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2000-04-11 DET-001
Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions

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Prescott hails year of achievement


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Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions

Prescott hails year of achievement
_______________________________________________________________


date
11 April 2000
source Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions
type Press release



Huge strides in improving the environment, transport and local economies have been made in the last 12 months, Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott said today.

Publishing the Annual Report for the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions, Mr Prescott said:

"My Department makes a massive contribution to the quality of people's lives. From the air we breathe, the water we drink, the homes and communities in which we live, the transport we use, and the services we get from our local councils. We are committed to continually improving that quality of life.
"We could not put right years of neglect overnight. That is why we are putting in place long-term plans. While much remains to be done, this report shows much has already been achieved."
The Annual Report sets out the Department's achievements over the last year and its plans for the future. Achievements include:

On transport:

A fall in death and serious injury from road accidents with 3,421 deaths and 40,834 serious injuries in 1998 (a fall of 39 per cent and 45 per cent respectively against the average for 1981-85).
We have set up transport centres of excellence in Manchester, West Yorkshire and South Yorkshire and have just announced a fourth on Merseyside. There are now bus quality partnerships in 130 towns and cities and 1,800 new or expanded rural bus services.
Improving transport at the local level through 85 provisional local transport plans and 33 interim local transport plans in London.
In London, we have opened the Jubilee Line extension and the Docklands Light Rail extension.
Five per cent increase in passenger rail kilometres between 1997-98 and 1998-99: the highest level for 40 years. Domestic rail freight also increased by 15 per cent.
On environment:

Better quality of bathing waters. In 1999, 92 per cent complied with the bathing water directive in England and Wales compared with 78 per cent in 1990.
The quality of drinking water continues to improve: 99.78 per cent of tests on drinking water met the required standards in 1998.

Establishing the Countryside Agency on 1 April 1999 by merging the Countryside Commission and parts of the Rural Development Commission.
The environmental technology best practice programme has helped business save more than £70 million per year (an increase of £20 million per year over 1998).
For the regions and regeneration:

We have approved 163 single regeneration budget schemes worth more than £1 billion over seven years.
Regional Development Agencies set up for English regions on 1 April 1999.
A new duty of best value for local authority services since 1 April 2000, to improve their quality and efficiency.
The Greater London Authority Act paved the way for a Mayor and Assembly for London to be elected in May. They will assume their full powers on 3 July 2000.
For others:

Transferring 98,000 council houses to new landlords to improve the quality of stock by attracting £1.5 billion in private finance.
Forty thousand more social lettings funded by public investment and private finance.
Pilot schemes to combat cowboy builders in Birmingham and Somerset. If successful, we will introduce the scheme across the country in 2000-01.
Establishing the Rough Sleepers Unit, and meeting our interim target of reducing the number of people sleeping rough by one tenth by December 1999.
Notes to editors
1. DETR's aim is to improve everyone's quality of life, now and for the future, through better transport; better housing; a better environment; thriving, prosperous regions and communities; safer, healthier surroundings; prudent use of natural resources.

2. The publication of the Annual Report was announced in answer to a written Parliamentary Question from Barry Gardiner, MP for Brent North. The full text of the answer is as follows:

"I have today published my Department's Annual Report for 2000, and copies have been placed in the House libraries. The Report sets out the Department's achievements over the last year and its detailed plans to continue to meet our over-arching aim of improving everyone's quality of life, now and for the future."

3. The 2000 Annual Report of the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions is published by the Stationery Office (Cm 4604) and can be obtained from TSO bookshops and the accredited agents (price £28). It is presented to Parliament by the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions and the Chief Secretary to the Treasury.

4. Copies are available for accredited journalists from the DETR Press Office, telephone 020 7944 3021.


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Media enquiries 020 7944 3118; Out of hours: 020 7944 5925 or 5945
Public Enquiries Unit 020 7944 3000
E-mail: press@dtlr.gov.uk
Web site http://www.dtlr.gov.uk/


Railhub Archive ::: 2000-04-11 DET-001





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