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22 Oct 2002 : Column 157Wcontinued
Mr. Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what action he is taking as a result of the increase in 2001 in the number of people killed and seriously injured on roads in Herefordshire. 
Mr. Jamieson: There was a 2 per cent. reduction in the number of road deaths and serious injuries across Britain as a whole between 2000 and 2001. The number has now been cut by 15 per cent. from the baseline for the 40 per cent. target reduction that we want to achieve by 2010.
The Government remains firmly committed to that target and to delivering the national measures necessary to achieve it. However, local highway authorities are best placed to explain the likely reasons for any year to year changes in their area and to supply details of local measures that are being taken to reduce road accidents and casualties.
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will estimate this impact on the forecast for total United Kingdom air passengers in 2030 if the assumption in his consultation paper of a 1.5 per cent. annual fall in the cost of air travel were replaced by an assumed increase in the cost of 1 per cent. a year. 
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Mr. Jamieson [holding answer 21 October 2002]: The estimate of forecast total UK demand for air travel in 2030 is based on a 1 per cent. per annum reduction in air fares in real terms over the forecasting period, as noted in paragraph 5.9 of the consultation document ''The Future Development of Air Transport in the United Kingdom: South East.''
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will estimate the total United Kingdom air passenger demand in 2030 if a tax, equivalent to the current level of duty on unleaded petrol, were imposed on aviation fuel in 2015 and a sales tax of 17.5 per cent. were imposed on airline tickets for United Kingdom flight departures at the same date. 
Mr. Jamieson [holding answer 21 October 2002]: The Government is committed to ensuring that the aviation industry meets its environmental costs. Since civil aviation is a international industry, the Government's approach is to support multilateral action through ICAO to end the exemption from tax for international aviation fuel. Unilateral action would create market distortions, such as ''tankering'' of extra fuel from aboard to avoid tax, and would have limited environmental benefits. The Government has given an undertaking not to remove zero rating for VAT purposes of international air (and sea) transport. In the consultation document, The Future Development of Air Transport in the United Kingdom:South East, it is estimated that policies to meet the contribution of aircraft emissions towards climate change would reduce demand by around 10 per cent.
Mr. Jamieson [holding answer 21 October 2002]: My Department issues guidance to highway authorities on the general principles of control by traffic lights, including where pedestrian facilities are provided. Guidance is contained in Technical Advice Notes TA/15/81 and TA/16/81, which are part of the Highways Agency's Design Manual for Roads and Bridges. Copies of these Technical Advice Notes have been placed in the Libraries of the House.
Jon Cruddas: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions he has had with (a) Transport for London, (b) the Mayor of London and (c) Office of the Deputy Prime Minister on transport infrastructure to support the regeneration of the London Riverside Thames Gateway Zone of Change. 
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Mr. Jamieson: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport has discussions from time to time with ministerial colleagues and with the Mayor of London, who is chairman of Transport for London, on a wide range of issues of common interest.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment has been made of the potential of (a) amending existing regulations and (b) introducing new regulations to (i) reduce the cost of provision and (ii) increase the availability of school transport vehicles, including yellow school buses. 
Mr. Jamieson: Regulations for buses provide minimum safety and accessibility standards for all passengers and in some circumstances dedicated transport for children requires additional features such as seat belts.
My Department has recently commissioned independent consultants to evaluate the American-style yellow school bus pilots which First is running. The objectives of the evaluation include comparing the daily cost per capita to local authorities of running a First pilot vehicle to that of running a traditional school contract vehicle. The study is expected to report in August 2003.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what (a) amendments to regulations and (b) new regulations (i) have been introduced and (ii) are planned relating to vehicle standards for school transport vehicles, including yellow school buses. 
Mr. Jamieson: There is no specific category of School bus in regulations. Amendments to the Road Vehicle (Construction and Use) Regulations in 1996 require minibuses or coaches used for the transport of groups of more than three children on organised trips to be fitted with seat belts. In many cases this would include vehicles used for trips to and from schools. Further changes to these regulations require all new buses and coaches which are not certified to carry standing passengers to be fitted with seat belts from October 2001.
The Department has recently consulted on the reform of national regulations and approval schemes for the construction and use of minibuses, buses and coaches. The main purpose of these changes is to simplify the current regulatory structure and align our requirements with those common in the rest of Europe. Whilst these proposals do not differentiate between the uses to which buses and coaches are put they will effect all such vehicles including those used for school transport.
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road network upon (a) road traffic speed, (b) congestion and (c) pollution; and if he will place copies of related correspondence in the Library. 
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what changes are planned to the regulatory framework of the operating, licensing and compliance systems under the Transport Area Network; what consultation has taken place and is planned in relation to changes; and what discussions have taken place in relation to changes which (a) have taken place and (b) are planned. 
Mr. Jamieson: The regulatory framework for operators of goods and passenger service vehicles is contained in the Goods Vehicle (Licensing of Operators) Act 1995 and the Public Passenger Vehicle Act 1981. In January 2001 Regulations were made to allow illegally operated heavy goods vehicles to be impounded. Following consultation, we are in the process of making regulations to increase fees relating to the licensing of operators and the registration of bus services. We are currently consulting on regulatory changes to facilitate the registration of flexibly routed bus services. We are planning to clarify and extend the categories of exemptions to goods O-licensing as soon as consultation has been completed. We continue to keep the systems under review with a view to improvement and the easing of the regulatory burden on industry.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what changes have been made to the timetable for the development and introduction of the Transport Area Network; what the reasons have been for these changes; and what costs were incurred as a result; 
(3) when the new finance system for the transport industry under the auspices of the Transport Area Network was introduced; what changes there have been to the timetable for introduction and nature of this scheme; and what assessment (a) has been made and (b) is planned of its progress. 
Mr. Jamieson: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 21 October 2002, Official Report, c. 21W. The Traffic Area Network computer system (TAN21) contains a financial module, which was delivered in February 2002, 3 months later than originally planned. It is for internal business use and does not provide any access for the transport industry. The delays have been caused by procurement, infrastructure, software issues and extensive testing.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when the Transport Area Network is due to end its status as a part of the Department; and when he plans to make a decision on its future status. 
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Mr. Jamieson: The Traffic Area Network is not due to end its status as part of the Department for Transport. I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Waveney (Mr. Blizzard) on 23 July 2002, Official Report, columns 96465W.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what research (a) has been conducted and (b) is planned by and for his Department on the progress of the Transport Area Network; and if he will place copies of completed research in the Library. 
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