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SSSI, Hindhead

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what discussions he has had with the Director-General of the National Trust concerning damage to the SSSI in the Hindhead area. [150304]

Mr. Hill: The National Trust were represented on the Steering Group of the recently completed road based study of the A3 at Hindhead but there have not been any discussions recently with the Director-General of the Trust.

Local Government Finance

Mr. Michael J. Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions, pursuant to the answer of 7 February 2001, Official Report, columns 532-33W, if he will quantify the indirect allowance made in the SSA for each fire authority in England for (a) 2000-01 and (b) 2001-02. [150183]

Ms Beverley Hughes: The fire SSA is calibrated on 1990-91 expenditure data of fire authorities. This forms the basis of the underlying fire SSA formula. This expenditure data include the cost of responding the fire calls. However, these data are not detailed enough to identify what element of the base year expenditure relates to specific incidents, such as rescue activities and flooding incidents on inland waterways. It is, therefore, not possible to quantify the indirect allowance made to each fire authority for such specific incidents.

Coach Services (North Wales)

Mrs. Betty Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what representations he has received from National Express Limited about their coach services along the North Wales coast; and if he will make a statement. [150202]

Mr. Hill: My Department has received no representations from National Express Limited in this regard, although of course I am aware from other correspondence of my hon. Friend's concern on this.

I am also aware that the National Assembly for Wales has asked the Welsh Transport Forum to consider the role that might be played by a network of long-distance express bus and coach services.

Turnham Green Tube Station

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

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steps to ensure that Piccadilly Line trains stop regularly at Turnham Green tube station during the period of work that will disrupt District Line services to that station; and if he will make a statement. [150397]

Mr. Hill: This is an operational matter for London Underground (LUL), but Derek Smith, Managing Director of LUL, has kept in close touch with me about LUL's plans for the handling of the District Line closure between Earl's Court and High Street Kensington--i.e. the closure which will affect services to Turnham Green station. The Government recognise the pressing need to carry out vital safety works on the District Line, which must inevitably cause disruption to the system, but believe it is important that LUL continue to deliver the best service that can be provided to their customers in the circumstances.

LUL's forward planning for the closure involved a wide ranging examination of options. The work aimed in particular to take account of the impact on all the customers who would be affected, and the options considered included the scope for stopping Piccadilly Line trains at Turnham Green station. In other related work, LUL have also been working with Transport for London and London Buses to prepare detailed plans for alternative transport; and they have put in place a wide range of publicity measures to ensure that customers are fully informed about the implications of the closure and how to avoid its effects.

LUL have explained that in reaching conclusions about the best way to handle the closure they have sought to draw on the lessons of past closures, including the closure for similar work in 1999 of the adjacent Circle Line between Gloucester Road and High Street Kensington. I understand that one of the key lessons from that closure was that changes to timetables should be as simple as possible and as near to existing services as possible. Otherwise, attempts to amend a series of interlocking timetables can have the effect of magnifying the effect of the disruption, thereby inconveniencing a much greater proportion of customers overall.

LUL concluded that stopping Piccadilly Line services at Turnham Green station throughout the period of the District Line closure would cause unacceptably high levels of disruption to the Piccadilly Line, ultimately spreading the delay and inconvenience to an even greater number of customers across not one but two of the busiest lines. Instead, LUL believe that running the Piccadilly line reliably according to its existing timetable will make the most effective contribution to addressing the problem.

However, LUL have confirmed that they have set up a number of new arrangements. For the District Line as a whole they have set up a team to monitor closely the effects of the closure throughout the period. To date, robust operational planning has meant that service levels have been maintained in accordance with LUL's plans. Within that wider framework, special operational arrangements apply at Turnham Green. Extra staff will be in place on platforms to monitor the pressures on the station including any overcrowding. In the case of serious service problems on the District Line, local managers and

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operational staff will have discretion to instruct Piccadilly Line trains to stop temporarily at the station to relieve congestion; indeed, these plans have been operating for some days now and LUL tell me that they have already made use a number of times of the facility to stop Piccadilly Line trains on this basis. I understand from LUL that they are offering the best service they can realistically and safely provide throughout the period of this essential closure.

Departmental Policies (Bristol, East)

Jean Corston: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will set out, with statistical information relating as directly as possible to the Bristol, East constituency, the effects on Bristol of his Department's policies and actions since 2 May 1997. [150549]

Ms Beverley Hughes: Since May 1997 my Department has introduced and developed a variety of initiatives which will help regenerate the more disadvantaged areas of Bristol. Those in my hon. Friend's constituency include:

New Deal for Communities

£50 million of additional Government funding under the New Deal for Communities programme to support regeneration of Barton Hill and surrounding localities.

So far there has been a 20 per cent. reduction in crime in the area, a measurable increase in street cleanliness as part of Project Pathfinder and the Employment Service/Benefits Agency is now operating from a New Deal shop in St. Judes.


Major public transport investment from Bristol's Transport Settlements of £21.287 million over the period 1998-99 to 2001-2002. This was used in Bristol, East for a host of traffic management priorities such as traffic calming measures (for example on Robertson Road in Eastville). It was also used for Safer Routes to Schools schemes (such as Whitehall Primary).


Improvements to dwellings under the Housing Investment Programme (amounts to £67.308 million over the same period for Bristol as a whole).

Neighbourhood Renewal Fund

Over the next three years Bristol will receive £8.022 million from the Neighbourhood Renewal Fund to help main programme spending to deliver better outcomes for the most deprived communities.

Single Regeneration Budget

Single Regeneration Budget spending in east Bristol is for a seven-year scheme costing £16.8 million, of which the Single Regeneration Budget is contributing £7.6 million. The scheme is heavily dependent on local residents getting involved. In November 2000 a Community Safety Library and Resource Centre was opened. This is a drop-in centre giving advice to people in three of the most deprived wards on a wide range of topics, including racial harassment and help for victims of crime.

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European Structural Funds

The European Structural Fund Objective 2 programme will also provide funding in the constituency, but although £121.2 million is available across the south-west region, it is not possible to say how much of this will benefit Bristol, East directly.

Conservation Areas

Mr. Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what the Government's timetable is for (a) completing its selection of special areas of conservation and (b) completing the submission of the UK's sites to the European Commission. [150722]

Mr. Robert Ainsworth: English Nature began consultations on possible additions to England's list of candidate special areas of conservation (cSACs) on 16 August 2000. As they conclude discussions on the scientific justification for each new site, or amendment to an existing cSAC, the site's details will be submitted to the European Commission. I anticipate that this process will be substantially completed by September 2001. Parallel processes are taking place in other parts of the UK where site selection is a devolved matter. In July 2000, the Joint Nature Conservation Committee were requested to

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initiate work necessary to identify sites beyond territorial waters. Their recommendations for selection criteria are expected by July 2001.

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