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16 Dec 2002 : Column 654W—continued


Ecological Cars

Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport why ecological cars licensed prior to March 2001 do not benefit from the lower road tax applicable to vehicles in this class registered post March 2001. [87114]

Mr. Jamieson: In order to introduce a VED scheme based on carbon dioxide CO2 emissions (in turn, based on information obtained during the EU Type Approval test) it was necessary to develop systems to enable emissions information to be held on the vehicle register at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). It was also necessary to allow time for motor manufacturers and dealers to make changes to their IT systems to accommodate the new system. Although CO2 information has been available for most new cars registered since 1997, it would have been major and very costly bureaucratic exercise to collect CO2 information retrospectively.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer took these factors into account in setting 1 March 2001 as the date when the scheme should take effect. Whatever date the Chancellor had set, apparently identical vehicles registered either side of that date might have paid different VED rates.

A further reason for choosing the date took into account the effect on the second hand car market. The March 2001 date coincided with the introduction of the XY" registration prefix letter and accordingly would make for a clear indication of what vehicles were, and which were not taxed under the CO2 scheme. That was particularly important as we expect and intend that the scheme to have a strong impact on incentives in the second hand market.

Since CO2 emissions data are not readily available for vehicles registered before 1 March 2001 these cars are taxed on the basis of their engine capacity as a rough indicator of CO2 emissions. There are now around 9 million cars in the lower band of the engine size scheme (set at under 1549 cc) benefiting from a rate of #105, a reduction of #55 per annum on the standard rate.

10-year Transport Plan

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he will announce his investment decisions on projects envisaged under the 10 year transport plan; if he will publish a timetable for the implementation of each project; and what proportion of the funding under the 10 year transport plan will be spent on subsidised bus services. [85161R]

Mr. Jamieson: The plan provides an overarching funding framework and it included some illustrative outputs to show the scale and type of projects that could be delivered. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State

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for Transport made a further announcement about transport investment to the House on 10 December, 2002.

A303 (Construction Works)

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the timetable is for construction of works on the A303 near Stonehenge; what the cost is; what works are proposed; what changes there have been to the original proposals; what assessment has been carried out of the impact of the works; what representations have been received; and what discussions have taken place. [86093]

Mr. Jamieson: The proposed timetable for the A303 Stonehenge Improvement is:

Publication of draft orders: spring 2003

Public inquiry : late autumn 2003

Decision: late 2004

Start of works (subject to the above) 2005

Completion 2008

The current estimated cost of the scheme is #183 million (excluding development and land costs.) The scheme is a 10.8 km long improvement of the A303 between Amesbury and Berwick Down, upgrading the single carriageway to a dual carriageway, providing a bypass for the village of Winterbourne Stoke and taking the road in a tunnel past Stonehenge. The scheme estimate is based on a 2.1 km bored tunnel.

The assessment of the impact of the works is ongoing. The details in the form of an environmental statement will be published in the spring. There will be a public exhibition and anyone will be able to comment, support or object to the proposals.

To date there have been a variety of views expressed, particularly on the type and length of tunnel that needs to be built. There have also been numerous discussions with partners and stakeholders over the planning and development of the scheme. All those views are being taken into consideration.

Abandoned Vehicles

Tony Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to require the last registered keeper of a motor vehicle to pay the costs of dealing with its abandonment. [87493]

Mr. Jamieson: Abandoning a motor vehicle is currently a criminal offence attracting a maximum penalty of a fine of #2,500, three months' imprisonment or both. When a vehicle is abandoned, the local authority that deals with it has the power to recover the cost of removing and disposing of the vehicle from the keeper.

Local authorities can seek information about the keeper of the vehicle from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). The DVLA has recently made a successful bid under the Invest to Save Programme to fund an electronic link to local authorities to enable them to seek that information

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more quickly and efficiently. That link is currently being rolled out to local authorities, following a successful pilot in Sussex.

The 2002 Finance Act contained outline powers to establish a system of continuous registration, which will ensure that keepers of vehicles remain responsible for licensing that vehicle until such time that DVLA has been properly notified of its disposal. This will ensure that it is much more difficult for keepers of vehicles to evade their responsibilities to dispose of vehicles properly, or to evade meeting local authority costs when a vehicle is abandoned. We are currently considering how this legislation will be implemented and will make an announcement in due course.

Air Traffic (Scotland)

John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many aircraft departed from (a) Edinburgh, (b) Glasgow and (c) Prestwick airports in each month since January 2000, broken down by aircraft type. [87167]

Mr. Jamieson: An analysis by aircraft type is not readily available. Information for all aircraft is as follows:

Air transport movements (aircraft landing or take-offs)(22)


(22) Landings or take-offs of aircraft engaged on the transport of passengers, cargo or mail on commercial terms. Information about departures only is not available.

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Air Transport

John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer given to the hon. Member for Carshalton and Wallington (Tom Brake) on 9 December 2002, Official Report, columns 32–33W, on the future development of air transport, how many (a) questionnaires and (b) written letters were received in response to the consultation from Scotland by (i) 30 November and (ii) 10 December. [87168]

Mr. Jamieson: The breakdown of responses received in response to the consultation about Scotland and logged up until the 30 November and 10 December.

30 November10 December
NOP questionnaires790860

Aircraft Emissions

John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much carbon dioxide is produced on average by an individual aircraft per mile travelled, broken down by aircraft type. [87185]

Mr. Jamieson: The information requested is not readily available. Some information on CO2 emissions for different aircraft types, based on British Airways fleet of 1997–98, is given on pages 285–6 of Aviation and the Global Atmosphere, published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 1999.


Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport to which bodies his Department makes appointments; how many members there are (a) in total and (b) in each body; and how many of those appointed are (i) businessmen, (ii) businessmen in SMEs and (iii) businessmen in micro-businesses. [87399]

Mr. Jamieson: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by the Minister of State for the Cabinet Office today.

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