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Mr. Jamieson: The Strategic Rail Authority's Strategic Plan, published on 14 January, includes a report on its franchising programme. A new Chiltern franchise was signed on 18 February. The table lists the parties currently pre-qualified for franchises.
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Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions who the shareholders are in Network Rail; and what obligations it has to report to the Strategic Rail Authority. 
Mr. Jamieson: Network Rail was incorporated on 22 March 2002 as a private company limited by guarantee. As such, it has no shareholders. At present, Network Rail is a bidder to succeed Railtrack plc as network operator and has no obligations to report to the Strategic Rail Authority.
Mr. Gareth R. Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what action is being taken to reduce the number of working days lost through the absence of London Underground staff on medical grounds. 
Mr. Jamieson: Improving attendance is a key part of London Underground's work to improve the reliability of services. Improved staff attendance means fewer cancellations, and a better service for passengers.
LU have taken a number of steps to improve staff attendance. Over the past year, these have resulted in a 2 percentage point increase in station staff attendance, and a 1 percentage point increase in the attendance of train and signalling staff.
Mr. Lazarowicz: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions when Railtrack will complete repairs on the road bridge over the railway at Easter Road, Edinburgh to enable it to carry heavy traffic again. 
Mr. Jamieson: As part of the national programme of assessment and strengthening to ensure that road bridges within specified categories can carry loads of up to 40 tonnes, I understand that city of Edinburgh council has carried out an initial assessment of the load-bearing capacity of the bridge; and that Railtrack is awaiting receipt of the council's assessment report.
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the Blackwall tunnel in London; what concerns have been expressed about emergency lanes and escape routes; what response he has made; and if he will make a statement. 
I understand that TfL have recently awarded a £15.5 million contract for extensive refurbishment of the southbound tunnel. They are also planning to undertake a review of the northbound tunnel, which was extensively refurbished in 1992, to identify the need for any further works on that tunnel.
Ms Keeble: My Department published research on 12 September 2001 on the impact of provisions relating to the temporary use of land, including for off-road motorcycling. It addressed matters such as impact on local amenity and the environment, for example in terms of litter, noise and relationships with other land uses in the area.
On 24 January 2002 a consultation paper was issued on possible options for change to the current temporary use provisions. The paper put forward six options for change as well as inviting proposals for alternative options. The closing date for responses was 24 April 2002. The views of all those who responded will be considered before any decisions are made on the future composition of the Use Classes Order and the temporary use provisions, including controls on the use of land for off-road motorcycling.
Ms Keeble: Coaches play an important role in the provision of inter-city and commuter transport. They are commercially self-supporting and demand has remained buoyant over the last decade. I am keen to encourage their use. Officials are regularly in touch with coach industry representatives.
The Government are in discussion with the coach industry about proposals to pay bus service operators' grant (formerly called "fuel duty rebate") for scheduled coach services which offer concessionary fares.
Mr. Mark Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what plans he has received from Transport for London and the Highways Agency on allowing coaches to use bus lanes. 
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Ms Keeble: Coaches are permitted in a large number of existing bus lanes including the vast majority of those in London. Transport for London have powers to make traffic regulation orders on GLA roads and would not need to submit any plans to the Department.
Mr. Jamieson [holding answer 16 May 2002]: The Government's current road safety strategy, "Tomorrow's roadssafer for everyone", aims to reduce road deaths and serious injuries by 40 per cent. by 2010 compared with the average for 1994 to 1998.
Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what road safety campaigns his Department has supported on the issue of driving while talking on mobile phones. 
Mr. Jamieson: The Highway Code has, for many years, included advice to drivers not to use a mobile phone while driving. In March 1998, newspaper advertising alerted readers to the dangers of killing or injuring yourself or another road user. Leaflets and posters have been made widely available since then. In January 2000, television advertising reminded of the possible tragic consequences of using a mobile phone. We launched new radio advertising this month to demonstrate the distracting effect of using a mobile phone while driving. A public information film for use by TV stations has also been produced, as have new posters, and further publicity is being prepared. We continue to support local campaigns by police forces and local authorities.
Mr. Jamieson: The Government recognise the dangers of using mobile phones while driving. If drivers cannot be persuaded not to use mobile phones while driving, the Government accept that new legislation may be necessary.
(3) how many international flights he and his officials have taken since June 2001. 
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Ministerial Code and Travel by Ministers, copies of which are available in the Libraries of the House, and the Civil Service Management Code.
The Deputy Prime Minister and First Secretary of State: It is planned that two officials from the Deputy Prime Minister's Central Policy Group and two from the Performance and Innovation Unit will attend.
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