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Railway Industry

Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what plans he has to review the Government's policy regarding the ownership and structure of the railway industry. [1018]

3 Jul 2001 : Column: 114W

Mr. Spellar: The framework provided by the Transport Act 2000 is now in place to enable the Government's objectives for rail in the 10-Year Plan to be achieved. We will work with the industry to drive up performance and to identify obstacles to progress, and we wish the industry to focus on these objectives rather than on another structural reorganisation.

Transport Projects

Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will give details of contracts undertaken by his Department with private firms for transport projects which do not contain a clause to recompense public funds in the event of a re-financing deal entered into by the private partner. [1024]

Mr. Spellar: The table sets out the information requested.

PFI contract (contracting authority in brackets) Date of contract signatureDoes contract contain clause to recompense public funds in the event of refinancing by the private sector? Notes
Channel Tunnel Rail LinkFebruary 1996NoDTLR would directly benefit from any refinancing through a reduction in the requirement for an operating subsidy in future years
Birmingham North Relief Road (Highways Agency)February 1992NoFinance for the Birmingham Northern Relief Road has yet to be finalised
A69 Carlisle to Newcastle (Highways Agency)January 1996No
A1(M) Alconbury to Peterborough (Highways Agency)February 1996NoRefinancing not relevant due to use of bond finance
A419/A417 Swindon to Gloucester (Highways Agency)February 1996NoRefinancing not relevant due to use of bond finance
M1-A1 Lofthouse to Bramham Link Road (Highways Agency)March 1996NoRefinancing discussions in progress with Highways Agency
A50 Stoke to Derby (Highways Agency)May 1996No
A30/A35 Exeter to Bere Regis (Highways Agency)July 1996No
A19/A168 Dishforth to Tyne Tunnel (Highways Agency)August 1996NoThis contract has been refinanced and Highways Agency will obtain a share of the benefit
M40 Denham to Warwick (Highways Agency)October 1996NoRefinancing discussions in progress with Highways Agency
MOT Computerisation (Vehicle Inspectorate)February 2000No
Traffic Control Centre (Highways Agency)March 2001Yes

Strategic Rail Authority (Consultants)

Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will publish a list of the technical and financial consultants currently employed by the Strategic Rail Authority, the nature of the assignment for each consultant, and the value of each contract. [1025]

Mr. Spellar: Since its inception on 1 February 2001 the Strategic Rail Authority have used the following technical consultants with an awarded contract value. It should be noted that contract values do not necessarily equate to expenditure in this financial year.

ConsultantProjectContract value (£)
AEA TechnologyPTE Passenger Fares analysis5,900
Light Rail Franchising105,000
Analysis of Passenger Rail Fares13,000
Thameslink report6,250
South London Metro Study48,000
Calculation of Passenger Miles2,500
Babtie Group Ltd.DDA funding at stations39,975
Booz Allen and Hamilton Ltd.West Coast Mainline enhancement and Renewal10,000
BAFO evaluation36,850
WCML U monitoring47,250
General Economic and technical advice50,000
CJ AssociatesSix tracking at Paddington study59,840
Entec UK Ltd.High Speed Line study29,780
GIBB Ltd.Island Line replacement38,000
Buxton-Matlock reopening22,816
East Anglia mapping15,000
Planet model extension99,933
Old Oak Common study2,750
Maunsell Ltd.London East West study123,935
North London Line engineering46,611
MDS TransmodalNeutral Grant scheme78,190
Transpennine Market Research33,170
Freight Strategies study6,000
Mott McDonaldOrbirail study164,000
East West study48,950
Mouchel Consulting Ltd.Central Railway32,541
MVA Ltd.Northern Rail26,420
High Speed Line (infrastructure)91,900
East West study36,910
Oscar FaberGreater Manchester Strategic Rail study99,250
Ove Arup and PartnersAppraisal methodology for Rail Freight86,000
Impact of planned and proposed infrastructure work70,000
Review of sensitive lorry miles60,000
Heathrow new train services33,000
High Speed Line (infrastructure)30,000
Radical Ltd.Freight Strategy study105,350
Sinclair Knight MerzFreight Strategy study118,500
Total 1,952,341.00

3 Jul 2001 : Column: 115W

The SRA have also used the following technical consultants on a call-off basis.

Consultant Project
AEATGeneral technical advice
Babtie Group Ltd.CTRL technical advisers
Thameslink 2000 advisers
General technical advice
Booz Allen and Hamilton Ltd.CSC franchise replacement
SWT franchise replacement
Performance renegotiation
Transpennine Franchise study
First Class PartnershipGeneral technical advice
GIBB Ltd.Rail Passenger Partnership
Strategic Scenario testing
Thameslink replacement
General technical advice
Halliburton Brown and Root Ltd.Transpennine Express Project
Interfleet TechnologyMark One rolling stock replacement study
MDS TransmodalGeneral technical advice
Mott McDonaldEconomic advice
General technical advice
MVAThameslink replacement
ECML infrastructure
General technical advice
Oscar FaberGeneral technical advice
Ove Arup and PartnersWales and Borders replacement
General technical advice
Symonds GroupFreight grant adviser
WS AtkinsGeneral technical advice

The SRA are currently using the following financial advisers on a call-off basis.

KPMGFinancial adviser
Lazard brothers and Co. Ltd.Financial adviser
Marsh UK Ltd.Financial adviser (insurance issues)
PriceWaterhouseCoopersFinancial adviser (external auditors)

3 Jul 2001 : Column: 116W

Parish and Town Councils

Jeff Ennis: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how many applications for the abolition of parish or town councils he has received from district or unitary authorities in each of the last 10 years; and how many of these applications he has granted. [1142]

Dr. Whitehead: The Local Government Act 1972 contains no provision for the abolition of parish councils. However, this legislation provides for the dissolution of parish councils where the population of a parish falls below 150. Dissolution in such circumstances is carried out by order of the district council. We have no record of any dissolution orders.

The Local Government Act 1992 made provision for the abolition of parishes by the Secretary of State following a recommendation by the Local Government Commission. No parishes were abolished as a consequence of the structural review of local government during 1992–97.

3 Jul 2001 : Column: 117W

In implementing recommendations made by district councils under Part II of the Local Government and Rating Act 1997 the Secretary of State has abolished five parish councils, all in 1999, as follows:

Public Transport Information System

Mr. Blizzard: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will make a statement on progress in implementing a national public transport information system. [1420]

Mr. Jamieson: Traveline, the national public transport information system, is now available throughout Great Britain. It provides route and timetable information for bus, coach, tram, underground, train, ferry and metro through a national-rate call to a single telephone number—0870 608 2 608.

I am delighted that transport operators and local authorities have worked in partnership to deliver Traveline, with the support of central Government. Traveline will form part of our Transport Direct initiative. Transport Direct will allow people to plan their journeys and to compare routes and prices.

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