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National Land Information System

Volume 409: debated on Friday 18 July 2003

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To ask the Deputy Prime Minister pursuant to his answer of 19 May 2003, Official Report, column 653W, on the National Land Information System, what steps the Government have taken in the past 12 months to encourage local authorities to transfer their land and property information to electronic local land and property gazetteers to link into the National Land Information System. [126638]

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is responsible for the Local e-Government programme, which is supporting the electronic enablement of the local authority services in England, including the development of an electronic National Land and Property Gazetteer (NLPG).The Government have encouraged the recording of land and property information, as a means of providing both an improved service to customers making land charge searches, and an improved, consistent database for the authority's own use. In particular, on 24 July 2002, the Lord Chancellor, my right hon. Friend the Member for Greenwich and Woolwich (Mr. Raynsford), the leader of the Welsh Assembly and the Chairman of the Local Government Association and the Welsh Local Government Association jointly wrote to all local authority Chief Executives in England and Wales, pointing out the benefits of the NLPG, and of the one-stop shop for land and property related information provided by the National Land Information Services (NLIS). The benefits include saving staff time otherwise wasted on maintaining duplicate address lists, and improved service delivery based on accurate, up to date address data. My hon. Friend the Member for Pontefract and Castleford (Yvette Cooper), the then Parliamentary Secretary for the Lord Chancellor's Department and my hon. Friend the Member for Shipley (Mr. Leslie), followed up the letter by hosting a reception on 8 October 2002 for local authorities which had committed to NLIS.The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister also asked every authority in England to prepare and submit an implementing e-Government (IEG) statement in 2001 and 2002, in return for which they would receive £200,000 to help implement the e-Government plan set out in it. Authorities were asked to include some key data in their statements, including indicating whether they were committed to NLPG and NLIS. Following assessment of the IEGs submitted in 2002, Ministers of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister sought (with the agreement of the Local Government Association and other stakeholders) parliamentary approval for the use of £2.2 million from the Local e-Government programme funds to ensure that all local authorities were committed to supporting the NLPG by December 2003. Specifically, this will fund work to identify the barriers to implementation of the NLPG. Where implemented the NLPG will provide basis for electronic land and property information searches by NLIS and other compatible services. It will remain a decision for local authorities as to whether or not to link to NLIS.