Previous Section Index Home Page

Vacant Properties (Tyne and Wear)

Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many vacant residential properties there were in each local authority area in Tyne and Wear on the most recent date for which figures are available; and how many residential properties have been leased in each such local authority area in the last five years. [115283]

Mr. Mullin: The latest information reported by local authorities on Housing Investment Programme returns is as follows:

All vacant residential properties at 1 April 1999 Dwellings leased to, or by, the authority at 1 April:
1999 1998 1997 1996 1995
Newcastle upon Tyne7,90507920732070106580648
North Tyneside5,00803260314031202830273
South Tyneside2,34103860364035303390558


Annual HIP (Operational Information) returns

20 Mar 2000 : Column: 397W

20 Mar 2000 : Column: 397W

Rural Public Transport

Dr. Jack Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what plans he has to improve the provision of public transport in (a) rural areas and (b) West Cumbria; and if he will make a statement. [115144]

Mr. Hill: Many of the measures within the Integrated Transport White Paper and the Transport Bill currently before Parliament benefit rural areas. We are also

20 Mar 2000 : Column: 398W

developing a Ten Year Plan for transport to set out a long-term investment programme and a Rural White Paper to set out our objectives for rural areas.

The system of Local Transport Plans, which are five year integrated transport strategies prepared by local authorities, are the cornerstone of delivering better transport in local ares. Authorities are specifically required to address the accessibility needs of people in rural areas in their Plans and to recognise the interrelationship between rural and other areas.

20 Mar 2000 : Column: 399W

We appreciate that rural areas have particular transport problems, which is why we have made £170 million available for rural transport over the three years to March 2001. The bulk of this money is delivered through the Rural Bus Subsidy Grant. In England this provides £32.5 million a year to fund new or improved bus services for rural areas. In February we announced the extension of the Rural Bus Subsidy Grant until at least 2004.

We are also conscious of the importance of rural railways. Our guidance to the Franchising Director seeks improvements through the re-negotiation of franchise agreements. We have also made available additional funding for a new Rail Passenger Partnership scheme aimed specifically at providing support for locally sponsored services that are not commercially viable.

We look forward to receiving the full Local Transport Plan for Cumbria to be submitted in July. This will set out the authority's plans for transport in the area for the next five years. We have also been working with the many local bodies on the development of a Lake District Transport Strategy to improve and co-ordinate public transport provision across Cumbria. The strategy recognises the importance of links with both West Cumbria and the Furness area. A range of measures to improve public transport are under way, including upgrading information displays and new bus shelters. Further work is planned, including through ticketing, marketing and promotion, travel point information, improving existing interchange between bus and rail and new multi-modal interchanges.

Cumbria has received £957,300 a year in Rural Bus Subsidy Grant and has established 27 new and 64 improved services. The county has also recently been awarded £722,000 under the Rural Bus Challenge for a project to enhance bus links between Cockermouth, Keswick and Penrith. Feeder bus services to the core route (including one from Workington), interchange and waiting facilities and travel information are all to be improved. This work will complement the improvements achieved through the Local Transport Plan, particularly those planned for Penrith rail station to enhance linkages with bus services. A feasibility study is also being undertaken with interested companies and Railtrack to establish detailed proposals to improve the Furness and Cumbrian coast rail services.

The Countryside Agency has provided grant to support three Rural Transport Partnerships, including one in West Cumbria, to secure additional resources for rural transport supporting local communities and in particular to reduce rural isolation and social exclusion through enhanced access to jobs and services.

Jubilee Line

Mr. Bruce George: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what action is being taken permanently to correct the signal failures affecting the Jubilee line. [114820]

Mr. Hill: This is an operational matter for London Underground. I understand that software improvements are currently being carried out which will improve the reliability of the signalling system on the Jubilee line. The implementation programme for this work is expected to be completed by the end of June. Other improvements in

20 Mar 2000 : Column: 400W

the Stratford area have already been carried out or are in hand and will help to provide a more consistent and regular service. Further, line-wide, signalling-related work is also scheduled to take place throughout the year.

Publicity Costs (Greater London Authority)

Mr. Syms: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how much money the Government have spent on publicity costs in relation to the Greater London Authority and associated bodies. [115513]

Mr. Hill: In the run-up to the London Referendum between May 1997 and 7 May 1998 the total publicity budget was £1.6 million. There was no publicity budget for publicising the Greater London Authority between the Referendum and Royal Assent for the Greater London Authority Act 1999 in November 1999.

The Government are currently running a multi-media information campaign to ensure that Londoners know about the new voting process on 4 May and understand how the Mayor and Assembly will affect their daily lives. The total budget for this campaign is £4.1 million--about 81p per London elector. Approximately £2.9 million will be spent in the current financial year and £1.2 million in 2000-01.

In addition, following the recent amendment to the Greater London Authority Act 1999, the Government have agreed to spend £1.7 million on a booklet prepared by the Greater London Returning Officer containing election addresses by Mayoral candidates.

National Air Traffic Services

Dr. Strang: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what is the estimated level of capital investment by National Air Traffic Services for (a) 1999-2000, (b) 2000-01 and (c) 2001-02; and how much of that investment will go to the New Scottish Centre in each of these years. [115509]

Mr. Mullin: The 1999 NATS Business Plan estimated capital investments are at the following levels.

£ million

NATS are currently developing a long-term investment plan, which will be completed in the next few months.

It is not possible to give a precise estimate of the likely expenditure on the New Scottish Centre over the next few years as the contract for construction of the centre building has yet to be let. However the cost of the centre is expected to be of the order of £400 million, and is expected to come into operation in the winter of 2006-07.

Dr. Strang: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will list the civil airports in the UK, specifying which use National Air Traffic Services to provide air traffic control services. [115508]

20 Mar 2000 : Column: 401W

Mr. Mullin: The following is a list of the civil airports in the UK. Those which use National Air Traffic Services to provide air traffic control services are marked with an asterisk (*).





    Gloucestershire Airport

    Guernsey States Airport


    Highlands and Islands Airports (includes 10 airports--not all have ATC)

    Humberside International Airport

    Isle of Man (Ronaldsway) Airport


    Leeds Bradford International Airport


    London--Biggin Hill






    London City*



    Manston--Kent International

    Newcastle International Airport

    North Denes Heliport



    Plymouth City

    Sheffield City



    St. Marys




    Woodford Aerodrome

Next Section Index Home Page