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17 Mar 2003 : Column 536W—continued

M60 (Compensation)

Andrew Bennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether all the compensation to householders resulting from the construction of the M60 has been paid; what steps are in place to reduce the fees for agents involved in these pay outs; and whether claimants will be paid interest on late pay outs. [102642]

Mr. Jamieson: I have asked the Chief Executive of the Highways Agency, Tim Matthews, to write to my hon. Friend.

Letter from Tim Matthews to Andrew Bennett, dated 17 March 2003:

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Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects to announce his decision on the Central Railway Project. [103060]

Mr. Jamieson: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to him on 11 March, Official Report, column 120W.

Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the credit rating is of Network Rail. [101196]

Mr. Jamieson: Network Rail expects to secure ratings later this year.

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when safety liaison meetings between ASLEF, management and other partners took place in each of the last five years; and what the normal frequency of such meetings should be. [102395]

Mr. Jamieson: The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) advise that meetings between managers, safety representatives and trade union representatives are important in ensuring the discharge of the legal duty under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 requiring employers to provide such information, instruction, training and supervision as is necessary to ensure the health and safety of their employees. HSE however do not hold details of the dates of such meetings.

Senior management of the HSE Railway Inspectorate (HMRI) hold regular meetings with the general secretaries of all the principal rail unions to discuss issues of strategic safety importance. These meetings are held 2–3 times a year. These high level meetings are complemented by a wide range of local liaison initiatives with ASLEF officials and Trade Union members, including regular local meetings between HMRI inspectors and trade union officials. Details of local liaison meetings are not held centrally.

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions he has had with LUL about the restoration of services on the (a) Waterloo and City line and (b) Central line. [102396]

Mr. Jamieson: My right hon. Friend and ministerial colleagues meet London Underground representatives on both a regular and ad hoc basis, to discuss a variety of relevant matters.

Mr. Grogan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the (a) Trans-Pennine rail franchise and (b) Northern franchise. [103137]

Mr. Jamieson: The Strategic Rail Authority is replacing the existing First North Western and Arriva Trains Northern franchises by reconfigured TransPennine Express and Northern franchises. Connex Transport UK Limited and a consortium of FirstGroup and Keolis SDA have been short-listed as bidders for the TransPennine

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Express franchise. Expressions of interest have been invited for the Northern franchise and the firms pre-qualified to receive invitations to tender will be announced later this year.

Mr. Dhanda: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps the Strategic Rail Authority plans to take regarding Virgin Trains' recent announcement on changes to the timetable in services in Gloucester; and whether this is in breach of the passenger service requirements. [103345]

Mr. Jamieson: The increased timetable which Virgin Cross Country introduced in October 2002 has proved to be unworkable in various respects. The Strategic Rail Authority has agreed timetable changes, including changes affecting Gloucester, and is granting the necessary derogations from the passenger service requirements. The aim is to improve the performance and reliability of services overall. At Gloucester the withdrawal of Virgin Cross Country services (save for one morning and one evening peak service to Birmingham) will be offset by a new, more reliable pattern of services operated variously by Central Trains, Wessex Trains and Wales and Borders.

Road Building

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his estimate is of the total cost to the Government of all central Government funded new road building in each year from 2001–02 to 2010–11; and if he will make a statement. [101532]

Mr. Jamieson: The 10-Year Plan for Transport provided for investment of £15 billion over 10 years for roads in England. This investment is for new roads and the improvement of existing roads through widening and junction improvements. It is funded directly and indirectly by central government through the Highways Agency, local authorities and makes use of private finance.

A year by year breakdown is as follows:

Investment in new roads
£ million


Actual expenditure will depend upon the schemes that come forward as well as the planning process.

Roads in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are the responsibility of the devolved Administrations.

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Road Safety (Traffic Counters)

Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what representations he has received concerning the road safety implications of the use of Nu-Metrics Hi-Star traffic counters installed in road surfaces. [102838]

Mr. Jamieson: The British Motorcyclists Federation has written to my Department expressing concern for the safety of powered two wheel vehicles passing over this device, asking in particular whether it needed "type approval". My officials have met the importers of the device. Having examined a sample, they consider that it does not require type approval. It is for the relevant highway authority to consider whether and how such counters should be used on their roads.

Vehicle Emmissions

Dr. Andrew Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Road Traffic (Vehicle Emissions) (Fixed Penalty) (England) Regulations 2002; [103552]

Mr. Jamieson: It is too early to determine the effectiveness of these regulations. However we will review them in July 2004, after which I will report our conclusions to the House.

We do not keep records of fixed penalties that have been issued. However I understand that none has been issued under these regulations for idling engine offences and only five for illegal emissions offences. The intention of the regulations was that the fixed penalties should provide a deterrent.

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