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Mr. Stunell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what steps he has taken to monitor the performance of the Greater Manchester Rent Officer Service in each of the last three years; and if he will make a statement. [100769]

Mr. Mullin: Rent Officers are independent statutory officers, and my Department does not intervene in their decisions. Until recently, the conduct and performance of rent officers in Greater Manchester were the responsibility of the Chief Rent Officer for the Greater Manchester Rent Registration Area, under the supervision of a Proper Officer appointed by Manchester City Council. However, on 1 October the Rent Service was established as an Executive Agency of my Department. The Agency is committed to ensuring consistency and raising standards throughout the Rent Service.

Road Noise

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will publish

6 Dec 1999 : Column: 427W

the list of the responses he has received to the Government's announcement of new measures to help alleviate noise on motorways and trunk roads. [100177]

Mr. Hill [holding answer 30 November 1999]: The Government's announcement of the budget and the criteria on 22 March this year to deal with some of the most serious and pressing cases of traffic noise on existing trunk roads did not invite responses. However, as a result of the announcement a further 43 sites have been brought to our attention, of which 23 have been taken forward for further study.

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what discussions he has had recently with (a) the European Commission and (b) other EU ministers with regard to a common system of road noise measurement, and methods of alleviating road noise. [100172]

Mr. Hill [holding answer 30 November 1999]: Although there have not been recent Ministerial discussions on these issues, my Department is co-operating in a number of EU initiatives on noise, including work to finalise a Directive which, for the first time, would specify standards and limits for the noise generated by tyres.

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement on levels of noise nuisance to nearby residents which are caused by noise emanating from nearby motorways and trunk roads. [100216]

Mr. Hill [holding answer 30 November 1999]: The Highways Agency is currently undertaking detailed studies at a considerable number of locations with a view to identifying appropriate measures to reduce excessive levels of noise at nearby properties. The results of these studies are not yet available.

Untaxed Cars

Mr. Letwin: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions with which agency the responsibility to pursue the owners of untaxed cars lies; and if he will make a statement. [100790]

Mr. Hill [holding answer 30 November 1999]: The responsibility for pursuing the keepers of unlicensed vehicles rests with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). The Agency works closely with the police and traffic wardens to detect unlicensed vehicles on the public road. Where an offence has been confirmed, action is taken through out of court settlement or, in the more serious cases, by prosecution.

Last year successful action was taken against 475,000 tax dodgers with some £57.9 million recovered in fines and penalties. In addition, 125,000 evaders or potential evaders relicensed their vehicles as a direct result of enforcement action bringing in a further £15 million.

Road Diggings

Mr. Blizzard: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what is his policy on the use of permanent reinstatement materials by utility companies when they dig up paved roads and footways. [101135]

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Mr. Hill: Utilities carrying out street works are required to reinstate the street in accordance with the Specification for the Reinstatement of Openings in Highways, which is a statutory code of practice published under the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991. The specification requires the permanent reinstatement to match the original surface materials as closely as possible.

Public Transport (Women)

Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will list the initiatives taken since May 1997 on women and public transport usage, indicating in each case the (a) date of the initiative, (b) budget and (c) impact assessment carried out; and if he will make a statement. [100886]

Mr. Hill: As women are the main users of public transport, our "New Deal for Transport" is of particular importance to them. It has put a greater emphasis on providing better quality transport services; on providing safer public transport; on improving the quality of the pedestrian environment; and on promoting land-use policies which encourage local services. The Commission for Integrated Transport will also take full account of women's transport needs.

A number of initiatives have been--and will be--undertaken to improve the general availability and accessibility of public transport; for example, through Local Transport Plans, Bus Quality Partnerships and the national public transport information system. More specifically, we are finalising the production of a gender audit to assist transport planners and operators to develop and implement public transport systems that meet women's transport requirements and encourage sustainable development. The audit will be available in the new year.

We are also continuing to make use of consultations, research projects and disaggregated statistics to identify the impact of policy on women. We also require the inclusion of policy appraisal statements in each Ministerial policy submission.

A380 Kingskerswell Bypass

Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will include the A380 Kingsherswell bypass in his review of future road building. [101049]

Mr. Hill: The A380 Kingskerswell bypass was withdrawn from the trunk road programme in 1996 and, indeed, the A380 no longer forms part of the Trunk Road Network. Responsibility for the promotion of any such scheme lies with Torbay Council and Devon County Council which would have to consider it within the context of their respective Local Transport Plans. The Authorities are currently undertaking a joint study along the A380 corridor, which is to be developed for inclusion within their final Local Transport Plans, due for submission in July 2000.

Countryside (Public Access)

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what

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plans he has to increase public access to woodlands and river banks; and if he will make a statement. [101215]

Mr. Mullin: The Government's plans, announced in March this year, to introduce a new statutory right of access on foot to specified categories of open countryside--mountain, moor, heath, down and registered common land--will be included in the countryside Bill which was announced in the Queen's Speech. At the Government's request, the Countryside Agency, the Countryside Council for Wales and the Forestry Commission have recently reported on the case for extending public access to other types of open countryside, such as coast, woodland and riverside. We are considering their views carefully before deciding how best to proceed.

London Underground

Mr. Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what amount has been spent since 20 March 1998 on (a) legal, (b) financial and (c) other consultancy costs for the public private partnership for London Underground; and (i) what were the initial budgets and (ii) what are the future estimates for future consultancy work. [101082]

Mr. Hill: I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer given on 12 May 1999, Official Report, columns 154-55W. I shall shortly be reporting London Transport's expenditure on external consultants up to the end of the first half of the current financial year. London Transport will not know the overall requirements or costs for external advice until the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) transaction has been

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completed, but the Government are working with LT to ensure that we receive the best advice while minimising the overall costs of implementing the PPP.

Mr. Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will list research published by the London Underground task force; and if he will make a statement on its future work programme. [101080]

Mr. Hill: The Task Force for London Transport has published no research. Its role is to ensure that the extra resources London Transport were given in July, translate into real improvements for passengers.

Mr. Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement on the findings of the task force set up to monitor improvements to London Underground indicating how often the task force has met and when. [100952]

Mr. Hill: The Task Force monitors investment in the London Underground to ensure the delivery of improvements to passengers; this work is on-going. The task force meets every month.

Mr. Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will list the number of delays to passenger services of 15 minutes or more for each line of the London Underground for 1998 and 1999. [100946]

Mr. Hill: London Underground Limited (LUL) are responsible for delays for the day-to-day running of their Underground network, including any delays to services. LUL have provided the information set out in the table.

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London Underground delays of 15 minutes and over period 1 January 1998 to date (November 1999)Count of incident rate

SymptomBakerloo LineCentral LineDistrict LineJubilee and East London LinesMetropolitan and Circle Lines (C and H)Metropolitan and Circle Lines (Main)Northern LinePiccadilly LineVictoria LineTotal
Animal incident112--1221--10
Antisocial behaviour7151315891512397
Asset damaged/unfit to use179521364--47
Audible warning on train--3--81153----30
Awaiting connection--1--11--21----15
Bomb alert--nothing found--1212--13111
Booking office closed------2----------2
Chemical release------------2----2
Computer system failure4224834212--77
Contact between person and train--21----311--8
Current charges late------1--124--8
Current discharged9341----34125
Damage to personal property--1--------------1
Doors obstructed/held open11122211213
Dual aspect on signal------6--11----8
Earth recorded----221--2----7
Emergency brakes applied on train--101----11--23108
Erratic acceleration of train--------11------2
Error miscellaneous22361415142425193172
Escalator incident106--3--111325
Fall between train and platform364--------1--14
Fire/smoke alert736637202215592920341
Gas leak----13--111--7
High wind1----------------1
Infrastructure damage/unfit to use14284543--31
Leaves on track----------3------3
Lift incident--1--------214--17
Miscellaneous/no details121722335237
No aspect on signal12--1--2------6
No forward movement of train4212418352032631312359
No stock--50--13132--60
Object on train71068411109--65
Passenger alarm operated--1623--142432
Person action miscellaneous51653513332
Person caught/struck by doors------------1----1
Person ill838245151430213158
Person on track1415106891381093
Person overcarried to depot/siding2--------1------3
Person train safety (other)--11----111--5
Person under train81171421313665
Person(s) injured12--11141--11
Platform edge door incident------2----------2
Platform overrun--4--1----------5
Points failure41546121214835241305
Police request512572957254
Possession overrun16124610147262010161
Power failure12117104966--65
Rail broken or displaced1099333142365
Signal overrun13119158112213--102
Signal remaining at danger751656821632323011350
Smell on train1----2--11----5
Staff absent/not in position1054242372233555529519
Stopped at closed station--1--------------1
TEP/TMS flashing or dead----111--------12
Track circuit failure8214875276167393021550
Track miscellaneous103816671261886
Track safety compromised12------11----5
Train brakes weak1--11------1--4
Train braking too hard------1----------1
Train collision1--------3------4
Train defect miscellaneous266642872275676630481
Train derailment1--1--1--------3
Train door safety system failure--2--1------1--4
Train door opened incorrectly------------2----2
Train failed brake test--1--------------1
Train sluggish--15--72321131
Train uncoupled--1--------------1
Tunnel telephone operated------------1----1
Unattended/lost property17292614329442228221
Unauthorised access--2111----1--6
Unauthorised use of inter-car doors--2--1--1------4
Unexploded bomb--1------2------3
Unusual noise on train--2------21----5
Wheels flatted------2--1------3
Wrong signal cleared121633619151
Wrong train description----3--21------6

6 Dec 1999 : Column: 433W

6 Dec 1999 : Column: 433W

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