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Written Answers to Questions

Tuesday 11 February 2003


Aeroplane Pilots (Drug Testing)

Mrs. Ellman: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the system of drug and alcohol testing in relation to persons in charge of an aeroplane; and if he will make a statement. [96900]

Mr. Jamieson: There is at present no statutory system of drug and alcohol testing for flight crew.

It is an offence under the Air Navigation Order 2000 for flight crew to carry out their duties while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. As part of the process for obtaining an Air Operator Certificate from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), airlines are required to establish policies on alcohol and drugs to ensure compliance with this provision. The detailed implementation of such policies is a matter for the airlines but may include testing programmes. In addition, the Air Navigation Order requires pilots to hold a valid medical certificate issued by a person approved by the CAA. Pilots undergo regular medical examinations, which will pay attention to any evidence of excess alcohol intake or substance abuse. There is currently no evidence of a widespread drink or drug problem in the aviation sector.

The Railways and Transport Safety Bill currently before Parliament includes provisions setting a blood/alcohol limit for flight crew and other specified aviation personnel and will give the police power to test suspected offenders.

British Airports Authority (Cross-subsidisation)

Mr. David Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on his Department's policy towards BAA's cross-subsidisation of Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted. [97229]

Mr. Jamieson: Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted are subject to economic regulation by the Civil Aviation Authority which has sole responsibility for setting their airport price caps. The CAA's decision will determine BAA's ability to cross-subsidise between airports.

Bus Services (Leeds)

Mr. Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what funding will be provided by his Department for improving bus services in the city of Leeds in each of the next five years. [96820]

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Mr. Jamieson: My Department allocates capital funding for integrated transport to the west Yorkshire passenger transport authority (WYPTA) and the five west Yorkshire local authorities in the annual local transport capital expenditure settlement each December, following bids made to central Government through the five-year joint west Yorkshire local transport plan (LTP) the previous July. We also make revenue funding available through the standard spending assessment system. It is then up to WYPTA and the five West Yorkshire local authorities, including Leeds city council, how this funding is distributed and prioritised.

For the 2003–04 financial year, WYPTA and the five local authorities have been awarded £25.8 million for integrated transport. Indicative allocations for 2004–05 and 2005–06 are £26 million and £27.5 million respectively. The 2006–07 and 2007–08 financial years will be covered by the second joint west Yorkshire LTP, which runs from 2006 to 2011, and no indicative allocations are yet available.

In addition, and subject to completion of the statutory processes, £20.9 million has been set aside for improvements to bus services on the A65 Kirkstall road corridor. These improvements include the construction of bus lanes and new bus stops and shelters.

Driving Licences

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what percentage of, and how many, reminders sent by the DVLA for drivers to renew their road fund licence, were returned to DVLA as (a) addressee moved and (b) addressee not known at this address since 2000. [94774]

Mr. Jamieson: DVLA issued some 36.9 million vehicle excise licence reminders in 2001–02. They are despatched in envelopes bearing a specific message asking for them not to be returned to DVLA if undeliverable. If the addressee has moved, DVLA will normally pick up the new address as soon as the vehicle is relicenced, or a statutory off-road declaration made.

East London Line

Martin Linton: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the proposals made in the Strategic Rail Authority's Strategic Plan 2003 Route Descriptions on the East London Line project. [96614]

Mr. Jamieson: The SRA is continuing to take forward development of this project pending resolution of outstanding planning and funding issues.

Energy Savings Trust

Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what Government grant has been given to the Energy Savings Trust in each of the last three years; and what proportion of that grant (a) was allocated on an annual basis to TransportAction and (b) is allocated to TransportEnergy. [96442]

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Mr. Jamieson: The funding from my Department to the Energy Saving Trust for cleaner vehicle initiatives for the last three years is:

£ million

All of this funding was allocated to TransportAction. TransportAction was re-branded as TransportEnergy in September 2002.

DEFRA also supports various domestic and industrial energy efficiency programmes which are managed by the Energy Saving Trust.

Honiton/Ilminster Road Inquiry

Mrs. Browning: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list the determinations of environmental issues considered by the public inquiry into the Honiton/Ilminster road improvement, with which he disagrees. [95985]

Mr. Jamieson [holding answer 6 February 2003]: The views of the then Secretaries of State for the Environment and Transport on the issues raised at the public inquiries into the A30/A303 Marsh to Honiton and Ilminster to Marsh improvements are contained in their decision letter of 27 January 1997. I am arranging for a copy to be placed in the Libraries of the House as soon as possible.

The Orders were not made. The scheme was remitted as part of the London to the south-west and south Wales multi-modal study, which looked at strategic routes from London to the south-west and Wales.

Following the study, the Secretary of State has asked the Highways Agency to carry out further technical work. It is not possible to comment further on the environmental issues until that work is complete.

Low Emission Vehicles

Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his policy is on encouragement of the introduction of (a) compressed and (b) liquefied natural gas vehicles. [96437]

Mr. Jamieson: The Government are committed to encouraging the introduction and wider use of clean, low carbon vehicle technologies as set out in "the Powering Future Vehicles Strategy", published in July last year. Compared to conventional diesel vehicles, natural gas vehicles can offer useful air quality, noise and—in some cases—carbon benefits.

The Government are encouraging the wider use of both compressed and liquefied natural gas vehicles primarily through favourable fuel duty incentives and grants towards the cost of procuring natural gas vehicles and supporting the development of refuelling infrastructure through the Department's PowerShift programme.

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Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what proportion of government funding for the Energy Savings Trust is allocated as PowerShift grants for lower emission vehicles. [96439]

Mr. Jamieson: For 2001/02, 29% of the Government's total funding for the Energy Saving Trust's transport initiatives was allocated to the PowerShift programme. This amounted to 8.5million out of a total of 29.11 million.

The remaining funding supported the Trust's CleanUp initiative, and the marketing and operational costs of TransportAction.

Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what proportion of total road vehicles in the UK received PowerShift grants in each of the last four years. [96440]

Mr. Jamieson: The proportion of PowerShift funded vehicles as a percentage of new vehicle registrations for the last four years is set out as follows.

(a)New Vehicle Registrations(b) PowerShift Vehicles(b)as percentage of (a)

Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what financial assistance in the last four years his Department has given to encourage the promotion by local authorities of low emission zones; [96443]

Mr. Jamieson: My Department has provided £51,000 towards the cost of a three-year research programme run by the National Society for Clean Air into Low Emission Zones. This project examined the potential of such zones for improving air quality and provided local authorities with practical guidance on how best to establish and enforce them. The results of the project to date are available at: www.nsca.org.uk. My Department has also provided £20,000 towards the cost of the London low emission zone study which is being undertaken on behalf of the Greater London Authority and the Association of London Government.

My Department has hosted a number of workshops to help local authorities tackle the problems of air pollution and the possible introduction of low emission zones.

In addition, DEFRA's guidance on air quality includes advice on low emission zones. However, as yet no local authorities have implemented low emission zones.

Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his policy is on encouragement of the introduction of (a) electric vehicles and (b) hybrid low emission vehicles. [96436]

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Mr. Jamieson: The Government has introduced a number of incentives to encourage the wider use of cleaner vehicles and fuels, including battery electric and hybrid vehicles. The recently published Powering Future Vehicles strategy provides a framework for future fiscal and other incentives in the move towards a low carbon transport system.

In addition, both hybrid and electric vehicle demonstration projects may be eligible for grant funding from the New Vehicle Technology Fund.

Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many (a) vans and (b) other vehicles have received PowerShift grants over the last four years by (i) category of vehicle, (ii) type of power unit and (iii) type of fuel. [96441]

Mr. Jamieson: Over the last four financial years (1998—2002) PowerShift has funded: (a) 6337 vans and (b) 5742 other vehicles. These 12,079 vehicles can be categorised by these fuel or technology types:

Liquefied petroleum gas10,524
Natural gas217
Battery electric389
Fuel cell1

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