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20 Dec 2005 : Column 2916W—continued

Disability

Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the initial activity undertaken by his Department in response to those recommendations in the Prime Minister's Strategy Unit Report, Improving the Life Chances of Disabled People, where lead responsibility was assigned to all Government departments. [37064]

Ms Buck: The Report recommended that local authorities should be encouraged to play a strategic role to ensure that disabled people do not experience barriers at any stage of the journeys they need to make. The Department has introduced Accessibility Planning within the next Local Transport Plans, requiring local authorities to identify the accessibility problems of individuals or communities in areas of social need and to produce plans for tackling them. The Department has also encouraged authorities to identify the needs of disabled people as part of that approach.

EU Committees

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many meetings of the EU (a) Advisory Committee on restrictive practices and dominant positions in the transport industry, (b) Advisory Committee on restrictive practices and dominant positions in the shipping industry and (c) Advisory Committee on restrictive practices and dominant positions in air transport have taken place during the UK presidency of the EU; who presided over each meeting; what other UK representatives were present; what provision was made for representation of the devolved Governments; and if he will make a statement. [38773]

Mr. Sutcliffe: I have been asked to reply.
 
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The only meeting to take place during this period was one meeting of the Advisory Committee on restrictive practices and dominant positions in the shipping industry. The European Commission chairs the Committee and officials from the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), Department for Transport (DfT) and DTI represented the UK. No provisions were made for the representation of the devolved Governments, as this is not a devolved issue.

Eurotunnel

Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) if he will make a statement on the cost of the civil engineering and building infrastructure maintenance strategy for the Eurotunnel concession under development by Eurotunnel; [24608]

(2) if he will make a statement on the (a) timetable for and (b) costs of the completion of Operation TAPIS 2 by Eurotunnel; [24609]

(3) whether defects resulting from the detoriation of the upper track bed at its interface with the sleeper blocks in the Channel Tunnel have been remedied. [24610]

Derek Twigg: Eurotunnel's Operation TAPIS 2, to remedy defects resulting from the deterioration of the upper track bed at its interface with the sleeper blocks in the Channel Tunnel, was completed in the course of November 2005. It is part of an ongoing programme of corrective and preventive maintenance on the permanent way in the Tunnel. The work needed has been fully discussed between Eurotunnel and the Channel Tunnel Safety Authority's safety experts.

My Department does not hold details of the cost or of the schedule for completion of the TAPIS programme, which forms part of Eurotunnel's civil engineering and building infrastructure maintenance strategy and is a matter for Eurotunnel.

Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of (a) whether the avant-projets of Eurotunnel remain relevant and (b) the development of alternative procedures (i) for considering modifications to Eurotunnel's existing arrangements and (ii) for determining which modifications are sufficiently significant to require the involvement and agreement of the Intergovernmental Commission and the Channel Tunnel Safety Authority. [24612]

Derek Twigg: We understand that discussions have taken place, involving Eurotunnel, on the need to continue to update avant projets when changes are made, and on alternative methods of obtaining agreement to any further major changes in procedures or physical structures. These discussions are not concluded.

It is for the Channel Tunnel Intergovernmental Commission, advised by the Channel Tunnel Safety Authority, to determine the extent to which Eurotunnel's avant projets remain relevant and the extent to which the Intergovernmental Commission needs to approve the development of alternative procedures for modifications to Eurotunnel's existing arrangements.
 
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Agreement to the original commissioning of the tunnel operation was on the basis of agreement by the Intergovernmental Commission to avant projets" submitted by Eurotunnel, which described proposed structures and procedures.

General Lighthouse Fund

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many former overseas lighthouse keepers receive pensions from the General Lighthouse Fund. [38419]

Dr. Ladyman: 34 former overseas lighthouse keepers receive pensions from the General Lighthouse Fund.

Internet (Environmental Effects)

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of changes in carbon dioxide emissions resulting from internet purchasing. [39338]

Dr. Ladyman: The Department has not made any estimates of the carbon impacts of internet shopping.

Light Rail Schemes

Greg Mulholland: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much funding has been (a) allocated and (b) spent directly by his Department on (i) the Leeds Supertram scheme and (ii) light rail schemes in England. [37869]

Derek Twigg [holding answer 15 December 2005]: I refer the hon. Member to the answer of 5 October 2005, Official Report, column 2858W.

The Department does not directly fund light rail schemes in England. It is for Passenger Transport Executives/Authorities and local authorities, as promoters of light rail schemes, to do so with funding provided by the Department.

Around £39 million of public sector finance has been spent on Leeds Supertram. Of this, around £5 million has been spent on construction costs with around a further £14 million on land and property purchase.

In 2004–05 the Department provided £6 million to the promoters of Leeds Supertram for scheme development costs, including advance works.

Lights Commissioners

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much was spent on hospitality by the Lights Commissioners in (a) Scotland, (b) the Isle of Man, (c) England and Wales, (d) Northern Ireland and (e) the Republic of Ireland in each of the last three years. [38439]

Dr. Ladyman: The information requested is shown in the table.
 
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£

2002–032003–042004–05
Northern Lighthouse BoardScotland and the Isle of Man16,75618,94720,356
Trinity House Lighthouse ServiceEngland and Wales35,00037,00050,000
Commissioners of Irish LightsNorthern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland5,0004,2004,500

The information for the Isle of Man is included in the figures for the Northern Lighthouse Board. The figures cover funding of internal and external functions that include staff and visitors from other General Lighthouse Authorities.

Liverpool City Council

Mr. George Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions have taken place between officials in his Department and the chief executive and officials of Liverpool city council since June; what means of communication were used in each case; and if he will place in the Library the (a) minutes and (b) submissions relating to such communications. [35195]

Derek Twigg: There were several telephone conversations with the chief executive of Liverpool city council in connection with the assurances the council might give in relation to the Merseytram scheme. There are no minutes or specific submissions recording these communications.

A Liverpool officer recently attended the Department's street lighting PFI conference.


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