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20 Dec 2005 : Column 2938W—continued

Ships

Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) how many ships of over 1,000 gross register tons with registered owners in (a) Scotland, (b) Wales, (c) each of the English regions and (d) Northern Ireland are identified as (i) barge carriers, (ii) bulk carriers, (iii) cargo ships, (iv) chemical tankers, (v) colliers, (vi) combination bulk carriers, (vii) combination tankers, (viii) container ships, (ix) liquefied gas tankers, (x) livestock carriers, (xi) multi-functional large-load carriers, (xii) passenger ferries, (xiii) passenger and cargo ships, (xiv) petroleum tankers, (xv) rail car carriers, (xvi) refrigerated cargo carriers, (xvii) roll-on/roll-off ferries, (xviii) short-sea passenger ferries, (xix) specialized tankers, (xx) vehicle carriers and (xxi) others; [39206]

(2) what the (a) gross register tons and (b) deadweight ton is of ships with registered owners in (i) Scotland, (ii) Wales, (iii) each of the English regions and (iv) Northern Ireland; [39207]

(3) what estimate he has made of the number of ships registered abroad as flags of convenience with owners based in (a) Scotland, (b) Wales, (c) each of the English regions and (d) Northern Ireland. [39208]

Dr. Ladyman: The information is not held by the Department.

Sonic Passive Defence Systems

Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what frequency sonic passive defence systems on cruise ships use. [38847]

Dr. Ladyman: These devices are capable of emitting an extremely irritating noise at a frequency of around 2kHz.

St. Helens Metropolitan Borough 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 of St. Helens metropolitan borough council since June; what means of communication was used in each case; and if he will place in the Library (a) minutes and (b) submissions relating to such communications. [35192]

Derek Twigg: There have been no such discussions.

Station Platforms (Accidents)

Mrs. James: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions his Department has had with train operating companies on reducing the number of accidents on railway station platforms during periods of inclement winter weather. [38267]

Derek Twigg: This is a matter for the Health and Safety Executive's Railways Inspectorate, whose inspectors visit local stations to ensure that station managers have arrangements in place to deal with hazardous weather conditions.

Taxis

Mr. MacNeil: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much has been spent by his Department
 
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on taxi travel in the 2005–06 financial year; and what proportion of such travel was undertaken in each nation and region of the UK, including London. [37458]

Ms Buck: In financial year 2005–06, the Department for Transport has spent £43,702.79 on taxi travel within the UK up to the end of November.

A regional breakdown of such travel within UK could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

This figure does not include the Department's agencies as they do not record taxi fares separately from other travel costs and the information could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Trams

Greg Mulholland: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the total cost to (a) his Department and (b) the promoting authorities was of the development of the tram proposals in (i) Leeds, (ii) Merseyside and (iii) South Hampshire. [38719]

Derek Twigg: I refer the hon. Member to the answer of 6 July 2005, Official Report, column 479W.

Transport Infrastructure (East Sussex)

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much money has been spent on improvements in transport infrastructure in East Sussex since 1997; and what proportion of this expenditure was spent in Battle, East Sussex. [39053]

Ms Buck: Since the introduction of Local Transport Plans in 2000, East Sussex has received around £58 million for local transport improvements and maintenance schemes. In addition the county has received almost £5 million for major local transport schemes. We do not have the data to identify a figure separately for local transport investment in Battle. Funding for trunk roads is neither allocated nor recorded on a county by county basis but we can say that around £22 million has been invested in the following schemes in East Sussex since 2000: A27 Polegate Bypass (£19.3 million); A27 Ashcombe Roundabout (£1.3 million) and A21 John's Cross Roundabout (£1.7 million). East Sussex has also benefited from the new trains and associated power supply and depot upgrades delivered as part of the Mark 1 slam door" stock replacement programme, the total value of the investment being in the region of £2 billion.

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what representations he has received regarding the Battle Local Area Transport Strategy; and whether he will be implementing the strategy's recommendations; [39054]

(2) what recent representations he has received regarding improvements in transport infrastructure in Battle, East Sussex. [39249]

Ms Buck: None specifically. East Sussex county council submitted their provisional Local Transport Plan to Government in July this year. It includes the intention to take forward a number of Local Area Transport Strategies, including one for Battle. It will be for East Sussex county council to submit a final plan in March 2006 and to implement the strategies set-out within that plan.
 
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UK Airspace (Access Denial)

Mr. Peter Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport on how many occasions in each of the last 10 years permission has been withheld to aircraft requesting access to UK airspace. [28866]

Ms Buck: International civil aviation is governed by the Chicago Convention. Under the convention, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) is responsible for establishing minimum safety standards which contracting states are required to implement. States are required to recognise the certificates issued by other contracting states unless they have reason to believe that they have not been issued in accordance with ICAO standards.

Any airline from outside the EU, Iceland, Norway or Switzerland which wishes to pick up or put down passengers or cargo in the UK requires a permit from the Secretary of State for Transport. It is a condition of the permit that the airline should be operated in accordance with international safety standards established by ICAO.

If we have doubts about whether an aircraft or airline complies with international safety standards we will arrange for the aircraft to be inspected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). Permits may be refused, and existing permits suspended or revoked by the Secretary of State. This may occur where there is a breach of a permit condition, which would include non-compliance with international safety standards; however action can also be taken for reasons other than safety. Permit decisions will be reviewed in the light of new information or changed circumstances. An up to date list of airlines which have been refused permits is maintained on the Department's website.

UK Fishing Fleet (Light Dues)

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the effect on the UK fishing fleet of applying to it the exemptions to light dues made available for the Republic of Ireland. [38438]

Dr. Ladyman: UK fishing vessels of 10 m and over registered length pay light dues and make use of the full range of aids provided by the General Lighthouse Authorities. Light dues paid by UK fishing vessels represent only a small contribution, £471,000 in 2004–05, towards the total light dues income of around £71.5 million.

Ultra-light Rail Systems

Colin Challen: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) if he will remove the regulations which prevent ultra-light rail systems from benefiting from road transport assistance schemes with particular reference to the (a) Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership and (b) New Technology Development Fund; [34002]

(2) what representations his Department has received on the designation of ultra- light rail as rail transport as opposed to road transport. [34003]

Derek Twigg: The Department for Transport provides financial assistance to incentivise the development and uptake of clean, low carbon road vehicles in the form of grants. These grants, previously known as the transport
 
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energy grants (which included the new vehicle technology fund), were suspended in March 2005 and revised, technology-neutral grants have been notified to the European Commission for State Aid clearance.

The grants aim to stimulate market transformation in the road vehicles sector and therefore focus on clean, low carbon alternatives to mainstream vehicles. The scope of the grants is not set in legislation, and is kept under review.

A National Audit Office report published in April 2004 recommended that the Department discuss with DTI the case for including light rail technologies in energy saving grants. These discussions took place and it was concluded that DTI funding and development programmes adequately addressed the recommendation

The Department has received representations on a number of occasions from two companies on the issue of ultra light rail designation.


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