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9 Jun 2003 : Column 593W—continued

Equal Treatment and Non-discrimination Directive

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment has been made of the effect upon (a) the recruitment of foreign seafarers and (b) the UK Ships Register of implementing the EU Directive on equal treatment and non-discrimination. [118282]

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Mr. Jamieson: A Regulatory Impact Analysis was completed when the implementation of the EU Article 13 Race Directive was under consideration.

Ferry Passengers

Mr. Peter Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will estimate the current percentage of passenger traffic using ferry links from UK ports who arrive at each point by public transport. [118339]

Mr. Jamieson: This information is not available.

Highways Infrastructure (Depreciation)

Mr. Peter Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what account is taken within the Strategic Planning Framework for Highways Maintenance Expenditure for depreciation of highways infrastructure; and how much such expenditure was in the latest year for which figures are available. [118097]

Mr. Jamieson: For 2001–02, the latest year for which figures are available, the Highways Agency allowed £175,333,000 for depreciation of the trunk road network in England. This figure relates almost entirely to bridges and tunnels, as the roads themselves are depreciated on a renewals accounting basis; that is, the level of expenditure on maintenance is treated as a proxy for the depreciation charge on the asset. Further details are available in the Agency's Annual Report and Accounts 2001–02, copies of which are available in the Libraries of the House.

Local highway authorities in England are not currently required to value their road assets nor to establish a basis on which to depreciate them. The total provision for local highway maintenance in the 10-Year-Plan is £30.5 billion, of which £9.2 billion is capital funding and £21.3 billion is revenue funding. This is linked to the Plan target of eliminating the backlogs in road maintenance by the end of the Plan period.

Licence Plates

Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the number of cloned vehicle licence plates on UK roads; and if he will make a statement. [117666]

Mr. Jamieson: Statistics on the number of cloned vehicles in use on UK roads are not available. However, evidence from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency's Automated Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) systems suggests that cloning is being used by a small minority of motorists to evade fines and charges.

Motor Cycles

Dr. Stoate: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will introduce a compulsory registration scheme for off road motorcycles. [117408]

Mr. Jamieson: There are no plans to do so. Off road motorcycling causes nuisance from time to time, but is not a major problem. It does not warrant a national registration scheme, which would be costly to set up and administer, and difficult to enforce.

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Oil Tanker Safety

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions have taken place with other EU member states regarding oil tanker safety since the wreck of the Prestige. [118281]

Mr. Jamieson: At the Transport Council in December 2002, 20 Conclusions on oil tanker safety were agreed. Since then we have worked closely with our colleagues in other Member States to take forward the measures set out in the Conclusions.

Rail Services

Martin Linton: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what duties (a) Network Rail and (b) the Strategic Rail Authority have taken over from train operating companies which have signed new franchise extensions of less than 10 years' duration. [116102]

Mr. Jamieson: None.

Road Safety

Shona McIsaac: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list the regulations regarding the siting of (a) roundabouts and (b) traffic lights. [118567]

Mr. Jamieson: The appropriate method of regulating conflicting traffic movements at junctions, or providing crossing facilities for pedestrians and cyclists, is a matter for the engineering judgment of the traffic authority in the light of local circumstances. The Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002 (SI 3113) specify the appearance of traffic signals, and of signs and markings associated with signals and roundabouts, and the circumstances in which traffic signs and signals may be placed.

Sea Vision UK

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much funding has been allocated to Sea Vision UK; and what steps have been taken since 1997 to increase public awareness of the role of the sea to the UK. [118278]

Mr. Jamieson: We provided Sea Vision UK with £800 funding towards the cost of producing a publication to promote awareness of maritime careers in 2002 and have committed to providing funding for another such

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publication in 2003. No other formal requests for funding have been received, but we fully support the initiative.

Merchant Navy Day was launched in September 2000 to highlight the vital contribution to the nation of the UK shipping industry, and the need to encourage young people to consider a career at sea via the associated programme of events, Our Ships—Your Future.

The Support for Maritime Training (SMarT) scheme has been running since April 1998 and provides support for the training of officers and ratings, covering around 50 per cent. of training costs.

Seafarer Training

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assistance has been given to the British shipping sector to train and employ British seafarers. [118279]

Mr. Jamieson: The Government's Support for Maritime Training (SMarT) scheme has been running since April 1998 and provides support for the training of officers and ratings. Following a review in 2000 and receipt of EU State Aids clearance in 2001, additional courses were included and the levels of funding increased to cover around 50 per cent. of the costs of training.

Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the OECD report on Availability and Training of Seafarers; and if he will make a statement. [118266]

Mr. Jamieson: I welcome the OECD report as a valuable contribution to the debate on means of increasing the training and employment of seafarers. In particular, I note the support for measures such as tonnage taxes, initiatives to promote maritime careers, and the need to ensure training for future jobs ashore normally filled by ex-seafarers. These accord with United Kingdom policy.

Trams

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list, broken down by city, (a) tram and (b) guided bus systems that have been opened for each year since 1997. [117732]

Mr. Jamieson: The information is as follows:

DateTramKerb guided bus
1999London: Docklands Light Railway Lewisham extension opened November0
West Midlands: Midland Metro line 1 (Birmingham to Wolverhampton) opened in May
2000London: Croydon Tramlink opened in May0
2001West Yorkshire: East Leeds Quality Bus Scheme opened in November
2002Tyne and Wear: Tyne and Wear Metro extension to Sunderlandand South Hylton opened in MarchWest Yorkshire: Bradford-A641 Manchester Road opened January 2002

Walking/Cycling

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he is taking to encourage walking and cycling as alternatives to road transport; and if he will make a statement. [118149]

Mr. Jamieson: The Government are committed to increasing walking and cycling journeys to help tackle local congestion and improve public health. We have established the National Cycling Strategy Board for England and engaged a team of regional cycling advocates to assist local authorities and organisations in

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increasing cycling. We intend within the next month to issue a consultation paper on encouraging more walking and improving conditions for pedestrians. This will build on discussions at a round of regional seminars on walking sponsored by my Department last year.

Improved facilities for cyclists and pedestrians are largely funded through Local Transport Plans. Highway authorities are asked to develop local strategies to support and encourage cycling and walking as part of these plans. These must identify gaps in the local infrastructure and plans for delivering improvements.

Mr. Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps are being taken to develop a national walking strategy; and if he will make a statement. [118430]

Mr. Jamieson: We intend to publish a consultation paper on encouraging walking and improving conditions for pedestrians within the next month.


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