Mr. Dobson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how many staff were employed by the Strategic Rail Authority at the latest date for which figures are available. 
Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what appeal process is available to those who disagree with decisions by the DVLA to refuse driving licences. 
9 Jul 2001 : Column: 328W
Mr. Jamieson: A statutory right of appeal to a magistrates court in England and Wales and to a sheriff court in Scotland is available to those who disagree with DVLA's decision to revoke, restrict or to refuse to grant a driving licence.
Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions on which date it was decided that persistent misuse of drugs was a relevant disability in respect of revocation of driving licences under section 92 of the Road Traffic Act 1998. 
Mr. Jamieson: Parliament decided that persistent misuse of drugs should be included in section 92 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 as a relevant disability when the draft legislation was approved by the House of Lords on 12 July 1996 and the House of Commons on 17 July 1996. The change took effect from 1 January 1997.
Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions on what research the DVLA based its decision to revoke driving licences on the grounds of persistent drug misuse in respect of (a) alcohol, (b) heroin, (c) medicinal drugs, (d) cannabis and (e) ecstasy. 
Mr. Jamieson: In relation to alcohol and drug misuse, the medical standards for fitness to drive are based on the minimum health standards laid down in the Second EC Directive on driving licences and the expert advice of the Honorary Medical Advisory Panel on Alcohol, Drugs and Substance Misuse and Driving. The Panel keeps abreast of medical and pharmacological research at a domestic and international level.
Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how many driving licence applications were (a) refused and (b) withdrawn, on the grounds of misuse of drugs in each of the past 10 years broken down by each drug involved. 
Mr. Jamieson: Statistics specifically relating to these circumstances are available only for the last three financial years. Separate figures for refusals and revocations are not available, but total figures are as follows:
No separate figures for each drug type are available.
Mr. Kevin Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what arrangements have been made for local authorities to apply for funding from the home zone challenge fund. 
Ms Keeble: My right hon. Friend has announced details of the arrangements for the Home Zone Challenge fund. All local traffic authorities in England are invited to apply for funding. Bids should be submitted by 3 October 2001. A copy of the guidance for the Home Zone
9 Jul 2001 : Column: 329W
Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of the spending formula for local authorities in England, Scotland and Wales; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Whitehead: As part of our review of the grant distribution formulae for England, the Department published 'Modernising Local Government Finance: A Green Paper' in September 2000. The Green Paper includes an assessment of the existing formulae against our aims for a good local government finance system. In particular, the Green Paper argues that the formulae:
Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will conduct a review of urban capacity studies completed by local authorities to ensure that they comply with the guidelines set out by his Department; and if he will place a freeze on MDA approvals pending the outcome of this review. 
Ms Keeble: Local planning authorities are responsible for undertaking the urban housing capacity studies required by our planning guidance for housing (PPG3). We expect these studies to lead to updated development plans that give priority to reusing brownfields before developing greenfields. All proposals for housing development should be tested against the policies set out in PPG3 and local authorities are directed to consult the Secretary of State before giving planning permission for major housing developments on greenfield land allocated in their plans.
9 Jul 2001 : Column: 330W
Dr. Whitehead: The average total debt (long and short term) for English local authorities, at 31 March 2000, was about £94 million. This figure covers London boroughs, Metropolitan districts, Unitary authorities, Shire counties and Shire districts.
Basingstoke and Deane
Bath and North East Somerset
Bracknell Forest Unitary Authority
City of London
Epsom and Ewell
9 Jul 2001 : Column: 331W
Reigate and Banstead
Vale of White Horse
West Berkshire UA
9 Jul 2001 : Column: 332W
Cambridgeshire Police Authority
Dorset Police Authority
Kent Police Authority
Suffolk Police Authority
Sussex Police Authority
Wiltshire Police Authority
Dartmoor National Park Authority
Exmoor National Park Authority
Lake District National Park
North York Moors National Park Authority
Northumberland National Park Authority
Peak National Park
The Broads Authority
Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority