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Mr. Crabb: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress is being made towards renegotiating the Irish Light Dues subsidy; and how much has been allocated to this subsidy for 200506. 
Dr. Ladyman: We have begun to work with the Irish Government's Department of Communication, Marine and Natural Resources to review the current funding arrangements for the Commissioners of Irish Lights (CIL), focusing initially on agreeing common ground and exploring possible solutions.
CIL is currently funded both through the General Lighthouse Fund, from light dues levied on commercial shipping calling at UK and Republic of Ireland ports, and also from a top-up contribution from the Irish Government. Half of the sum CIL is deemed to spend in the Republic of Ireland comes from light dues levied on shipping at UK ports, but no amount is allocated in advance for this contribution. It varies depending on the amount of light dues collected in the Republic of Ireland and the fluctuations in the exchange rate.
Derek Twigg: The Secretary of State made clear the position on the Supertram scheme in his oral statement last summer on 20 July 2004, Official Report, column 159. Since then we have been in discussions with WYPTE about their alternative proposals which we will decide upon in due course.
Mr. MacNeil: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport on what dates (a) he and (b) his Department discussed with the Scottish Executive how the EU maritime cabotage regulations and EU rules on state aid apply to the provision of lifeline island ferry services; and what (i) information and (ii) advice he has given to the Scottish Executive on the application of these rules in relation to competitive tendering for the west coast ferry routes operated by Caledonian MacBrayne. 
Mr. MacNeil: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what representations he has made to the European Commission on behalf of the Scottish Executive in relation to how the EU's maritime cabotage regulations and rules governing state aid apply to the delivery of lifeline ferry services. 
Dr. Ladyman: The UK Government responded to the Commission's consultation on its then draft Community Guidelines on State Aid to Maritime Transport on 3 June 2003. The response dealt with issues in relation to the UK and included, on behalf of the Scottish Executive, the application of the new guidelines to Scottish lifeline ferry services. Particular subjects covered included mainland to mainland routes, extent of tendered contract periods, and financial and passenger threshold levels.
Mr. MacNeil: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what (a) information and (b) advice he has received from the European Commission on the application of the maritime cabotage regulations and state aid to the Scottish west coast ferry routes; and what representations he has received from the European Commission on competitive tendering for these routes. 
The European Commission produced a Communication on Community Guidelines on State aid to Maritime Transport on 17 January 2004. We have been kept informed of the correspondence between the Scottish Executive and the Commission on the specific question of state aid to the Scottish west coast ferry services. We received a pre-infraction letter from the European Commission on 29 June 2005, seeking clarification on apparent lack of progress to comply with Community requirements in relation to these routes.
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Mr. Mike Hall: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he will announce his decision on Halton borough council's submission on a new crossing over the River Mersey; and if he will make a statement. 
David Maclean: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the cost has been (a) in Cumbria and (b) on the rest of the motorway network of erecting signs with the messages Highways Agency and Highways Agency End. 
(a) The cost is estimated at £76,352 for the trial in Cumbria, including fabrication and installation of the signs and assessment of their effectiveness. The trial is intended to test whether signing improves public understanding of the role of the Highways Agency and, thereby, improves the communication with the public.
David Maclean: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many signs (a) have been and (b) are proposed to be erected on motorways which contain the messages Highways Agency and Highways Agency End. 
David Maclean: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the purpose is of traffic signs on the approaches to the slip road of the M6 motorway in Cumbria which state Highways Agency and Highways Agency End. 
Dr. Ladyman: The purpose of the signs is to advise road users that a road branded in this way is one maintained, managed and operated by the Highways Agency. This enables road users to direct their views on the road to the correct authority and increases awareness of the Agency's role in managing the country's strategic road network.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the (a) cost, (b) feasibility and (c) effects of re-doubling the rail line between Kemble and Swindon; and what discussions he has had with (i) the Strategic Rail Authority, (ii)Network Rail and (iii) the bidders for the relevant franchise on this issue. 
SRA made an assessment of the demand for rail travel on the Swindon-Gloucester corridor as part of its recently-published Great Western
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Route Utilisation Strategy (RUS), and concluded that the infrastructure was adequate to support the forecast demand for the duration of the RUS period (to 2012).
Mr. Darling: Construction of section 2 of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, which is 24 miles long, is well under way and is due to be completed in 2007. In addition, there are a number of other smaller projects under way.
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