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Ms Beverley Hughes: As the Whitley Way is proposed as a local distributor road it is for the local planning and highway authorities to decide whether it should be built. This Department has therefore made no estimate of the associated costs. The Department has received a small number of representations about this road.
Mr. Bill O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what procedures his Department has laid down to be followed when local authorities intend to introduce traffic into pedestrian areas or town centres; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Hill: Local authorities have powers under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 to regulate traffic on local roads by making traffic regulation orders. These powers can be used to allow traffic into pedestrian areas or town centres. Access can be restricted to certain classes of vehicles and/or times of day. Local authorities are required to follow statutory procedures laid down in "The Local Authorities' Traffic Orders (Procedure)
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(England and Wales) Regulations 1996", which include consultation with interested parties and publication of their proposals in a local newspaper. The Department has also published guidance on introducing pedestrian zones in Local Transport Note 1/87 titled "Getting the Right Balance--Guidance on Vehicle Restriction in Pedestrian Zones".
Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions, pursuant to his answer of 19 April 2000, Official Report, columns 489-90W, on the Royal Train, what steps are being taken to increase the non-royal use of the Royal Train. 
Mr. Hill: Under the arrangements establishing the Royal Travel grant-in-aid in 1997, the Royal Household and the Department decided to consider proposals for alternate use of the Train, when it was in the national interest to do so and as part of the ongoing policy of reducing the cost of official Royal travel. Government Departments were duly advised that the Train, when not being used for official Royal travel, was available for use on a reimbursable basis. To date, the FCO is the only Government Department to have used the Train.
Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many times the Royal Train was used by (a) Her Majesty the Queen, (b) the Prince of Wales and (c) other members of the Royal Family in the last 12 months. 
Mr. Hill: In the year ended 31 March 2000, the Royal Train was used (a) eight times by Her Majesty the Queen accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, (b) 14 times by the Prince of Wales, and (c) twice by the Duke of Edinburgh and once by the Princess Royal. All these journeys were in support of official Royal engagements.
Mr. Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what is the national planning guidance regarding the building of houses on flood plains; and if he will make a statement. 
Ms Beverley Hughes: My hon. Friend the Minister for Housing and Planning announced on 13 April 2000, Official Report, columns 249-50W, the publication of a consultation draft of a new Planning Policy Guidance Note 25, "Development and flood risk". This sets out proposals for a strengthening of the existing policy, which seeks to avoid inappropriate development in flood plains or development that increases flood risk. It gives specific guidance on the approach to new housing development. It recognises, however, that there will be occasions when other considerations outweigh flooding issues in favour of development proceeding. In such cases, it emphasises the need for development to be made safe through the adoption of appropriate protection or mitigation measures.
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Mr. Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement on the proposals for improvements to the road and rail links to Wembley Stadium and the costings for such improvements. 
Mr. Hill: The Wembley Task Force is in the process of developing proposals for road and rail improvements to Wembley Stadium, in conjunction with the local authority, rail operators and Wembley National Stadium Ltd.
Mr. Stevenson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Manchester, Central (Mr. Lloyd) on 17 April 2000, Official Report, column 317W, on regional development agencies, for what reason the West Midlands regional development agency received no increase in funds. 
Ms Beverley Hughes: The West Midlands Development Agency received an increase in funds of £1.0 million between 1999-2000 and 2000-01. Six of the Agency's seven main budgets have increased, by a total of £12.4 million. The seventh, for Land and Property, has decreased by £11.4 million as a result of year-on-year variation in legally-committed expenditure and in income derived from sales.
Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what assessment he has made of the impact on pet cremation services of current and proposed waste incineration and animal waste rules. 
Mr. Hill: Expert consultants reported to my Department on the impact of the proposed waste incineration directive, including for pet crematoria, at the beginning of 1999. The report, "Regulatory and Environmental Impact Assessment of the Proposed Waste Incineration Directive" (Entec UK Ltd.) is in the House Library.
Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what consultation has taken place with those offering pet cremation services on the implementation of the Waste Incineration Directive Common Position 7/2000. 
Mr. Hill: As part of the preparation of their report to my Department on the impact of the proposed waste incineration directive, expert consultants at the end of 1998 consulted two pet crematoria direct, including a site visit, and consulted the UK Private Pet Cemetery and Crematoria Association. A copy of the report, "Regulatory and Environmental Impact Assessment of the Proposed Waste Incineration Directive" by Entec UK Ltd. is in the House Library.
We now expect the proposal to be adopted as a Directive in the autumn, subject to the progress of the final stages of negotiation. The deadline for transposition into UK law will be two years after adoption. The proposal is therefore likely to apply to new plant from autumn 2002. Existing plant will not, however, have to comply until 5 years after adoption, ie autumn 2005.
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Ms Beverley Hughes: Parish councils are an essential part of the structure of local democracy. They will continue to play a key role in the governance of many of our towns and villages. As part of the preparation for our forthcoming Rural White Paper we are looking at ways of strengthening the contribution that parish councils can make.
Dr. Moonie: I met with representatives of the Royal British Legion, along with the Prime Minister, on 10 April to discuss this issue. The matter is being given careful consideration; however, no decision has yet been made.
Mr. Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of Lockheed Martin's safety record in nuclear work undertaken in the United States; and if he will list the identified shortcomings. 
Mr. Spellar: In the assessment process for the AWE contract, bidders were required to provide information to demonstrate their safety record. AWE ML provided full information on its parent companies including Lockheed Martin. This information was assessed not only by the Department but by the independent regulators, the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate (NII) in the context of AWE's existing safety regime, and by the Environment Agency (EA). The NII confirmed before the contract was signed that it was satisfied. The EA confirmed its satisfaction on 9 March when it issued revised discharge authorisations for the AWE sites.
After the contract was placed on 1 December, there was an incident at the Oak Ridge Y12 facility in Tennessee which resulted in the publicity of a number of alleged shortcomings in Lockheed Martin's safety record in the US. As a result the Secretary of State asked the Chief of Defence Procurement to carry out a further review to ensure that none of the Lockheed Martin nominees to AWE ML was connected with the criticisms made. In addition, the Department consulted with the US Department of Energy concerning Lockheed Martin's safety performance, and both of the UK's regulatory
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authorities were again consulted about the suitability of Lockheed Martin to act as a shareholder in AWE ML.
Mr. Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the criticality non-compliances recently reported to his Department for which Lockheed Martin was responsible in the USA which his Department deemed significant. 
Mr. Spellar: Incidents at nuclear facilities in the US are the responsibility of the US regulators and therefore are not routinely reported to the Department. However, as part of the bidding process for the contract to manage and operate AWE, each consortium had to provide information to demonstrate the safety performance of their parent companies, including Lockheed Martin. Furthermore, the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate (NII) routinely review significant safety events even if they take place outside the UK to see if there are any implications for safety at UK nuclear facilities. The Department also took account of the opinions of the US regulators in assessing the review of policies and procedures at the Oak Ridge Y12 plant carried out by Lockheed Martin.
I would like to add that following the incident at the Oak Ridge facility in early December, an amendment was inserted into the new AWE contract by which Lockheed Martin, and its partners in AWE ML, are required to notify MOD of occurrences that might have a bearing on operations at AWE within 48 hours.
Mr. Spellar: As part of its bid for the new contract to manage and operate AWE, the AWE ML consortium provided the Department with evidence on the safety record of each of its parent companies, including Lockheed Martin. Each bidder was required to demonstrate a proven and successful track record with specific relevant experience in, inter alia, licensed nuclear site operations. Lockheed Martin provided this information to the Department on 1 June 1999.
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