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Mr. Byers: The precise role of the regional chambers (or assemblies) in the multi-modal study process varies from region to region. Where the regional chamber is the regional planning body (North West, Yorkshire and Humber, South East, South West and, from April 1, North East) it will receive recommendations from the multi-modal study steering group, and in turn make recommendations to Ministers.
In addition, the North West Regional Assembly and South East England Regional Assembly are represented on their region's multi-modal study steering groups. It is for each regional planning body to decide when to make its recommendations to Ministers.
Mr. Byers: Members of the multi-modal study steering groups have been drawn from representatives of various regional interests including local authorities, environmental groups, business organisations and public transport companies. Membership of the steering groups varies to reflect the different nature and scope of each study.
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changes have taken place to pension provision for NATS staff in the last year; and if he will make a statement. 
Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what changes in staffing levels and positions have taken place within NATS over the last year; and if he will make a statement. 
Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what skill monitoring has been conducted by his Department and National Air Traffic Services of the views of staff on the restructuring of NATS. 
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will make a statement on how many people travelled through (a) Heathrow, (b) Gatwick and (c) Stansted in each of the last three years. 
Mr. Lazarowicz: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (1) what information he has (a) received and (b) sought from his Italian counterpart concerning the possible use in civil aircraft of (i) old and (ii) faulty spare parts falsely certified as being new; 
Mr. Jamieson: All UK registered commercial aircraft are subject to regular airworthiness inspections by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), which also carries out systematic audits and ad hoc inspections of UK operators and aircraft Maintenance Organisations. The CAA is not complacent but is confident that the checks it carries out concerning the procurement of spare parts ensure that UK aviation standards are maintained at the highest level.
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When the CAA became aware of recent media reports concerning the alleged supply of unapproved or counterfeit parts originating from Italy it immediately contacted the Italian aviation regulatory authority, the Ente Nazionale per l'Aviazione Civile (ENAC) for further information. The CAA was informed that a suspect Italian company was undergoing criminal investigation for distributing aircraft parts that were considered unairworthy. ENAC recommended that all aircraft owners, operators, maintenance organisations, manufacturers and distributors review their records and parts supplied by this company. The CAA accordingly wrote to all UK owners and operators of commercial aircraft on 7 February requiring the inspection of aircraft, aircraft parts and inventories of parts in accordance with the ENAC recommendations, and any suspect parts quarantined and notified to the Authority. To date no such notification has been received.
Mr. Beith: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what steps his Department is taking to reduce the risk of air proximity incidents involving civilian and RAF aircraft in the vicinity of Newcastle airport, following the recommendations of the Air Investigation branch and the Airprox board. 
Mr. Spellar: The Government's aviation safety regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), has introduced several initiatives aimed at reducing conflicts between civilian and military aircraft in the vicinity of Newcastle airport following the recommendations of the Air Accident Investigation branch and the UK Airprox board. Military jets on exercises in the area must carry and use a serviceable secondary radar transponder and communicate directly with Newcastle Air Traffic Control Unit (ATCU). During large-scale military exercises a temporary additional buffer zone is placed around Newcastle and a military liaison officer is deployed to the Newcastle ATCU. The airport also provides CAA and MOD with monthly reports on issues of concern and appropriate remedial action is taken. The CAA and MOD have also jointly reviewed the airspace arrangements around Newcastle and are satisfied with them in the short and medium term, and are continuing to work towards further long-term improvements.
Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what assessment he has made of the recommendations put forward by the South East and East of England Regional Air Services Study reference group regarding airport capacity in south-east England. 
Mr. Jamieson: The role of the SERAS reference group is advisory. The group has not considered specific options for the location of airport capacity. However the group has provided a great deal of useful advice and guidance on the approach and methodology of the SERAS study, and that advice has very largely been taken on board.
Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how many meetings took place between his Department and the South East and East of England Regional Air Services Study Reference Group in (a) 2000 and (b) 2001 to discuss airport capacity in south-east England. 
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Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what assessment he has made of the impact of the Aggregates Levy on the demand for marine dredging. 
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions which regulations limit noise, dirt and visual intrusion in aggregates quarrying; how many complaints about a possible breach of these regulations have been made in the last 12 months; and how many prosecutions have resulted from breaches of these regulations. 
Ms Keeble: Noise, dirt and visual intrusion in aggregates quarrying are controlled through planning conditions imposed by the relevant Minerals Planning Authority (MPA). The MPA is responsible for enforcing such conditions and, together with Environmental Health Officers, is likely to receive any complaints from the public about the environmental performance of individual site operators. Statistics for complaints and enforcement actions resulting from breaches of planning conditions are not collected centrally.
Sir Robert Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what plans he has to tighten the present regulations governing environmental standards in the quarry industry. 
Ms Keeble: My Department has no current plans to tighten regulations governing environmental standards in the quarrying industry. Regulation in respect of environmental matters is essentially for the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which is responsible for transposing the relevant European directives into UK law.
My Department would need to reflect any relevant changes to environmental standards in guidance for Minerals Planning Authorities in preparing development plans and appropriate planning conditions in respect of both reviews of existing permissions and new permissions.
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Sir Robert Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what estimate he has made of the amount of aggregates waste that will be stockpiled in quarries as a result of the aggregates levy. 
Ms Keeble: The additional amount of aggregates waste that will be stockpiled in quarries as a result of the aggregates levy will depend on the nature and circumstances of the local market for aggregates.
Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what the projected lifespans are of the UK reserves of (a) sand, (b) gravel and (c) rock aggregates at the present rate of consumption. 
Ms Keeble: Statistics on permitted reserves of aggregate minerals are available for England and Wales. However figures for sand and gravel are not available separately because both often occur in the same deposits. Comparison of these figures with recent annual sales statistics provides rough estimates of the theoretical period over which reserves would be completely depleted if demand remains at current levels.
|Sand and gravel||Rock||Total|
|Permitted reserves in million tonnes(12)||921||6,353||7,274|
|Annual production in million tonnes(13)||65||109||174|
|Permitted reserves divided by annual production (years)||14.2||58.3||41.8|
(12) From DETR 2000 Collation of the 1997 aggregate minerals survey for England and Wales. British Geological Survey (Keyworth).
(13) From British Geological Survey 2001 UK Minerals Yearbook 2000. British Geological Survey (Keyworth) .
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