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17 Oct 2005 : Column 682W—continued

Corby Link Road

Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will fund the construction of the proposed new Corby link road between the A6003 and Corby as a dual carriageway. [18485]

Dr. Ladyman: Following the publication of the Milton Keynes and South Midlands Sub-Regional Strategy, Northamptonshire county council now feel there may be a case for dualling this proposed road from the outset. The Department will consider this in the normal way when the county council, as promoters of the scheme, seek the additional funding.

Driving Licences

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what legislation requires the compulsory renewal of driving licences at the age of 70; and if he will make a statement. [17748]

Dr. Ladyman: Section 99 (1) (a) of the Road Traffic Act 1988 requires that drivers renew their licences at age 70, and every three years thereafter.

EU Committees

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many meetings of the (a) EU Committee on application of the legislation on access to the groundhandling market at Community airports, (b) EU Advisory Committee on unfair pricing practices
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in maritime transport and (c) EU Committee on application of the legislation on the minimum level of training for seafarers and the recognition of certificates issued by training institutes or administrations of third countries (STCW) are planned for the UK presidency of the EU; who will be presiding over each meeting; which other UK representatives will be present; what provision is in place for representation of the devolved governments; and if he will make a statement. [16460]

Dr. Ladyman: The information requested is as follows:

(a) None.

(b) One meeting of the Ad hoc Advisory Committee on Restrictive Practices and Dominant Positions (liner shipping) has been convened by the European Commission during the UK presidency. We do not know if the Commission will consider convening further meetings in this period. This committee is chaired by officials of the Commission (DG COMP). The UK is represented by officials from DTI, supported by OFT and DfT. Devolved Administrations are invited to attend these meetings as part of the UK delegation.

(c) None.

EU Emissions Trading Scheme

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what position the Government are advocating with EU partners in respect of the inclusion within the EU emissions trading scheme of non-EU aircraft landing at European airports. [17179]

Ms Buck: The Government's aim set out in the White Paper The Future of Air Transport", published in 2003, is to achieve an environmentally effective emissions trading regime for the aviation sector that takes due regard of competition impacts and is non-discriminatory as to EU and non-EU operators. The operation of the scheme will be subject to consideration with EU partners and detailed discussion has not yet begun. The UK position will be underpinned by a rigorous assessment of impacts, including those related to competition.

Mr. Yeo: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if his Department will delay an increase in airport runway capacity at Stansted airport until such time as the aviation industry is fully included in a European-wide carbon trading scheme. [17274]

Ms Buck: The White Paper set out the Government's intention to press for the inclusion of aviation in the EU emissions trading scheme in 2008 or as soon as possible thereafter. It is for the airport operator to bring forward plans for a possible new runway at Stansted airport.

Heavy Goods Vehicles

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects to respond to the recent consultation on the conspicuity of heavy goods vehicles. [18448]

Dr. Ladyman: A summary of the responses to the consultation will shortly be published on the Department for Transport website.
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In the light of the analysis of results of the consultation exercise DfT officials representing the UK at the 3–7 October meeting of the United Nations' Working Party on Vehicle Lighting opposed the proposal to mandate conspicuity tape for heavy vehicles and trailers. However, majority opinion at the meeting was in favour and the outcome was that mandatory fitment was agreed for certain new vehicles with a gross vehicle weight (GVW) exceeding 7.5 tonnes and certain new trailers exceeding 3.5 tonnes.

Infrastructure Development (Bournemouth)

Mr. Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on his plans to develop transport infrastructure in the Bournemouth area. [17077]

Ms Buck: It is for Bournemouth borough council, the local transport authority, in consultation with: members of the community; key stakeholders; and partners, to determine local transport priorities.

Transport priorities are brought forward to Ministers through the Local Transport Plan process and my officials are currently assessing the second Local Transport Plan for the area. This plan covers the administrative areas of: Bournemouth, the borough of Poole; and parts of Dorset county council. During the first round of Local Transport Plans funding for the area increased from £2.37 million in 2000–01 to £5.756 million in 2005–06 and I look forward to working with the authorities as they progress delivery of this second plan.

London Hackney Carriages

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will set out what regulations restrict Hackney carriages outside London from picking up passengers when flagged down on the street. [17502]

Ms Buck: Under the Town Police Clauses Act 1847, hackney carriage drivers outside London (in England and Wales) are licensed to ply for hire within a prescribed distance" (normally, as is the case in Solihull, the whole of the local authority area, but if the area is divided into zones, then one or more zones). The drivers can wait at ranks and they can pick up passengers who flag them down while they are located in their own prescribed distance; they cannot accept immediate hirings—whether at ranks or flag-downs—while outside this area.

In addition to the provisions of taxi legislation, there is also the possibility of regulations restricting the use of hackney carriages on public highways which might have implications for where drivers can accept flagged hirings. These regulations are matters for local traffic authorities. Traffic authorities have powers to restrict or regulate the use of a road by vehicular traffic of any class under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984.

Maritime Safety

Dr. Iddon: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many ships were detained in each British port by
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the Maritime and Coastguard Agency due to (a) sub-standard conditions and (b) breaches in safety management systems in 2004. [17899]

Dr. Ladyman: The information is as follows.
Place of inspection/portNumber detained
Port Talbot3
River Tees/Teesport5
Royal Portbury4
Silvertown, River Thames1

Midland Mainline

Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the level of subsidy to Midland Mainline has been in each year since the first franchise was awarded; and what estimate has been made of the level of subsidy in each year until the end of the current franchise. [18486]

Derek Twigg: The Midland Mainline franchise commenced in April 1996. In August 2000 the franchise was extended for two years and as part of that arrangement has neither received any public subsidy nor made any premia payments since January 2001. This position will continue until the end of the franchise. Before 2001, the schedule of annual franchise payments was as follows.
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Franchise year
Total franchise payments to Midland Mainline
1999–2000- 201,870.40
2000–01- 1,194,868.80

Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to increase the rail capacity on Midland Mainline to take account of population growth in Kettering under the Sustainable Communities plan. [18489]

Derek Twigg: A Midlands Mainline Route Utilisation Strategy was published in March 2004. We will review the capacity of the Midland Main Line when drawing up the specification for a new franchise to replace the current one, which expires in April 2008.

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