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Motor Vehicles (Air Conditioning Emissions)

Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the impact in the United Kingdom of the current draft regulations on emissions from air conditioning systems in motor vehicles; and if he will make a statement. [51284]

Dr. Ladyman: The European Commission's proposal controlling greenhouse gas emissions from Mobile Air Conditioning systems has been analysed by an inter-departmental project team. The costs and benefits of the proposed legislation has been estimated and compared with other options. The proposal is estimated to save

14–17 Megatonnes CO 2 equivalent of greenhouse gas emissions in 2005–25. Estimated costs are in the range £18–67 million per annum.

The proposal was adopted by the European Parliament and Council on 31 January 2006 and has not yet been published in the Official Journal. Work has therefore not yet begun on drafting Regulations to implement this Directive in UK law. However the Directive is in essence a type approval standard applying to new vehicles only. It does not apply retrospectively, nor does the Department have any intention of adopting retrospective provisions in implementing UK Regulations. Further to DEFRA's consultation on the Commission's proposal, DfT will conduct a formal consultation exercise on implementing Regulations in due course.

Article 6 of the Directive does prohibit retrofitting of air conditioning systems with high Global Warming Potential (GWP) refrigerants to vehicles type approved on or after 1 January 2011. Such air conditioning systems may not be retrofitted to any vehicle from 1 January 2017. However the Directive does allow continued use of high GWP refrigerants for refilling air conditioning systems which originally used such gases. This ensures that air conditioning systems on existing vehicles may be maintained in working order without necessitating their replacement with systems designed to use lower GWP refrigerants.

Parking Fines

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what changes the Government have made to guidance to highways authorities on parking (a) spaces, (b) charges and (c) fines, since May 1997. [50955]

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Ms Buck: Since May 1997 the Secretary of State has amended paragraphs 4.9 to 4.29 of Local Authority Circular 1/95—Guidance on Decriminalised Parking Enforcement Outside London"—which deals with the parking charges and penalty charges set by local authorities. The Mayor for London is responsible for guidance to local authorities in London.

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many appeals against parking penalty charge notices there were in each local authority in England in the last five years for which figures are available; and how many were successful. [51685]

Ms Buck: I refer the hon. Member to my answer of 11 July 2005, Official Report, column 671W.

Parliamentary Questions

David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many parliamentary questions tabled in the last 12 months for answer by him on a named day (a) were transferred and (b) received a substantive answer (i) on the day named and (ii) after the day named. [49881]

Ms Buck: My ministerial colleagues and I aim to ensure that hon. Members receive a substantive response to their named day question on the named day and to endeavour to answer ordinary written questions within a working week of being tabled.

During the period 31 January 2005 to 31 January 2006, 657 named day parliamentary questions were tabled to the Department for Transport. Of those, 485 (74 per cent.) received a substantive answer on the day named and 172 (26 per cent.) received a substantive answer after the day named. A further 11 named day questions were transferred to another Government Department. The Department for Transport does not hold information on when those questions were answered.

David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many ordinary written parliamentary questions tabled for answer by him in the last 12 months have been answered (a) within 14 days, (b) between 14 and 28 days, (c) between 28 days and two months and (d) in excess of two months after the date of tabling; and if he will make a statement. [49895]

Ms Buck: The information is not available in the format requested.

As at 8 February, the Department for Transport had received 2,937 ordinary written parliamentary questions between the 31 January 2005 and the 31 January 2006. Of these, 2,370 (82 per cent.) were answered within five sitting days, 125 (4 per cent.) were answered one day late, 256 (9 per cent.) were answered between two and five days late, 85 (3 per cent.) were answered between six and 10 days late and 63 (2 per cent.) were answered 11+ days late. 38 (1 per cent.) are awaiting an answer.

Public Information

Mr. Gale: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much was spent on the Department's public relations and information services in each of the last five years for which figures are available. [48967]

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Ms Buck: The Department spent the following amounts in each year since it was established on public relations, primarily to support our marketing activities for example the THINK! road safety campaign.
DFT (central)DFT (agencies)

Figures for all information services which range from call centres, websites, customer service centres to campaign hotlines can only be provided at disproportionate cost.


Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many (a) regional train services, (b) long distance train services and (c) train services in London and the South East have been cancelled due to non-driver availability in each of the past five years; and how many passenger journeys have been affected. [48225]

Derek Twigg: The number of trains cancelled for reasons associated with train crew in the current financial year up to December 2005 is given as follows:
(a) Regional services6,042
(b) Long distance services183
(c) London and South East services5,279

As a percentage of services due to have operated in each sector, this equates to:
(a) Regional services0.30
(b) Long distance services0.08
(c) London and South East services0.21

The equivalent information for previous years, and information relating to the number of passengers affected by such cancellations is not held centrally.

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent representations he has received from train operating companies on industrial disputes. [49841]

Derek Twigg: Although train operating companies (TOCs) have not made representations to the Secretary of State, the nature of the franchise agreement means that TOCs do talk to the franchise managers about potential industrial disputes. Currently the only TOC which is in discussion with their franchise manager in this way is Virgin Cross Country.

Mr. Bone: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make provision for additional capacity on the rail line linking Wellingborough to London. [51525]

Derek Twigg: The Department for Transport has recently begun detailed assessment and development work on the service definition for the new East Midlands
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franchise. The work will take account of the growth expected in the Wellingborough area as part of the Milton Keynes South Midlands growth area proposals. We expect to consult on the franchise specification this summer.

Ms Abbott: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress has been made with the extension of the East London line; and if he will make a statement. [51722]

Derek Twigg: Enabling works for Phase 1 of the extension, which will take the line to Dalston Junction in the North and Crystal Palace and East Croydon in the South, are currently under way. This includes work on 21 bridges along the Kingsland Viaduct in Hackney. The main works tender went out in December 2005 and a contract will be awarded in summer 2006, after which the main works on Phase 1 can begin.

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what research his Department has (a) commissioned and (b) reviewed that benchmarks the costs of rail services provision in the UK against other developed countries. [48504]

Derek Twigg: The Department has not commissioned specific work on benchmarking of costs of rail services provision against other developed countries. However other UK and international bodies, for example the Office of Rail Regulation, and the European Commission, have done so from time to time. The Department reviews the available material to inform policy development.

Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions he has had in the last 12 months with the Association of Train Operating Companies on the regulation of rail fares; when he expects to have further discussions on this matter; and if he will make a statement. [50512]

Derek Twigg: Fares regulation is a contractual matter set out in the franchise agreement between the Department for Transport and each individual train operator. Discussions have been held with the Association of Train Operating Companies, in relation to simplified zonal fares for rail services in London, where co-operation between train companies will be necessary.

Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to extend the Community Rail Strategy; and if he will make a statement. [50514]

Derek Twigg: The Community Rail Development Strategy was published by the Strategic Rail Authority in November 2004. Six lines have so far been designated as community rail lines: St. Erth to St. Ives, Liskeard to Looe, St. Budeaux Junction to Gunnislake, Watford Junction to St Albans, Guisborough Junction to Whitby and Barnsley to Huddersfield. Consultation has taken place to designate the lines from Grantham to Skegness and from Ryde Pier Head to Shanklin, and we hope to consult shortly about a number of other lines. It remains our intention progressively to designate the lines listed in the Strategy and to continue to implement other elements of the Strategy.
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Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions he has had with rail operators concerning the impact on (a) rail freight services and (b) rail congestion on lines into and out of London Paddington of the Crossrail project; and if he will make a statement. [51217]

Derek Twigg: I recently consulted the rail industry on a policy paper describing the development of an access option for Crossrail services. This sets out the principles by which Crossrail will share the capacity with other traffic on the existing rail network.

In parallel with work on the access option, a cross-industry timetabling working group oversees timetable testing that looks ahead to the start of Crossrail services.

Additionally, a number of freight and other rail interests attend the Crossrail High Level Forum. There is also a forum just for railway stakeholders to discuss Crossrail issues. I chair both meetings. There are also regular and ad hoc official level meetings with the rail industry about Crossrail.

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list the public subsidy paid to each constituent part of the railway in each year since 1992. [48030]

Derek Twigg: Details of public subsidy to the railway are set out in the Department's Annual Reports, copies of which are available in the House Library.

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what financial penalties are available when Network Rail fails to complete renewals on time. [49804]

Derek Twigg: Network Rail pays compensation to train operators where changes to train timetables are made as a result of Network Rail requiring access to the network to undertake renewals and other work. These provisions are contained within train operators' track access contracts. The amount of compensation payable relates in part to the duration of the period of disruption.

If the renewals work overruns, further compensation is provided by Network Rail to train operators for unforeseen delays and cancellations to services.

More generally, Network Rail must manage the network in accordance with its network licence. This is enforceable by the Office of Rail Regulation, which may impose a financial penalty in the event of a breach of a licence condition.

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether it is his policy to retain all operating rural railway lines. [43613]

Derek Twigg: There are no current proposals for closure of rural lines. The White Paper on The Future of Rail announced that the Government supported the better use of lightly used rural rail services. This is being taken forward through the Community Rail Development Strategy which aims to improve the usage and reduce costs of rural rail services.

There are now a number of local community rail partnerships and early indications are they are having a positive impact.
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Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what guidance his Department has issued to members of the public wishing to complain about (a) increases in fares and (b) the services provided by train operators; and if he will make a statement. [50459]

Derek Twigg: Each train operator's passenger licence and station licence requires them to have an approved complaints handling procedure (CHP). Each operator's CHP commits them to displaying both their own contact details for comments and complaints, and the address for the Rail Passengers Council, recently renamed Passenger Focus, in each carriage on board every train, on posters at every station, and in their timetables and publications.

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what measures he can take to ensure that the 20:03 Crewe to North Wales train leaves Crewe after the Euston to Liverpool train arrives at Crewe at 20:05. [45670]

Derek Twigg: Timetabling and connections are matters between Train Operating Companies and Network Rail who work together to optimise connections, taking into consideration the interests of passengers and the available capacity and pathing.

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