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Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what recent assessment he has made of the threat to buildings and subterranean structures in London posed by sinking ground levels. 
Ms Keeble: The intensity of subsidence reported in the press is very minor and is unlikely to cause damage. It is several orders of magnitude less than that experienced in the coalfields and damage is much more likely to occur from shrinking and swelling of clay subsoils in London than from subsidence at the level reported.
Subsidence from tunnelling operations is well known and it is taken into account in the design of tunnelling operations. Where necessary, such operations include mitigation measures to reduce the effects of subsidence to below the level likely to cause damage. The levels
20 Mar 2002 : Column 356W
Ms Oona King: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will place in the Library copies of the responses to the Housing Green Paper "Quality and Choice: A Decent Home For All" that made reference to the right to buy. 
Ms Keeble: Details of responses to the Housing Green Paper are set out in "Quality and Choice: A decent home for all. Summary of Responses". This is already available in the Library or can be freely downloaded from the DTLR website at the following address: http:// www.housing.dtlr.gov.uk/information/consult/responses/ summary/pdf/greenpap.pdf.
168 responses made reference to the right to buy. Arrangements are being made for copies of these responses to be collated and placed in the Library, except where the authors requested that their comments should not be released.
Ms Oona King: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how many former local authority properties sold to tenants under the right to buy scheme have subsequently been bought back by those local authorities in each Government Office region (a) in each year since 1980 and (b) in each quarter since April 1999. 
|Government office region|||||||||
|Yorkshire and the Humber||0||0||0||0|
|199899||April to June 1999||July to September 1999||October to December 1999||January to March 2000|
|Government office region|||||||||||
|Yorkshire and the Humber||26||2||1||12||4|
|April to June 2000||July to September 2000||October to December 2000||January to March 2001||April to June 2001||July to September 2001|
|Government office region|||||||||||||
|Yorkshire and the Humber||28||9||37||20||1||13|
20 Mar 2002 : Column 357W
Ms Oona King: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Local Authorities (Capital Finance) (Amendment) Regulations 1999 (S.I. No. 501) in encouraging local authorities to buy back properties previously sold to tenants under the right to buy scheme. 
Ms Keeble: The incentive is voluntary, and involves agreement being reached between landlords and owners/ leaseholders. We are monitoring the use made by local authorities of the incentive offered by these regulations. Our figures indicate that last year (200001) local authorities in England bought back just over 200 properties.
Ms Oona King: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what information his Department has collated on the number of ex-local authority properties in London in which the leaseholder is a tenant who originally purchased the lease under the right to buy scheme. 
Ms Keeble: The Department does not collect this information on its regular statistical returns. However, results derived from the 200001 Survey of English Housing indicate that some 62,000 householders in flats in London had purchased their present property since 1981 under the right to buy scheme from the local authority.
Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what the timetable is for the laying of orders, planning procedures and construction in respect of the A303 (T) relating to (a) Winterbourne Stoke Bypass, (b) the Amesbury to Berwick Down improvement scheme, (c) the Countess Roundabout flyover and Stonehenge Visitors Centre access and (d) the Folly Bottom interchange. 
Mr. Jamieson: The Highways Agency is planning to publish draft orders for the A303 Stonehenge Improvement in December 2002. This scheme, formerly known as the Amesbury to Berwick Down Improvement, incorporates a bypass of Winterbourne Stoke and a flyover at Countess Roundabout. Subject to the making of statutory orders, it is intended that construction will start in the spring of 2005.
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Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (1) what regulations there are on the installation of (a) radio, (b) alarm and (c) CCTV systems into buses; 
(3) what guidance is given to bus operators on offering employees professional counselling after they have suffered work-related violence; 
(4) what requirements are placed on bus operators to keep in good order bus radio and alarm systems; 
20 Mar 2002 : Column 359W
Ms Keeble: The Secretary of State will shortly issue guidance to bus operators and other interested parties on reducing crime against passengers and crew, on buses and at stops and interchanges. This will update existing guidance on protecting bus crews and guidelines to operators on personal security on public transport. The new guidance will include advice on the installation, maintenance and repair of on-board equipment, which could help prevent crime. Professional counselling of employees is a matter for the operating companies.
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