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Mr. Jamieson: Performance figures for each of the train operating companies are published by the Strategic Rail Authority in their quarterly publication, "National Rail Trends", and in more detail in their six-monthly publication, "On Track". Copies of these publications are available in the Libraries of the House. The most recent editions of both documents were published on 6 June.
Mr. Flook: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to encourage the greater use of bus travel (a) within Taunton, (b) within Wellington and (c) in and around Wiveliscombe in Somerset. 
Mr. Jamieson: Our policies are aimed at encouraging the greater use of buses in all parts of the country. Implementation at local level is a matter for the local transport authority, in this case, Somerset county council, through its local transport plan. The Department is providing local authorities, including Somerset, with substantially increased capital funding and on-going increases in revenue funding to enable them to plan and implement a range of measures to improve bus services in their areas.
In addition, Somerset county council has been allocated £1.49 million for the support of rural bus services in the current financial year. Since 1998, the council has also been successful with nine bids under the Department's Rural Bus Challenge scheme, including an award last year of £100,000 towards a community transport service for the areas around Wiveliscombe.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what value for preventing a fatality is used in assessments conducted (a) by and (b) for his Department from the fitting of (i) train protection and warning system, (ii) ERTMS level 1, (iii) ERTMS level 2 and (iv) ERTMS level 3. 
Mr. Jamieson: The Health and Safety Executive tell me that in the regulatory impact assessment, which they conducted for the train protection and warning system, a figure of £2.65 million (199798 prices) was used for the prevention of fatalities in railway accidents. This is broadly equivalent to the figure of £3.46 million (200203 prices) currently used by Railway Safety for the prevention of multiple fatalities or where the risks are close to intolerable.
Following research into the willingness of individuals to pay for reductions in risk and independent expert evidence given to the Ladbroke Grove public inquiry, the Health and Safety Executive no longer encourages the use of a higher figure than that used by the Department for Transport and the Highways Agency for appraising road risk. This is £1.14 million at 2000 prices.
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Mr. Love: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what action he is taking to ensure that Railtrack and its successor body are undertaking the work necessary (a) to maintain, (b) to clean and (c) to keep free of birds those railway bridges in its ownership; and if he will make statement. 
Mr. Jamieson: I understand from Railtrack that their maintenance regime for rail structures includes visual inspection annually and in detail every six years. Annual inspection includes cleaning as required. Railtrack seeks to work in partnership with local authorities to tackle pigeon nuisance and is also currently assessing alternative pigeon deterrents to netting.
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(b) facilities supporting the financing of legacy costs: LIBOR plus a margin of between 1.5 per cent. to 6 per cent., depending upon the facility drawn upon and the circumstances of the drawdown;
(c) facility for long-term contingency buffer: LIBOR plus 6 per cent.
Mr. Jamieson [holding answer 19 July 2002]: Railtrack's cost of capital was determined by the Rail Regulator. He determined an eight per cent. rate of return (in real terms) in his October 2000 periodic review.
The interest rate on the finance secured by Network Rail is a commercial matter for the company. Network Rail has been designed to secure a strong investment grade credit rating to raise finance in a cost-effective and efficient manner. It is expected to have a cost of capital substantially lower than that of Railtrack, which will have a significant positive impact on the buying power of the company's income.
Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will place in the Library the documents referred to in the Rail Regulators statement on 27 June on the (a) enhancement refitting, (b) funding and (c) co-operation regime between SRA and Network Rail. 
Mr. Jamieson [holding answer 19 July 2002]: These documents remain confidential, as Network Rail has yet to conclude its purchase of Railtrack plc shares. Disclosure now could harm Network Rail's competitive position if its bid failed and the administrators then proceeded with inviting bids for a transfer of Railtrack plc's assets under Schedule 7 to the Railways Act 1993. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State will review the status of these documents and the information in them if Network Rail's acquisition of Railtrack plc is successfully completed.
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Transport Advisory Committee have made to him in relation to the Disabled Persons Parking Badge Scheme Consultation Paper; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Jamieson: The Committee have made a series of recommendations following analysis of responses to the discussion paper, covering eligibility, administration and enforcement. We are currently considering their report together with our colleagues in the devolved Administrations with whom we are working collaboratively on this review.
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