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Nesscliffe Bypass

Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement on the progress made to build the Nesscliffe A5 road bypass and on the anticipated completion date. [154466]

Mr. Hill: I have asked the Chief Executive of the Highways Agency, Tim Matthews, to write to my hon. Friend.

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Letter from John Kerman to Mr. Paul Marsden, dated 22 March 2001:

A329M Closure

Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) what the reason was for the time taken by (a) the Environment Agency to respond to the accident and spill on the A329M on 12 March and (b) the police to clear the road; and for what reason the police closed the road for most of that day; [154278]

Mr. Meacher: I understand that due to the spillage of diesel fuel and a subsequent six-vehicle accident the Thames Valley police closed the A329M at 23.54 pm on 11 March and re-opened it approximately three hours later. During the intervening period, the Thames Valley police, assisted by the Environment Agency, were involved in mopping up the diesel fuel and removing the six vehicles involved in the accident, which was made more difficult at the time by severe weather conditions. At the scene of such an accident the police have a duty to ensure that the safety of the public, the preservation of life, the rescue of the injured and the gathering of evidence to support the prosecution of serious traffic offences take precedence over any problems caused by traffic delay or congestion. The police are of course conscious of delays that can ensue from such accidents and they work with the Highways Agency and local radio stations to minimise disruption to traffic. Once the Thames Valley police were satisfied that it was safe to re-open the road, they did so at approximately 3.00 am on 12 March.

Following an initial telephone call from the Thames Valley police, Environmental Protection Officers from the Environment Agency arrived at the scene approximately 50 minutes from first notification of the incident, to find that diesel fuel was flowing from the road into the roadside drains. The Agency's officers isolated the

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surface drains using sawdust and soil from the verges and made a request to the local authority for gulley suckers to empty the roadside drains as soon as possible. The Agency's officers checked ditches on both sides of the M4, identifying areas where these drained to the Emm Brook. After a thorough examination, the Agency officers could find no evidence to suggest that any diesel fuel had entered either the ditches or the Emm Brook.

Car Number Plates

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement on his policy on flags printed on car number plates. [154312]

Mr. Hill [holding answer 19 March 2001]: In March 2000 the Government announced that legislation would be introduced to allow motorists to display the GB national identifier and the European circle of stars on car number plates on a voluntary non-mandatory basis. This would enable citizens to dispense with the requirement to display a separate GB sticker when travelling in Europe. The option of a separate GB sticker remains. There are no plans to permit the display of any other symbols or flags on number plates.

Driving Instructors

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what the policy of the Government are concerning the enforcement of the provisions of Part V of the Road Traffic Act 1988 which requires driving instructors teaching for money to hold an approved driving instructors' certificate; and under what circumstances exceptions are made to this policy. [154735]

Mr. Hill [holding answer 20 March 2001]: The universal practice is for the Driving Standards Agency to use the Vehicle Inspectorate to investigate alleged cases of illegal driving instruction on its behalf. The inspectorate, in liaison with the agency, is responsible for pursuing prosecutions.

Departmental Policies (Stourbridge)

Ms Shipley: 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 (a) Stourbridge and (b) the metropolitan borough of Dudley the effects on the area of his Department's (i) local government and (ii) transport policies and actions since 2 May 1997. [154731]

Ms Beverley Hughes [holding answer 20 March 2001]: The principal funding that this Department have provided to Dudley metropolitan borough in which Stourbridge falls since 2 May 1997 are shown in the table. These include grants and borrowing approvals for revenue and capital expenditure.

It is not possible to determine how much of this money has been spent on Stourbridge. It is for the local authority to decide where within its boundary these resources are applied.

The £55 million Dudley southern bypass was completed in 1999.

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£ million
Nature of funding1997-981998-991999-20002000-012001-02(1)
Revenue Support Grant(2)87.2497.44102.5298.35108.29
Income from National non-Domestic Rates(2)68.2271.1076.8486.7184.78
Housing Investment Programme(3)5.374.414.4210.973.20
Housing Revenue Account Subsidy18.6816.6215.5414.520.00
Capital Receipts Initiative1.043.353.420.000.00
Cash Incentive Scheme0.
Capital Challenge4.263.374.770.000.00
Major Repair Allowance0.
SRB Funding(7)5.314.605.293.3518.54
Neighbourhood Renewal(4)
ERDF Funding2,169.3154,135.1115,557.0337,667.4243,066.129
ERDF Funding(5)0.000.00300.000268.2500.00
ESF Objective 2648.4391,003.6491,263.1930.000.00
ESF Objective 2(5)0.000192.5830.000.000.00
Transport Supplementary Grant3.754.856.762.03--
Transport Annual Capital Guideline3.754.856.762.03--
Transport Block Supplementary Credit Approval1.581.821.513.616.86
Rural Bus Subsidy Grant(6)
Rural Bus Challenge Grant(6)

(1) Where known

(2) The amounts of Revenue Support Grant and Income from National non-Domestic Rates shown for 1997-98 and 1998-99 are the revised amounts allocated under "The Local Government Finance Report (England) 1997-98 Amending Report 1999" and "The Local Government Finance Report (England) 1998-99 Amending Report 2000" respectively.

(3) The Housing subsidy figure for 2000-01 is still provisional. The reduction in HIP resources for 2001-02 is due the introduction of the new Major Repair Allowance i.e. a new way of allocating resources for works to council stock; the table shows Dudley's indicative figure for 2001-02.

(4) This is the first year of a 3-year NRF allocation to Dudley. It will be for the emerging LSP to determine how and where it should be spent.

(5) These amounts of ERDF and ESF Objective 2 grant have been identified as approved for projects within the Stourbridge district.

(6) Rural bus payments were made to the WM Passenger Transport Executive, Centro for spending across the metropolitan area.

(7) Details of SRB Projects.

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