HC Deb 19 December 2003 vol 416 cc89-90W
Mrs. May

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the implementation of Agenda 21 by each local authority; and if she will make a statement. [142790]

Margaret Beckett

The Government monitored progress on Local Agenda 21 (LA21) until the end of 2000. By then over 93 per cent. of local authorities in England and Wales had LA21 strategies in place. As these were voluntary strategies developed to reflect local circumstances, we did not carry out any formal assessment. Stakeholders have, however, carried out a number of studies into LA21 in the UK.

The Local Government Act 2000 placed a duty on local authorities to prepare community strategies for promoting the economic, social and environmental well being of their communities and contributing to sustainable development in the UK. The Government"s statutory guidance says that authorities should build on the experience of partnership working and community engagement gained through LA21. The Government want to see sustainable development become a mainstream issue for local authorities, their partners, and local communities. We believe that the most effective way to achieve this is to subsume LA21 strategies within statutory community strategies.

Questions about community strategies should be addressed to my right hon. colleague the Minister of State for Local Government, Regional Governance and Fire.