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Derek Twigg: Network Rail has submitted a revised application for a Transport and Works Act Order, and a resumed public inquiry is scheduled to start on 6 September. As with other major railway projects, commitment to funding and implementation cannot be made unless and until powers to construct the project have been secured. However, the Government has long recognised the need to increase the capacity of Thameslink, and we remain satisfied that the project meets our criteria for investment.
John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what feedback has been received from (a) fire services, (b) providers of bus services, (c) funeral directors, (d) the police and (e) ambulance services about the design of traffic calming measures, with particular reference to cushion road humps. 
John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what consultations are planned with (a) fire services, (b) providers of bus services, (c) funeral directors, (d) the police and (e) ambulance services about the design of traffic calming measures, with particular reference to the cushion road hump. 
Dr. Ladyman: Local authorities are responsible for the introduction of traffic calming measures, such as speed cushions, on their roads. The Highways (Road Humps) Regulations 1999 place an obligation on local authorities to consult the emergency services whenever road humps are proposed. Although not a specific requirement, the Department strongly recommend that bus operators and any other organisation likely to be effected are consulted.
Ms Buck: Over the first five year local transport plan period Essex has been allocated £154 million to support locally determined transport requirements. In addition, the two Essex unitary authorities have been allocated a further £64.8 million making a total allocation of £218.8 million over the period county wide.
The transport authorities of Essex are currently drafting local transport plans for the next five years. These plans will need to reflect the transport priorities for the county in the context of its economic, social and environmental policies. How the authorities determine their requirements will reflect the levels of funding to improve the transport network.
Looking ahead, the Highways Agency has the widening of the M25 between junctions 27 and 31 in its targeted programme of improvements. This work, which is planned to start in 201011 and open two years later, will further enhance transport connections in Essex. The Government investment in the whole M25 programme will be £1.6 billion.
A hybrid Bill has been brought forward to authorise the construction of Crossrail, a major new rail link providing fast, efficient and convenient rail access through central London between Shenfield and the Thames Gateway in the east and Maidenhead and Heathrow airport in the west.
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Mr. Woodward: The Department has not allocated funding specifically for beta interferon treatment in 200506. Health and Social Services Boards have been allocated an additional £5 million this year for a range of specialist hospital medicines. It is for the boards to determine how they will allocate this funding, taking into account local circumstances and competing service pressures.
"The British Government reaffirms the commitment in the Agreement to a range of measures aimed at combating unemployment and progressively eliminating the differential in unemployment rates between the two communities by targeting objective need. It will encourage funding to be made available for research for this purpose. It will also encourage the devolved administration to explore, including in the context of the evaluation of new TSN 1 which is currently under way, how best work on this issue can be accelerated and what further measurement techniques including indicators and targets may be used in order to assess progress."
Mr. Des Browne: The Freedom Pass is the London-wide concessionary travel scheme which entitles London residents over 60 free off-peak travel on London's public transport, including the tube, bus, DLR, Tramlink and National Rail within London. This scheme is funded by the London boroughs and administered by the Association of London Government in conjunction with Transport for London. There is no intention to extend this scheme to all pensioners in England.
The Government announced in the Budget that they would be extending concessionary off-peak, local bus travel for elderly and disabled people from the current statutory half fare to full fare. This means that from April 2006 all people over 60 and disabled people (as defined by the Transport Act 2000 and assessed by the local authority) will be entitled to travel for free, off-peak (after 9.30 am) on buses in their local area.
Mr. Des Browne: The local development framework for Mid-Sussex considered together with the south east regional spatial strategy and regional economic strategy will provide information on infrastructure priorities in Mid-Sussex and the south east region more generally.
In March 2005 the Government office for the south east published "Infrastructure in the South East" setting out the Government's thinking on infrastructure and how to unlock the investment necessary for growth to be successfully delivered. A copy of the report is available on the Government office's website: www.gose.gov.uk.
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