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7 Jun 2005 : Column 446W—continued

Development in Africa

30. Hugh Bayley: To ask the Leader of the House what assessment he has made of the Work of Parliament and Development in Africa Working Party. [1944]

Nigel Griffiths: The establishment of the cross party working party on Parliament and Development in Africa last year reflects the strong interest which exists on both sides of this House in international development, and the role which parliamentarians can play. I welcome this.


31. Mark Lazarowicz: To ask the Leader of the House what plans he has for the further modernisation of the House of Commons. [1945]

Mr. Hoon: I believe there is scope for further modernisation in the way we do our business in this House, and I look forward to discussing with colleagues from all sides of the House how we can best take this forward.

I hope a motion re-establishing the Modernisation Committee will be tabled before the summer.

Pre-legislative Scrutiny

32. Mr. Allen: To ask the Leader of the House if he will encourage Government Departments to subject all Bills in this and future Sessions to pre-legislative scrutiny. [1946]

Nigel Griffiths: The Government are committed to pre-legislative scrutiny, and have substantially increased the number of Bills published in draft. But it is not realistic to expect that all Bills should be published in draft for pre-legislative scrutiny: Parliament must be able to legislate quickly where there is a clear need, and constraints on drafting capacity place a limit on the number of Bills that can be produced in draft in any particular Session.

Public Understanding

33. Julie Morgan: To ask the Leader of the House what plans he has to make the business of the House more comprehensible to the public. [1947]

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Mr. Hoon: There is certainly more to be done to make our proceedings in the House readily comprehensible, and accessible, to the public; and I am very willing to consider any suggestions from hon. Members on how this might best be done.

Parliamentary Questions

34. Ben Chapman: To ask the Leader of the House what plans he has to propose changes to the arrangements for the tabling of written parliamentary questions during the summer recess. [2018]

Nigel Griffiths: My right hon. Friend the Leader of the House has no plans to propose changes to current practice.


Coventry Airport

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps the Government are taking to tackle aircraft emissions at Coventry airport. [1268]

Ms Buck: The Government's policy on tackling aviation emissions is set out in chapter 3 of the Air Transport White Paper, published in December 2003. The Government have also introduced national objectives for air quality, set out in the National Air Quality Strategy and prescribed in the Air Quality Regulations 2000. Local authorities have a duty to assess the air quality in their areas against these objectives.


Peter Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to his answer of 23 May 2005, Official Report, column 11W, (1) how many Crossrail trains per hour are planned to operate on the (a) Great Western Main Line and (b) Great Eastern Main Line (i) during peak hours, (ii) between peak hours and (iii) in the evenings; what forecast he has made of how much capacity, in terms of trains per hour, will remain for other passenger and freight trains during these periods; what the existing capacity is during these periods; and how these numbers compare with existing numbers of trains operated; [2104]

(2) what the maximum number of Crossrail trains per hour is for which priority powers are being sought in the Crossrail Bill; [2105]

(3) how much capacity, in terms of trains per hour, will remain for passenger and freight trains, other than Crossrail trains, if the maximum permitted number of Crossrail trains are operated; and what estimate he has made of changes to journey times for other passenger and freight trains on these routes if the maximum number of Crossrail trains are operated. [2106]

Derek Twigg: The following tables summarise the assumptions that have been made in developing Crossrail. Table 1 shows how many Crossrail trains per hour will operate in the central section between Paddington and Whitechapel. Table 2 shows how many Crossrail trains per hour will serve stations to the west of Paddington and to the east of Whitechapel for a corresponding frequency in the central section.
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Table 1

Trains per hour
Monday to Fridays
Start to 07.0012
07.00 to 07.4520
07.45 to 09.1524
09.15 to 10.0020
10.00 to 16.0016
16.00 to 16.4520
16.45 to 18.1524
18.15 to 19.0020
19.00 to 21.0016
21.00 to close12
Start to 09.0012
09.00 to 21.0016
21.00 to close12
Start to 12.0012
12.00 to 21.0016
21.00 to close12

Table 2

Trains per hour service
Station/section of route24201612
Shenfield to Stratford121086
Abbey Wood to Isle of Dogs121086
Acton Main Line4444
Ealing Broadway10886
West Ealing4444
Hayes and Harlington10886
Heathrow Airport4444
West Drayton6442
Langley, Iver4442
Burnham, Taplow4222

There could also be the following services that would not be part of the principal Crossrail passenger service but would be complementary to it:

The capacity for non-Crossrail passenger services (other than existing suburban services subsumed by Crossrail or complementary services) and freight trains is largely unaffected for the following reasons.

For the Greater Western route Crossrail services will share use of two of the four tracks and will not displace services on to the other two tracks. So apart from periods of maintenance and disruption when services on all four tracks may need to be looked at together, there will be no impact from the operation of Crossrail on the two tracks that currently, and will continue to, carry all of the passenger services not subsumed into Crossrail and complementary services.
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For the Great Eastern route the position is similar with Crossrail trains normally operating on the tracks currently carrying the local services subsumed into Crossrail services and not normally affecting the other two tracks.

In relation to freight, Crossrail service planning assumes that the current level of planned freight paths will continue. This allows for some growth in services run, since not all of the planned paths for freight are currently used on any given day. The Crossrail project includes a number of local infrastructure works specifically to facilitate continued freight operation.

This Bill does not specify a maximum number of principal Crossrail passenger service trains to which the use of powers in the Bill could apply. The Bill enables the Secretary of State to specify a minimum number of principal Crossrail passenger service trains. If the Secretary of State exercised this power he would do so taking account of all of his relevant rail and other policies, not simply the interests of Crossrail services in isolation.

Flight Path Changes (Consultation)

Mr. Yeo: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many complaints he has received regarding poorconsultation procedures for aircraft flight path changes. [2304]

Ms Buck: I refer the hon. Member to the answer of 25 May 2005, Official Report, column 123W, where I indicated that the Department does not maintain a noise complaints database. It does however regularly receive representations about aircraft flight paths. Most concerns relate to the effect of noise on correspondents. As part of this, some comment adversely on the way in which they became aware of changes. I am aware of a judicial review case on airspace changes affecting Suffolk.

Airspace changes are primarily the responsibility of the Directorate of Airspace Policy at the Civil Aviation Authority in the light of Guidance and Directions from the Secretary of State for Transport under section 66(1) of the Transport Act 2000. These are designed to ensure that changes are made only where it is clear, after consultation, that an overall environmental benefit will accrue, or where airspace management considerations and the overriding need for safety allow for no practical alternative.

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