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Driving Licences

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions, pursuant to his answer of 27 January 2000, Official Report, column 278W, on driving licences, (a) when the more flexible arrangement to assist driving licence applicants will be announced and (b) how the arrangement will be publicised to applicants. [108069]

Mr. Hill: The new arrangements are still under consideration. I hope to be able to provide further details very shortly. Officials will discuss the appropriate publicity arrangements with the Immigration and Nationality Directorate once agreement has been reached on the way forward.

7 Feb 2000 : Column: 12W

Rail Freight and HGV Movements

Mr. Dobbin: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what change there has been in (a) rail freight usage and (b) heavy goods vehicle movements since 1 May 1997. [107863]

Mr. Hill: The changes in tonnes moved (billion tonne-kilometres) in Great Britain are as given in the table:

RailHGVs(3)
Q2 19974.139.0
Q3 1999(4)4.537.2
Percentage change+9-5

(3)GB registered vehicles over 3.5 tonnes gross vehicle weight

(4)Provisional figures


Monthly figures are not available. The question has therefore been answered by taking the second quarter of 1997 as a base for the comparison.

Genetically Modified Organisms

Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what steps he has taken to ensure that modifications to Directive 90/220 (Deliberate Release of Genetically Modified Organisms) do not suppress technological developments in developing countries. [108092]

Mr. Meacher: The purpose of Directive 90/220/EEC is to protect human health and the environment against any adverse effects which might arise from the deliberate release or placing on the market of genetically modified organisms.

The Common Position on the revision of the Directive agreed by the Council on 9 December 1999 continues to reflect this purpose while increasing the efficiency and transparency of the decision making process under the Directive. It does not affect the operation of the Directive with regard to the technological developments in developing countries.

However, such countries which are without domestic legislation relating to the import of genetically modified organisms will in the future be able to decide, on the basis of a specific risk assessment, whether to accept the import of genetically modified organisms. Provisions to do this are included in the United Nations Environment Programme Biosafety Protocol to the Convention on Biological Diversity, adopted on 29 January.

Quiet Lanes

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many proposals for non-statutory quiet lanes have been included in provisional Local Transport Plans. [108208]

Mr. Hill: Authorities were encouraged to identify broad programmes rather than specific schemes in their Local Transport Plans. Accordingly, authorities looking to establish quiet lanes would not necessarily refer to specific proposals in their plans and our assessment has not attempted to identify the number of such proposals across the country.

7 Feb 2000 : Column: 13W

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many non-statutory quiet lanes had been introduced by 1 December in England. [108316]

Mr. Hill: This information is not held centrally. The quiet roads concept, being promoted by the Countryside Agency, is supported by my Department. Pilot quiet roads schemes in Norfolk and Kent are under consideration and are due to be implemented over the next few months, with one in Devon later on this year. My Department is assisting in the pre-implementation, monitoring surveys, currently being undertaken in Norfolk and Kent.

Vulnerable Road Users

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what recent surveys the Government have undertaken concerning intimidation of walkers, cyclists and horse-riders by fast-moving traffic. [108207]

Mr. Hill: The Government commission a wide range of research into traffic speed and road safety. Some of the studies include surveys of road users on the problems they experience, including seeking their views about fast moving traffic. As part of the monitoring of the Quiet Lanes project promoted by the Countryside Agency, my Department has commissioned the Transport Research Laboratory to conduct telephone and roadside surveys of equestrians, pedestrians and cyclists. One of the questions to be asked is how much they are bothered by fast moving traffic. The surveys are due to take place in the Norfolk Quiet Lane area at the end of February and in the Kent Quiet Lane area in March.

Local Government

Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what guidance has been given to district auditors about requiring local authorities to make preparations for (a) new local government structures and (b) the euro. [108282]

Ms Armstrong: The Audit Commission provides auditors it has appointed with a wide range of guidance about the implications, for their audit, of changes which affect local authorities. Such changes include local authority preparations for new local government structures and the euro.

Connex Rail Strike

Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) what estimate he has made of the number of commuters who were affected by the Connex rail strike on Tuesday 25 January; [108369]

Mr. Hill: On a normal weekday Connex run approximately 3,500 trains. On 25 January they planned to run 449 trains under an emergency timetable, but actually ran 697. Due to the way in which the emergency

7 Feb 2000 : Column: 14W

timetable was devised it is not possible to state how many of the trains which ran were delayed. Most of the 200,000 commuters who use Connex services were affected to a greater or lesser extent.

Rail Passenger Partnership Scheme

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when the Franchising Director will announce the successful bid under the Rail Passenger Partnership Scheme. [108777]

Mr. Hill: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave on 24 January 2000, Official Report, columns, 132-33W.

British Railways Board

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will publish the criteria by which the British Railways Board decides on the sale of land. [108465]

Mr. Hill: I refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave on 17 January 2000, Official Report, column 253W.

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will list the assets for which the British Railways Board has responsibility. [108467]

Mr. Hill: Following privatisation of the railways, the British Railways Board remains responsible primarily for the British Transport Police, residual property and certain residual liabilities.

At 31 March 1999 tangible assets on the balance sheet totalled £32.0 million comprising buildings (£25.0 million), plant and equipment (£6.7 million) and investments (£0.3 million). Non-operational property totalling £103.6 million was held in current assets.

In addition, the Board remains responsible for some 5,000 isolated engineering structures such as bridges, viaducts and tunnels.

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will list the contacts which his Department had with the British Railways Board over the last 12 months; and what was the content of each contact. [108466]

Mr. Hill: Ministers and officials in my Department have had numerous contacts with the British Railways Board (BRB) and the shadow Strategic Rail Authority (SSRA) (of which the BRB now forms part) covering a range of issues including advice to Ministers.

Parish and Town Councils

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what applications for areas to become a parish or town council are outstanding. [108395]

7 Feb 2000 : Column: 15W

Ms Beverley Hughes: The table shows the principal local authorities that have submitted recommendations to the Secretary of State for new parishes, either as a result of a review of parish arrangements in their area, or following receipt of a petition for a new parish, which are outstanding.

Outstanding local authority recommendations submitted to the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions for the creation of parishes in their area, either as a result of a review or a petition

Principal authorityArea(s) of proposed new parish/parishes
East Northamptonshire District CouncilStanwick Rushden
East Staffordshire District CouncilStapenhill
Waterside and Edgehill
Winshill
Uxbridge and Broadway
Victoria and Snobhall
Horninglow and Eton
Burton
Harlow District CouncilChurch Langley
High Peak Borough CouncilGlossop
Chapel-en-le-Frith
Kettering District CouncilBarton Seagrave
Milton Keynes CouncilCentral Milton Keynes
Fenny Stratford and Water Eaton
West Bletchley
New Bradwell
Simpson
Stony Stratford
Wolverton and Greenleys
Kents Hill, Monkston and Brinklow
Newcastle-under-Lyme District CouncilSilverdale
North Somerset District CouncilSt. Georges
Swale District CouncilMinster

7 Feb 2000 : Column: 16W

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will list the areas that have applied to become a parish or town council in each of the last three years; and what was the outcome of each application. [108396]

Ms Beverley Hughes: The list shows the principal local authorities that have submitted recommendations to the Secretary of State for new parishes, either as a result of a review of parish arrangements in their area, or following receipt of a petition for a new parish.

7 Feb 2000 : Column: 15W

Local authorities that have since 1997 submitted recommendations to the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions for the creation of new parishes within their area, either as a result of review or petition

Principal AuthorityArea(s) which applied for parish statusOutcome
1997-98
Isle of WightEast Cowes1 new parish created
New parishes constituted on 1 April 19981
1998-99
Colchester Borough CouncilMyland1 new parish created
East Hampshire District CouncilBeech1 new parish created
East Lindsey District CouncilSaltfleetby1 new parish created
East Riding of Yorkshire CouncilBeverley
Cottingham2 new parishes created
Forest Heath District CouncilBeck Row
Kenny Hill
Exning4 new parishes created
Newmarket
Hartlepool Borough CouncilHeadland1 new parish created
Leeds City CouncilAllerton Bywater
Horsforth2 new parishes created
Lewes District CouncilSeaford1 new parish created
Maidstone Borough CouncilCollier Street1 new parish created
New Forest District CouncilGodshill1 new parish created
Portsmouth City CouncilSouthsea1 new parish created
Scarborough Borough CouncilEastfield1 new parish created
Tameside Metropolitan CouncilMossley1 new parish created
Tonbridge and Malling Borough CouncilKings Hill1 new parish created
West Lancashire District CouncilHilldale1 new parish created
New parishes constituted on 1 April 1999
1999-2000
Birmingham City CouncilNew Frankley in Birmingham1 new parish created
Bradford City CouncilHaworth, Cross Roads and Stanbury1 new parish created
Braintree District CouncilGreat Notley1 new parish created
Cannock Chase District CouncilHednesford1 new parish created
Cherwell District CouncilBanbury1 new parish created
Cotswold District CouncilUpper Rissington1 new parish created
County of Herefordshire District CouncilBelmont Rural
Hereford2 new parishes created
East Riding of Yorkshire CouncilBridlington
Anlaby with Anlaby Common
Kirk Ella
Willerby4 new parishes created
Elmbridge Borough CouncilClaygate1 new parish created
Erewash Borough CouncilSawley1 new parish created
Forest of Dean District CouncilCliffords Mesne1 new parish created
Gorsley and Kilcot1 proposed parish rejected
Gravesham Borough CouncilVigo1 new parish created
Leeds City CouncilMorley1 new parish created
Mid Sussex District CouncilAshurst Wood
Hassocks2 new parishes created
North Somerset District CouncilWeston-super-Mare1 new parish created
Rotherham Metropolitan Borough CouncilMaltby1 new parish created
Sefton Metropolitan Borough CouncilHightown1 new parish created
South Bedfordshire District CouncilChalton1 new parish created
South NorthamptonshireOverthorpe1 new parish created
Stafford Borough CouncilStowe-by-Chartley1 new parish created
Tandridge District CouncilCaterham-on-the-Hill
Caterham Valley
Chaldon
Dormansland
Lingfield
Outwood
Warlingham
Whyteleafe
Woldingham9 new parishes created
Wear Valley District CouncilWitton-le Wear
Dene Valley2 new parishes created
Welwyn Hatfield District CouncilWoolmer Valley1 new parish created
West Berkshire District Council Holybrook1 new parish created
West Lindsey District CouncilBrookenby1 new parish created
New parishes to be constituted on 1 April 200039

7 Feb 2000 : Column: 17W

7 Feb 2000 : Column: 17W


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