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Mr. McNulty: The Department for Transport plays an active role in disseminating good practice in the bus sector, both alone and in partnership with other stakeholders in the industry and local authorities. Recent examples include a "Good Practice Guide on rural bus service provision" and revised guidance on "Protecting Bus and Coach Crews".
13. Paul Farrelly: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assistance his Department gives to local government in respect of formulating bids for (a) light rail and (b) other transport schemes. 
Mr. McNulty: We are always happy to discuss with local authorities, without prejudice, emerging proposals for light rail and other local transport schemes, and to explain what information will be required to support any bids for funding. A manual of guidance on our appraisal methodology is also available.
Mr. Jamieson: The latest audited figures are for the year 200001, in which £8.6 million of speeding fine receipts was passed to seven safety camera partnerships, and for 200102 in which £11.4 million was passed to 14 safety camera partnerships in England and Wales. In those two years £1.2 million and £4.3 million respectively, was returned to the Treasury.
Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much money raised in fines from speed cameras during the last year for which records are available was spent in (a) Billericay and District, (b) Basildon and District and (c) Essex; and how that money was spent. 
Mr. Jamieson: In 200102 the Essex Safety Camera Partnership claimed £3,003,763 to cover the costs of purchasing and operating cameras in their area which includes Billericay and Basildon, for which separate figures are not available.
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Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much money was raised in fines from speed cameras in the last year for which records are available in (a) Billericay and District, (b) Basildon and District and (c) Essex. 
Mr. Jamieson: In 200102 £3,524,120 in conditional offer fixed penalties was collected by the Essex Safety Camera Partnership which includes Billericay and Basildon, for which separate figures are not available.
Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many speed cameras (a) there are and (b) there have been in each of the last five years in (i) Billericay and District, (ii) Basildon and District and (iii) Essex 
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Mr. Jamieson: None. The Department is however in the process of implementing EU Directive 2003/20/EU of 8 April 2003 on seat belt wearing. This requires the wearing of seat belts by passengers in buses and coaches where they are installed.
Mr. McNulty: Performance figures published by the Strategic Rail Authority on 11 December showed that year on year performance was up 0.5 per cent. to the end of September 2003. We are putting in funding to reverse the decades of under-investment and improve reliability. Early indications are that performance this autumn has been significantly better than in 2002.
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Mr. Jamieson: We are hoping to reach a decision on the route choice for the A303 improvement west of Ilminster in the spring after we have received the comments of the Regional Assembly on the Highways Agency's further work.
18. Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport to what extent he proposes details of development at airports in the south-east of England under "The Future of Air Transport" White Paper should remain a matter of local determination through the planning system. 
Mr. McNulty: I refer the hon. Member to the Aviation White Paper which says that it is for owners and operators to bring forward airport development proposals which will need to be considered through the planning system in the normal way.
19. Mrs. Calton: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on his Department's strategy for (a) increasing cycling journey numbers and (b) reducing cycling injuries and deaths. 
Mr. McNulty: We are improving cycling infrastructure and, having initiated the Cycling Projects Fund, we have given over £4 million for local cycling facilities and training. On the safety front, we are promoting training and measures which cyclists can take to protect themselves, such making themselves conspicuous. We are also improving training and testing for motorists.
Mr. McNulty: Assessments of the impact of the growth in the aviation industry in increasing productivity growth across the economy were made by Oxford Economic Forecasting ("The Contribution of the Aviation Industry to the UK Economy", November 1999). However, the appraisal of airport development options made in the regional air transport consultation documents focus on the direct benefits to passengers of increased airport capacity. No estimates were made of wider economic benefits to the economy arising from factors such as improvements in the UK's competitiveness, but the potential effect of additional airport capacity on productivity across the economy can be gauged from the resulting increase in business passengers and air freight activity.
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Mr. McNulty: Assessments of the contribution of aviation to employment growth in other sectors of the economy have been undertaken by Oxford Economic Forecasting ("The Contribution of the Aviation Industry to the UK Economy", November 1999) and by ECOTEC Research and Consulting Ltd. ("The Local and Regional Economic Impacts of the Expansion of Regional Air Services", January 2001). "The Future Development of Air Transport in the United Kingdom: North of England" consultation document included material from these studies on aviation-related employment.
Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what discussions he has had with the Strategic Rail Authority regarding possible refurbishment of Birmingham New Street Station; and if he will make a statement; 
Mr. McNulty: I understand that in the short term, Network Rail is developing a plan to continue to manage passenger capacity efficiently while improving passenger circulation at Birmingham New Street. The Strategic Rail Authority and Network Rail are also working together and with local and regional stakeholders to continue the safe and efficient operation of the station, and to develop a series of station capacity and infrastructure enhancements to improve its environment. This will ensure that the predicted substantial growth in demand for rail services in the region in the medium to longer term can be addressed.
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