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3 Feb 2003 : Column 41W—continued

Gatwick Airport

Andy King: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects to release the supplementary paper to the National Consultation on the Future of Air Transport in the UK: South East regarding Gatwick; and when he expects the consultation period to close. [94929]

Mr. Jamieson: The consultation period, throughout the UK, has been extended until we have consulted on Gatwick runway options. We intend to issue a revised South East consultation paper later this month. The consultation period will then run for four months after the date of publication of the new material. Those who have already responded to the consultation will be able to amend, add to, or replace their response having considered the new material, if they wish to do so.

All responses to the consultation will be considered and analysed carefully before final decisions are taken. These will be set out in an air transport White Paper, which we aim to publish towards the end of the year.

Hawarden Airport

Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many (a) passenger flights and (b) passengers used Hawarden airport in each year since 1995. [94786]

Mr. Jamieson: Available data are as follows:

Hawarden airport: 1995–2001(3)

Passenger flights(4)Terminal passengers(5)

(3) Figures exclude air taxis ie aircraft less than 15 tonnes operating on a non-scheduled service. These are predominantly sole-use charter operations.

(4) Landings or take-offs.

(5) Excludes transit passengers ie passengers who arrive at or depart on the same aircraft which is transiting the airport.

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Hydrogen Fuel

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) how many cars have been converted from petrol to hydrogen fuel in each year since 2000; and if he will make a statement; [94278]

Mr. Jamieson: The Government are committed to promoting the development, introduction and take-up of clean, low-carbon new vehicle technologies and fuels, including hydrogen, where these offer environmental and other advantages over conventional alternatives. Our "Powering Future Vehicles" strategy, published in July 2002, sets out how we will do this, and sets challenging targets for increasing the numbers of clean, low carbon vehicles on our roads.

The Government's research, development and demonstration programmes include support for hydrogen fuel cell research, funding for the trial operation of hydrogen fuel cell buses in London in 2004, and support for the associated hydrogen refuelling installations. We have also announced our intention to exempt hydrogen from fuel duty for a period to encourage early development and take-up, and have introduced 100 per cent. first-year capital allowances for investments in hydrogen refuelling infrastructure.

Hydrogen technologies, however, are still at an early stage of development with many technical challenges to be overcome. There are currently no hydrogen cars on UK roads, and no filling stations selling hydrogen.

Hydrogen fuelled vehicles, though having zero tailpipe emissions, provide carbon-free transportation only where the hydrogen is produced with non-fossil energy sources. My Department has recently commissioned a number of reports into the long-term future potential of hydrogen and other road fuels. These include a report by Ricardo Consulting Engineers Ltd. ("Carbon to Hydrogen—roadmaps for passenger cars"), and a study carried out by leading experts on energy and environmental matters ("Fuelling Road Transport: Implications for Energy Policy"). These are available via the DfT website.

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Both reports, as well as reviewing hydrogen fuel cell technology, indicate the scope for further substantial and early reductions in conventional cars' fuel consumption and carbon emissions, including hybrid engine technology. The second study also identifies the potential for renewable transport fuel from biomass.

Infrastructure Projects

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the cost was of the largest UK infrastructure project funded without Government support since 1973. [94725]

Mr. Jamieson: I refer the hon. Member to my answer of 27 January 2003 Official Report, column 529W.

Leisure Flights (Fuel Consumption)

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the fuel consumption, in passenger miles per gallon, of a typically loaded leisure airline flight from London to Orlando; and what programmes the aviation industry has notified his Department of which are designed to reduce CO2 emissions per passenger. [95196R]

Mr. Jamieson: Data provided by UK charter airlines, assuming a typical aircraft and the latest average Summer load factor on this route, yields an estimate of 100 passenger miles per gallon. My Department is aware of proposals by Air Travel Greener by Design and by the Advisory Council for Aeronautics Research in Europe (ACARE), both of which include among other objectives the reduction of CO2 emissions.

London Underground

Mr. Clapham: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what statutory body has power, and under what statute, to ensure effective co-operation and liaison between the planned operating companies of the London underground; what personnel have been appointed to such a body; and to whom they will be accountable for their statutory duties and powers; [95020]

Mr. Jamieson: London Underground Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of London Regional Transport in the public sector, is responsible for the operation and maintenance of the London underground.

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Since 2000, three infrastructure companies, operating as subsidiaries of London Underground Ltd., have been carrying out the maintenance and renewal of the underground's physical infrastructure.

On 31 December 2002 ownership of one of the infrastructure companies (Infraco JNP Ltd.) passed to the privately owned consortium Tube Lines, under the public private partnership (PPP). Ownership of the other infrastructure companies (Infraco BCV Ltd. and Infraco SSL Ltd.) is expected to pass to Metronet, also under the PPP, this spring. Under the PPP, infrastructure companies work for London Underground under 30 year contracts.

London Underground remains solely responsible for operations on the underground network. The infrastructure companies work under contract to London Underground, which itself retains responsibility for overall safety across the network.

Ministerial Meeting

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when the Under-Secretary of State for Transport, the hon. Member for Plymouth, Devonport (Mr. Jamieson) last had an official meeting with the General Secretary and elected officials of NUMAST. [95309]

Mr. Jamieson: I last met Brian Orell, General Secretary of NUMAST, on Tuesday 16th April 2002.

Multi-modal Study (Cambridgeshire)

Mr. Djanogly: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he will make his decision on the proposal for a guided bus system submitted by Cambridgeshire County Council constituting the public transport element of the Preferred Plan of the Cambridge to Huntingdon Multi-Modal Study; and when building work would (a) commence and (b) be completed. [94605]

Mr. Jamieson: Cambridgeshire County Council have submitted an application for funding for the proposed guided bus system and this is currently being assessed by my Department. Until this assessment is completed I am unable to provide any further information.

Mr. Djanogly: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) whether he plans that the major A14 improvements included in the Preferred Plan of the Cambridge to Huntingdon Multi-Modal Study will be (a) carried out at one time or (b) phased; [94888]

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Mr. Jamieson [holding answer 31 January 2003]: The answer given on 18 January, Official Report, column 493W stated that public consultation on the route would be expected within 12 months of the scheme entering the Highways Agency's Targeted Programme of Improvements (TPI). The Secretary of State will reach a decision on TPI entry once he has considered the further work which he asked the Highways Agency to undertake. I cannot give any more details about the way these schemes will be taken forward until he has reached a view.

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