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Mr. Nigel Griffiths: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many of NATS' air traffic controllers are eligible to retire under the early retirement agreement; how many of these are watch supervisors; how many are involved in training for the NERC; how many his Department estimates will exercise their option to retire if Serco is selected as NATS' strategic partner; and what impact this would have on the capacity of the air traffic control system. 
Mr. Robert Ainsworth: The Flexible Retirement Scheme for NATS Air Traffic Controllers (ATCOs) was introduced on 1 April 1998. Since the scheme was introduced, 106 Controllers have become eligible to retire early, of whom 25 have exercised their right to do so. Of the remaining 81, 52 remain in employment and could exercise their right to retire. Controllers wishing to retire under the scheme are required to give a minimum of
As regards the impact on capacity, the training programme for the transfer of air traffic operations from West Drayton to Swanwick is in progress and the overall staffing position is currently tight but manageable. If a
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Mr. Martlew: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement on his plans to improve the A74 between Carlisle and the Scottish border. 
Mr. Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what research he has carried out to develop alternative fuels for aircraft; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Robert Ainsworth: None. We are aware of industry research which has identified several potential alternative fuels. For technical, economic or environmental reasons, singly or in combination, none seems viable at present. The possible exception is hydrogen, which is being examined further.
Mr. Meacher: I am pleased with the outcome of the recent G8 Environment Ministers' meeting, which I attended in Trieste. On Climate Change, all Ministers--including the US--expressed the view that a successful outcome at COP6 bis was necessary to allow early entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol. Ministers also confirmed their support for the World Summit on Sustainable Development (Rio+10) in 2002 and the importance of improving existing environmental governance structures. We also re-affirmed our continued support for the development of common environmental guidelines for Environmental Credit Agencies. Food safety and the links between the environment and health were also discussed. Ministers also agreed unanimously to condemn the
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Ms Beverley Hughes: Following the vote by the House of Lords against the repeal of section 28 during the passage of the Local Government Act 2000 last summer, the Government reluctantly concluded that it could not pursue the repeal in that Act without jeopardising the other important reforms it contained.
Sir Teddy Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when the funding for objective 2 grants for the East of England was received from the EU; and where the money is at present located. 
Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will explain the reasons behind, and apologise to the hon. Member for West Chelmsford for, breaching the Ministerial Code of Conduct by failing to give him advance warning of his visit to Chelmsford on Tuesday 13 March. 
Mr. Prescott [holding answer 19 March 2001]: Paragraph 79 of the Ministerial Code says that it is the custom for MPs to be informed when a Minister visits their constituency. My office is under strict instructions to inform constituency MPs of all Government or Departmental visits. My visit to Chelmsford was to attend a private Labour Party function and under those circumstances I did not consider it necessary or indeed appropriate to inform the constituency MP.
Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when he expects to make a payment to Lewes district council in respect of the application made under the Bellwin Scheme. 
Ms Beverley Hughes: My Department has received an interim claim dated 28 February 2001 from Lewes district council in respect of costs arising out of flooding between October and December 2000. In accordance with arrangements to which I referred in answers given to the hon. Member for Vale of York (Miss McIntosh) on 8 February 2001, Official Report, column 642W and
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Mr. Coaker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what reports he receives from Railtrack about its approval of rail company timetables; and if he will make a statement about GNER timetables after 6 April. 
Mr. Hill: The Driving Standards Agency operates under a trading fund regime and is required to generate a financial surplus equivalent to 6 per cent. of its average net assets in order to cover the cost of the public resources being used by the organisation. This 6 per cent. return is paid to the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions in the form of dividends plus loan repayments and interest.
Mr. Hill: Motor manufacturers are responsible for advising owners of vehicle recalls. If the Driving Standards Agency becomes aware of a vehicle problem that could affect the safety of the candidate, the examiner and other road users, the Agency would display information on posters in driving test centres and on the Agency's website. The Agency would also tell driving instructors via its newsletter "Despatch".
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