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Farm Vehicles

Mr. Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if farm vehicles exempt from vehicle excise licences will be required to display a number plate; and if he will make a statement. [151158]

Mr. Hill: My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced in the pre-Budget statement his intention to exempt tractors and certain other agricultural vehicles from the payment of vehicle excise duty, subject to consultation. There is already a wide range of vehicles exempted from the payment of vehicle excise duty, including vehicles operated by the emergency services and those constructed before 1 January 1973. Generally, the requirement to display a licence, (including, in

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the case of exempt vehicles, a "nil licence") and the requirement to display number plates are quite separate and there are no plans to alter these arrangements.

Flood Prevention

Paddy Ashdown: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what the total expenditure of his Department on flood prevention work was (a) through local authority finance, (b) through all forms of central Government finance for (i) 2000-01, (ii) 2001-02, (iii) 2002-03 and (iv) 2003-04; and if he will make a statement. [150418]

Ms Armstrong: The funding allocated by the Flood Defence and Coast Protection SSA blocks for 2000-01 and 2001-02 is set out in the table. Decisions about the level of the Flood Defence and Coast Protection SSA blocks for subsequent years have not yet been taken; therefore no figures can be provided for 2002-03 or 2003-04.

£ million

YearFlood defence SSACoast protection SSA

DETR does not provide any other funding for flood prevention work. All other central Government support for flood prevention work is provided by MAFF as set out in an answer to PQ 150419 given by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food today, Official Report, column 602W.

Highways Agency

Dr. Stoate: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when the Highways Agency Business Plan will be published; and what targets he has set for the Highways Agency for 2001-02. [151738]

Mr. Hill: Key targets set for the Highways Agency are included in the Agency's Business Plan which will be published tomorrow. A copy will be placed in the Library.

These targets are:

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2001-02 is the first full year of the implementation of the Government's 10-Year Plan for Transport. These targets reflect the progress which the Highways Agency will deliver in contributing to the objectives of providing a safe, well maintained and less congested strategic road network.

National Bus Company (Pensions)

Ms Rosie Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement on the progress being made in the legal proceedings initiated by the National Bus Company pension trustees to determine eligibility of the different categories of beneficiary for a share of the settlement sum paid over by the Government in July 1999. [151739]

Mr. Hill: As I reported to the House in replying to the Adjournment debate held on 25 January, these proceedings were commenced in October 2000. I understand that a case conference was held on 9 February. As a result, the parties concerned are required to participate in discussions during March with a view to agreeing a settlement of the outstanding issues and to report back to the court. I urge all those involved to do their utmost to reach agreement within that time scale.

I also understand that, if--as I hope very much will not be the case--agreement is not reached and a full trial is necessary, a timetable has been set for this to commence in the autumn and to last around five weeks. It would obviously involve significant legal costs which could amount to several million pounds and this, combined with the further potential delay, underlines the need for every effort to be made to reach an early agreement in the forthcoming discussions.

Bus Subsidies

Mr. David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions, pursuant to his answer of 15 February 2001, Official Report, column 220W, if he will make a statement on the results of the latest round of the rural bus challenge competition, and on the allocations to local authorities. [151774]

Mr. Hill: Following careful consideration of the 137 bids submitted by local authorities to the Rural Bus Challenge 2000, on 19 February we announced approval for the 51 projects as listed. Funding for the successful bids will total up to £21.2 million.

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That announcement also detailed increased Local Authority Rural Bus Subsidy Grant allocations for 2001-02, totalling £41.5 million and indicative allocations

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totalling £47.5 million for 2002-03 and £48.5 million for 2003-04. The full list is as follows:

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Rural bus challenge 2000

AuthorityProject nameAward total (£)
BedfordshireThe Potton Area 'Countryside Link' Project555,575
CambridgeshireCambridgeshire Rural Links260,000
City of YorkEnhanced Connexions235,858
CornwallThe DIRECT Project845,000
Cumbria (North West Partnership)Clubcard--Smartcard VisionUp to 800,000
DerbyshireSouthern Derbyshire Rural Access Initiative (continuation)600,000
DevonLife in the Bus Lane--North Devon (Buses are Cool)300,000
DorsetBlackmore Vale Accessible Community Transport Scheme462,000
East RidingHowdenshire Community Transport Partnership400,000
East SussexMoving Forward--Community Buses for Rural Transport Partnership773,820
EssexDengie Plus: Building on Success1,113,805
Greater ManchesterExpansion of Rural Shared Taxi288,000
HerefordshireTransport Co-ordination Project129,452
HertfordshireHAD--"Out of Hours Transport Services"209,781
KentDeal Area Responsive Transport (DART)453,000
LancashireCarnforth Connect660,500
Leicestershire and RutlandLeicestershire and Rutland Cross County1,619,000
Milton KeynesNippa Service160,154
NorfolkNorth Walsham "Bitternlink"276,528
Leisure and Learning Links250,825
North LincolnshireA1077 Villages, Bus Service Route 350114,313
North YorkshireTravelinks602,000
South Selby Taxibus267,000
Stationlink and Sherburn area village bus253,000
NorthamptonshireCorby Rural Dial-a-Ride50,900
NorthumberlandPhone and Go731,700
NottinghamshireRenew Retford--NEWark492,000
PlymouthEnhanced Rural Service Access and Quality214,800
Redcar and ClevelandImproving Access Arrangements to Housing in Skelton20,000
ShropshireRural Real-Time bus passenger information project282,697
SomersetSouth Somerset182,344
South GloucestershireRural Community Transport348,000
South YorkshireBradfield and Worrall611,714
Clayton-with-Frickley Taxibus62,705
StaffordshireMoorlands Traveller East Project118,000
Stockton-on-TeesThorpe Thewles-Stillington Taxi12,000
SuffolkBike and Bus Butty275,424
SurreyWaverley Transport Solutions404,025
Telford and WrekinWrekin Connect--The Lawley Express Partnership184,000
ThurrockThe Rural Bus Club288,270
TorbayContinued Development of the 'Hospital Hopper' Project81,800
Tyne and WearRegional Communication Infrastructure/TransStop560,150
WarwickshireStratford on Avon Accessible Community Buses159,792
West BerkshireDemand responsive services--Extension to Taxibus Service101,500
West MidlandsThe Heart of England Project417,000
West SussexOne Step Beyond313,388
West YorkshireThe Hebden Bridger917,320
WiltshireBradenstoke and Bradford on Avon A2B213,076
WorcestershireWorcester Easylink994,000
Up to 21,203,381

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Rural bus subsidy grant

Local authorityAmount allocated in 2000-012001-02 allocationIndicative allocation 2002-03Indicative allocation 2003-04
East Sussex559,229714,092817,335834,542
North Yorkshire1,380,2461,762,4682,017,2832,059,752
West Sussex579,324739,752846,704864,530
Metropolitan areas
Greater Manchester132,321168,964193,392197,464
South Yorkshire338,768432,581495,122505,546
Tyne and Wear82,047104,768119,915122,439
West Midlands86,800110,837126,862129,532
West Yorkshire555,733709,628812,225829,325
Bath and North East Somerset139,970178,731204,572208,878
Blackburn with Darwen39,02649,83357,03858,239
Bracknell Forest40,03851,12558,51759,749
East Riding534,364682,342780,994797,436
Isle of Wight159,271203,377232,781237,681
Milton Keynes71,49691,295104,494106,694
North East Lincolnshire42,65254,46362,33863,650
North Lincolnshire257,450328,744376,273384,195
North Somerset132,855169,646194,173198,261
Redcar and Cleveland56,49772,14282,57384,311
South Gloucestershire191,415244,422279,760285,650
Telford and The Wrekin76,04897,107111,147113,487
West Berkshire232,602297,015339,957347,114
Windsor and Maidenhead50,58464,59273,93075,487

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