Skip to main content

Urban Development Corporations

Volume 124: debated on Monday 7 December 1987

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he has decided where to locate the next generation of urban development corporations; and if he will make a statement.

I propose to set up "mini" urban development corporations in Bristol, Leeds and Central Manchester. I also propose to extend the area of the existing Black Country development corporation to take in parts of Wolverhampton.I have placed maps in the Library today showing the areas which the UDCs are likely to cover. I will be appointing consultants shortly to advise on the development potential of the areas and on the boundaries of the UDCs. Final decisions on the boundaries will be taken in the light of the results of these studies and of the views of the local interests.I have chosen these areas because they all have significant amounts of derelict and disused land and vacant buildings. It will be the job of each UDC to bring about the regeneration of its area by bringing sites and buildings back into productive use, to encourage the development of existing and new industry and commerce, to create an attractive environment and ensure that housing and social facilities are available to encourage people to live and work in the area. Each corporation will attract considerable private investment to its area.These new UDCs will be modelled on the six urban development corporations already established in England which are already clearly demonstrating the rapid progress which can be achieved with a single minded approach to urban regeneration. These new corporations, however, will be based on smaller areas than their predecessors, varying in size from 250 acres to 1,600 acres. Each UDC could spend about£15 million over four to five years. They will also be responsible for co-ordinating expenditure in their areas on urban regeneration grant, urban development grant and derelict land grant paid to the private sector. In some areas this could be considerable.I am greatly encouraged by the achievements of the first two development corporations in London Docklands and Merseyside and also by the enthusiastic progress already being made by the four corporations I set up earlier this year on Tyneside, Teeside, Trafford Park and the Black Country. I have every confidence that the proposals I have announced today will lead to similar achievements in Bristol, Leeds, Manchester and Wolverhampton.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the outcome of the Environment Council on 3 December.

My noble Friend the Minister for Environment, Countryside and Water represented the United Kingdom at this meeting. I am delighted to report that the Council finally adopted the directive (known as the "Luxembourg Package") concerning exhaust emission standards for cars. We have already announced our intention to require cars to be able to run on unleaded petrol from the earliest dates permitted by the directive. We are in active discussion with other member states with the intention of harmonising, as far as possible, the dates of mandatory application of the exhaust emission standards for small and medium cars. We also intend to apply the large car standard as soon as practicable, probably in the early 1990s. The Council also adopted a directive dealing with gaseous emissions from heavy vehicles. We believe that these measures will make a significant contribution to environmental improvement.The Council reached a common position by a qualified majority on a directive setting limits applicable in 1989–90 for emissions of particulates from diesel cars. The latter directive, which requires the Council to decide in 1989 on a further stage of tighter controls, will now be referred to the European Parliament under the cooperation procedure. Provided the European Parliament agrees, the directive is likely to be adopted next year.Agreement was reached on a regulation concerning export from and import into the Community of certain dangerous chemicals. The regulation will ensure that when specified chemicals are exported from the Community the authorities in the importing countries are notified. The regulation requires member states to inform the Commission of notifications from third countries concerning the import into the Community of dangerous chemicals. This measure represents a useful and practical step forward in protecting importing countries from the risks of certain dangerous substances.The Council reached agreement on a proposal for limit values and quality objectives for discharges of hexachlorobenzene and hexachlorobutadiene both by-products of the chemical industry and on the list I of most dangerous substances under directive 76/464/EEC, but has to await the opinion of the European Parliament before formal adoption.The Council had a general discussion of the presidency's proposed guidelines for future work on the proposed directive on large combustion plants. The Council took note of several positive elements and looked to the German presidency to take the ideas further.A resolution outlining future Community action to combat environmental pollution by cadium was agreed.There was a first exchange of views on a proposal to establish a five-year Communitywide programme of projects illustrating how actions in the environment field might also contribute to employment creation. The Council agreed to discuss this again once the Community's budgetary situation had been clarified.The Council also discussed the extension to inland waterways of the Community's marine pollution system as well as a proposed directive for quality objectives for chromium in water.