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Old Vehicles

Mr. Nigel Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what assessment he has made of the level of air pollution caused by emissions from vehicles which are more than 25 years old. [103156]

Mr. Hill: Vehicles over 25 years old, although manufactured to much less stringent emission standards than vehicles today, are estimated to make only a small contribution to total emissions from road transport, due to their low numbers and limited mileage. The table provides estimates of the contribution of cars in this category for three key pollutants, using the methodology employed in the National Atmospheric Emission Inventories.

PollutantEstimated contribution of cars over 25 years old to overall emissions from road transport in 1998

Green Ministers Committee

Judy Mallaber: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what issues will be on the agenda of the next meeting of the Green Ministers Committee. [103069]

Mr. Meacher: Three meetings of the Committee have been arranged for 2000, but the first is not until 16 March. The agenda has therefore not yet been agreed, but I am sure that, among other things, we will want to consider progress against the work programme set out in our

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annual report "Greening Government--First Annual Report of the Green Ministers Committee 1998-99", published in July 1999.

Judy Mallaber: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if the Green Ministers Committee will discuss the progress of the New Deal Environment Task Force. [103068]

Mr. Meacher: The Committee has a programme of three meetings in 2000, but the first of these is not until 16 March. We do not therefore yet have agendas set for the meetings, although there are some issues, such as progress against our work programme, that I am sure we will want to discuss. The Committee takes one general cross-cutting theme at each of its meetings and has in the past considered issues such as biodiversity and green taxes. It is possible that the New Deal Environment Task Force might feature on a future agenda. The Government have taken steps to evaluate the impact of the Task Force, but the analysis is not yet available.

MOT Testing Stations

Dr. Tony Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) which MOT testing stations are on a final warning from the Vehicle Inspectorate; [103128]

Mr. Hill: A warning is issued to Authorised Examiners for shortcomings in the testing requirements, but the standard of testing remains acceptable within the scheme. It would be inappropriate, therefore, to release details of warnings issued. When an Authorised Examiner is withdrawn from the MOT testing scheme, they are required to remove all signs and documentation connected with the MOT scheme which gives a clear indication that the garage is not authorised to carry out MOT tests. Authorised Examiners cannot normally reapply for authorisation within a period of five years. To publish the identities of Authorised Examiners withdrawn from the scheme could be prejudicial to any of their other business interests unconnected with the MOT testing scheme and therefore a list of those withdrawn from the scheme is not published. There are about 18,500 private garages authorised as MOT testing stations. The number of Authorised Examiners withdrawn from the scheme in each of the past five years and the number of warnings issued in the same period are shown in the table.

Authorised examiners withdrawnAuthorised examiners warned

Water Industry Redundancies

Mr. Wigley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what estimate he has made of the total job losses (a) in England and Wales and (b) in Scotland arising from redundancies in the water industry; and if he will make a statement. [103138]

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Mr. Meacher: In respect of England and Wales, I refer the right hon. Member to my answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Plymouth, Sutton (Mrs. Gilroy) on 27 October 1999, Official Report, columns 871-72W.

The water industry in Scotland is a matter for the Scottish Executive.

Water Quality (Mersey Basin)

Mr. Bennett: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what steps he is taking to improve water quality in the Mersey Basin; and what guidance he has given to (a) the Water Regulator and (b) North-West Water on the sewage works at Bolton, Eccles, Ellesmere Port, Sale and Wigan. [103390]

Mr. Meacher: I refer my hon. Friend to the response I made to my hon. Friend the Member for Elmet (Mr. Burgon) on 25 November 1999, Official Report, columns 167-69W, in which I announced my final guidance to the Director General of Ofwat on the environmental objectives which the water industry would be required to meet between 2000 and 2005. North-West Water was one of the seven water and sewerage companies for which I confirmed that the entire agreed investment programme should be completed by March 2005. This will encompass substantial improvements to the quality of river and coastal sewage discharges and to combined sewer overflows in the Mersey Basin.

In addition, improvement schemes for Bolton, Eccles, Ellesmere Port, Sale and Wigan sewage treatment works will receive further study in terms of their costs and benefits before they proceed, as recommended by the Director General. I have asked the Environment Agency to explore in more detail the benefits of the remaining schemes and to set them out in a way which will allow Ministers to judge these against improved information on costs from Ofwat and the companies concerned.

Street Works

Mr. Blizzard: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions, pursuant to his answer of 15 December 1999, Official Report, column 187W, on utilities' standards of compliance, if he will quantify the shortfall in utilities compliance with the statutory code of practice on reinstatement of highways and footways. [103579]

Mr. Hill: There are no central records of street works reinstatements or of inspections of works. So far as individual sites are concerned, it is for the undertaker concerned to put right any defects in reinstating the street that may have occurred. Such defects are likely to be discovered as the result of street works inspections by the local highway authority, who have powers under the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991 to require remedial works to be carried out at the undertaker's expense.

The research project carried out by the Transport Research Laboratory, referred to in my answer of 15 December 1999, Official Report, column 187W, examined only a sample of reinstatements undertaken mostly during the mid-1990s. While this showed where improvements needed to be made, it is not possible to extrapolate from it reliable figures for reinstatement defects for the country as a whole.

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If there is any particular street works issue that has prompted this question, I suggest that my hon. Friend might care to write to me about it.

Land Use Policies

Mr. Dobbin: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what plans he has for the further development of (a) regional and (b) local land use planning policies. [103618]

Ms Beverley Hughes: The report "Modernising Planning--A Progress Report", which was published earlier this year, summarised the Government's programme for improving the land use planning system, both as regards the processes involved and the policies which apply. A copy is available on the DETR website ( Good progress is being made. A draft revise of the Planning Policy Guidance note on Transport (PPG13) was published for consultation on 18 October. The revised version of PPG12 (Development Plans) was published on 14 December. The final revised versions of the PPGs on Regional Planning (PPG11) and on Housing (PPG3) are expected to be published in the new year.

Manchester Metro

Mr. Dobbin: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what discussions he has held with the Passenger Transport Authority on plans to extend the Manchester Metrolink throughout Greater Manchester. [103620]

Mr. Hill: My right hon. Friend has met members of the Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Authority on several occasions during the past year to discuss possible extensions to the Manchester Metrolink.

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