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Written Answers to Questions

Wednesday 21 July 1999

ATTORNEY-GENERAL

Director of Public Prosecutions

(Annual Report)

Dr. Palmer: To ask the Attorney-General when the Director of Public Prosecutions intends to publish his Annual Report. [92528]

The Attorney-General: The Director of Public Prosecutions has today published his Annual Report and copies have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

CULTURE, MEDIA AND SPORT

BBC (Funding)

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to his answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Enfield, North (Ms Ryan) of 12 January 1999, Official Report, columns 131-32, on the review of future funding of the BBC, when he will publish the findings of the review panel. [92693]

Mr. Chris Smith: I expect to receive the panel's report at the end of July and will publish it as soon as possible thereafter. Copies will be sent to hon. Members in their constituencies and placed in the Libraries of the House.

Publication of the report will mark the start of a period of public consultation which will run until 1 November 1999. I will reflect on the evidence gathered during that consultation with a view to taking decisions on the recommendations by the end of the year.

ENVIRONMENT, TRANSPORT AND THE REGIONS

Rail Travel

Miss Geraldine Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what steps the Government are taking to encourage and promote rail travel. [90372]

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Ms Glenda Jackson: Promotion of the use of the rail network will be one of the main objectives of the Strategic Rail Authority, to be established by the Railways Bill which received its second reading on 19 July. Meanwhile the shadow Strategic Rail Authority has been in operation since 1 April and is making a head start on the strategic planning which the industry needs. We have made three key rail appointments, which look to the future of railway industry.

February's National Rail Summit produced commitments from the industry to deliver year on year improvements in terms of new drivers, new trains and better performance.

In addition we have established two new funds, the Infrastructure Investment Fund and the Rail Passenger Partnership scheme as well as providing extra funds for the freight facilities grant.

Bus Lanes

Mr. Woodward: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what plans he has to allow motorcycle couriers to use bus lanes in London. [91488]

Ms Glenda Jackson: We currently have no plans to allow motorcycle couriers to use bus lanes in London. Two pilot projects have been conducted in Bristol and Reading on the use of bus lanes by powered two wheelers. These were a useful source of information about the traffic and safety effects on powered two wheelers. But there was no monitoring of the situation before implementation and there are unanswered questions about their impact on pedal cyclists and the abuse of bus lanes by other drivers. We would, therefore, welcome proposals from local authorities interested in conducting properly monitored pilot studies of the use of bus lanes by motorcycles to help inform decisions on whether there is a case for motorcyclists to be allowed to use bus lanes.

A1 (Upgrading)

Mr. Peter Atkinson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will list (a) the properties purchased alongside the A1 road between Scotch Corner and Rainton in Yorkshire to allow for the upgrading of the road to motorway standards and (b) the total cost of the properties; what plans he has for these properties; and what is the future of the upgrading scheme. [90792]

Ms Glenda Jackson [holding answer 14 July 1999]: The Highways Agency has bought and sold the following 26 properties and pieces of land:

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Property/landBoughtSold
Street House21 July 199222 December 1997
The Georgian House28 January 199325 November 1998
Roxby House1 February 199422 January 1999
Leases Farm12 May 199426 February 1999
Hopetown Farm Buildings28 July 199422 January 1999
Hopetown House6 July 199631 October 1996
Thoroughway House31 October 199414 November 1997
Leases Grange27 November 199518 November 1998
The Croft11 July 199629 March 1999
New Inn Farm31 December 199628 May 1998
Land at Little Holtby6 June 19961 June 1998
The Shawgills26 August 199320 March 1998
Land at Station Road29 January 199320 May 1999
The Little Bistro3 June 199423 March 1999
St. Annes Cross25 January 199529 May 1998
Scurragh House24 August 199527 March 1998
Gatherley Villa14 November 199527 March 1998
South Lodge15 June 199227 March 1998
Firholme Farm18 November 1998retained
Lodge Farm11 October 1995not yet sold (but offer accepted)
Leases Hall24 August 1994not yet sold (but offer accepted)
Leases Tip23 August 1994for sale
Bedale Hunt Inn28 August 1992for sale
Brookside24 September 1992retained in part (sale of remainder being negotiated)
Land South of Station Road30 March 1999retained
Land at Catterick South Junction1 September 1989retained

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This is at a total cost of some £5 million in connection with earlier proposals for improvements along the A1 between Dishforth and Scotch Corner.

The improvement schemes were withdrawn from the Trunk Road Programme in 1996. Other than properties directly affected by the extant Orders for the Leeming to Scotch Corner scheme, the Highways Agency is selling the land and properties which it was required to buy under blight provisions for the schemes.

Buses

Mr. Woodward: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will

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list annual bus ridership figures from 1992 to 1998 in (a) Greater London, (b) Tyne and Wear, (c) Merseyside, (d) Greater Manchester, (e) South Yorkshire, (f) West Yorkshire, (g) West Midlands and (h) the rest of England. [91406]

Ms Glenda Jackson: Across England as a whole bus patronage rose by one per cent. over the year 1996-97 to 1997-98. Bus ridership, measured as bus passenger journeys, is shown in the table. Data appear in tables 10 and 16 of the Transport Statistics Report "Focus on Public Transport Great Britain: 1999 edition", published by The Stationery Office. Data for 1998-99 will not be available until later this year.

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Local bus services: passenger journeys by area
million

1992-931993-941994-951995-961996-971997-98
Greater London1,1291,1171,1671,2051,2421,294
Tyne and Wear189182170168165161
Merseyside178166168165163153
Greater Manchester252236226224212211
South Yorkshire176166163158150144
West Yorkshire231232222219207200
West Midlands356355381358349368
Rest of England1,3071,2741,2771,2651,2651,248

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Mr. Woodward: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what will be the cost of installing the planned 360 on-bus cameras for the enforcement of bus lanes in London. [91487]

Ms Glenda Jackson: The London-wide expansion of the Traffic Director/Metropolitan Police to use cameras to enforce bus lanes was announced last year. Every bus lane in London will be covered by March 2003. The scheme is estimated to cost £10 million. This includes around 325 on-bus and 35 portable roadside cameras and associated common costs such as signing, computer hardware and software (including development) and type approvals.

Wembley

Mr. Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what capital sums English Partnerships has allocated to the Wembley Task Force in 1999. [91703]

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Mr. Raynsford: None. Should the proposed Task Force identify any projects where support for physical regeneration may be required then it is for English Partnerships to consider each project proposal on its merits, against London-wide priorities, and in light of the resources available to the Agency. The Task Force will be seeking to maximise private sector investment in to the area on the back of the significant investment already made by the public sector.

Mr. Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what plans the Wembley Stadium Development Monitoring Committee has to consult and involve (a) Brent Council and (b) local stakeholders. [91704]

Mr. Raynsford: The Wembley Monitoring Committee is there to ensure effective co-ordination across Government and their agencies in respect of the national stadium project, to consider issues arising and agree handling. As the local planning authority, it is not appropriate for Brent to be part of that Committee. We are, however, maintaining close contact with Brent and

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my right hon. Friends the Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport and the Minister for the Regions, Regeneration and Planning (Mr. Caborn), met the Leader of Brent Council last week. The local community will, of course, be consulted as part of the planning process.


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