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US-UK Air Services Agreement

Ms Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when talks will resume on the United States of America-United Kingdom Air Services agreement. [46429]

Ms Glenda Jackson: No UK/US air services talks are currently planned. We would expect to resume talks when the outcome of the examination of the British Airways/American Airlines alliance by the competition authorities is known.

Channel Tunnel Rail Link

Mr. Ottaway: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when LCR expects to complete the Channel Tunnel Rail Link if Railtrack fails to exercise its option relating to the second phase of construction of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link. [46470]

Ms Glenda Jackson: Any such assessment would depend on when Railtrack chose not to exercise its option in respect of the second phase of construction. Railtrack, however, has made clear its expectation to commit to the second phase and LCR expects work to be completed in 2007.

Mr. Ottaway: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions within what timescale LCR will have to find a third party or complete phase two itself if Railtrack does not exercise its option relating to the second phase of construction of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link. [46469]

Ms Glenda Jackson: Railtrack has an option until July 2003 to construct and purchase Phase 2, but should it decide not to exercise that option, LCR remains, in any event, contractually obliged to complete the second phase to St. Pancras. LCR's current expectation is that the second phase of construction should be completed by 2007.

23 Jun 1998 : Column: 433

National Air Traffic Services

Mr. Ottaway: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions, pursuant to his answer of 11 June 1998, Official Report, column 637, relating to the future of NATS, if he will make a statement on the powers attaching to the golden share. [46474]

Ms Glenda Jackson: The precise details of the golden share are for consideration as the proposal is developed, but it will provide additional rights to the Government to maintain the public interest while allowing the private sector freedom to run the business.

Mr. Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement about the future of the Scottish and Oceanic Air Traffic Control Centre at Prestwick. [45592]

Ms Glenda Jackson: Contract negotiations for a new air traffic control centre at Prestwick to replace the existing Scottish and Oceanic Air Traffic Control Centre are underway between National Air Traffic Services (NATS) and Sky Solutions, the preferred bidder. NATS will consult with the airlines before seeking CAA Board and Government approval to a contractual commitment. NATS currently envisage that operations will transfer from the existing Prestwick centre to a new one (the New Scottish Centre) during the winter of 2004/2005.

Private Hospitals (Business Rates)

Mr. Plaskitt: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what was the total sum paid in business rates by private hospitals in England in the last year for which figures are available. [46362]

Mr. Raynsford: I estimate that the amount of business rates payable by private hospitals in England was £9.9 million in 1997-98.

Marine Safety

Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will list the area marine safety sub-committees established by his Department and the former Department of Transport. [45777]

Ms Glenda Jackson [holding answer 17 June 1998]: There are 8 District Marine Safety Committees: East Scotland, West Scotland, Northern Ireland, North East and East England, North West England, Wales, London, and South and South West England; and 26 sub-committees which include: Highland/Moray Firth, Orkney/Caithness, and Shetland. A brochure explaining the work of the District Marine Safety Committees and providing details of all sub-centres will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses shortly.

Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what issues have been referred by his Department to marine safety sub-committees since 1 May 1997. [45778]

Ms Glenda Jackson [holding answer 17 June 1998]: No specific issues have been referred by the Department to the District Marine Safety Committees since 1 May 1997. The main role of the committees is to keep local marine safety and pollution prevention issues under

23 Jun 1998 : Column: 434

review. Where an important issue of more than local significance is identified, this may be brought to the Department's attention.

Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions which marine safety sub-committees were sent a copy of the Coastguard Agency's Five Year Strategy Plan consultation document; in each case when the document was sent out; and which sub-committees have responded to the consultation document. [45779]

Ms Glenda Jackson [holding answer 17 June 1998]: The document for consultation was published on 20 January. District Marine Safety Committees were not directly sent copies of the document, however copies were sent to the then Marine Safety Agency (under whose aegis the District Marine Safety Committees operate) and those organisations or individuals who had registered an interest. Whilst no District Marine Safety Committees responded, some replies have been received from individual committee members.

Fishing Vessels

Mr. Ainger: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what was the number of registered British fishing vessels (a) under 12 metres and (b) over 12 metres in length and the number of fishermen's lives lost from each in each of the last five years. [46477]

Ms Glenda Jackson: The number of registered British fishing vessels both under 12 metres and over 12 metres in length and the number of fishermen's lives lost from each in the last five years as recorded by the Registry of Shipping and Seamen are as follows:

Year12 metres and underNumber of deaths12 metres and overNumber of deaths
1993-945,376161,2734
1994-955,52921,2964
1995-965,75231,3213
1996-976,03031,3475
1997-986,27101,3737

Gipsy Sites

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what proportion of applications for planning permission for gipsy caravan sites were granted by local planning authorities in (a) 1993-94, (b) 1994-95, (c) 1995-96, (d) 1996-97 and (e) 1997-98. [46566]

Mr. Raynsford: This information is not held centrally. My Department is part-funding a two year research project by the Advisory Council for the Education of Romany and other Travellers (ACERT), to look at the success rate of Gipsy planning applications and appeals. The research is due to be completed next year.

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what plans he has to review sections 77 to 80 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994. [46569]

23 Jun 1998 : Column: 435

Mr. Raynsford: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Watford (Ms Ward) on 10 June 1998, Official Report, column 574.

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what guidance his Department has issued to local authorities in respect of the provision and development of gipsy sites. [46570]

Mr. Raynsford: Guidance to local authorities on gipsy sites and planning is given in the Department's Circular 1/94. It aims to provide that the planning system recognises the need for accommodation consistent with gipsies' nomadic lifestyle and to reflect the importance of the plan-led nature of the planning system in relation to gipsy site provision.

Wandsworth

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what grants from public funds were paid to the London Borough of Wandsworth for the year 1998-99. [46497]

Mr. Raynsford: The London Borough of Wandsworth will receive Revenue Support Grant of £126,826,149, redistributed Non Domestic Rates of £60,589,879 and Standard Spending Assessment reduction grant of £7,498,940. In addition, the borough is reporting that it expects to receive grants into its General Fund Revenue Account totalling £72,042,000 outside Aggregate External Finance (AEF) and £10,091,000 with AEF; and capital grant totalling about £3.9 million. No comprehensive record of grants disbursed from public funds is maintained by the Department; such grants may be made by Government Departments or other bodies.


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