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Road Schemes

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will list the road schemes costing more than £5 million initiated in England and Wales since 1997 which are complete. [19755]

Mr. Jamieson: The following information covers England only. The provision of road schemes within Wales is a matter for the National Assembly for Wales.

The following road schemes in England costing more than £5 million have been completed as a result of decisions made since 1997 to begin construction on them:









Further trunk and local roads are currently under construction and will be opening over the course of the next two years and many more will follow as schemes accepted as part of local transport settlements or which have been added to the Government's targeted programme of improvements complete their statutory procedures.

A41

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (1) what assessment he has made of the Highways Agency's plans to cut back vegetation obscuring vision at the A41 roundabout at High Street and Stocklake, Aylesbury; [19706]

Mr. Jamieson: I have asked the Chief Executive of the Highways Agency, Tim Matthews, to write to the hon. Member about these operational issues affecting the A41 trunk road.

Letter from Tim Matthews to Mr. David Lidington, dated 3 December 2001:



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Fire Authorities (Radio Systems)

Mr. Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what advice his Department issues to fire authorities on the need to ensure interoperability of radio systems with other emergency services. [19704]

Dr. Whitehead: There is existing Home Office guidance on inter-agency communications at the scene of operational incidents.

The fire service in England and Wales is currently procuring replacement wide area radio systems. The agreed operational requirement is that replacement systems must support effective inter-working between neighbouring fire brigades and must also provide an effective and continuing interface with the police and with the emergency ambulance service.

Roads (SSAs)

Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will list the changes made to the (a) measurements and (b) methodology used for determining the length of roads as used for the purposes of standard spending assessments for local authorities since 1997. [19547]

Dr. Whitehead: In calculating Standard Spending Assessments (SSAs) for 1996–97 to 2001–02 the lengths of roads used have been estimated from local authority returns, to the Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (DTLR). Over this period DTLR (or its predecessor Departments) has made no change to the method of determining the lengths of minor roads. The Department does not hold central information on whether individual authorities have changed the basis they use for recording these lengths. Starting with the calculation of 2001–02 SSAs DTLR's Transport Statistics Roads Division (TSR) have used Geographical Information System (GIS) data to make comparisons between data from local authorities and their own major road network data, ironing out differences between the two, such as the elimination of the double-counting of dual carriageways by some authorities. This exercise has now been completed in time for the 2002–03 SSAs and the major road length estimates for this settlement are based on these data. No announcement has yet been made regarding the basis for minor road lengths to be used in 2002–03 SSAs. This will form part of the forthcoming consultation announcement on the provisional local government finance settlement.

Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will publish the total mileage of roads for each local authority

3 Dec 2001 : Column: 33W

used for the purposes of calculating standard spending assessments for each year since 1997 including the figures for 2001–02. [19548]

Dr. Whitehead: The total length of roads, in kilometres, comprising of principal and minor roads, used to calculate SSAs for each local authority for the years 1996–97 to 2002–02 has been placed in the House of Commons Library.

Road Safety (Horses)

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will make a statement on road safety and horses; and whether he plans regulating changes on this subject. [20109]

Mr. Jamieson: We have no plans for regulations affecting the safety of horseriders. We are, however, concerned that road users should understand their vulnerability and give them due consideration on the road. We are considering publicity to increase public awareness of the need to be careful around horses.

Air Traffic

Sandra Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what his estimate is of the downturn in transatlantic air traffic in the period between September 2001 and September 2002. [17668]

Mr. Jamieson [holding answer 30 November 2001]: UK and US airlines have reduced capacity on some transatlantic routes since 11 September. Scheduled UK and US carriers have filed proposals with my Department which indicate plans to operate 0.7 per cent. fewer frequencies in summer 2002 compared with 2001.

Radioactive Material

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how many crashes occurred involving (a) road vehicles, (b) aircraft and (c) trains carrying radioactive material in the UK in each year from 1997 to date. [20169]

Mr. Jamieson: Information on accidents and incidents involving the transport of radioactive material in the UK is published annually. The reports covering events in each year have been placed in the House Library.

Rural White Paper

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions, pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Stroud (Mr. Drew) of 27 November 2001, Official Report, columns 859–60W, on the rural White Paper, if the £239 million allocated for rural bus service improvements includes the £15 million in the parish transport fund. [20139]

Ms Keeble: The £239 million allocated for rural transport over the next three years includes the Countryside Agency's £15 million parish transport fund.

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions, pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Stroud (Mr. Drew) of 27 November 2001, Official Report, columns 859–60W, on

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the rural White Paper, which changes ensure the revised PPG13 will develop the role of market towns as hubs for jobs and services. [20144]

Ms Keeble: Our new planning policy guidance for transport (PPG13) sets out how local authorities in rural areas should plan for new development to be primarily sited at the most accessible locations in the local area. In remote locations, well away from large urban areas most development, including for jobs and services, should be located at local service centres. These centres will include market towns and are expected to be the focal points for services in the countryside. Local service centres should be designated in the development plans prepared by local authorities. These plans form the framework within which decisions on proposals for development are taken.

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions, pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Stroud (Mr. Drew) of 27 November 2001, Official Report, columns 859–60W, on the rural White Paper, if he will list (a) the organisations which received funds and (b) the amount that they received to fund improvements for rural bus services in 2001–02; and what proportion of the fund has been allocated to improve rural bus services in 2002–03. [20027]

Ms Keeble: Local authorities have received the following amounts in rural bus grant to date in 2001–02 through the rural bus subsidy grant and rural bus challenge schemes.

Local AuthorityPayments to date (£)
Bath & NE Somerset71,492
Bedfordshire512,742
Blackburn with Darwen19,933
Bracknell Forest20,450
Bristol5,410
Buckinghamshire286,599
Cambridgeshire706,378
Cheshire313,006
Cornwall623,684
Cumbria1,196,144
Darlington43,219
Derbyshire364,752
Devon990,684
Dorset717,498
Durham540,339
East Riding619,349
East Sussex966,752
Essex1,440,828
Gloucestershire698,377
Greater Manchester67,585
Halton6,479
Hampshire1,320,239
Hartlepool15,081
Herefordshire508,519
Hertfordshire484,304
Isle of Wight81,351
Kent851,887
Lancashire780,725
Leicestershire776,664
Lincolnshire1,067,597
Medway78,189
Merseyside42,636
Middlesbrough5,895
Milton Keynes166,120
NE Lincolnshire38,124
Norfolk1,500,147
North Lincolnshire344,434
North Somerset67,858
North Yorkshire1,213,987
Northamptonshire701,499
Northumberland779,618
Nottinghamshire652,363
Oxfordshire828,512
Peterborough73,518
Plymouth4,983
Redcar & Cleveland48,857
Rutland54,657
Shropshire801,616
Somerset519,856
South Gloucestershire171,095
South Yorkshire608,689
Staffordshire807,230
Stockton-on-Tees29,280
Stoke-on-Trent4,836
Suffolk1,253,255
Surrey949,883
Swindon49,848
Telford and The Wrekin67,518
Thurrock116,499
Torbay117,725
Tyne and Wear693,737
Warrington53,313
Warwickshire668,483
West Berkshire118,806
West Midlands44,335
West Sussex517,826
West Yorkshire705,668
Wiltshire1,160,774
Windsor & Maidenhead45,214
Wokingham69,216
Worcestershire1,102,672
York65,444
Total 33,442,284

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A total of £68 million will be available for rural bus grants in 2002–03. Allocations of rural bus subsidy grant to local authorities for 2002–03 and the decisions on the 2001 rural bus challenge competition will be announced shortly.

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions, pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Stroud (Mr. Drew), of 27 November 2001, Official Report, columns 859–60W, on the rural White Paper, what the criteria are for mandatory 50 per cent. rate relief for non-agricultural enterprises on farms; and if he will make a statement. [20142]

Dr. Whitehead: Under the Rating (Former Agricultural Premises and Rural Shops) Act 2001, 50 per cent. mandatory rate relief is available to any rateable non- domestic property with a rateable value of no more than £6,000. This is provided that it consists wholly or mainly of land or buildings which were subject to the agricultural exemption from rates for at least 183 days during the one year period immediately preceding the date on which the rate relief scheme came into effect. The scheme came into effect in England on 15 August 2001. It has yet to be commenced in Wales, which is a matter for the National Assembly for Wales. The scheme will run for five years from commencement, when it will be reviewed and can be extended by Order. If the scheme is extended, each property will be eligible for relief up to five years from when it first received the relief.

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions, pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Stroud (Mr. Drew), of 27 November 2001, Official Report, columns 859–60W,

3 Dec 2001 : Column: 36W

on the rural White Paper, what changes have been made to ensure the revised PPG7 will develop farm diversification. [20148]

Ms Keeble: We revised our planning policies for the countryside (PPG7) to reflect the importance this Government attach to effective planning for sustainable farm diversification projects. Local planning authorities are expected to be supportive of well-conceived farm diversification schemes for business purposes that are consistent in their scale with their rural location.

PPG7 should be taken into account by local authorities in preparing their development plans which form the framework within which decisions on proposals for development are taken. The guidance may also be material to decisions on individual planning applications and appeals.

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions, pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Stroud (Mr. Drew), of 27 November 2001, Official Report, columns 859–60W, on the rural White Paper, how many new affordable homes in rural settlements were occupied in 2001–02. [20033]

Ms Keeble: Information is not available in the form requested.

New affordable homes in rural settlements in England with a population of 3,000 or less are funded by the Housing Corporation and local authorities or through the planning system without public subsidy.

From 1 April to 31 October 2001, 379 affordable homes in rural settlements were approved, and 270 were completed, under the Housing Corporation's Approved Development Programme. Local authorities approved 142 units and completed 82 units in the same period.


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