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26 Mar 2002 : Column 959W
particulate traps, as fitted to vehicle diesel engines, for the reduction of emissions of (a) PM2.5 particles and (b) oxides of nitrogen; 
Mr. Jamieson: The effectiveness of diesel particulate filters has been the subject of a number of studies in recent years. All show that these filters can effectively remove more than 90 per cent. of particulate matter including all particulates that would contribute to the PM2.5 value.
Controls of oxides of nitrogen is not the objective of a particulate filter, but depending upon the specific system design, reductions can be achieved. Departmental research on heavy-duty engines has shown that systems comprising an oxidation catalyst and particulate filter can reduce NOx by approximately 10 per cent.
The Government's measures and policies for tackling air pollution from road transport, industry and other sources are set out in the Air Quality Strategy for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, published in January 2000. It includes ambient air quality standards for benzene, 1,3 butadiene, particles (PM10) carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, lead and low level ozone and objectives for their achievement between 2003 and 2008. Proposals were issued last year to strengthen the objectives for PM10, benzene, carbon monoxide and introduce a new objective for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. The current advice from the advisory Expert Panel on Air Quality Standards is that PM10 provides the most appropriate basis for an air quality standard rather than the finer fraction particles PM2.5.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what policies the Government have in place to reduce traffic noise pollution; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Jamieson: Since 1996 all new vehicles have had to meet stringent noise standards before entering service. No further reductions in noise limits are planned in the short term but the UK is participating in the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Working Group on vehicle noise which is examining the scope for further noise reductions. Requirements restricting the noise from tyres are being introduced in stages from this year in accordance with EU Directive 2001/43/EC.
The 10-year Transport Plan extended the Government's commitment to reducing trunk road noise by stating that lower noise road surfacing will be used for all future maintenance and new construction work. All concrete roads on the national network will be resurfaced with this quieter material by March 2011.
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Current plans are that at the end of the 10-year Plan period some 60 per cent. of the national road network will have a lower noise surface.
Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions when his Department will announce a relaxation of night time delivery curfews for gas-powered trucks; what studies he has made of the impact on the environment in the neighbourhood around supermarkets; and what definitions he will apply to the relevant vehicles. 
Mr. Spellar: My Department is currently involved in a joint initiative by the Commission for Integrated Transport and the Freight Transport Association to explore the scope for Local Authorities to consider flexibility in delivery restrictions in exchange for better environmental performance by the distribution industry resulting in less disturbance to local residents. The aim is to develop a Code of Practice which would result in a significant reduction in the noise and other nuisance commonly associated with urban deliveries. This would enable deliveries to be carried out outside peak congestion hours, more flexibly and efficiently with fewer vehicles. Improved distribution would also help to ensure that products are available on the shelves at the times people want to buy them. The use of gas-powered vehicles might be amongst the appropriate Xbest practice" measures considered by local authorities in determining whether to ease delivery restrictions.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions, pursuant to his answer of 14 March 2002, Official Report, column 1200W, on extra training for the Fire Service, if he will place in the Library the guidance on mass decontamination methods that has been provided for Fire Authorities by central Government; and where information on the additional training for firefighters since 11 September is held. 
Dr. Whitehead: I have arranged for copies of the letter from Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Fire Services to all Chief Fire Officers dated 19 December 2001, (Dear Chief Officer Letter July 2001), which contains the central guidance on mass decontamination, to be placed in the Libraries of the House. Information on the additional training for firefighters since 11 September is held by individual Fire Brigades.
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what budget allocation his Department has made to support civil defence planning at national level. 
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In addition, the Fire Service Inspectorate have three officers working full time and other officers part time on issues as part of the XNew Dimension" review following the events of 11 September. The Operational Practices section of the Inspectorate deals with civil defence planning as part of its references. The approximate costs of providing the above support are:
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions whether the Department has been involved in updating contingency plans to deal with a major civil emergency since 11 September. 
Mr. Jamieson: The Department's contingency plans for dealing with a major civil emergency have been reviewed in light of the events which took place on 11 September. In addition, the Department is actively involved in the Government wide post 11 September review of Civil Contingency arrangements.
Local authorities have the main responsibility for preparing civil defence plans. They will need to include others with a role to play such as the emergency services, health authorities, utilities, transport operators, voluntary organisations and government departments and agencies.
Jim Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what steps are being taken to force public sector agencies in the South West to obtain best value for telecommunications services; and to what extent such agencies are being encouraged to use broadband. 
The Office of Government Commerce (OGC) is responsible for delivering value for money improvements in procurement by the public sector. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has asked OGC to consider what more can be done to help Government departments and other public sector organisations buy broadband more effectively.
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relating to his Department that have been implemented in each of the last four years, specifying (a) the title and purpose of each, (b) the cost of public funds of each and (c) the cost to businesses of each. 
Dr. Whitehead: The information requested is not held centrally and providing it would involve disproportionate cost. Regulatory impact assessments are produced for all proposals, including those originating in European legislation, likely to impose significant costs on businesses in the UK and are made available in the Libraries of the House. We do not hold information on the costs of implementation to public funds or businesses.
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