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21 Mar 2006 : Column 248W—continued

Road Budget (Lancashire)

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much funding Lancashire county council has received from his Department for its road budget in each year since 1997. [59028]

Dr. Ladyman: The funding provided directly to Lancashire county council since 1997 is provided in the following table. The integrated transport block funding can be used for local highways or public transport capital projects. It is for Lancashire to determine how that allocation has been spent, in line with its local transport plan and its priorities. Lancashire did not receive any expenditure for major road schemes, costing over £5 million, in this timeframe.
Lancashire county council
£ million

Integrated Transport Block2.2033.8334.20011.20011.92212.05113.03311.000
Capital Highways Maintenance1.4653.0486.09616.63017.78213.33716.17614.865

Road Building Programme

Mr. Bone: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the Government's road building programme. [59881]

Dr. Ladyman: We are making good progress on delivering our programme of major improvements to the strategic road network. Since 2001, we have completed 36 major trunk road and motorway schemes, including the M6 Toll. 15 schemes are currently under construction and the Highways Agency's Business Plan identifies a further 27 schemes which are planned to start construction by April 2008. In the three years to 2007–08, we plan to spend £1.9 billion on major improvement schemes on the trunk road and motorway network.

Road Closures

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many unscheduled (a) road and (b) lane closures due to road accidents there have been on the motorways and trunk road network in the last 12 months; what the average duration of such closure was in each local authority area; and what assessment he has made of the average cost to the economy of such closures. [59627]

Dr. Ladyman: In the 12 month period March 2005 to February 2006, the Highways Agency's National Traffic Control Centre (NTCC) recorded 8,590 accidents resulting in partial or total road closure of greater than 15 minutes' duration, on the English Strategic Road Network. Records are not kept centrally on other more minor incidents. The following table shows the monthly breakdown of the NTCC figures. Assessment of the cost to the economy of unplanned closures is not routinely undertaken.
Road accidents

MonthLane closureTotal road closureTotal
March 2005503162665
April 2005475180655
May 2005551201752
June 2005559187746
July 2005557171728
August 2005577181758
September 2005468178646
October 2005512191703
November 2005545215760
December 2005620224844
January 2006486156642
February 2006502189691

The average duration of these events, from their identification through to conditions returning to normal, was 2.5 hours. A table showing NTCC records by local authority has been placed in the Libraries of the House.

Road Traffic Accidents (Wild Animals)

Mr. Newmark: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the cost of
21 Mar 2006 : Column 249W
requiring the Motoring Insurance Bureau to act as the insurer of last resort in respect of personal injury claims resulting from collisions between motor vehicles and wild animals. [60465]

Dr. Ladyman: We have made no assessment.

South-west Franchise (Bidding Process)

Stephen Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he will make public the documents concerning the South West franchise bidding process. [59679]

Derek Twigg: The South Western Franchise Consultation document was published in November 2005. The conclusions drawn from the stakeholder consultation and the specification against which bids are to be prepared is planned to be issued in early April.

The invitation to tender documentation is scheduled to be issued at the end of March and will be restricted to the participating bidders during the competitive tendering process. It will then be available after the successful franchisee is announced which is anticipated to be in the autumn.

Stephen Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which routes and stations in the South West franchise area will be closed as a consequence of the Government's specification document, for the bidding process for the train operating companies. [59680]

Derek Twigg: None.

Thameslink 2000

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions he has had on the funding of the first phase of Thameslink 2000. [59186]

Derek Twigg: The Department for Transport will not be in a position to consider funding of this project in advance of any decision on Network Rail's application for a Transport and Works Act Order and other related planning applications.

Track Maintenance

Mr. Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the effect of litter, rubbish and debris on railway lines on the effective operation of train companies' timetables. [60372]

Derek Twigg: This is the responsibility of Network Rail and the train operating companies, who have a number of measures in place to minimise the effects of litter, rubbish and debris on the running of trains.

Train Franchises

Stephen Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when the pre-qualification document for the (a) Virgin Cross-Country, (b) East Midlands and (c) West Midlands franchise will be released. [59681]

Derek Twigg: It is anticipated that the advertisement inviting prospective bidders to submit applications to pre-qualify for the Cross Country, West Midlands and East Midlands franchises will be issued in June 2006.
21 Mar 2006 : Column 250W

Transport Spending (Norfolk)

Mr. Fraser: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the likely impact of planning gain supplement on future transport spending in Norfolk. [59625]

Dr. Ladyman: The Government recently consulted on how planning gain supplement (PGS) might fund additional investment in the local and strategic infrastructure to support housing growth, and is currently considering responses to that consultation.


Wilson Doctrine

Norman Baker: To ask the Prime Minister pursuant to his written statement of 15 December 2005, Official Report, column 173WS, on the Wilson Doctrine, when he expects to make a further statement. [60533]

The Prime Minister: I have nothing further to add to my written ministerial statement, 15 December 2005, Official Report, column 173WS and my answers at Prime Minister's Questions on 18 and 25 January.



Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research her Department (a) has undertaken and (b) plans to undertake into the reasons for trends in the abortion rate in England and Wales between 2003 and 2004; and if she will make a statement. [59457]

Caroline Flint: While the 2004 abortion statistics showed a slight increase in the abortion rate per 1,000 resident women aged 15–44, the under 18 and under 16 abortion rates decreased. In addition, more abortions were performed at an earlier gestation. The 2004 statistics are available on the Department's website at:

It is a key aim of the Government to reduce unintended pregnancy rates, as featured in both the sexual health and teenage pregnancy strategies, and provision of good quality contraceptive services are essential to achieve this. We are investing £40 million over the next two years to improve access to contraceptive services. We have asked primary care trusts (PCTs) to complete a national questionnaire of contraceptive services. The results will inform the publication of best practice guidance by the Department and will help PCTs determine how best to meet gaps in local services. In addition, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has published guidance on long-acting methods of contraception which should raise awareness and usage of all the methods.

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when she expects to publish the abortion statistics for 2005; and if she will make a statement. [59459]

Caroline Flint: The annual 2005 abortion statistics will be published by the Department in July 2006. Provisional abortion data for January to September
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2005 is available in the Office for National Statistics' publication Health Statistics Quarterly 29 at:

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which 10 primary care organisations had the (a) highest and (b) lowest abortion rates in England and Wales per 1000 women aged 15 to 44 in 2004. [59461]

Caroline Flint: The information requested is contained within the 2004 abortion statistics for England and Wales which can be found in the Department's Statistical Bulletin 2005/11 and this is available on the Department's website at:

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