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31 Jan 2005 : Column 587W—continued

Nottingham Express Transit

Patrick Mercer: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what proportion of the cost of the Nottingham Express Transit will be borne by the local authority. [211834]

Charlotte Atkins: As with all proposed light rail projects in England (outside London), the promoting authorities are expected to contribute at least 25 per cent. from local sources towards the net capital costs of the proposed extensions.

Number Plate Cloning

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his current assessment is of the extent of car number plate cloning; what action is taken against users of vehicles with cloned plates; what assessment he has made of the ease of making and using such plates;
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what plans he has for new (a) legislation and (b) sanctions to deal with those making or using cloned plates; if he will introduce measures to ensure that car owners whose number plates have been cloned or used without their knowledge are not penalised; and if he will make a statement. [211083]

Mr. Jamieson: Evidence from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency's automated number plate recognition (ANPR) systems and the police suggests that cloning is being used by a small minority of motorists to avoid fines and charges. The police and DVLA are working closely to detect cloned vehicles.

In order to combat the problem of cloning and preventing people from obtaining number plates to which they are not entitled, the Government have introduced measures to tighten up the supply of plates. Since 1 January 2003 all suppliers of number plates have been required to register with DVLA and to keep records of sales. Purchasers of plates are required to produce evidence of their identity as well as the vehicle registration document. Number plate suppliers who fail to comply with these requirements can be fined up to £5,000 and suspended from the register for up to five years. The Road Safety Bill currently before Parliament will extend the register of number plate suppliers to Scotland and Northern Ireland.

It is already an offence to fail to display the correct registration mark on a vehicle and the maximum penalty is £1,000.

We are currently reviewing the issue of the physical security of number plates, including manufacture and methods of fixing to the vehicle. The aim is to prevent plates being stolen for reissue.

Potters Bar

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects to announce a decision regarding a public inquiry into the Potters Bar derailment. [208504]

Mr. McNulty: The Secretary of State expects to be in a position to take a decision on whether to hold a public inquiry into the Potters Bar derailment once the Crown Prosecution Service has decided whether to bring prosecutions. However, this position is subject to periodic review.

Rail Freight

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps are being taken by his Department to ensure that in-house rail freight expertise is (a) transferred to and (b) can be called upon by the new Department for Transport rail organisation. [211086]

Mr. McNulty: The rail freight activities of the SRA are transferring to the Department for Transport, and will be divided between the new Rail Group, and the Department's Logistics Policy Division. Detailed design and staffing of the new Rail Group, to enable the Department's rail responsibilities to be carried out effectively, is continuing. The Department is working closely with the SRA to ensure that it has the relevant capabilities for the new Rail Group. The Department is also in close contact with the rail freight industry.
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Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many new miles of railway track have been brought into use since 1997; and if he will list the new lengths of track. [210425]

Mr. McNulty [holding answer 25 January 2005]: The Strategic Rail Authority advises that there have been 63.5 miles of new railway track brought into use since 1997. These comprise 12 miles from Worksop to Mansfield, four miles related to the Heathrow Express services and one and a half miles from Millerhill to Newcraighall. The Channel Tunnel Rail Link Section 1 from the Channel Tunnel to Fawkham Junction comprising 46 miles of new track was opened on 28 September 2003. In addition, three miles between Hamilton and Larkhill are due to be opened in early 2005.

Double tracking of the lines between Kidsgrove and Crewe (nine miles) and between Burngallow and Probus (seven miles) have added a further 16 miles of new track.

Regional Transport Boards

Mr. Stringer: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions he has had with (a) Passenger Transport Authorities, (b) the Passenger Transport Executive, (c) Regional Chambers, (d) Regional Development Agencies and (e) the Local Government Association on proposals for regional transport boards; and if he will make a statement. [211588]

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Charlotte Atkins: Ministers have recently met the English Regions Network representing the eight English regional chambers outside London to discuss the proposals in the consultation document Devolving decision making: A consultation on regional funding allocations".

The Government have indicated in the consultation paper that they do not intend to prescribe institutional arrangements for how regions should coordinate and prepare advice on regional priorities. It will be for regions themselves to decide if they wish to establish regional transport boards or other arrangements.

We look forward to receiving the views of Passenger Transport Authorities and Executives, Regional Chambers, Regional Development Agencies, the Local Government Association, and other bodies on the proposals in the consultation document.

Speed Cameras

Mrs. Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much revenue has been paid to the Exchequer from speed camera operations in England in each year since 2001. [211146]

Mr. Jamieson: The revenue figures for the National Safety Camera Programme in England and Wales since 2001 are as follows. The table indicates the number of safety camera partnerships participating in the programme at each stage:

Number of partnerships participating in programme
Receipts from fixed penalties
Balance, accruing to the Consolidated Fund
2000–017 partnerships10,362,4408,985,2471,367,193
2001–027 partnerships, 14 from October 200119,660,78016,106,5593,554,221
2002–0323 partnerships, 25 from July 2002, 29 from October 200268,872,32054,256,50214,615,818
2003–04Provisional (35 partnerships)112.2 million9 1.8 million20.4 million

Details of programme funding for 2002–01 to 2002–03 are given in The national safety camera programme Three-year evaluation report", copies of which have been placed in the Library of the House, and are available from the Department's website. Except where special provisions apply, such as have been made for supporting the operation of approved safety cameras, the whole of offenders' fines normally accrue to the Consolidated Fund.

St. Pancras

Andrew Selous: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will instruct Network Rail to complete the necessary track and signalling work at King's Cross/St. Pancras to enable Great Northern services to be integrated with those of Thameslink prior to the opening of St. Pancras International Station in mid 2007. [209918]

Mr. McNulty: Track and signalling work at King's Cross/St. Pancras forms part of the Thameslink 2000 project and would not enable existing Great Northern trains to run south of St. Pancras without the main Thameslink 2000 works. These require Transport and Works Act and other consents. Network Rail's applications are to be considered at a re-opened public inquiry which will determine whether this can proceed.


Business Rates

Brian Cotter: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many non-domestic hereditaments in England are businesses with a rateable value of (a) £10,000 or less, (b) £25,000 or less and (c) £25,001 or more. [211589]

Mr. Timms: The number of non-domestic hereditaments, in England, with a rateable value of (a) £10,000 or less is 1,094,192, (b) £25,000 or less is 1,395,505 and (c) £25,001 or more is 257,679.

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