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Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if officials from his Department will meet officers of Lincolnshire county council and Peterborough city council to resolve issues regarding the funding and progress in respect of the A1073 Spalding to Eye improvement scheme; and if he will make a statement. [61255]

Dr. Ladyman [holding answer 27 March 2006]: We are considering the issues relating to the funding of this scheme and will make an announcement in due course.


Sarah McCarthy-Fry: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the cost implications of the time scale for making a decision on the A3 Hindhead Improvement Scheme. [61537]

Dr. Ladyman: The scheme is currently being programmed for implementation by the Highways Agency, and the costs estimated, on the assumption of a start of construction in 2008–09. The timing of a decision to proceed within this timescale would, therefore, have no implications for scheme costs.


Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many road traffic (a) accidents and (b) fatalities there have been on the A588 in Lancaster and Wyre since 2000. [61320]

Dr. Ladyman: The number of personal injury road accidents and resulting fatalities on the A588 in Lancaster and Wyre constituency from 2000–04 (the latest year for which figures are available) are given in the following table. The figures in the table are those that occurred in the 2004 boundary for Lancaster and Wyre constituency.

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Airport Ownership

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether there are EU restrictions on UK companies owning airports in other member states; and if he will make a statement. [61333]

Mr. Sutcliffe: I have been asked to reply.

There are no specific provisions in EU law concerning the ownership of airports. Any acquisitions involving changes in ownership of airports would be subject to the applicable merger control law. Acquisitions may only be restricted or prevented in accordance with the applicable law. The EU treaty provides for the free movement of capital between EU member states. EU states may not adopt measures that are incompatible with their EU treaty obligations.

British Airports Authority

Mr. MacNeil: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the ownership of airports operated by the British Airports Authority. [60167]

Derek Twigg: I refer the hon. Member to the written statement made to the House by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport on 21 March 2006, Official Report, columns 20–21WS, on the Government's response to the Civil Aviation Authority's price control review consultation.

Bus Services

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what research he has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the effect of road congestion on the reliability of bus services outside London. [60700]

Dr. Ladyman: The Department has not commissioned research of this kind. However, it will be publishing later this year the results of a national survey of bus punctuality.

Local transport authorities are required to monitor bus punctuality as part of the Local Transport Plan process. They and bus operators are encouraged to form Punctuality Improvement Partnerships to address issues of poor punctuality due to factors such as traffic congestion.


Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the number of cyclists who use the railway network daily in each region; what action he is taking to encourage more cyclists to make part of their longer journeys by train;what improvements in facilities for cyclists using the rail network are planned; and if he will make a statement. [61113]

Derek Twigg: Data are not collected in the form requested.

Each train operating company (TOC) is responsible for both their policy on the carriage of bikes on trains and the provision of cycle parking at stations.
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The Government have adopted the Cycling Policy document produced in 2004 by the Strategic Rail Authority. This encourages all TOCs to carry folding bikes at all times, to carry non folding bikes wherever possible, while recognising that in peak periods there may be circumstances where it is in the best interests of the majority of passengers not to do so. The policy recommends that TOCs provide sufficient cycle parking at stations so that 95 per cent. of all rail journeys start from a station with adequate cycle parking by 2009. To support this policy the DfT recently funded an additional 2,900 cycle parking spaces at stations where demand exceeded capacity.

The franchise replacement process provides an opportunity to improve cycle facilities at stations, and to address the requirements of cyclists who wish to use trains. Bidders for the imminent South Western franchise will be asked to consider cycle-rail integration matters in their bid submissions.

As part of our ongoing commitment to bike and rail journeys I am discussing with our advisory body on cycling, Cycling England how we might further encourage such journeys.

Harbours Bill

Mr. Brazier: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the merits of the provisions contained in the Harbours Bill. [60277]

Dr. Ladyman: The Government's position in respect of the Harbours Bill was set out by my noble Friend Baroness Crawley during the Second Reading debate in the House of Lords on 27 October 2005, Official Report, columns 1382–85. We support the principle of the Bill which we believe would make a useful contribution to our policy of streamlining planning, and planning related, procedures.
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Highways Agency

Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many Article 14 directions relating to planning permissions have been issued by the Highways Agency in Northamptonshire since 1997. [60653]

Dr. Ladyman [holding answer 22 March 2006]: An Article 14 Direction is any type of formal restrictive response given by the Secretary of State for Transport to a planning application, be it refusal, conditions on approval, or restricting grant of permission.

The current database for monitoring Article 14 directions does not contain this information prior to 2003. Since 2003, the Highways Agency has issued the following Article 14 directions relating to planning applications in Northamptonshire.
Planning application consultations received368
Directions of refusal5
Directions of conditions on approval28
Directions restricting grant of permission7

Directions restricting the grant of permission (holding directions) direct that planning permission not be granted, usually for a specified period of six months or less. These directions are usually imposed where developers have not provided sufficient information for the Agency to assess the impact of their proposals on the trunk road network.

Directions restricting the grant of permission are only recorded if extant. Such directions are superseded on the monitoring system by the final response. This final response may be refusal, conditions on approval, or consent.

Analysis shows that five directions of refusal were made, with details as follows:
SiteDate of directionReason for directionDevelopment
Heart of the Shires, Norton4 April 2004Road safetyGolf academy
Land adjacent to the Coach House, Dodford18 August 2005Road safetyResidential development
Land adjacent to Knotwood Fields Farm, Stratford6 December 2005Insufficient informationTelecom mast
Brackley Sawmills26 January 2006Insufficient informationBusiness park
Tesco, Carina Road, Kettering6 March 2006Insufficient informationRetail extension

The three applications refused due to insufficient information arose from the provisions of the Town and Country Planning (General Development Procedure) (Amendment) (England) Order 2005, which came into force on 24 August 2005. This Order requires statutory consultees to respond within 21 days, provided that sufficient information is available to provide a substantive response. In each of these cases the local planning authority has acknowledged that insufficient information has been submitted with the application, and has requested that the Highways Agency direct refusal in order that they might determine the application within their statutory deadlines.

Seven directions restricting the grant of permission are extant, with details as follows:
SiteReason for directionLikely resolution
Priors Hall, CorbyInsufficient informationNot yet known
Ransome Road, NorthamptonInsufficient informationNot yet known
Nunn Mills, NorthamptonInsufficient informationNot yet known
A509 Isham BypassInsufficient informationConsent
Faccenda Abattoir, BrackleyInsufficient informationConditions on approval
St. Mark's Road, CorbyInsufficient informationApplication possibly withdrawn
Weldon Park, CorbyInsufficient informationApplication to be withdrawn (advised by Corby BC)

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