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Mr. Michael Jabez Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions when he next plans to meet motor industry leaders to discuss the Government's policy on fuel emissions. [20564]

Mr. Jamieson [holding answer 11 December 2001]: DTLR Ministers regularly meet motor industry leaders to discuss fuel emissions and have a number of upcoming meetings including a seminar on the Powering Future Vehicles consultation paper on 30 January 2002. The Department's officials are also in regular contact with representatives of both the motor and oil industries in developing policy in relation to motor vehicle emissions and fuel quality.

Abandoned Vehicles

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will publish an impact assessment of the Statutory Off Road Notification Scheme on the number of abandoned vehicles in England. [22469]

Mr. Jamieson: The reasons for the increase in abandoned vehicles are largely economic with the significant fall in the price of scrap metal, and the price of second-hand vehicles has been falling steadily. The SORN regulations are not the reason behind the increase in the number of abandoned vehicles and there are no plans to publish an impact assessment.

Local Government Finance

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions, pursuant to his oral statement of 4 December 2001, Official Report, columns 167–70, what measures of price increases he took into account in assessing the real-terms increases to which he referred. [22748]

Dr. Whitehead: The gross domestic product (GDP) deflator was used to assess the real-terms increase in grant since the Government took office referred to in the statement on the proposals for the funding of local government revenue expenditure next year. A series for the GDP deflator in index form is produced by the Treasury from data provided by the Office for National Statistics. This series is extended to future years by applying Treasury forecasts of the inflation rate. The series allows for the effects of changes in price (inflation) to be removed from a time series.

Mr. Salter: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will announce details of the capital allocations to local authorities through the single capital pot for 2002–03. [23034]

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Mr. Raynsford: I am today announcing the first all-purpose capital allocations to local authorities through the single capital pot for 2002–03. A total of £2.3 billion will be provided in this first year of the pot. This is more than double the amount authorities received last year in basic credit approvals (BCAs).

Today's announcement reflects the substantial increases in public resources provided for local government investment in Spending Review 2000 and demonstrates our real commitment to delivering first rate public services.

These funds will not be ring-fenced for any particular capital investment. While the pot is made up of allocations from housing, transport, education and health budgets, councils will be free to make their own decisions about investing their capital funds locally. This delivers to councils more autonomy and flexibility to invest according to the priorities of the local community.

The single capital pot also includes a new discretionary element. Five per cent. of the total resources available through the pot have been distributed to authorities on the basis of their performance in delivering the relevant services and the quality of their strategic asset management planning. Its purpose is to encourage and reward the effective use of a council's physical assets and new capital investment in supporting delivery of quality services and achieving better value for local people.

Detailed tables, showing the total service allocations and the discretionary allocations for each authority, have been placed in the Library of the House. These include allocations that form part of the local transport capital settlement announced today. In parallel, housing authorities will today receive details of their housing allocations and a copy of these has also been placed in the Library.

Regional Assembly (South-east)

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how many written representations he has received from people in the New Forest, East constituency expressing support for an elected regional assembly in the south-east of England in the past 12 months. [22801]

Dr. Whitehead: None.

Social Exclusion

Andrew Selous: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (1) if he will list the competitive grant scheme, administered by the Department and its agencies, open in each year since 1997 to organisations in the voluntary and community sector for the purposes of tackling social exclusion and, for each scheme in each year (a) the number of applicants, (b) the number of successful applicants, (c) the total of grants awarded, (d) the number of pages in the application form and (e) if the grant can be used to fund the core costs of the applicant organisation; [22426]

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Ms Keeble [holding answer 12 December 2001]: The information requested can be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Local Transport Capital Settlement

Mrs. Humble: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will announce details of the local transport capital settlement for 2002–03. [22869]

Mr. Spellar: Local Transport Plans (LTPs) are the cornerstone of our integrated transport policy at local level. They require authorities to take a longer term, more strategic view than was previously the case. In return we provide greater certainty over the funding authorities can expect for the next five years.

Last December we announced an £8.4 billion package over five years for schemes to help deliver integrated transport at the local level. As part of this, we gave authorities an indication of the funding they could expect to receive in 2002–03. The total funding available for 2002–03 is £1.58 billion, compared with the £1.36 billion available for 2001–02. As announced last year, annual funding is projected to rise further to reach £1.9 billion per year in 2004–05 and 2005–06.

Today we are announcing the firm allocations each authority will receive for 2002–03. We are providing more for each authority than we had previously indicated which will allow them to take forward more of the smaller scale improvements that can make a big difference at local level. These include improvements to public transport, schemes to make local roads safer, less congested and better maintained, and measures to encourage cycling and walking. In addition we are accepting for funding a further 23 major local transport schemes, to add to the 69 major schemes accepted last year.

Copies of the press notice incorporating a list of allocations for individual local transport plans have been placed in the Library of the House. Details have also been sent to hon. Members.

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Transport (East England)

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he has considered the recommendations of the East of England Local Government Conference following completion of the Cambridge to Huntingdon multi-modal study; and if he will make a statement. [22870]

Ms Keeble: My right hon. Friend the Minister for Transport has today written to the Head of Planning and Transportation at the East of England Local Government Conference and has placed a copy of his letter in the House of Commons Library.

The multi-modal studies programme is a key element of our policies for integrated transport. It applies rigorously the principles which underpin our 10 Year Plan, matching solutions to severe transport problems by assessing all the options across different transport modes.

The Cambridge to Huntingdon multi-modal study has looked in depth at the problems caused by the congested A14. These include unreliable journey times, affecting freight and public transport, as well as motorists, and accidents and congestion on other unsuitable local roads.

The study, recommended in full by the East of England Local Government Conference, called for:

We welcome the solutions proposed by the study. They present an integrated package of measures to improve conditions for travel in the corridor between Huntingdon and Cambridge. I am particularly encouraged that many local transport elements, such as a new guided bus system, park and ride, bus priority and improved walking and cycling facilities have been included in the recommendations. These offer the prospect of great benefits to the city of Cambridge and the surrounding area.

Some concerns have been expressed about the potential environmental impacts of the proposed road improvements. The provision of additional road capacity should only be considered after measures for making better use of existing capacity have been fully explored. In this case, however, we believe that public transport investment alone could not meet the objectives of the study. We are satisfied that a new alignment for the A14 south of Huntingdon would secure balancing environmental benefits by taking through traffic off the highly intrusive viaducts through Huntingdon.

The multi-modal study process does not pre-empt any of the other statutory processes. More detailed work is now required to develop and appraise individual proposals. We are inviting Cambridgeshire County Council to come forward with a full appraisal of the early phases of the guided bus project within six months and to explore further with the Strategic Rail Authority, Railtrack and the train operators the viability of the third phase alongside an existing railway line.

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We have also asked the County Council to develop, in consultation with district councils and others, local transport proposals for measures to support public transport, cycling and walking. The proposals will need to be developed in consultation with local people whose commitment to reducing congestion and pollution in the area will be essential to the success of the Preferred Plan.

In addition, the Highways Agency will commence preparatory work on the trunk road elements in the Preferred Plan with a view to adding the scheme to the Targeted Programme of Improvements in the near future. I am also aware that the recently published Cambridge Implementation Study has set out ideas for substantial public and private investment in transport and other infrastructure and I envisage that the partnership which supports that study should be a good foundation for further co-ordinated working to implement CHUMMS.

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