§ Mr. Nigel Evans
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what action he has decided to take against Ribble Valley district council, Sandwell metropolitan borough council and South Lakeland district council following the notices served on them last year for anti-competitive behaviour. 
§ Mr. Robert B. Jones
On 20 July 1994, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State, served a notice under section 13 of the Local Government Act 1988 on South Lakeland district council, setting out his view that the authority had acted anti-competitively during a competition for ground maintenance work. On 30 September he served a similar notice on Sandwell metropolitan borough council, also for ground maintenance work, and on 21 November he served a similar notice on Ribble Valley district council, for refuse collection work.
My right hon. Friend has given careful consideration to the responses to the notices and has today given the authorities directions under section 14 of the Local Government Act 1988.325W
South Lakeland is required to retender the grounds maintenance work which was the subject of the notice so that new arrangements are in place by 1 April 1996, and to seek the Secretary of State's consent if it wishes to reassign the work to its direct service organisation.
The direction given to Sandwell requires the authority to seek the Secretary of State's consent if it wishes to award the ground maintenance work which was subject of the notice to its direct service organisation when the current arrangements expire in 1997.
Ribble Valley has been directed to retender its refuse collection work so that new arrangements are in place by 1 July 1996, and to seek the Secretary of State's consent if it wishes to reassign the work to its direct services organisation.