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3 Feb 2003 : Column 45W—continued

Parliamentary Questions

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he will reply to the question (ref 92574) from the hon. Member for Vale of York on rail freight and targets. [94789]

Mr. Jamieson: I have replied to the hon. Member's question today.

Public Transport (Birmingham)

Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress is being made to create effective park and ride facilities at Longbridge station in Birmingham. [94739]

Mr. Jamieson: Discussions are taking place between Birmingham City council, Advantage West Midlands, MG Rover, St. Modwen Developments Plc and residents with regard to the use of surplus land adjacent to the MG Rover factory for a strategic park and ride site. We will of course consider any proposal as soon as it is passed to us.

Rail Freight

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his policy is on the target of 80 per cent. growth in rail freight set out in the 10 Year Transport Plan. [92574]

Mr. Jamieson: The Strategic Rail Authority published on Thursday 30 January a new Strategic Plan, which details its plans for achieving the rail freight growth envisaged by the Government's 10 Year Plan for Transport.

Rail Services

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the decision of Virgin to withdraw Cross Country services. [92069]

Mr. Jamieson: The Cross Country service changes announced on 16 January are designed to improve the reliability and punctuality of services, and reduce overcrowding on key routes, through the redeployment of rolling stock to provide longer trains on some services.

Out of 175 daily Cross Country trains, 12 trains a day will be withdrawn completely, and a further 20 will be terminated short of their original destination. Cross Country services to most destinations will remain at or above October 2002 levels. These changes will take effect in May 2003.

3 Feb 2003 : Column 46W

Rail Services (Birmingham)

Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what representations he has received in respect of possible extensions to the Birmingham cross-city railway line to serve Frankley; and if he will make a statement. [94740]

Mr. Jamieson: The Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) received and pre-qualified an initial bid for Rail Passenger Partnership (RPP) funding for this extension. The bid has been further considered with the sponsors but a formal, full bid has not been submitted.

Railway Staff

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many staff were employed by (a) the Office of the Rail Regulator, (b) Strategic Rail Authority, (c) Her Majesty's Railway Inspectorate, (d) other staff relating to railway matters within the Health and Safety Executive and Health and Safety Commission, (e) the (i) Rail Delivery Directorate and (ii) Railways Restructuring Directorates, or their equivalent, within his Department and (f) British Rail or shadow private companies within the railway industry, for those years where this is applicable (A) in each year since 1992 and (B) projected for future years. [93222]

Mr. Jamieson: Staff numbers for the Office of the Rail Regulator, the Strategic Rail Authority, Her Majesty's Railway Inspectorate, the Health and Safety Executive and British Rail are contained in the relevant organisation's Annual Reports. Copies of such reports are routinely placed in the Libraries of the House. Figures for shadow private companies within the rail industry are not collated centrally.

Figures for my Department's Railways Directorate (or its previous equivalent) are as shown in the following table. Details for 2003–04 are yet to be finalised. I refer the hon. Member to my answer of 1 February 2002, Official Report, columns 585–86W, in relation to staff numbers in the Railways Directorate as of June 2001 and February 2002.

Year(6)Railways Directorate
199270
1993102
1994107
1995126
1996143
199785
199866
199967
200064
200163
200284

(6) As of 1 April.


Railway Stations (Wales)

Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list the railway stations in Wales that have opened or reopened since 1 May 1997. [94787]

3 Feb 2003 : Column 47W

Mr. Jamieson: No new railway stations have been opened in Wales since 1 May 1997. There have been two re-openings following closures to relocate the stations: Wrexham Central and Mountain Ash.

Railways

Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the breakdown was of spending in each nation and region in the UK of the 10 year Rail Passenger Partnership Funding programme announced in December 2001. [94904]

Mr. Jamieson: Up to January 2003 the Strategic Rail Authority has approved funding under the Rail Passenger Partnership scheme to a total of 87m. The breakdown by each region is as follows:

Schemes by Region—by January 2003Approved —millions
All regions3.0
East Midlands0.4
Eastern14.5
London1.4
North East1.1
North West3.5
South East3.5
South West10.1
Scotland2.9
Wales14.8
West Midlands4.1
Yorkshire and Humberside27.7
Total(7)87

(7) Million


Road Schemes

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport on how many occasions the Government have taken a decision not to proceed with a road scheme which has entered the Targeted Programme of Improvements. [94836]

Mr. Jamieson: Since the TPI was established in 1998, there have been no such occasions. A decision on entry to the Targeted Programme of Improvements is only made after a consideration of a proposed scheme using the New Approach to Appraisal, which considers the impact on the scheme under the five headings environment, economy, integration, accessibility and safety. Issues concerning construction and the available finance are also taken into account. However, future progress on schemes is subject to the satisfactory completion of all remaining statutory procedures.

The A23 Coulsdon Inner Relief Road was originally included in the TPI on 31 July 1998 but subsequently became the responsibility of the Mayor for London.

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether it is Government policy to build the road schemes included in the Targeted Programme of Improvements. [94844]

Mr. Jamieson: Yes. Schemes are added to the Targeted Programme of Improvements when Ministers are satisfied that such schemes are necessary, affordable and that their assessment under the New Approach to Appraisal is acceptable. Future progress on schemes is subject to the satisfactory completion of all remaining statutory procedures.

3 Feb 2003 : Column 48W

Service Delivery Agreement

Tony Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when his Department's Service Delivery Agreement for 2003 to 2006 will be published. [94121]

Mr. Jamieson: Service Delivery Agreements relating to my Department's Public Service Agreement targets will be published later this year.

Sickness Absence

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the rate of staff (a) absenteeism and (b) sickness was in his Department, its predecessors and each of its agencies and non-departmental public bodies in each year from 1990–91 to 2002–03; what the target set is for his Department; and if he will make a statement. [93499]

Mr. Jamieson: The Department for Transport was established following machinery of Government changes in May 2002.

All cases of absence are taken up and dealt with by line management. Separate information on absenteeism is not available.

In respect of sickness absence, the most recent "Analysis of Sickness Absence in the Civil Service" was published by the Cabinet Office and announced by Ministerial Statement on 19 December 2002. This covered the calendar year 2001 for the predecessor Department, the Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions and its executive Agencies. Previous reports go back to 1996. Figures for 2002 will be announced in due course.

The Department is committed to managing sickness absence effectively and to meeting its Service Delivery Agreement (SDA) target of reducing sick absence by 30 per cent. by the end of 2003 based on a 1998 baseline.

The Department is committed to managing sick absence effectively and to meeting its Service Delivery Agreement (SDA) target reductions in sick absence by the end of 2003.

Taxi Licences

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many people were successfully prosecuted for running a taxicab without a taxi licence in each year since 1990; what the average sentence was for first time offenders of this offence; and if he will make a statement. [94276]

Mr. Jamieson: In England and Wales, it is an offence to ply for hire without a taxi licence. The penalty for this offence is a maximum fine of Level 4 on the Standard Scale (£2,500). The actual enforcement of this offence is undertaken at a local level, by district/borough councils, unitary authorities or Transport for London, in concert with the relevant police force. Records of such enforcement activity are not kept centrally.


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