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Local Government Finance

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how much was top sliced from funds allocated to the local transport plans for inclusion in the discretionary element of the Single Capital Pot. [24515]

Dr. Whitehead: The total Transport provision for local authority basic credit approvals (BCAs) for 2002–03 is £1,064 million. Of this, 5 per cent. (£53 million) has been top sliced to form part of the discretionary element of the single capital pot.

The discretionary element has been allocated to local authorities on the basis of performance following assessment of their plans for transport, housing and education and their capital investment and corporate asset management plans.

Drink Driving

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what assessment he has made of (a) the maximum permitted blood alcohol level for driving on public roads and (b) the penalties for breach thereof in each of the 15 EU member states; and what proposals for changes in either (a) or (b) have been made by (i) the Commission affecting all EU member states, (ii) the United Kingdom Government affecting the United Kingdom only and (iii) other national Governments affecting their individual countries. [24984]

Mr. Jamieson: The Government have been keeping the blood alcohol content (BAC) limit under consideration but have not made any proposals to change it. The Review of Road Traffic Penalties consultation contained some proposals to increase penalties for drink driving offences but no final decisions have yet been made on these.

In the European Union three member states in addition to the United Kingdom have a BAC limit of 80mg alcohol per 100ml of blood; these are Luxembourg, Ireland and Italy. We do not have a systematic comparison of anti- drink-driving enforcement measures in other countries. Member states have tended to develop different alcohol detection procedure, penalty regimes and approaches to publicity, education and rehabilitation. These reflect their

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own national legislation and the capacity of the police and medical authorities in each country to conduct alcohol tests.

The European Commission adopted a recommendation on 17 January 2001 which proposed harmonisation of the BAC level at 50mg or below, as well as other aspects of control but not penalties. Such a measure is not binding on the member states.

I am not currently aware of proposals for changes in other member states but some countries have been considering measures such as lower limits for younger drivers.

Planning Applications

Martin Linton: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how many Article 14 notices have been issued on planning applications before Wandsworth borough council in (a) 1995, (b) 1997, (c) 1998, (d) 1999, (e) 2000 and (f) 2001. [25847]

Ms Keeble: I regret that comprehensive information prior to April 1999 is not available. No Article 14 directions were issued to the London borough of Wandsworth between April and December 1999. Three Article 14 directions were issued in 2000 and five were issued in 2001.


Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what plans he has to introduce (a) a minimum age for applicants for a taxi driver's licence and (b) a minimum period of years in which an applicant for a taxi driver's licence has to have held a driving licence. [25122]

Ms Keeble: In England (outside London) and Wales, the legislation governing taxi licensing does not stipulate a minimum age which applicants must have reached in order to be granted a taxi driver licence. We do not have any plans to introduce a minimum age limit. Such an applicant must, however, have held a full driver licence for at least 12 months.

Landing Slots

Mr. David Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions when his Department will announce a determination on the application for a Public Service Obligation protection for the slots used for air services between Inverness and Gatwick. [24396]

Mr. Jamieson: We are continuing to analyse the application for a Public Service Obligation (PSO) for the Inverness—Gatwick route within a more general review of policy on the protection of London airport slots for regional services. We will announce the decision on the PSO application as soon as practicable.

Traffic Wardens

Mark Tami: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what guidance he gives to local authorities on the employment of traffic wardens. [25142]

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Mr. Jamieson: Local authorities are responsible for the employment and conduct of their staff, including parking attendants whose sole role is to enforce parking restrictions in contrast to police traffic wardens who may undertake other traffic management duties as well. For authorities adopting decriminalised parking enforcement (DPE) powers under the Road Traffic Act 1991, Local Authority Circular 1/95 (Welsh Office Circular 26/95) "Guidance on Decriminalised Parking Enforcement Outside London" includes a section dealing with the duties, conduct and training of parking attendants. The employment by an authority adopting DPE powers of former police traffic wardens is a matter for settlement between the local authority, the police and the employees concerned and will be covered by Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations. Guidance on parking in London is now the responsibility of the Mayor.

Community Strategies

Mr. Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (1) what steps he has taken to require community strategies prepared by local authorities under section 4 of the Local Government Act 2000 to be amended; and which strategies were affected and for what reason; [24922]

Dr. Whitehead: Every principal local authority is under the duty to prepare a community strategy. The Government's statutory guidance on "Preparing Community Strategies" (DETR December 2000) explains that the timetable for the development of the community strategy and its contents are at the discretion of each local authority in consultation with its partners and local people. Through discussion with the local community, they will be best placed to prioritise local needs and devise the most effective means of delivering them. Accordingly, the Government will not be imposing a timetable for preparing strategies nor do the Government intend to vet them or require councils to amend them. Proposals for a revised Best Value Performance Indicator on community strategies for 2002–03 were set out in a recent consultation paper "Best Value Performance Indicators 2002–03: Consultation"—DTLR November 2001. Local authorities' performance against these indicators are published. The Government will announce their conclusions on the consultation soon.

Multi-Modal Studies

Mr. Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he

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will list by location the number of Multi-Modal Studies commissioned by his Department; and what the anticipated timescale for their completion is. [24924]

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Mr. Jamieson: A list of the Multi-Modal Studies and when they are expected to report to the respective Regional Planning Bodies are set out in the table.

Tranche 1 contains 11 studies which commenced in 1999–2000

Multi-modal studyDate expected to report
Access to HastingsReported December 2000 Decision announced in July 2001
Cambridge to Huntingdon (A14)Reported 20 August 2001 Decision announced in December 2001
South East Manchester (Stockport, Manchester airport Link West, Poynton)Reported September 2001
West Midlands Area (M5/M6 and M42 between M40 and M6)Reported October 2001
West Midlands to North West (M6)Early 2002
A453 (M1 to J24 (Nottingham)Early 2002
Tyneside Area (A1/A19)Early 2002
South and West Yorkshire Motorway Box (M1 J30 to A1 West Yorks/M18/M62 and A1(M)Early 2002
North/South Movements in East Midlands (M1 Junctions 21 to 30)Spring 2002
London to South West and South Wales (A303, M4)Spring/summer 2002
ORBIT- Transport Solutions around London (M25)Summer/autumn 2002

Tranche 2 contains eight studies which commenced in 2000–01

Multi-modal studyDate expected to report
Hull (East/West) Corridor (A63 and A1033 to Port of Hull)Spring 2002
A1 (North of Newcastle)Spring 2002
London to Ipswich (A12)Spring 2002
South Coast (Southampton to Folkestone Coastal Corridor)—(M27, A27 and A259)Spring/summer 2002
M60 Junction 12–18 (West to North Manchester)Summer 2002
London to South Midlands (A1, M1, M11, A5 and A421)Autumn 2002
London to Reading (M4)Autumn 2002
West Midlands to East Midlands (A42/M42 to M6 Corridor and M69 and A38)April 2003

Tranche 3 contain three studies (Norwich to Peterborough (A47)), A34 North from Southampton and A52 Corridor (Clifton Bridge to A1 (Bingham)). We expect these to commence in 2001–02 and they are expected to report in 2004.

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