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16 Dec 2002 : Column 654Wcontinued
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. 
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.
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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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. 
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.
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.
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. 
(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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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 3233W, 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. 
|30 November||10 December|
Mr. Jamieson: The information requested is not readily available. Some information on CO2 emissions for different aircraft types, based on British Airways fleet of 199798, is given on pages 2856 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. 
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