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26 Nov 2002 : Column 205W—continued



Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what representations he has made concerning West Sussex county council's bid for funding to improve the A24 between Horsham and Capel; when he will announce his decision on funding; and how many accidents there have been on this road in each of the past five years. [82731]

Mr. Spellar: As with all major local transport scheme bids my officials have discussed the proposal with the promoters, West Sussex and Surrey county councils, prior to the bid's submission. We will announce our decisions on all major local transport scheme bids in December as part of the local transport capital settlement for 2003–04. The accident figures on this road, in each of the last five years for which figures are available, are set out in the table.

All accidents on A24 Horsham-Capel, between Great Daux Roundabout and Clark's Green (1997–2001)

Number of accidents

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Aircraft Noise

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment and research has been made by his Department or is planned of the past and potential future impact of (a) changes in noise level permitted from individual aircraft and (b) changes in the size of aircraft upon (i) past increases and future total passenger and freight numbers and (ii) past and future (A) economic (B) environmental and (C) social impacts; and if he will place copies of related documentation in the Library. [81425]

Mr. Spellar [holding answer 20 November 2002]: The appraisal of options for the future of UK aviation contains information on economic, social and environmental impacts. This information is set out in the national airport consultation documents published in July 2002. A complete set of those documents and supporting material is already available in the Libraries of the House.

Highways Agency

Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many people work for the Highways Agency in the south-east of England and London. [81257]

Mr. Spellar: The Highways Agency employs 235 civil servants in its London office, 180 civil servants in its Dorking office and 30 civil servants in its Hemel Hempstead office.

London Underground

Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many trains per hour it is safe to run on the Central Line on the London Underground. [81250]

Mr. Spellar: This is an operational matter for London Underground.

Proposed Airport (Cliffe)

Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) in which local authority areas his Department has initiated (a) public meetings, and (b) exhibitions as part of the public consultation in respect of locating an airport at Cliffe; [82497]

Mr. Jamieson: My Department has not initiated any public meetings about the Cliffe option, or any other option, as part of the current consultation. We considered that public exhibitions about the options where the public could view large scale maps and ask questions of officials and consultants would be the most effective way to inform the consultation.

Public exhibitions on the Cliffe option were held over four days at different locations. These were on 5 and 7 September at Chatham and Basildon, and on 4 and 5 October at Cliffe and Hoo St Werburgh. The main criteria applied in identifying suitable venues were proximity to the airport option and affected areas, venue capacity, accessibility, and availability.

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Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will rank in order the closeness by proximity of each district local authority area within a 20 mile radius of prospective airport at Cliffe. [82790]

Mr. Jamieson: The following list ranks, in order, the proximity of local authorities which are within a 20 mile radius of the central point of the Cliffe option. Only authorities whose central land point is within the 20 miles radius have been included.

Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he wrote to local authorities in Kent and Essex formally as part of the consultation exercise, inviting them to submit representations in respect of the proposal to locate an airport at Cliffe; and if he will list the authorities concerned. [82791]

Mr. Jamieson: Following the launch of the consultation on 23 July, local authorities in the South East and East of England were sent copies of XThe Future Development of Air Transport in the United Kingdom: South East" main consultation document and questionnaire. The authorities in Kent and Essex are listed as follows:

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Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what coordination he has organised between different Government regional offices on consultation relating to the proposals for a new airport at Cliffe; and if he will make a statement. [83368]

Mr. Spellar: The Government offices for London, the South East and the East of England were members of the reference and steering groups for the South East and East of England Regional Air Services (SERAS) study. Both groups met quarterly for the duration of the study.

Following completion of the SERAS study in May 2002, my Department held regular meetings with the three Government offices in preparation for the consultation on the options for airport capacity in the South East. We continue to meet regularly. Government office officials were also present at the public exhibitions that have been held on the consultation options.

Rail Projects

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when a decision is expected on the proposals being put forward for (a) Crossrail and (b) Central Railway; what steps would then follow; and when legislation will be introduced. [81748]

Mr. Spellar: We expect Cross London Rail Links Ltd. to put forward proposals for consideration in the new year. What steps would then follow will depend on the nature and content of those proposals.

The SRA has now delivered to the Government its advice on Central Railway's proposals. We are considering its conclusions carefully.

Uckfield Line (Electrification)

Sir John Stanley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will state the reasons why he has placed a summary of the Booz Allen Report on the electrification of the Uckfield line through Edenbridge in the Library and not the entire report. [81104]

Mr. Spellar [holding answer 19 November 2002]: The full report has not been placed in the Library of the House because it contains commercially sensitive material. The summary of the report includes all the key costs and benefits relevant to the Strategic Rail Authority's decision, as well as outlining the effects on passengers.

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Age Discrimination

Mr. MacDougall: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what measures his Department is taking to encourage companies to employ older people. [81677]

Mr. McCartney: We have made a pledge to tackle age discrimination and we are committed to introducing age legislation covering employment, vocational training and guidance by 2006.

We are already encouraging employers to adopt non-ageist employment practices through our Age Positive Campaign. The campaign raises employers' awareness of the business benefits of an age diverse work force and encourages a flexible approach to retirement to open up choice and opportunity for individuals to stay in work longer.

In 1999 we published the Code of Practice on Age Diversity in Employment which sets out the standards for non-ageist approaches to recruitment, training, promotion, redundancy and retirement. The code was developed with leading organisations including the CBI, TUG, the Employers Forum on Age and Age Concern. Evaluation shows that from 1999 to 2001 the number of companies using age in recruitment had already fallen from 27 per cent. to 13 per cent. and the number of companies having a policy against employing older workers had dropped from 14 per cent. to 7 per cent.

Older workers have a wealth of skills and experience that can benefit individual businesses and the economy as a whole. Our policies will help to improve further the employment rate of people over 50, which has risen considerably since 1997.

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