettering became the A14 and a new length of Road between the A6 and the M1 was opened. Previous data for the A14 are not comparable.
Mr. Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how he monitors the disposal of radioactive waste; what steps he takes to ensure that such waste is not used in household products; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Meacher [holding answer 16 May 2000]: The European Directive 96/29/Euratom lays down basic safety standards for the protection of the health of workers and the general public against the dangers arising from ionising radiation. The Directive makes the disposal, recycling or reuse of radioactive substances subject to prior authorisation. It also permits member states to set levels of radioactivity at which materials for disposal, recycling and reuse may be released from this requirement for prior authorisation providing that strict radiological criteria are met. This concept is known as clearance, with clearance levels setting a threshold at or below which the levels of radioactivity are small and pose a negligible radiological risk irrespective of the fate of that material. The Radioactive Substances Act (RSA 93), which implements the relevant provisions of the Directive, is administered in England and Wales by the Environment Agency.
In support of these regulatory functions, the Environment Agency commissions independent monitoring of radioactive waste disposals and their impact on the environment. Details of the monitoring programme are published annually in a report entitled "Radioactivity in the Environment: A summary and radiological assessment of the Environment Agency's monitoring programmes". Copies of the latest report, for 1997, can be found in the Library.
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