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Training And Enterprise Councils

Volume 301: debated on Wednesday 19 November 1997

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To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how much money each training and enterprise council in Wales has accumulated as reserves.[16138]

The information requested is contained in the following table. The figures show that the reserves consist of funds which have already been used to acquire assets, or funds required to meet day-to-day needs, or funds which were committed to be spent over a reasonable period. The balance available for discretionary spending at 31 March 1997 (£8.9 million) represents funds which have been earmarked by the TECs for planned expenditure during 1997–98 and for longer term projects.Reserve levels in Wales are projected to fall to £18.217 million by March 1998. Officials in the Welsh Office continue to monitor closely the level of TEC reserves in order to ensure that they are clearly related to demonstrable working capital needs or reinvestment plans. Further discussions are to be held with the TECs shortly to asses the extent to which TECs might be able to re-direct their reserves towards other objectives within the Government's strategic agenda and to provide an indication of when this could be done.

The Environment Act 1995 prevents the reactivation of a dormant site with an old planning permission for mineral working unless full modern planning conditions have been imposed. Advice on the procedures is provided in Mineral Planning Guidance note 14 "Environment Act 1995: Review of Mineral Planning Permissions". Cae Rheinallt Quarry near Llanfynydd has been duly registered with Flintshire County Council under the provisions of the Act as a dormant site, and the principle of the existence of permission to quarry is not in question. To date, no application to determine conditions to control any future working have been received by the local authority.

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what plans he has to legislate to prevent the reactivation of dormant quarry planning permissions; and if he will make a statement.[16108]

My right hon. Friend has no plans to legislate on this matter. The Planning and Compensation Act 1991 and the Environment Act 1995 introduced new requirements for initial and periodic reviews of old mineral permissions. The principle of their existence is not an issue, but provisions in the existing legislation will ensure that dormant quarry permissions cannot be reactivated without full modern planning conditions attached to protect the environment and amenity, and to ensure that suitable restoration and aftercare takes place.