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19 Nov 2002 : Column 74Wcontinued
Mr. Darling: The Health & Safety Executive has worked with operators to assess the risk to rail services, including London Underground, and Xconsiders the risks arising from a withdrawal of fire brigade cover can be adequately controlled by the industry without major effects to services".
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Mr. Jamieson: This has been considered by the Strategic Rail Authority. Restoration of the Lewes-Uckfield line is not required to meet the Authority's objectives. No provision was made for it in the Authority's objectives. No provision was made for it in the Authority's strategic plan, published in January 2002.
Mr. Jamieson: The Government are committed to encouraging joint ticketing schemes between operators that will benefit bus users. The Director General of Fair Trading issued a new guideline in August, setting out what operators need to do to ensure that their ticketing schemes comply with the terms of the block exemption from the Competition Act 1998. The Office of Fair Trading is looking at the competition implications for co-ordinated timetabling of competing services. Officials from my Department are continuing to monitor the situation.
Mr. Jamieson: In addition to our existing publicity material to promote the wearing of cycles helmets we have supported the Bicycle Helmet Initiative Trust to develop national guidelines to promote cycle helmet wearing. This has been distributed widely. We are also developing a cycle safety campaign for teenagers for launch in early 2003.
Mr. Jamieson: This section of the A34 is a concrete road. It has been identified as meeting the appropriate selection criteria for possible resurfacing with quieter materials, as announced on 17 October 2001. The
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Highways Agency has carried out surveys on this and other routes opened since 1988 to assess whether actual noise levels have turned out to be significantly higher than predicted at the time of their Public Inquiry. The Highways Agency are currently making their assessment. We hope to be able to announce conclusions later this year.
Mr. Jamieson: I have received a number of representations about the Strategic Rail Authority's proposed strategy for the west coast main line project, which includes plans for improvements in services between Liverpool and Euston.
25. Mr. Robathan: To ask the Secretary of Transport what discussions he has had with the Environment Agency on consequences involving flooding if a new airport were to be built on the proposed site near Rugby. 
Mr. Jamieson: The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs provided comments on the draft consultation document for the Midlands. The Environmental Agency has engaged in the consultation process. If the Midlands new site option was taken forward detailed assessment of environmental impacts, including flood risk, would be required as part of the planning process.
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27. Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the level of public subsidy to Railtrack and other train operators in the period since rail privatisation. 
Mr. Jamieson: For five years after its privatisation in 1996, Railtrack received no public subsidy direct from the Government. However, the company's profitability was contingent on subsidy, because some 85 per cent. of its income came in access charges paid to it by train operating companies (TOCS), most of which did receive subsidy. Since 1 October 2001, Railtrack has received network grant direct from the Government to help fund its maintenance and renewals investment.
Details of annual levels of public subsidy to the rail industry in Great Britain are set out in Table 5.1 of XNational Rail Trends", copies of which are in the Library. In 200102, total subsidy amounted to #1,826 million. The main elements of that were #731 million paid to TOCs, #306 million paid to passenger transport executives, #499 million paid to Railtrack and #185 million paid to London & Continental Railways.
Mr. Jamieson: We are making good progress in this area. My Department assisted with the establishment of traveline and continues to provide support for this service. Traveline provides integrated, multi-modal public transport route and timetable information through a single national telephone number.
Transport Direct will build on the success of traveline. It will provide route, timetable and fare information for all modes of public and private transport and provide for the purchase of tickets. Transport Direct will initially be provided through an internet portal; the first version will be up and running by the end of 2003 as stated in our objectives in the 10-year plan.
We have also been working with other organisations to encourage integrated ticketing. One of these products is the PlusBus scheme which allows integration of zonal bus tickets on to national rail tickets. Sheffield is among the initial 35 stations where PlusBus will be available.
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