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Written Answers to Questions

Wednesday 23 October 2002

TRANSPORT

Rail Freight

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what the Government's target for growth in rail freight is over the next 10 years; [75012]

Mr. Jamieson: The Strategic Rail Authority has published both a Freight Strategy and a Strategic Plan (copies are in the House Libraries), which detail its plans for achieving the rail freight growth envisaged by the Government's 10 Year Plan for Transport. A revised Strategic Plan is due to be published in January 2003.

Speed Cameras

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment has been made by or for his Department on changes in the accident rate on roads with speed cameras; and if he will place copies in the Library. [75603]

Mr. Jamieson: Speed enforcement cameras have proved to be highly effective at reducing speeding and, when sited at dangerous sites or along problem routes, have in the first year of the pilot scheme on average reduced the number of those killed and seriously injured by 47 per cent. In some areas the reduction has been even greater. A report of the cost recovery system for the eight pilot areas in the traffic safety camera scheme will be published shortly and will be made available in the Libraries of the House.

Public Bodies

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment is made by or for his Department of the performance of (a) the Northern Lighthouse Board and (b) the Health and Safety Commission including performance targets; what reports have been published on its performance; and if he will place in the Library copies of such reports that are not readily available. [75600]

Mr. Jamieson: Northern Lighthouse Board (NLB) measures the availability of the aids to navigation against the service standards set by the International Association of Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA). These performance indicators are set out in the Report and Accounts of the General Lighthouse Fund 2000–2001, a copy of which has been placed in the Library of the House. They indicate that most aids to navigation provided by the Board exceed the IALA standards for availability for use.

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The Health and Safety Commission is no longer the responsibility of the Secretary of State for Transport.

Rail Franchises

Martin Linton: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the progress of franchise negotiations between London and South East commuter operators and the Strategic Rail Authority. [75171]

Mr. Jamieson: I refer my hon. Friend to the reply given by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, to the hon. Member for Stroud (David Drew) on Tuesday 15 October 2002, Official Report, column 158. My right hon. Friend hopes to be able to make an announcement on franchising in the next few weeks.

Road Congestion

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the progress made since 1 January 1998 on the reduction of road congestion. [75468]

Mr. Jamieson: The 10 Year Plan for transport includes a target to reduce congestion on the inter-urban trunk network and in large urban areas to 2000 levels by 2010. We hope to publish baseline figures for this target shortly. The Department have not previously calculated congestion levels.

Transport Area Network

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much money was (a) spent and (b) budgeted for the Transport Area Network in each financial year in which it has been allocated. [76399]

Mr. Jamieson: I refer the hon. Member to my answer of 22 October 2002 [76201].

Spend for the Traffic Area network was:

(000)
1997/98#9451
1998/99#9758
1999/00#10166
2000/01#11033
2001/02#12401

Transport Direct

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the work conducted on Transport Direct by Journey Solutions; and what steps his Department is taking to act upon this work. [76486]

Mr. Jamieson: Journey Solutions has not conducted any direct work on Transport Direct. However we welcome their efforts on integrating different modes of transport and anticipate their work on bus-rail tickets being of direct relevance to Transport Direct, since this contributes to the provision of multi-modal ticketing—a target for Transport Direct.

Third Railway Package

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what submissions have been made by his

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Department to the European Commission on the forthcoming Third Railway Package; and if he will place copies in the Library. [76202]

Mr. Jamieson: The European Commission has not yet published any specific proposals for further legislation in the railways sector and no written submissions have been made. My Department and the Commission are in regular contact on railway policy development; and my Department would expect to respond to any formal consultation exercise initiated by the Commission.

Community Railways

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what representations have been received from, and discussions have taken place with, the railway industry on the Directive on Safety, Licensing and Levying of Charges Certification of Community Railways being discussed within the European Parliament; and if he will place copies of all related correspondence in the Library; [76472]

Mr. Jamieson: A number of industry parties commented on these elements of the European Commission's proposed 2 railway package in response to the Government's consultation exercise on that package, which ran from May to 23 August 2002. Copies of the replies (excluding those from respondents who have requested confidentiality) have been placed in the Libraries of the House. My Department holds regular discussions with the rail industry parties on the Commission's current and future proposals for the rail sector.

Performance Targets

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment has been made of the performance of the Traffic Commissioners with specific reference to performance targets; and if he will publish a report on its performance. [76483]

Mr. Jamieson: Traffic Commissioners are statutorily independent office holders, appointed by the Secretary of State for Transport and are not subject to performance targets. They are required to report to the Secretary of State each year. Copies of these reports are in the Libraries of the House.

Trunk Road Assessment

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on (a) how many people are employed, (b) the role and terms of reference and (c) the annual budget for each year since 1997–98 of the Standing Advisory Committee on Trunk Road Assessment Sustainable Development Education Panel. [76482]

Mr. Jamieson: The Standing Advisory Committee on Trunk Road Assessment has not been given any terms of reference since completing its report on Transport and the Economy in 1999 and is at present in abeyance.

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No people are employed by the Committee. Its budgets for 1997–98 and 1998–99 were #40k and #62k respectively.

The Department for Education and Skills are responsible for information about the Sustainable Development Education Panel.

Freight Line

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) whether the Strategic Rail Authority has provided advice to him on Central Railway's proposed freight line; [75905]

Mr. Jamieson: The SRA has now delivered to the Government its advice on Central Railway's proposals. We will consider its conclusions carefully and respond to Central Railway in due course.

Malpensa Airport

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what funds Malpensa Airport received under the EU Trans-European Network programme; and what discussions he has had with the EU Commission to open up Malpensa Airport to (a) British and (b) other EU carriers. [76147]

Mr. Jamieson: Funding for the Malpensa Airport project from the trans-European Network programme was awarded under five Commission Decisions from 1995 to 1999 inclusive for a total amount of Euro26.8 million in the form of interest rate subsidies.

The Italian rules for the distribution of traffic within the Milan airport system were discussed by Ministers at Transport Council in October 1998. UK officials also attended two meetings of the EC Market Access Advisory Committee, established under the provisions of Article 11 of Regulation (EEC) 2408/92, which were called to discuss the matter. These culminated in the Commission's decision of 21 December 2000 (2001/163/EC).


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