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Train Passenger Information

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what measures he is taking to improve real time information for passengers on Britain's railways; and if he will make a statement. [4878]

Mr. Jamieson: We are working with transport operators, public authorities and technology providers to improve travel information on all modes. Transport Direct, a programme described in the 10 Year Transport Plan, includes real-time train operating information by 2003.

Railtrack are currently developing a "Real Time Train Movements" system, at the behest of the Association of Train Operating Companies which could feed information

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to all who need it. The Strategic Rail Authority are currently considering what resources they have to contribute to the funding of the system.

Transport Infrastructure Projects

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions which new transport infrastructure projects initiated since May 1997 will be open before June 2006. [4871]

Mr. Jamieson: Details of relevant schemes are given under the headings of "Trunk Road Schemes"; "Railways"; and "Local Transport Major Schemes". For the purpose of this answer I have defined "initiated" as meaning that formal approval to these schemes has been given since May 1997.

Trunk road schemes

Following the Roads Review the Government set out a targeted programme of trunk road improvements in 1998. The following TPI schemes will be open by June 2006:

A1Willowburn-Denwick Improvement
A6Clapham Bypass
A6 Great Glen Bypass
A11 Roudham Heath-Attleborough Dualling
A27Polegate Bypass
A41Aston Clinton Bypass
A43 Whitfield Turn-Brackley Hatch Improvement
A43Silverstone Bypass
A43M40-B4031 Dualling
A63Selby Bypass
A66Stainburn and Great Clifton Bypass
A500Basford, Hough, Shavington Bypasss
A650Bingley Relief Road
A1033Hedon Road Improvement, Hull

The following contracts are still to be let. The precise timing of the start of work will be a matter for the contractor. These schemes should also be open by 2006:

A5Nesscliffe Bypass
A6 Rothwell—Desborough Bypass
A6Rushden and Higham Ferrers Bypass
A10 Wadesmill-Colliers End Bypass
A21Lamberhurst Bypass
A46Newark-Lincoln Improvement
A120Stanstead Braintree
M25Junctions 12–15 Widening
A1(M)Ferrybridge to Hook Moor
A1(M)Wetherby to Walshford
A249Iwade—Queenborough Improvement
M60Junctions 5–8 (formerly M63 J6–9 Widening)

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Major new rail infrastructure projects initiated since May 1997 and due to open before June 2006 are:

Additionally, Channel Tunnel Rail Link Phases I and II have been given the go-ahead following the collapse of the original 1996 project; Phase I will be completed before June 2006.

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Because of the delegation of responsibility for scheme management in the privatised rail industry, this list does not cover the full range of infrastructure projects. Railtrack's Network Management Statement last year provides a fuller list of schemes.

Local Transport Major Schemes

Local transport major schemes are defined as local public and integrated transport schemes, local road schemes and local highway/bridge/street lighting maintenance schemes with a capital cost of over £5 million. The following schemes have been fully or provisionally approved for funding by the Government since May 1997. In all cases where Government funding is sought, a thorough appraisal of each scheme is undertaken before approval is given. According to the latest information provided by the local authorities concerned, work on all the schemes listed is expected to be completed by June 2006.

BarnsleyCoalfields Link Road Phases 2 and 3 (provisionally accepted)
BedfordshireA507 Ridgmont Bypass and Woburn Link
BirminghamMasshouse Circus
BradfordA641 Manchester Road Quality Bus Scheme
South Bradford Integrated Transport Improvements
Bradford City Centre Integrated Transport Scheme (provisionally accepted)
BrentStreet Lighting
BuckinghamshireA4146 Stoke Hammond and Linslade Bypass
CambridgeshireA142 Fordham Bypass
CheshireChester Deeside Transport System (provisionally accepted)
CumbriaCarlisle N. Development Route (provisionally accepted)
DarlingtonEastern Transport Corridor (provisionally accepted)
Derby CityDerby City Centre Integrated Transport Project
DevonBarnstable Western Bypass (provisionally accepted)
Shaldon Bridge
DoncasterA19 North Bridge Project
A6023 Denaby Main Diversion
A638 Great Northern Road Quality Bus Corridor
DurhamDawdon to Seaham Town Centre Link Road
A689 Sedgefield to Wynard Improvements (provisionally accepted)
A688 Wheatley Hill to Bowburn Link (provisionally accepted)
EssexA131 Great Leighs Bypass
A130 Essex
GloucestershireGloucester South West Bypass
Greater Manchester PTAMetrolink Vehicles (additional capacity)
Leigh Guided Busway (provisionally accepted)
HampshireSouth Hampshire Rapid Transit Light Rail Fareham to Gosport
HertfordshireBaldock Bypass
IslingtonStreet Lighting
KentA206 South Thames-side Development Route—Stage 4
Fastrack—Phase 1
East Kent Access Phase 1 (provisionally accepted)
LeedsLeeds Inner Road Stage 7
East Leeds Link Road
Leeds Supertram
East Leeds Quality Bus Project
LeicestershireAshby Bypass Stage 2
Earl Shilton Bypass (provisionally accepted)
A607 Rearsby Bypass (provisionally accepted)
LincolnshireA1073 Spalding to Eye Improvement (provisionally accepted)
Manchester CityUrban Traffic Control Major Scheme
Manchester Metrolink Extensions
Manchester Street Lighting
Transport Interchange
MedwayA289 Gillingham Northern Bypass—Noise Insulation
Merseyside PTAAllerton Interchange (provisionally accepted)
Newcastle upon TyneWest Central Route
Quayside Public Transport
NorfolkBroome Ellingham Bypass
Nar Ouse Regeneration Project (provisionally accepted)
North YorkshireScarborough Integrated Transport Scheme
Nottingham CityNottingham Express Transit—Light Rail
NottinghamshireA617 Mansfield Ashfield Regeneration Route (provisionally accepted)
A6002/A6007 Coventry Lane Improvement
A617 Rainworth Bypass
PlymouthNorthern Corridor Major Public Transport Scheme
PortsmouthPortsmouth Maintenance Project
Maintenance of the A2030 Eastern Road
RotherhamA631 W. Bawtry Road Improvement (provisionally accepted)
SalfordA6042 Manchester/Salford Inner Ring Road
SandwellWest Bromwich Town Centre Strategy
Cradley Heath Town Centre (provisionally accepted)
SeftonPark Lane Improvement Scheme
SheffieldInner Relief Road—Stages 2 and 3 (provisionally accepted)
ShropshireA53 Hodnet Bypass
SomersetBridgwater Northern Distributor Road
NW Taunton Package (provisionally accepted)
SouthendA13 Passenger Transport Corridor
StaffordshireBurntwood Bypass
Biddulph Inner Bypass (provisionally accepted)
Rugeley Bypass (provisionally accepted)
Street Lighting
Stockton on TeesSouth Stockton Link
Stoke on TrentHanley Bentilee Link (provisionally accepted)
Street Lighting
SuffolkStowmarket Relief Road (provisionally accepted)
SunderlandSouthern Radial Route (provisionally accepted)
Street Lighting (PFI)
SurreySchool Bus Initiative (provisionally accepted)
TamesideThe Glossup Spur (provisionally accepted)
Tyne and Wear PTAStephenson Corridor Jobs Link
Sunderland Direct
Track Dualling
Scotswood Road Improvement (provisionally accepted)
West SussexCrawley Fastway
WakefieldHemsworth—A1 Link Road (provisionally accepted)
Glasshoughton Coalfields Link Road (provisionally accepted)
Street Lighting
WalsallStreet Lighting
WarringtonUrban Traffic Management and Control
Bridgefoot Environment Enhancement (provisionally accepted)
WarwickshireNuneaton Development Project
Barford Bypass (provisionally accepted)
Rugby Western Bypass (provisionally accepted)
West Midlands PTAOuter Circle/Radial Routes
Hagley Road Bus Showcase
Metro Line Birmingham City Centre (provisionally view)(7)
Metro Line Wednesbury-Brierley Hill (provisionally view)(7)
WolverhamptonCentre Access (provisionally accepted)
WorcestershireWyre Piddle Bypass

(7) A provisional view on the economic appraisal prior to the promoters seeking the necessary powers under the TWA Act. Final approval will

depend on whether an updated appraisal confirms the scheme represents good value for money and satisfactory funding arrangements being made.


Where provisional approval has been given, the Government have indicated that it will be prepared to release funding subject to particular conditions being met—usually completion of statutory approval processes, further work on the appraisal case or funding being secured from a third party. Where, for example, a scheme requires statutory powers from the Secretary of State under the Transport and Works Act 1992, we must carefully consider all objections and other representations received before determining the application, and this may involve the holding of a public inquiry. Completion dates for provisionally approved schemes will depend on the satisfactory compliance with the conditions laid down and the outcome of applications for statutory approval, but subject to these the best current estimate is that the listed schemes will be completed by June 2006.

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In addition to the major schemes listed, my Department expects to approve further bids for major local transport schemes as part of future local transport capital settlements.

All local transport authorities in England, outside London, have also received a block of funding for local transport schemes costing less than £5 million. As local authorities have discretion over which schemes to progress during the lifetime of their local transport plans, it is not possible to list the schemes to be supported by the Government in this way.

Lawrie Quinn: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what plans he has to speed up the processing of major infrastructure projects in the planning system. [6446]

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Mr. Prisk: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what plans he has to reform the system of public inquiries into significant transport projects; and what research his Department has commissioned into such reform. [5497]

Mr. Byers: We need a modern and fair process for making decisions about major infrastructure projects, such as new airports, runways, rail links and roads. These projects are essential for our economic future and bring benefits through better services but they are also controversial because they can affect the lives of people living near them.

I am therefore announcing today a package of measures to streamline the procedures and reduce unnecessary delays while safeguarding public consultation and

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involvement. Delay is costly and perpetuates uncertainty. Lengthy inquiries make it difficult and costly for people to be properly involved.

The package comprises national policy statements and an improved regional framework for considering individual projects, new parliamentary procedures for approving projects, improved public inquiry procedures and reform of the arrangements for compulsory purchase and compensation.

We propose that up-to-date statements of Government policy should be in place before major projects are considered in the planning system. This will help to reduce unnecessary debate at inquiry and has the potential to save a significant amount of inquiry time. The nature and approach of policy statements may vary from case to case. There would normally be prior public consultation on them so that people have the chance to comment and make an input to the policy proposed.

Last year, we put in place revised arrangements for preparing Regional Planning Guidance (RPG), incorporating regional transport strategies. The process of reviewing RPG has been completed in two regions and is well advanced in another five. PRG will help to provide greater certainty as regards the broad location of new development and the need for infrastructure improvements at the regional level.

These arrangements will be complemented and enhanced by the findings of the multi-modal studies of transport corridors currently under way. These will feed in to reviews of the transport elements of RPG during 2002–03. Under our new arrangements for RPG preparation we have enhanced the openness and inclusiveness of the process, including improved consultation and the chance for people to have their say, with a public examination before an independent panel.

Approval in principle for major infrastructure projects should be a matter for Parliament. Procedures will be developed which allow that. These will give people the right to object before Parliament debates the issues. Detailed aspects will be examined at a subsequent public inquiry if Parliament approves the project. We want the overall process for deciding projects to be shorter and more focused while ensuring that people affected have a full right to make their views known.

We shall introduce legislation to achieve this when a suitable opportunity arises. We shall consult beforehand on proposals for the details of the new procedures. In the meantime, we are initiating a fundamental review of the Transport and Works Act 1992, the effectiveness of whose procedures is essential to delivering rail, tram and other forms of infrastructure falling within its scope.

Public inquiries are and will remain an important feature of the planning process. They are a tried and tested way of exploring the issues in public and giving people the chance to make an input to decisions. We shall improve the procedures for dealing with major projects at inquiry by way of further changes over and above the streamlining measures we introduced for planning inquiries generally last August. These will include stricter time-tabling and more clearly focused terms of reference, supplemented by a range of measures to tackle issues more flexibly and manage the inquiry process better.

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In the light or responses to our 1999 consultation paper on streamlining the processing of major projects through the planning system, we also propose to add to inspectors' powers to deal with matters pre-inquiry. We do not intend to proceed with proposals to abolish the right of parties to cross-examine others. We shall bring forward new rules to implement the changes as soon as practicable. Similar changes will also be made where necessary for projects proceeding under other statutory regimes, such as the Highways Act 1980.

The implementation of major infrastructure projects sometimes depends on the compulsory acquisition of land. We propose to improve the operation of the compulsory purchase and compensation system so that it is more efficient, effective and fair. We are examining the compensation arrangements for people affected by proposed developments. The report of a fundamental review of the laws and procedures was published last year. The Law Commission have begun to look at how the legislation can be consolidated, codified and updated. We intend to make a policy statement on the way forward in the autumn. We shall also be publishing a new advice manual and good practice guide for everyone involved in the operation of the procedures.

A modern infrastructure system is essential to promote enterprise and competitiveness and underpin our economy. the measures I have announced today will help to get projects in place more quickly by streamlining the procedures and cutting unnecessary delay while ensuring that the process remains open and fair and democratically accountable.

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