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Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will take steps to increase existing levels of consumer protection for flight only customers of low-cost airlines; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Jamieson: The Government has recently been involved in extensive discussions at a European level on a proposal for a regulation establishing common rules on compensation and assistance to air passengers in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long delays of flights. Political agreement was reached on this proposal at the European Transport Council in December 2002.
This regulation, which will apply to all airlines operating within the European Union, will ensure a higher level of protection for passengers in cases of denied boarding, cancellation and delay. A ministerial
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Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the availability of low interest loans from the European Investment Bank for (a) financing repair and renewal of London Underground, (b) the purchase of vehicle fleet by local authorities and (c) new transport infrastructure for the introduction of congestion zones and on emission zones. 
Mr. Jamieson: The European Investment Bank is one of many lenders involved in the tube modernisation plans. The bank might potentially make financing facilities available for the procurement of a clean vehicle fleet or for new infrastructure related to congestion and emission zones. However, any project promoter would need to satisfy the bank that its initiative helped to achieve the objectives of the European Union. And the cost of the project would normally need to exceed Euro25 million.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what rules govern the conduct of the (a) chairman of the Strategic Rail Authority, (b) Head of Planning of the Strategic Rail Authority and (c) Rail Regulator in regard to their dealings with their former employers. 
Mark Tami: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many vehicles were found to be overweight at weigh-bridges in (a) 1999, (b) 2000 and (c) 2001; and how many prosecutions were pursued against individuals and companies relating to such vehicles in each of those years. 
Mr. Jamieson: The Police, Local Authorities' Trading Standards and the Vehicle Inspectorate conduct vehicle weighings at weighbridges and other locations to enforce compliance with maximum legal weights in Great Britain. The Department only holds records of weighings conducted by the Vehicle Inspectorate.
The Inspectorate's policy is to weigh only suspect overloaded vehicles and prohibit them from further movement until the load is adjusted to conform to legalrequirements. Overloading is reported to the traffic
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commissioners for action through the operator licensing system where appropriate. More serious cases and serial offenders are also prosecuted.
|Reported for prosecution
|Reported for prosecution
|Reported for prosecution
1. Figures include UK and foreign vehicles.
Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the Civil Aviation Authority's role will be in ensuring compensation for those affected by the cancellation of Buzz Flights by Ryanair; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the reason was for the re-branding of TransportAction as TransportEnergy; and what the total cost was to the Energy Savings Trust broken down into (a) consultancy fees, (b) publicity, (c) reprinting of stationery and (d) other material costs. 
Mr. Jamieson: In September 2002 the Energy Saving Trust re-branded TransportAction as TransportEnergy as part of a wider exercise to rationalise all of the trust's environmental initiatives, enabling them to deliver their messages with improved effectiveness and cost-efficiency. The term TransportEnergy better reflects the trust's goal of supporting a move to a less energy intensive transport system and is more consistent with the trust's domestic energy efficiency programmes.
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Mr. Jamieson: It is not possible to provide a breakdown of staff specifically for Harrow but the DVLA local office at Stanmore covers most of north London including Harrow. 29 staff at that office work on the enforcement of vehicle excise duty.
Mr. Jamieson: Regulations were amended in April 2002 to reduce the period impounded vehicles have to be kept before they can be disposed of from 35 days to seven or 14 days. The deciding factor is the value of the vehicle. The majority of impounded unlicensed vehicles are now disposed of within 14 days.
The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency has increased the number of wheelclamping teams operating in London from two to four. Plans further to increasethe level of wheelclamping across the UK are being considered as part of the proposals to modernise the vehicle registration and licensing system.
Mr. Jamieson: DVLA plans to extend partnership working with local authorities to clamp and impound unlicensed vehicles following a successful trial scheme in the London Borough of Newham. Teams working for the boroughs of Wandsworth, Croydon and Lewisham, and Hastings and Southend-on-Sea councils have been trained by DVLA and now, together with Newham, clamp and impound untaxed cars in their areas. These teams complement the existing national contract for wheelclamping untaxed cars.
Lembit Öpik: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what requirements his Department has made of companies bidding for the Wales and Borders franchise as to the minimum level of service provision required within the term of the franchise; and if he will make a statement; 
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Mr. Jamieson: The Strategic Rail Authority has asked bidders for the Wales and Borders franchise to provide a baseline bid for maintaining services at or around the current level. Bidders are also being asked for options to increase the level of service and to show what can be provided for 10 per cent. and 20 per cent less subsidy. The bidding process is in progress and bids have yet to be submitted. The outcome will be announced in due course.