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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.
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.
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.
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.
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; 
(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. 
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.
7 Jun 2005 : Column 448W
|Trains per hour|
|Monday to Fridays|
|Start to 07.00||12|
|07.00 to 07.45||20|
|07.45 to 09.15||24|
|09.15 to 10.00||20|
|10.00 to 16.00||16|
|16.00 to 16.45||20|
|16.45 to 18.15||24|
|18.15 to 19.00||20|
|19.00 to 21.00||16|
|21.00 to close||12|
|Start to 09.00||12|
|09.00 to 21.00||16|
|21.00 to close||12|
|Start to 12.00||12|
|12.00 to 21.00||16|
|21.00 to close||12|
|Trains per hour service|
|Station/section of route||24||20||16||12|
|Shenfield to Stratford||12||10||8||6|
|Abbey Wood to Isle of Dogs||12||10||8||6|
|Acton Main Line||4||4||4||4|
|Hayes and Harlington||10||8||8||6|
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.
7 Jun 2005 : Column 449W
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.
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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