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Road Accidents (Mobile Phones)

Mr. David Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will estimate the number of road accidents last year which were related to use of mobile phones by drivers. [32283]

Mr. Jamieson: The causes of road accidents can only be established through detailed investigation. Two research projects currently under way will help to establish the likely numbers of road traffic accidents involving mobile phones.

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Aviation Industry

Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what representations he has received regarding the requirement for aircraft to carry a Mode S transponder by March 2003; and if he will make a statement. [32284]

Mr. Jamieson: Although several European states intend to implement Mode S from March 2003, it is our intention to introduce Mode S within en-route and terminal airspace from March 2005. The introduction of Mode S in all remaining UK airspace will be delayed for a further three years to March 2008 to tie in with ICAO transponder carriage rule changes resulting in a single regulatory change.

The CAA is consulting appropriate user groups and published advanced information on the Government's Mode S proposals in an Aeronautical Information Circular (Number 88/2001) in December 2001. The Mode S and transponder carriage requirements will be subject to formal consultation and submission of a Regulatory Impact Assessment in due course.

Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what assessment he has made of the impact on recreational flying of requirements for aircraft to carry a Mode S transponder from March 2003. [32285]

Mr. Jamieson: In pursuing Mode S, the Government are conscious of the implications for all users and will only require Elementary Mode S Surveillance in the open Flight Information Region where the safety benefits are the prime consideration. Moreover, this requirement will not be made mandatory till 2008 to coincide with an ICAO transponder rule change, thereby resulting in a single regulatory change which will minimise the impact on recreational flying.

The CAA is consulting appropriate user groups and published advanced information on the Government's Mode S proposals in an Aeronautical Information Circular (Number 88/2001) in December 2001. The Mode S and transponder carriage requirements will be subject to formal consultation and submission of a Regulatory Impact Assessment in due course.

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what assistance he has given to the airline industry since the 11 September terrorist attacks. [32530]

Mr. Jamieson: The Government acted quickly to underwrite, on a temporary basis, third party war risk insurance for UK airlines and service providers to the airline industry. This is an initiative which has subsequently been widely copied elsewhere, and the UK has now extended the scheme to 20 March.

On Thursday 13 December 2001, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions announced a package of up to £40 million in financial assistance designed to compensate airlines for the closure of US, Israeli and central London airspace in the period immediately following the terrorist attacks. 12 claims for assistance under this scheme have been received and these are currently being examined. We expect to make payments shortly.

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Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what measures have been introduced since 11 September 2001 to improve security onboard aircraft and at airports. [32533]

Mr. Jamieson: Following the attacks on 11 September, heightened aviation security measures were introduced at all UK airports and for all airlines operating from the UK. Security still remains at an enhanced level. However, to divulge details of the measures would undermine their effectiveness.

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what measures have been introduced since 1997 to assist United Kingdom aviation; and if he will make a statement. [32532]

Mr. Jamieson: The Government are actively committed to the UK aviation industry. Since 1997 we have secured significant additional rights for UK carriers in a number of bilateral markets, such as Japan, India, South Africa and Singapore. We have also liberalised access to UK regional airports.

A number of large investment projects have been approved since 1997 at major UK airports. In addition we have provided that financially sound local authority owned airport companies can be removed from central government borrowing control. The companies operating Leeds-Bradford, Manchester, Newcastle and Norwich airports were removed from borrowing control with effect from 1 April 1999.

A public-private partnership has been established for National Air Traffic Services, to provide private sector finance and project management expertise for a major capital investment programme. The new air traffic control centre at Swanwick was successfully brought into operation on 27 January this year.

Later this year the Government are committed to issuing a White Paper on air transport, the first comprehensive policy statement in this area since the 1980s. It will be a wide-ranging document, setting out a policy framework for the future of aviation and airports in the UK, looking ahead 30 years.

Millennium Dome

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions who is responsible for paying the costs of maintenance of the millennium dome until the contract with Meridian Delta has been completed. [32806]

Ms Keeble: As owner, English Partnerships is responsible for maintenance of the dome until the proposed deal with Meridian Delta Ltd. has been concluded. All related costs will be recovered from eventual sale proceeds.

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what proportion of the proceeds of the sale of the millennium dome and the surrounding area will be returned to the National Lottery distribution fund; and if he will make a statement. [32807]

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Ms Keeble: An announcement will be made in due course on the division of proceeds from the sale of the dome and surrounding land, in the context of the deal to be concluded with Meridian Delta Ltd.

National Air Traffic Services

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what his estimate is of the income generated by the National Air Traffic Control Services in the period September 2001 to April 2002; and what the income was in the same period in 2000–01. [33356]

Mr. Jamieson: NATS income is reported each year in the published annual accounts of the company. The accounts for financial year 2001–02 will be published in summer 2002.

Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how much of the debenture of £247,697,000 has been repaid to his Department so far in 2001–02 by National Air Traffic Services Ltd; and how much is due to be repaid by 31 March 2002. [34770]

Mr. Spellar [holding answer 8 February 2002]: This debenture was repaid in full on the completion of the public private partnership for National Air Traffic Services Ltd on 26 July 2001.

Rail Provision (South Coast)

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (1) what plans he has for the provision of additional tracks on the single-line sections of the south coastal route from Portsmouth to Ashford; and what is (a) the status of, (b) the start date of and (c) the expected completion date for such works; [32993]

Mr. Byers: The Heads of Terms signed by the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) and GoVia for the South Central franchise include a commitment to development of south coast routes—upgrading of infrastructure facilities to allow faster trains to overtake slower stopping services on the south coastway. This work is included in the SRA's Strategic Plan as a development by 2010. Negotiations between the SRA and GoVia are continuing towards the new South Central franchise agreement.

Helicopter Flights

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what limits are set on the height of helicopters flying over residential areas of south-west London. [32842]

Mr. Jamieson: Civil helicopter operators are required to adhere to the Rules of the Air Regulations 1996. These require that helicopters should not fly within 500 feet of any person, vessel, vehicle or structure (except when landing or taking off) nor below 1,500 feet over a

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congested area unless written permission has been obtained from the Civil Aviation Authority, or in certain other specified circumstances. Police helicopters are broadly exempted. Airspace constraints require that the 1,500 feet restriction is disapplied by the CAA, in some areas. Rule 5(1)(c) further specifies an area of London, including parts of south-west London, over which a helicopter may not without permission fly below such height as would enable it to alight clear of the area in the event of failure of a power unit.

To assist helicopter operators in complying with these rules and in maintaining safe clearance from other air traffic, the CAA has published a chart showing helicopter routes in the London Control Zone, with relevant altitudes shown. Routes H3 and H7 overfly parts of south-west London at altitudes between 1,000 feet and 2,000 feet.

Policy on military helicopters is the responsibility of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence.

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what recent representations he has made to air traffic control for Heathrow concerning helicopters in south west London. [32841]

Mr. Jamieson: None.

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what controls are in place to limit the numbers of helicopters flying over Kew and Chiswick. [32843]

Mr. Jamieson: No such limits are set.


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