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Rail Links

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what recent investigations he has carried out into the (a) feasibility and (b) utility of constructing combinations of single and double lines of rail track adjacent to motorways and trunk highways. [59872]

Mr. Jamieson: I have been asked to reply.


Bridge Tolls

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the total revenue was from bridge tolls for each toll bridge in England in each of the last five years. [61098]

Mr. Jamieson: The majority of statutory tolled bridges in England are either privately owned or operated by a local authority and are not legally obliged to send regular accounts to the Secretary of State. As such the information requested is not held by the Department.

Fire Statistics

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many (a) fire stations, (b) full time fire-fighters and (c) part time fire-fighters there are in each fire authority. [60445]

Mr. Raynsford: I have been asked to reply.

Information on the number of fire stations in each fire authority in England and Wales at 1 January for each year from 1997 to 2002 was given in my right hon. Friend's reply to the hon. Member on 19 March 2002, Official Report, columns 239–42W.

12 Jun 2002 : Column 1264W

The number of firefighters in each fire authority area in England and Wales at 31 March 2001, the most recent date for which figures are available, is shown in the table:

Number of wholetime and retained firefighters in post in England and Wales at 31 March 2001

Bedfordshire and Luton330115
Cleveland601 62
County Durham and Darlington405119
East Sussex425201
Greater Manchester2,090 26
Hereford and Worcester355294
Isle of Wight61152
Isles of Scilly9 34
Merseyside1,369 0
Mid and West Wales502660
North Wales283483
North Yorkshire352331
Royal Berkshire406122
South Wales968252
South Yorkshire92039
Suffolk 247352
Tyne and Wear1,01018
West Midlands2,0318
West Sussex397272
West Yorkshire1,683166

(3) In full time equivalents

(4) In 24 hour units of cover


Authority annual returns to HM Fire Service Inspectorate


Ms Shipley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what central government-sponsored programmes are under way to support physical regeneration projects. [59825]

Mr. McNulty: I have been asked to reply.

12 Jun 2002 : Column 1265W

Central government-sponsored programmes in support of physical regeneration are primarily implemented through the Regional Development Agencies, the London Development Agency and English Partnerships. For the RDAs and the LDA all funding is directed through the Single Programme. Details of English Partnerships' programmes are set out each year in the Department's annual report.

Ms Shipley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how much investment has been committed to physical regeneration projects in (a) the last five years and (b) the next five years. [59826]

Mr. McNulty: I have been asked to reply.

During the past five years the Government's physical regeneration expenditure programme has been undertaken principally through the Regional Development Agencies (RDA), the London Development Agency (LDA) and the Urban Regeneration Agency (URA)(part of English Partnerships).

(a) Gross cash investment on physical regeneration projects in each of the past five years has been as follows:

£ million

RDAs/LDA (excluding PIP)(5)Urban Regeneration Agency

(5) RDAs/LDA figures are gross expenditure in cash terms on the Land and Property Programme. They exclude Partnership Investment Programme (PIP) expenditure for 1999–2000 and 2000–01, which is included within the URA figures for those two years.

(6) RDA receipts for this year included £28 million of European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

(7) The Land and Property outturn figure for 2001–02 has not yet been finalised. However, including PIP expenditure and £20 million of ERDF, it is estimated to be approximately £400 million gross in cash terms.

(b) From 2002–03 onwards, the RDAs operate under a Single Programme. Funding for physical regeneration by the RDAs and the LDA cannot therefore be disaggregated from this offices' total contribution to the Single Programme.

Contribution to RDAs/LDA

£ million

The URA forecasts its investment on physical regeneration projects at approximately £130 million in both 2002–03 and 2003–04.

The level of physical regeneration expenditure by the RDAs, LDA and the URA in the subsequent two years will be determined by the context of the Spending Review and, in the URA's case, also by the outcome of the present quinquennial review of English Partnerships' future role.

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Oil and Gas Industry

Mr. Peter Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment she has made of the future training requirements in the oil and gas sector. [57307]

Mr. Wilson: An updated review of skills in this sector—funded by DTI, Scottish Enterprise, Aberdeen city council and the new Sector Skills Council COGENT—is due to be published in July this year.

Redundant Oil Installations

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what international agreements to which the United Kingdom is party govern the long- term liability issues of contamination, accidents and maintenance of redundant oil installations that are left in place. [58347]

Mr. Wilson: The Oslo and Paris Convention of 1992 (OSPAR) provides for the protection of the Marine Environment of the NE Atlantic. Under the convention the UK has adopted OSPAR Decision 98/3 which provides a regime for the decommissioning of oil and gas installations and effectively prohibits sea disposal. There is a presumption that installations on the UK continental shelf will be brought back to shore for reuse, recycling or final disposal on land. However, the OSPAR Decision recognises that there may be difficulty in removing the 'footings' of large steel jackets weighing more than 10,000 tonnes and in removing concrete installations. As a result derogations may be granted in these cases if the internationally agreed assessment and consultation process shows that leaving such installations wholly or partly in place is justifiable. If a derogation is granted, the permit will specify who will be liable for the remains and require suitable monitoring and management measures to prevent or mitigate any adverse consequences to both the environment and other users of the sea.

In the UK, to ensure the orderly decommissioning of all installations, including those subject to derogation from the OSPAR Decision, the decommissioning of each installation is addressed within a decommissioning programme. The programme assesses the potential decommissioning solutions and determines the most appropriate disposal option by balancing safety, the environment, impact on other users of the sea, technical feasibility and economics. The programme must be approved by the Secretary of State under the Petroleum Act 1998.

Parliamentary Questions

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what proportion of ordinary written questions for her Department were answered within a week of tabling in each month since June 2001; and what proportion of questions for named day received a substantive answer on that day in each month since June 2001. [58988]

Ms Hewitt: The information is as follows.

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Percentage of:
Ordinary written questions answered within five sitting daysNamed day written questions answered on that day
June 200110056
July 20019447
October 20018846
November 20016735
December 20017020
January 20028434
February 20027447
March 20027129
April 20028761
May 20025733

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