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Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will introduce legislation to make provision for compensation for loss of business caused by roadworks carried out by highway authorities. 
Mr. Hill: Highway works ultimately benefit the whole community. Occupies of premises may be entitled to compensation if something is done improperly (for example, the blocking of access without authority) but not otherwise. Businesses have no right in law to any given level of passing trade, and may suffer temporary loss owing to disruption of traffic flows. Trade may fluctuate for a variety of reasons, and accurately assessing the losses directly attributable to works in the highway can be difficult. There is, too, an element of 'windfall' profit and loss: often when one trader suffers a rival business in the neighbourhood stands to gain custom as a direct result of the same works. There are therefore no plans to
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Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what the estimated rate of return on capital is to the contractors under the PFI contracts for roads. 
Mr. Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions, pursuant to the Cabinet Office memorandum of 16 June 1998 to the Select Committee on Public Administration, published in its report on the Government Information and Communication Service, Session 1997-98, HC 770, and using the same methodology, if he will calculate (a) the total cost of his Department's press office, including salary and running costs, in (i) 1998-99, (ii) 1999-2000 and (iii) 2000-01 and the estimated cost for 2001-02 and (b) the total number of people employed in the press office (excluding staff providing general administrative support) in 1999-2000, and the projected estimates for (1) 2000-01 and (2) 2001-02. 
|Staff numbers||Total running costs (£ million)|
(1) Costs are not available
The costs (staff salaries only) are consistent with those for 1996-97 and 1997-98 given for the Department, and former Departments of Environment and Transport, in the memorandum dated 16 June 1998 to the Select Committee on Public Administration and published in its report on the Government Information and Communication Service (HC 770) in July 1998.
The increase in staff from 1998-99 to 1999-2000 reflects the filling of vacancies at that time and the need to respond to the recommendations of the Mountfield report on the Government Information and Communication Service (1997).
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Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement on how the planned increase in rail investment will benefit Shrewsbury and Atcham. 
Mr. Hill: The planned increase in rail investment, provided for in the 10-year Plan for Transport, will enable progress to be made on a number of initiatives of benefit to Shrewsbury and Atcham, for example, modernisation of the West Coast Main Line and the Midland Capacity Study of congestion blackspots in the West Midlands. Improvements in local service patterns will result from changes in franchise boundaries in line with the indicative map of likely franchises published by the Shadow Strategic Rail Authority on 20 June. Improvements in journey quality will result from investment in new rolling stock by Virgin Trains and by operators of local train services. The planned increase in rail investment also involves a continuation of the Rail Passenger Partnership scheme, which provides funding for worthwhile projects put forward by local stakeholders.
Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what representations he has received concerning the indirect fee proposal regarding the EU Draft Directive on port waste reception facilities; if he intends to support the proposal; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Hill [holding answer 17 July 2000]: The UK has been involved at every stage of the Directive on port waste reception facilities and strongly supports the principles which it embodies. The European Parliament and the Council, meeting at the Conciliation Committee, agreed the Directive on 28 June.
During the negotiation of the Directive, my Department consulted closely with a range of bodies--including those representing the UK shipping, ports and waste industries and environmental non-governmental organisations--on the practicalities of the proposal that ships calling into a port of an EC member state contribute to the costs of waste reception facilities, irrespective of actual use of the facilities. The consensus was that ease of use and meeting the operational needs of the ships regularly using the ports were the key factors. Latterly, I have received representations from the Kommunenes Internasjonale Milj organisasjon (KIMO) supporting the principle of a charge being levied irrespective of use. I have also received representations from the North Sea Commission and the Wadden Sea Cooperation which have focused on the manner in which the charge should be calculated.
The Directive substantially mirrors current UK port waste management legislation and practice (the merits of which have also been recognised by the International Maritime Organization, which agreed guidelines, earlier this year, which are based on the UK model).
Mr. Martlew: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when he plans to invite tenders for the construction of the M6 between Carlisle and the Scottish border. 
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Mrs. Anne Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what discussions he has had with the Strategic Rail Authority to ensure that, following the new rail franchises affecting services between Cambridge and London, steps will be taken to ensure the facility exists for cross ticketing across the two train operating companies. 
Mr. Hill: At least one type of ticket between any two points on the network is regulated by the Franchising Director. Regulated tickets must be inter-available, that is for use on the trains of any operator. This does not and will not necessarily apply to unregulated ticket types. Operators may choose to restrict the availability of these tickets in order to offer the passenger the option of a lower fare in return for giving up some flexibility. Where restrictions apply to the use of any tickets, this has to be made clear at the point of sale.
Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what representations he has received concerning the proposal by Kelda Group to mutualise the assets of the former Yorkshire Water company. 
The Director General of Water Services issued a public consultation document on the issues raised, inviting comments by 17 July. The Director General has received written representations in response. The proposals were also discussed at a meeting in Leeds on 6 July, arranged by the Yorkshire Customer Service Committee, to which the public were invited, addressed by representatives of Kelda, the proposed Yorkshire Water Mutual, the Drinking Water Inspectorate, the Environment Agency and Ofwat.
Mr. Meacher [holding answer 19 July 2000]: Under the Water Industry Act 1991 the Director General of Water Services has a duty to act in the manner he considers best calculated to secure that the interests of customers are protected. The Director General has powers to modify the conditions of appointment of Yorkshire
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Water Services as a statutory undertaker by agreement with the company. If agreement cannot be reached between the Director General and the company he can refer the case to the Competition Commission. The Secretary of State can also require the case to be referred to the Competition Commission, which would consider whether modification of the licence were needed in the public interest.
Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what plans he has to order Kelda Group to extend the period of consultation over its plans to mutualise the assets of the former Yorkshire Water. 
Mr. Meacher [holding answer 19 July 2000]: The Director General of Water Services has said that he considers that more consultation with customers is necessary before the proposal by Kelda could go ahead. Following receipt of responses to his earlier consultation paper, he intends to publish a position paper on the issues raised by Kelda's proposal before 31 July, including how best such further consultation should be conducted.
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