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Mr. Hill: Under current legislation operators of local bus services are rebated part of the duty they have paid on the fuel used in providing those services. We have no plans to pay fuel duty rebate to the operators of taxi services or to extend it so that it provides a grant to operators of vehicles to which fuel duty is not applicable.
The Commission for Integrated Transport is currently examining possible changes to the fuel duty rebate scheme as part of its study of all aspects of public funding for bus services. We will carefully consider the Commission's recommendations which are due later this year.
Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when the public examination of the draft Regional Planning Guidance for the South West will be completed; when the Inspector's report on the draft Regional Planning Guidance for the South West will be issued; when the final Regional Planning Guidance for the South West will be issued for material consideration by planning authorities; and if he will make a statement. 
Ms Beverley Hughes: The Public Examination of the draft Regional Planning Guidance for the South West took place in March 2000. The report of the Panel for the Public Examination has not yet been received, but is expected shortly. Arrangements will be made for its publication on receipt of it. The Secretary of State's proposals for change to the draft Regional Planning Guidance will be made in the light of the Panel's report and recommendations, and other consultation comments received by the Panel in autumn 1999 but not addressed at the Public Examination. These proposals for change should be available for consultation in the autumn, and the final revised Regional Planning Guidance for the South West published early in 2001.
Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what the net present cost is of the Birmingham Northern Relief Road project under the Private Finance Initiative; what the value is of the public sector comparators in (a) pre-risk and (b) risk adjusted terms; what risks are identified as having been transferred; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Hill: The Birmingham Northern Relief Road is to be built, financed, operated and maintained by the concessionaire Midland Expressway Ltd. at its own cost and risk and without recourse to Government Funds or to Government guarantees. A cost benefit analysis carried out in 1991 showed the scheme proposed by Midland Expressway having a benefit: cost ratio of more than 2:1.
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Mr. Quinn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when the Government Response to the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution's 21 report (Setting Environmental Standards) will be published. 
Mr. Meacher: The Government's Response to the Commission's Report on Setting Environmental Standards has been published today. I wish to express my thanks to the previous Chairman of the Commission, Sir John Houghton, the current Chairman, Sir Tom Blundell, and their colleagues for their continued commitment to issues which are of equal importance to the public as to the Government.
On procedures for setting standards the Government agree with the Commission that policy analysis needs to identify various components, such as scientific assessment, risk and economic appraisal. There is a need for transparency in the decision-making process and public values need to be articulated and considered.
On scientific understanding the Government agree with the Commission that limitations and uncertainties in scientific understanding must be openly acknowledged, and that social and ethical considerations must be accounted for.
On technological options the Government agree with the importance the Commission accords life cycle assessment as a tool for managing environmental impacts, and wishes to point out that they are actively addressing particular concerns on chemicals following the Chemicals Strategy.
On risk and uncertainty the Government recognise the importance of transparent risk assessment and would like to point out that much work is in hand by the HSE and the Environment Agency, among others.
On economic appraisal the Government agree with the Commission that economic appraisal is a part of all policy- making, although this can pose particular challenges as many environmental goods cannot be valued in money terms. As part of the "Modernising Government" work on good policy-making, the Cabinet Office has developed a "Toolkit for Policy-makers". The aim of this Toolkit is to ensure that policy makers take into account the impact of policy proposals on environment, business, charities and the voluntary sector, health, race, gender, the disabled, etc.
On implementing environmental policies the Government agree that different instruments should be used in combination to achieve the best result; economic instruments and voluntary agreements are complementary to direct regulation and not alternatives.
On articulating values the Government recognise that traditional methods of consultation are not always adequate, and are making a real effort to give attention to new, more open, participation methods.
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Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when he plans to implement the proposal in his White Paper, entitled "Tomorrow's Roads, a Review of Penalties for Road Traffic Offences". 
|Party||New life peerages(1)||Hereditaries who became life peers on 2 November 1999(1)||Law Lords|
(1) Appointment is taken to mean the date on which a peerage was publicly announced
(1) Includes the right hon. Member for Huntingdon's (Mr. Major) Resignation Honours (10 Conservative, announced on 2 August 1997), but not his Dissolution Honours which were announced before 1 May 1997
(1) Four Hereditaries of first creation who accepted life peerages and six Hereditaries who were former Leaders of the House
(1) Includes Baroness Lester, now deceased
From 1979 to 1997 the last Conservative Government created 365 peers (excluding Law Lords). Despite retaining an almost 4 to 1 advantage over Labour in the House of Lords the number of Conservative peers created was nearly double that of Labour peers. The party breakdown of these was as follows: Conservative 173, Labour 96, Liberal/SDP/Liberal Democrats 27 and Independent/Crossbencher 69.
20 Jul 2000 : Column: 262W
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