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7 Nov 2002 : Column 455Wcontinued
Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Prime Minister what discussions took place during his most recent meeting with President Bush about the United Nations national missile defence programme; what agreements were reached; and if he will make a statement. 
The Prime Minister: President Bush and I did not discuss missile defence when we met on 7 September. It remains the case that there has been no formal US request for the use of UK facilities for missile defence purposes. If a request is received, the Government will consider it. But the Government would only agree to the use of UK facilities if satisfied that the overall security of the UK and NATO would be enhanced.
Mr. Grieve: To ask the Prime Minister what consideration the House of Lords Appointment Commission has been asked to give to increasing the representation of Sikhs in the House of Lords. 
The Prime Minister: The criteria for assessing nominations for the House of Lords are set by the House of Lords Appointment Commission. These include outstanding records of personal success and achievement in their own chosen fields; independence and integrity; commitment to the highest standards of public life and the ability to contribute effectively to the work of the House of Lords. While the Appointment Commission has not been asked to consider increasing the representation of any faith group, clearly individuals from the different faith groups who meet the criteria will be considered in the usual way.
Mr. Grieve: To ask the Prime Minister, which Government Departments have put in place mechanisms to monitor the provision of public services to the British Sikh community. 
The Prime Minister: As I have indicated in reply to earlier questions, as part of the Government's commitment to diversity a number of Departments employ diversity and equality advisers. These liaise with various communities on policy, operational and employment matters. Some of these, for example in the Department for Work and Pensions and the Ministry of Defence, focus specifically on issues relevant to the Sikh community.
The Government are committed to the provision of public services for all. Areas of specific concern to the Sikh community can be raised in a range of fora, including Race Equality Councils and with the appropriate Minister.
David Winnick: To ask the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the procedures under which he receives reports from civil servants on the performance of junior ministers. 
The Prime Minister: Section 1 of the Ministerial Code sets out the procedures relating to the accountability of Ministers. Civil servants do not provide me with
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performance reports on junior Ministers although there is provision for issues to be raised with me through the Cabinet Secretary.
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to his answer of 22 October 2002, Official Report, column 158W, on aviation fuel, if he will estimate the total United Kingdom air passenger demand in 2030 if agreement is reached in ICAO to impose an international tax on aviation fuel equivalent to the current rate of duty on unleaded petrol and to impose a sales tax of 17.5 per cent on all airline tickets. 
Mr. Jamieson [holding answer 31 October 2002]: Imposing a tax on aviation equivalent to the current rate of duty on unleaded fuel in the UK has not been considered in ICAO and the Government has given an undertaking not to remove existing zero rating for VAT purposes of air transport. Imposing such tax increases on aviation would go well beyond what is justified on the basis of evidence of its environmental costs.
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport for what reason residents of South Essex with homes falling under the Cliffe Airport 5th runway, were not consulted on the Cliffe Airway proposal. 
Mr. Jamieson: The Government are consulting very widely across the UK on the future of air transport.
The consultation documents published in July are available to everyone at no cost. They can be found on a special website, www.airconsult.gov.uk, or by contacting our distribution centre either by writing to DfT Free Literature, PO Box No 236, Wetherby LS23 7NB or by telephoning 0845 100 5554. In addition, my department sent complementary copies of the summary consultation papers to those local residents who would be most directly affected by any of the possible options.
We want to receive as many responses as possible from the public. We will take all views into account before any decisions are taken and announced in the air transport White Paper next year.
The White Paper will set out a framework for proposed airport development. Before any development could proceed it would be subject to the land use planning system and all interested parties would have a further opportunity to represent their views as part of that process.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent discussions he has had with agencies of Local Agenda 21 on the subject of car sharing. 
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Mr. Jamieson [holding answer 5 November 2002]: The review of the UK Sustainable Development Strategy, which involves Departments across Whitehall, will include consultation with key stakeholders including Agenda 21 groups.
Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what progress has been made in addressing the findings and recommendations of the Health and Safety Executive concerning the Potters Bar derailment; what steps have been taken in respect of nuts on the adjustable stretcher bars of points in the Potters Bar area; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Jamieson: The progress report published by the Health and Safety Executive's (HSE's) Potters Bar Investigation Board on 4 July 2002 made a number of recommendations to improve the safety of railway points on Railtrack (now Network Rail), its maintenance contractors and HSE's HM Railway Inspectorate (HMRI).
The Investigation Board was informed by Railtrack of measures it was taking to improve safety, including the provision of guidance on good practice for safely setting up and maintaining adjustable stretcher bars.
Network Rail has also promised to complete by next month an in-depth design review of railway points using adjustable stretcher bars as recommended by the Investigation Board. It has also given a commitment to lead a workshop with its contractors to promote a determined and consistent approach to progressing the Investigation Board's recommendations.
The Investigation Board has considered the initial responses from Railtrack and its contractors and will consider the more detailed responses once Network Rail has completed the in-depth design review.
HMRI inspectors will be carrying out further spot checks on a sample of points as a follow-up exercise to the one carried out in June.
Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he expects to receive the next interim report from the Health and Safety Executive on the Potters Bar rail accident. 
Mr. Jamieson [holding answer 5 November 2002]: The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have advised that, subject to the completion of all necessary technical inquiries, the Potters Bar Investigation Board expects to publish its next progress report in the first quarter of 2003. However, consistent with its published terms of reference, the Board will consider putting into the public domain beforehand any information it judges to be in the interests of furthering the cause of improved rail safety. The Board meets regularly and reviews this question very carefully.
Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many copies of the (a) main document and (b) summary of the (i) National and (ii) regional consultation documents on Future Development of Air
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Transport in the United Kingdom have been issued in hard copy as a result of each exhibition which has taken place to promote the consultation. 
Mr. Jamieson: The Department has issued to date, in total, around 111,000 copies of the main consultation documents and 156,000 copies of the summary documents for the seven areas of the UK. These figures include the documents distributed at the exhibitions across the country. We do not have a breakdown for the number of documents issued at individual exhibitions.
Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the cost to his Department has been of (a) the exhibitions promoting the consultation documents on the Future Development of Air Transport in the United Kingdom and (b) the printing costs relating to the publication of the consultation documents. 
Mr. Jamieson: The cost of the exhibitions which have taken place at the major airport sites across the UK during the consultation period is around #1.1 million to date. The programme of exhibitions is not yet complete, due to high public demand. The printing costs relating to the publication of the consultation documents are around #480,000.
Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many responses had been received by 28 October in response to (a) the consultation document, Future Development of Air Transport in the United Kingdom: A National Consultation (b) each of the regional consultation documents on the Future Development of Air Transport in the United Kingdom, for each region (i) in total and (ii) for each region. 
Mr. Jamieson: To date we have received over 7000 responses to the NOP questionnaire and over 23,000 letters in total across the UK. This is set out by region in the table.
|Region||NOP Responses||Letters received|
|North of England||983||39|
Tom Blake: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many copies of the (a) main document and (b) summary of the consultation documents (i) Future Development of Air Transport in the United Kingdom: A National Consultation, (ii) Future Development of Air Transport in the United Kingdom: North of England, (iii) Future Development of Air Transport in the United Kingdom: South West, (iv) Future Development of Air Transport in the United Kingdom: Midlands, (v) Future Development of Air Transport in the United Kingdom: Wales and (vi) Future Development of Air Transport in the United Kingdom: South East have been (A) issued in hard copy and (B) downloaded from the website. 
7 Nov 2002 : Column 459W
Mr. Jamieson: We have so far distributed around 105,750 main consultation documents and 145,700 summary consultation documents. The figures by region for distribution and website downloads are shown in the table.
|Region||Hard copy||Website downloads|
|North of England||11,500||27,500||11,000||5,800|
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