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Dial-a-Ride Schemes

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how much in each of the last three financial years his Department has provided in financial support to London Transport for dial-a-ride schemes operating in London, and how much London Transport paid to the dial-a-ride companies in each of the same years. [4424]

Ms Glenda Jackson: The answer is as follows:

£million
1994-951995-961996-97
Payments to London Transport for Dial-a-Ride12.69.310.1
Payments by London Transport to the Dial-a-Ride companies9.38.88.5

The difference between the two figures is London Transport's own salary and staff costs in support of Dial-a-Ride, and certain costs which London Transport met on behalf of the Dial-a-Ride companies such as vehicles and computer equipment.

M20

Sir John Stanley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will use the M20 between junctions 3 and 5 to test the new quieter road surfaces developed by his Department. [5136]

Ms Glenda Jackson: When the M20 between junctions 3 and 5 needs attention as part of planned maintenance, the possibility of using it to test novel forms of quieter road surface developed by the industry will be considered.

Sir John Stanley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will provide noise barriers on the M20 between junction 3 and 5. [5135]

Ms Jackson: It is not possible to justify the expenditure of public funds on providing noise barriers along this section of the M20. As this would mainly be of benefit to people who either bought property in the vicinity of the M20 in full knowledge of the noise from traffic, or were compensated for the loss of value of their property when the road was first built, in anticipation of the growth of traffic on it.

Noise Barriers

Sir John Stanley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will adopt a discretionary policy of providing noise barriers on motorways that were opened to traffic after 17 October 1969. [5134]

Ms Glenda Jackson: The current policy is aimed at reducing the adverse effects that road construction or improvement would have on the surrounding area and

25 Jun 1997 : Column: 523

applying similar principles to those roads which were built before the operative date specified in the Land Compensation Act.

Diesel Fuel (Pollution)

Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement on the impact on pollutant emissions of introducing a tax differential between diesel fuel products based on the level of pollution they generate. [4864]

Ms Glenda Jackson: Provision has been made for a duty differential of 1p per litre between ultra low sulphur diesel and conventional diesel fuel and this will be introduced when we have completed the procedure of obtaining the necessary EU derogation. This is imminent. It is expected that the effect of this differential on pollutant emissions will increase as supplies of ultra low sulphur diesel become more readily available. It is still too early to judge what the final impact of the existing differential might be.

Radioactive Materials (Transportation)

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will assess the advantages of reconstituting the Advisory Committee on the Safe Transport of Radioactive Materials. [4911]

Ms Glenda Jackson: The Advisory Committee on the Safe Transport of Radioactive Material (ACTRAM) was wound up in January 1989 after the Secretary of State for Transport and the Chairman of the Health and Safety Commission had agreed that its work had been satisfactorily completed. I am satisfied that ACTRAM's conclusions remain valid and that there is no need to reconstitute the Committee.

Motorway Lighting

Mr. Pike: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will list the stretches of motorway which are currently unlit; what his Department's policy is in relation to lighting these parts of the motorway; and if he will make a statement. [5079]

Ms Glenda Jackson: I have asked the Chief Executive of the Highways Agency to write to my hon. Friend. Letter from Lawrie Haynes to Mr. Peter Pike, dated 25 June 1997:

The Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions has asked me to reply to your recent question about the sections of unlit motorway and the Department's policy for lighting these parts of motorway.


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Fuel Duty

Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what representations he has received against the abolition of vehicle excise duty and the replacement of the lost revenue by the introduction of an additional fuel duty. [5382]

Ms Glenda Jackson: Representation has been received from a range of individuals and organisations on vehicle and fuel taxation, including the suggestion of abolishing vehicle excise duty and increasing fuel duty.

Port of Tyne

Mr. Beith: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what representations he has received about the privatisation of the Port of Tyne; and if he will make a statement. [5257]

Ms Glenda Jackson: My right hon. Friend is currently considering a request from the Port of Tyne Authority that the compulsory privatisation of the port should not proceed. Six other letters about the port have also been received.

River Cruise Licences

Mr. Fearn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will consider renegotiating river cruise licences with a view to safety. [4022]

Ms Glenda Jackson: This is not a question which necessarily falls to my Department as the description of "river cruise licences" does not conform to any particular licence or certificate which is currently issued.

Local authorities issue licences allowing the operation of vessels which carry passengers and these licences would seem to be the most similar to those referred to in the question. There is an administrative charge relating to such licences and limited safety implications are involved.

The Marine Safety Agency (MSA) is responsible for issuing Passenger Certificates to vessels operating on inland waterways and the Environment Agency (EA) formally the National Rivers Authority (NRA) operates a Boat Safety Scheme with the emphasis for both being safety.

If you have any questions relating to either of these areas, I am sure that the Chief Executives of the MSA or EA will be able to help.


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