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TRANSPORT, LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND

THE REGIONS

Channel Tunnel Rail Link

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what plans he has for infrastructure works on the channel tunnel route to (a) alleviate the effects of and (b) reduce the number of

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conflicting moves in the area between Charing Cross and Hither Green; and what is the (i) status of, (ii) start date of and (iii) expected completion date for such works. [32995]

Mr. Byers: Significant capacity on the existing network will be freed up in 2007, when the channel tunnel rail link (CTRL) is planned to open. A new franchise, independent of the Connex South Eastern franchise, will offer fast domestic services on the CTRL from Kent, with

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new trains, and will contribute to major reduction in overcrowding. A franchise proposal for such services will be published later this year.

Rail Industry Group

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions, pursuant to his answer of 8 February 2002, Official Report, column 1189W, on Railtrack, if he will list those circumstances on which the Rail Industry Group has been called to meet to date; what changes have been made to the possessions regime; and if he will list the groups set up to tackle skills shortages, broken down by skills shortages to be tackled. [37580]

Mr. Jamieson: The Rail Industry Group meets on an ad hoc basis.

A Possessions Working Group, reporting to the Rail Industry Group (RIG), recommended changes to the possessions planning process to improve efficiency and flexibility. These were accepted. Detailed implementation is an operational matter for Railtrack.

Under the auspices of RIG three work streams covering all the main skills areas in the industry are being taken forward. These are manpower planning, training and development, and attraction recruitment and retention.

Job Advertisements

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will list the job advertisements placed by his Department in the last 12 months specifying where the advertisements were placed and the cost in each case. [39070]

Dr. Whitehead: This Department advertised 27 specialist and 190 generalist posts in the last 12 months. The advertisements were placed in a variety of national newspapers as well as in specialist journals and on a number of websites. The total cost of advertising was £175,000.

London Underground

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions which contractual safety cases for each infrastructure company have (a) been conducted and (b) will be conducted by the Health and Safety Executive relating to the London Underground PPP; what timetable for assessment is being followed; and if he will place in the Library all related documentation. [38974]

Mr. Jamieson: The Health and Safety Executive has accepted three successive versions of London Underground's safety case during the development of the tube modernisation plans. HSE is now considering a revised safety case covering the involvement of the private sector. The contractual safety cases of the infrastructure companies are interdependent on London Underground's safety case, and under the relevant regulations are not subject to HSE acceptance. However,

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HSE's assessment of the London Underground's case includes consideration of the adequacy of arrangements to control the infrastructure companies through their contractual safety cases.

I understand that completion of HSE's assessment will depend on how quickly LUL is able to respond satisfactorily to the issues raised so far. HSE will release its assessment and acceptance reports when an acceptance decision is taken.

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will (a) list the titles and (b) provide details of the length of the document supplied to his Department making up the contracts tendered by bidders Metronet and tube lines wishing to enter into a public-private partnership with London Underground. [38966]

Mr. Jamieson: London Underground is responsible for the development of PPP contracts for the modernisation of the underground's infrastructure.

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (1) what the anticipated (a) public resource, (b) public investment, (c) public resource supporting private investment and (d) private investment for the London Underground PPP is during (i) zero to seven and a half years, (ii) seven and a half years to the end of the 10-year Transport Plan period and (iii) the remainder of the contracts beyond the end of the 10-year Transport Plan period; [38983]

Mr. Jamieson: I refer the hon. Member to the statement my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State made to the House on 7 February 2002, Official Report, columns 1126–28.

London Underground is finalising contract terms with bidders on each of the three contracts. At the same time, the Government are discussing with Transport for London the greatly increased level of public grant with which it intends to support the tube modernisation programme. I understand that London Underground intends to make the contracts publicly available following completion of the competitions. Information on the expected level of investment and grant will also be made publicly available at that stage.

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what responsibility his Department (a) has had and (b) will have relating to the development of the PPP contracts for the modernisation of London Underground's infrastructure. [42116]

Mr. Jamieson: The Secretary of State has powers under section 212 of the Greater London Authority Act 1999 to designate contracts as PPP agreements.

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Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what powers he has to (a) place into administration and (b) take over work from the London Underground PPP Infracos; and under what circumstances he envisages it may be necessary to carry out such action. [42114]

Mr. Jamieson: In relation to (a), I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 4 March 2002, Official Report, column 85W.

In relation to (b), the Secretary of State has no such powers.

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions against what (a) test and (b) definition he measured the London Underground PPP to ensure that the plans did not involve privatisation. [42115]

Mr. Jamieson: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 4 March 2002, Official Report, column 88W.

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions, pursuant to his answer of 4 March 2002, Official Report, column 85W, on London Underground real estate and property, (a) by whom and (b) how the length of leases of infrastructure were measured as appropriate and necessary; what involvement is meant by the phrase, interest in the infrastructure; and by whom, and against what criteria, sufficient interest has been and will be measured. [42265]

Mr. Jamieson: Details of the leases required for the plans for the modernisation of the underground are a matter for London Underground.

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions, pursuant to his answer of 4 March 2002, Official Report, column 85W, on contracts with Infracos, what the safety changes and qualifying law changes will include; and what the reasons are for the change in level of financing for these changes in the final contracts. [42266]

Mr. Jamieson: London Underground is responsible for the development of contracts for the modernisation of the underground' infrastructure, including detailed provisions on safety change and qualifying change of law. I understand that London Underground concluded the revised level of and mechanism for financing would provide better value for money and a greater total of finance available for such changes. I understand that London Underground intends to make the contractual documentation publicly available following completion of the competitions.

Railway Industry

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions, pursuant to his answer of 25 February 2002, ref 35798, columns 790–91W, who has been appointed as compliance officer; and what contractual agreement exists between his Department and that person. [39164]

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Mr. Jamieson: My Department has appointed Roger Clarke, a retired senior civil servant and a Chartered Arbitrator, as Compliance Officer. He is engaged under the terms of a contract, the details of which are exempt information.

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how long he expects it will take to establish an SPV on the railways once the specification for a project has been agreed. [42185]

Mr. Byers: This will be determined by the commercial negotiations required in each particular case.

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions when he plans to make a statement on the future of Central Railway. [39420]

Mr. Spellar: Shortly.


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