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14 Feb 2006 : Column 1869W—continued

Great Western Franchise

17. Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent discussions he has had with First Group on the future of the Great Western franchise. [51257]

Derek Twigg: I met First Group on 30 January 2006, together with Network Rail, to discuss future plans to improve performance.
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Road Pricing

18. Mr. Hurd: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the Government's plans for road pricing. [51258]

Dr. Ladyman: We are working with local authorities and areas to develop road pricing schemes that tackle congestion. This will allow us to pilot technology for a national scheme in the longer term, and we would like to see the first pilot schemes up and running within the next five years.

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the potential use of satellite navigation systems in charging for road use. [51390]

Dr. Ladyman: Satellite based road charging systems are already being used in other countries with some success. The potential for use here is being considered as part of our work in moving towards a national road pricing system.

Air Travel Fund

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what funds are held within the Air Travel Organisers Licensing Air Travel Trust Fund; and whether he plans to increase the fund. [50783]

Ms Buck: The Air Travel Trust Fund (ATTF) is currently in deficit, with borrowings of £13.7 million.

For some years the Government have been guaranteeing the overdraft that enables the fund to operate. We are taking the legislative opportunity of the Civil Aviation Bill, currently before Parliament, to transfer responsibility for the fund back to the market. The Civil Aviation Bill will give the Secretary of State the necessary powers to enable the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to make regulations requiring air travel organisers to contribute to the Air Travel Trust Fund (ATTF), thereby ensuring the continued financial protection of consumers purchasing package holidays in the event of the failure of a tour operator.

Aircraft Movements (Heathrow)

Susan Kramer: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the average number of aircraft movements at Heathrow airport was during each hour between 7a.m. and 11p.m. in the most recent year for which figures are available. [50542]

Ms Buck: The following table shows the 2005 mean number of air transport movements at Heathrow airport each hour.

Time band
Annual average number of air transport movements
0700 to 075975
0800 to 085975
0900 to 095979
1000 to 105980
1100 to 115980
1200 to 125980
1300 to l35978
1400 to 145979
1500 to 155980
1600 to 165982
1700 to 175982
1800 to 185982
1900 to 195980
2000 to 205973
2100 to 215955
2200 to 225924

Civil Aviation Authority

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Aircraft Noise

Adam Afriyie: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what definition of excessive noise his Department uses in documents relating to (a) the noise from aircraft and (b) other civil aviation matters; [50289]

(2) pursuant to his Department's consultation on night flying restrictions, how he plans to measure the effectiveness of the proposals to bear down on noise. [50831]

Ms Buck: We have stated in consulting on our proposals for night flying restrictions at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted that one of our broad aims is

The expression 'excessive noise' does not apply to a specific level of aircraft noise: what is excessive will vary according to locations and individuals.

Based on research, the Government use various measurements of aircraft noise as indicators of disturbance or of potential annoyance, or as criteria for mitigation measures, including advice for land use planning purposes.

'Bearing down' on night noise from aircraft arriving at or departing from Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted is expressed by the new proposed environmental and night noise abatement objectives for the airport on which we invited comments as part of the consultation on night flying restrictions.

The final objectives will be announced as part of the decision on future night flying restrictions. The way in which their effect in practice will be assessed will depend on what the objectives are.


Mrs. Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what definition his Department uses of a (a) coach and (b) bus service; and what provisions relating to access for the disabled apply to each type of service. [50102]

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Ms Buck: For the purposes of defining accessibility requirements, The Public Service Vehicles Accessibility Regulations 2000 define a 'bus' as a public service vehicle which is designed to carry both seated and standing passengers with a carrying capacity exceeding 22 passengers, in addition to the driver. A 'coach' has a similar definition, but is designed for the carriage of seated passengers only. These regulations have applied to new buses and coaches since 31 December 2000, used to operate local or scheduled services only.

The Regulations are intended to enable passengers with a broad range of disabilities, including wheelchair users to board, alight and travel in safety and in reasonable comfort. They include requirements for a designated wheelchair position, appropriate wheelchair boarding device, low first step height, provision of suitable handrails, seat dimensions, visual contrasts marking specific features, and route and destination displays.

Mr. Nicholas Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the impact of free bus travel on the existing arrangements for bus travel between (a) Northumberland and Tyne and Wear, (b) Durham and Tyne and Wear and (c) Northumberland and Durham. [51462]

Ms Buck: None. Cross-boundary concessionary travel is offered is at the discretion of the local authority based on their judgement of local needs and their overall financial priorities.

Condover Parish Council

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what representations he has received from Condover parish council; and if he will make a statement. [51548]

Dr. Ladyman: The Highways Agency has received a number of communications from Condover parish council concerning the provision of a pedestrian crossing facility on the A49 Trunk Road in the village of Dorrington. Unfortunately, to date it has not been possible to find a solution that would satisfy relevant design and financial requirements but discussions are continuing with Shrewsbury and Atcham borough council in their capacity as local planning authority. The parish council will be kept informed of any developments.

Departmental Assets

David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list the items of departmental property worth over £100 that have been reported as (a) lost and (b) broken in the last 12 months. [47674]

Ms Buck: The requested information, where available, is as follows:
DescriptionQuantityAverage value per itemDfT Organisational unit
(a)Laptop1925Vehicle Certification Agency
Pager2117Air Accident Investigation Branch
(b)Camera1250Marine Accident Investigation Branch

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For the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency and our HQ buildings (in respect of broken maintenance items) the data is not available in the required format and can be extracted only at disproportionate costs. The Highways Agency have also advised that no data is held on broken items.

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