HC Deb 17 June 2003 vol 407 cc166-7W
Mr. Cawsey

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what aid and assistance is available for the(a) sale and (b) development of brownfield sites for domestic housing. [116297]

Keith Hill

National planning policies encourage the reuse of suitable brownfield sites. Through Planning Policy Guidance Note 3 (PPG3), the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has introduced new measures, including an urban brownfield first policy, to meet the country's housing needs in the most sustainable way. Planning policies for land recycling are backed by a package of fiscal measures worth £1 billion over five years designed to bring empty property back into use and encourage the recycling of land.

In addition we have made English Partnerships our expert advisor on brownfield land and charged them with considering where and when public sector intervention could be required to bring brownfield sites back into sustainable use. This work will form part of a National Brownfield Strategy which English Partnerships are preparing. Regional Development Agencies are also taking an active role in developing brownfield sites and will be producing Brownfield Land Action Plans in co-operation with other local agencies.

Ms Oona King

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will commission research into the impact of overcrowding on the health of those families living in one or more bedrooms below the bedroom standard. [118651]

Keith Hill

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has been carrying through a research programme to establish the evidence base of the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS), which will replace the housing fitness standard as the basis for intervention by local authorities to tackle unsatisfactory housing conditions. Data from various sources has been collected to provide the evidence to enable housing hazards, including overcrowding, to be assessed and ranked by seriousness. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is satisfied that the research we have already commissioned will provide a sound basis on which to base policy decisions.

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