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Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what (a) statutory rules, (b) guidelines and (c) regulations control access to network information provided to companies who wish to put forward proposals for the development of new freight connections. 
Mr. Jamieson: The Strategic Rail Authority hopes to publish its west coast main line strategy in the next month or so. This will set out the authority proposed approach to the future development of the line, and to making the most effective use of the capacity which the upgrade will provide.
The percentage of stations accredited under the scheme is small in relation to the number of stations eligible to be accredited under the scheme. However, the accredited stations account for approximately one third of the total annual passenger throughput of overground rail journeys.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what (a) discussions he has had and (b) representations he has received from the railway industry on the railway byelaws since June 2001; and if he will make a statement; 
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Mr. Jamieson: After several years of assessment and development of the byelaws made by the British Railways Board, the national railway operators made new byelaws using a common framework set. The Secretary of State confirmed these byelaws on 19 December 2000 and they came into operation on 18 February 2001. There are no plans to update them.
Union Railways (North) Limited, Union Railways (South) Limited and Hull Trains Limited have written to the Department about their proposals for making byelaws based on the framework set. GNER, Arriva Trains Merseyside and Thameslink have also made inquiries regarding the interpretation and application of their current byelaws.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what legislation exists relating to vandalism on the railways; what plans he has to update this legislation; and if he will make a statement. 
Under the Railway Safety (Miscellaneous Provisions) Regulations 1997, Railtrack, as the infrastructure controller, is required to prevent unauthorised access to the track, so far as is reasonably practicable and to the extent necessary for safety.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what guidance has been given by his Department to (a) the British Transport police, (b) the Health and Safety Executive and (c) the railway industry regarding vandalism on the railways; what plans he has to update the guidance; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Jamieson: The Department has not issued any guidance on vandalism on the railways as this is an operational matter for the industry. However, the Minister for Transport, John Spellar, spoke at the Trespass and Vandalism on the Railways Conference in October 2001 where he encouraged the leading players in the industry to implement a more coherent national strategy to deliver a sustained, visible and effective campaign to tackle the problem. The Government are pleased to note that all sections of the rail industry recently came together in the National Route Crime Group to examine and promote ways of tackling trespass and vandalism on the railways.
Joan Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he will make resources available to enable rail freight to be diverted away from train paths required for the East London Line extensions. 
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Mr. Jamieson: As outlined in its Strategic Plan, the SRA is currently advancing feasibility work on an upgrade of the Gospel OakBarking line and take future growth in freight path demand away from the DalstonHighbury and Islington section of the East London Line extension. However, it is not expected that existing freight paths using the DalstonHighbury and Islington section will be diverted away from the route. The freight operators hold access rights with the rail regulator for this section, and the ability to run electric traction and gauge-sensitive traffic on the route means these paths are unlikely to be released.
Mr. Jamieson: The advance works which London Underground are currently undertaking on the northern extension have been funded by the Strategic Rail Authority. The Authority, together with Transport for London and London Underground, is now engaged on a review of the scope of the project as a whole, and in doing so is looking for a robust revised business case, procurement options and the interdependencies on other projects. The revised business case should be submitted to Government in the autumn.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what (a) support and (b) guidance has been given by his Department to (i) local authorities, (ii) industry and (iii) others regarding the development of (A) light rail schemes, (B) tram schemes and (C) guided busways; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Jamieson: The initiative in bringing forward proposals for major local transport schemes, including light rail, tram and guided bus schemes, in England outside London, rests with the local transport authority concerned. Officials in my Department and the Government offices are ready to provide information, support and guidance as required and often meet the promoters of individual schemes. In addition, from time to time they arrange forums and workshops for local authorities and their advisers on particular transport modes: workshops have already been held this year on both light rail and guided bus. Officials also regularly provide background information and support to individuals studying and researching this area.
Relevant general guidance, covering all transport modes, which is freely available to all interested parties includes (a) the Department's guidance to local authorities on the preparation of Local Transport Plans (LTPs) (issued in March 2000) and LTP Annual Progress Reports (APRs) (latest edition issued in March 2002) and (b) the Department's guidance on the appraisal of major local transport schemes (most recently updated in May 2002).
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment (a) has been made and (b) is planned by (i) his Department, (ii) the SRA, (iii) the rail regulator and (iv) other organisations for which he is responsible; of the accountability of Network Rail; and if he will make a statement. 
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Mr. Jamieson: Network Rail will be accountable to its members and to the Rail Regulator. Its board and management will be incentivised to meet demanding performance targets, defined by the Rail Regulator and aligned to the SRA's strategic plan. It would also have obligations under its network licence and to its funders and customers.
Mr. Jamieson: My Department supports the encouragement of safe, integrated, efficient and economic transport services. My officials are engaged in constructive dialogue with all stakeholders, including the Office of Fair Trading, to work together towards achieving these goals.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what representations have been received by his Department on fuel duty rebates for bus services; what plans he has to reform fuel duty rebates; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Spellar: My Department receives from time to time representations from local authorities, bus companies and other organisations on the existing fuel duty rebate scheme and possible changes to it. We are currently taking forward the review of bus subsidies, including fuel duty rebate, announced in the April Budget. This will build on the on-going study by the Commission for Integrated Transport on value for money from bus subsidies.
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