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Mr. Streeter: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether the Highways Agency will permit traffic from the proposed new Sherford development, Plymouth, to turn west along the A38 at Deep Lane junction. 
Dr. Ladyman: Highways Agency staff in Exeter are working closely with local partners to identify the transportation impact of the proposed Sherford development, and the necessary mitigation works which will include improvements to the Deep Lane junction. There are no plans to stop vehicles from turning west out of the development along the A38.
Ms Buck: I have arranged to be placed in the Library of the House a list of the general statutory instruments made by the Department between 6 May 2005 and 31 January 2006 and a list of the local statutory instruments made by it between 6 May 2005 and 2 February 2006.
Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what criteria are used for selecting stations to be improved with extended platforms to accommodate 12 car trains on the Midland branch of the Thameslink 2000 line proposals; what estimate has been made of the number of passengers using each station; and whether future housing development has been taken into account in such estimates. 
Derek Twigg: The criteria for selecting which stations should have their platforms extended to accommodate 12 car trains were: passenger flow projections for the whole of the Thameslink 2000 route; and train service specification.
For the Midland branch of the Thameslink 2000 route, forecast numbers of boarders per station range from under a thousand for some stations to over 6,000 for the busier stations (for the am peak three hour period 0700 to 1000). Future population and employment predictions have been included in these forecasts.
The Department will consider on a case by case basis the merits for extending platforms to accommodate trains of 12 car length at stations along the Midland branch that were not included in the submitted applications. This will include assessing future forecast population and employment forecasts.
Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will include Radlett station in the programme of station improvements to facilitate the use of 12 car trains under the Thameslink 2000 programme. 
We will consider on a case by case basis the merits of extending platforms to accommodate trains of 12 car length at stations along the Midland branch that were not included in the submitted applications. This will include Radlett station.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) if he will list the representations he has received from individuals and organisations in Southend on (a) increases in fares by C2C Rail Ltd and (b) the decision by C2C Rail Ltd to abolish Flexitime and Early Bird season tickets; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) what discussions he has had with C2C Rail Ltd about their decision to abolish (a) Flexitime and (b) Early Bird season tickets; what consultation the company undertook in advance of the decision; and if he will make a statement; 
(3) what the cost of (a) a weekly, (b) a monthly and (c) an annual season rail ticket from (i) Southend-on-Sea, (ii) Chalkwell and (iii) Leigh-on-Sea to London Fenchurch Street was in each year since 1996; 
(5) what recent representations he has received from (a) hon. Members and (b) members of the public about the decision of C2C Rail Ltd to increase its fares in January; and if he will make a statement. 
Train operators are not required to consult the Department when setting fares, although all regulated fares must be set within prescribed limits. Regulated fares cover most of those used by commuters,
27 Feb 2006 : Column 160W
including full fare singles, returns and season tickets from Southend, Chalkwell and Leigh on Sea to London. Regulated fares are limited to an average annual increase of 1 per cent. more than inflation from 2004 onwards. Regulated fares in London and the Southeast are on average more than 3 per cent. lower in 2006 in real terms than in 1995.
|1995||Southend to London terminals||50.30||193.20||2,012.00|
|2006||Southend to London terminals||58.30||223.90||2,332.00|
|1995||Chalkwell to London terminals||49.60||190.50||1,984.00|
|2006||Chalkwell to London terminals||56.50||217.00||2,260.00|
|1995||Leigh on Sea to London terminals||49.40||189.70||1,976.00|
|2006||Leigh on Sea to London terminals||56.50||217.00||2,260.00|
Unregulated fares, which includes off-peak fares and C2C's 'flexitime' or 'earlybird' seasons, may be set by the operator on a commercial basis, and discontinued (or new fares introduced) as the operator sees fit. It is not necessary for train operators to carry out consultation or to consult the Department when these fares are varied and the Department has received no representations on the subject.
Ms Buck: We are building on the progress we have already made in implementing accessibility regulations under the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 1995 for trains and trams and for buses and coaches.
The provisions in the DDA 2005 enable us to enhance further the accessibility of public transport. In particular, it provides for us to lift the transport exemption in Part 3 of the DDA (that covers access to goods, services and facilities). We have already made regulations that will lift the exemption in relation to public transport-buses and coaches, trains and trams, taxis and private hire vehicles-as well as for vehicles used on leisure and tourism services, vehicle hire services and vehicle breakdown services. Those regulations come into force on 4 December this year.
On rail the DDA 2005 also requires us to set an end date"-of no later than 1 January 2020-by which time all rail vehicles will have to meet accessibility regulations. The Act also provides for those regulations to be applied to rail vehicles when they are refurbished.
We are also addressing affordability of services. From 1 April this year, disabled people in England will be guaranteed free off-peak local bus travel. The rail industry also provides for concessionary travel on rail services through the Disabled Persons' Railcard.
Kate Hoey: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of (a) average and (b) the range of costs for journeys by (i) rail and (ii) air; what assessment he has made of the merits of a policy to keep the average cost of travel by rail below that of travel by air; and if he will make a statement. 
Derek Twigg: All air fares and most rail fares are unregulated and so are set by the operator concerned. The Government has no role in setting the relative levels of air and rail fares in the past and has no plans to do so in the future.
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