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Mr. Jamieson: At the end of September 2001, 24,980,000 cars were registered to keepers in Great Britain. The latest figures for Northern Ireland relate to the end of December 2001, when the number of registered cars was 657,000.
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Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what his policy is on the creation of a nationwide distribution network for liquid hydrogen for use in cars. 
Mr. Jamieson: The discussion draft of the Government's "Powering Future Vehicles" strategy for supporting the shift to low-carbon vehicles and fuels identified the Government's important role in supporting the development of new fuel infrastructures, as the need and demand for them arose. Hydrogen looks likely to be a key component in the long-term shift to low-carbon transport. The Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Budget announced that the Government intended both to exempt hydrogen from fuel duty for a period to encourage its further development and early take-up, and also to provide enhanced capital allowances for installing hydrogen fuel infrastructure. Additionally, the Government is already providing financial support for the pilot trials of hydrogen fuel cell buses to be carried out next year by Transport for London, including the hydrogen refuelling station to support the initiative.
Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions for what reasons the carriageway repair work being carried out on the Humber Bridge is not being carried out on a 24-hour basis. 
Mr. Spellar: After consultation with the local environmental health department, the Humber Bridge Board has decided to limit repair work to regular working hours during the week in order to reduce noise levels for local residents and in order to reduce repair costs. Resurfacing repairs should be completed by September 2002.
Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (1) which organisations were consulted on the decision to change the policy on mineral working in the Peak District National Park in the Regional Planning Guidance for the east midlands (RPG8); 
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(4) on what date it was decided that the policy on mineral working in the Peak district national park set out in the Regional Planning Guidance for the east midlands (RPG8) should be changed; and when the public consultation period on the Regional Planning Guidance closed. 
Mr. Byers [holding answer 26 April 2002]: Regional Planning Guidance for the east midlands was published on 24 January 2002, following consultation that ended on 15 June 2001. The final wording was intended to be more concise than earlier versions but did not change national planning policy guidance as it applies to mineral development in the Peak district. Thus paragraphs 70 and 71 of Minerals Planning Guidance Note 6 advise that major developments should not take place in national parks, such as the Peak district, save in exceptional circumstances. All minerals applications must be subject to the most rigorous examination, and should be demonstrated to be in the public interest before being allowed to proceed. The factors to be taken into account in considering minerals applications in such areas include:
Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions, pursuant to his oral answer of 23 April 2002, Official Report, column 137, on community transport, by what means community transport groups in south Gloucestershire will have access to the longer term funding to which he referred. 
Ms Keeble [holding answer 26 April 2002]: As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State said in his answer, we will carefully consider the general point of how far the benefits of three-year spending programmes can be extended to those bodies involved in community transport provision. More specifically, the position on funding for the south Gloucestershire projects currently supported under the Rural Bus Challenge scheme was described in my answers of Monday 4 February 2002, Official Report, column 743W, and Tuesday 29 January 2002, Official Report, column 202W.
Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will make a statement on the practice of local authorities writing off debts accrued by tenants in council-owned homes. 
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to make financial provision for the proportion of current debts which in due course are likely to turn out to be uncollectable.
Local authorities are obliged to obtain best value in carrying out their housing management functions. Performance, including that on rent collection, is reported annually to the public in an authority's best value performance plan.
Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how much of the A43 between the M40 and the M1 is expected to be (a) wholly and (b) partially open by the weekend of 5 to 7 July; and if he will make a statement on action being taken to accelerate the works. 
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