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2 Nov 2006 : Column 567Wcontinued
Mrs. Riordan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether existing cross-country train services linking Yorkshire with the (a) South Coast and (b) South West will be maintained when the new Cross Country Franchise begins. 
Mr. Tom Harris: Services on these routes are changing to deliver the benefits of the West Coast Main Line upgrade and facilitate future increases in capacity. From December 2008 there will be an hourly service from Edinburgh to Plymouth, via Leeds, supplemented with an hourly service between Newcastle and Reading, via Doncaster. Passengers from Yorkshire to the South Coast will be required to change. Depending on the origin and destination, the most appropriate place to change will be one of London, Manchester, Birmingham or Reading.
Mrs. James: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent discussions he has had with First Great Western about reducing journey times between London Paddington and Swansea. 
Mr. Tom Harris: There have been no discussions recently with First Great Western about reducing journey times between London Paddington and Swansea.
Mrs. James: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the performance of services on First Great Western Trains Ltd. to July 2006; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Tom Harris: The performance of passenger train operators is measured by the Public Performance Measure (PPM). First Great Westerns PPM, expressed as a moving annual average, stood at 83.8 per cent. in July 2006. Improving rail performance is a key objective for the Department for Transport. Joint action plans are in place between Network Rail and First Great Western to address performance issues. These are monitored monthly.
Mrs. James: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the joint action plan between First Great Western and Network Rail for the monitoring of performance of services between London Paddington and Swansea. 
Mr. Tom Harris: Improving rail performance is a key objective for the Department for Transport. Joint action plans are in place between Network Rail and First Great Western to address performance issues. These are monitored monthly.
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps First Great Western is taking to ensure that services to Swansea (a) depart on time from London Paddington and (b) use reasonable
endeavours to minimise the need for passengers to stand (i) on off-peak services and (ii) for no more than 20 minutes on peak services. 
Mr. Tom Harris: First Great Western (FGW) participates with Network Rail in the Joint Performance Improvement Plan process and under its new franchise agreement has committed to a number of investments to improve performance. FGW monitors passenger numbers, including through on-board passenger counts.
Mrs. James: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many cancellations occurred on First Great Western Services between Swansea and London Paddington between January to July 2006; and how many were the result of (a) vandalism, (b) locomotive failure, (c) adverse weather conditions, (d) electrical faults and (e) engineering works. 
Mr. Tom Harris: The number of First Greater Western services reported as cancelled in between January to July 2006 was 2,518. This represents 0.8 per cent. of the services planned to run.
The Department does not hold data relating specifically to Swansea to London train services, nor relating to the reasons for each cancellation.
Mrs. James: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 11 July 2006, Official Report, column 1698W, on Arriva Trains Wales, what the outcome was of his Departments discussions between interested parties about train services between Cardiff and Swansea. 
Mr. Tom Harris: The Department for Transport is not convinced that it would be appropriate for it to fund additional train services between Cardiff and Swansea. It remains in discussion with interested parties.
Mark Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the feasibility of a direct rail link between Shrewsbury and London Marylebone; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Tom Harris: The Department is aware of an open access operatorWrexham, Shropshire and Marylebone Railway (WSMR)which is pursuing a proposal with Network Rail and the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR), to operate direct services between Wrexham, Shrewsbury and London Marylebone.
The decision on whether robust train paths are available on a route lies with Network Rail. Where Network Rail does identify such paths it is then for ORR to evaluate the effect it will have on the network.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 19 October 2006, Official Report, column 1340W on railways, what the outcomes have been of correspondence between officials in his Department and the South Hampshire Rail Users Group. 
Mr. Tom Harris: Letters have been sent to the South Hampshire Rail Users Group in May and October by officials in the Department who have noted the material provided, and explained the franchise replacement process for South Western. They covered the franchise objectives, the development of the specification, the timescales for bid evaluation and award of the new franchise, and the key outputs of the winning bidder. The day-to-day operation of the franchise is a matter for Stagecoach, and South Hampshire Rail Users Group should take up such issues with them.
Mr. Malins: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many personal injury road traffic accidents involving an ambulance occurred in England and Wales in each of the last five years. 
Dr. Ladyman: The information requested is given in the table.
|Personal injury accidents involving ambulances: 2001-05|
Mrs. James: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps First Great Western is taking to ensure that initial newly refurbished Class 43 Mark III coaches begin service in November. 
Mr. Tom Harris: The first newly refurbished First Great Western Class 43 High Speed Train power cars have already entered service.
The date for initial introduction of the first newly refurbished Mark III High Speed Train passenger coaches is a matter for First Great Western.
Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what research his Department has (a) undertaken and (b) evaluated into the effectiveness of fuel additives in reducing emissions from vehicles. 
Dr. Ladyman: I refer the hon. Member to my answer of 16 October 2006, Official Report, column 915W.
Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the potential increased volume of carbon emissions in the UK resulting from the EU directive requiring the use of dipped headlights during daylight hours. 
Dr. Ladyman: I refer the hon. Member to my answer of 25 October 2006, Official Report, columns 1864-65W.
15. Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will discuss with ministerial colleagues a tree planting campaign in urban areas. 
David Miliband: We have recently conducted a consultation exercise as part of a review of the current England Forestry Strategy (1998). In this exercise we considered the role of urban trees and woodlands in providing public benefits. We are now having discussions with colleagues across Government to develop a new strategy for Englands trees and woodlands that supports local delivery bodies in considering their tree resource in the light of local circumstances. We do not believe a national campaign would be appropriate.
17. Mark Lazarowicz: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions he has had on the extension of emissions trading within the European Union. 
David Miliband: We have regular discussions with our EU partners about the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, including the European Commissions forthcoming review of the scheme. We want to build on the scheme as the EUs principal mechanism of reducing carbon emissions. Extending the coverage of the scheme to the aviation sector is one of our most significant goals.
18. Jim Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations he has made to the European Commission about the protected geographical identity of Newcastle Brown Ale. 
David Miliband: My Department has written to the European Commission on numerous occasions on this issue. It has also been the subject of two bilateral meetings between my officials and the Commission.
19. Mr. Allen: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will set targets for a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from those aircraft and ships which are not included in Government figures on greenhouse gas emissions. 
Ian Pearson: Emissions from international aviation and maritime transport were not included in the 1997 Kyoto protocol. We are working at an international level to limit or reduce these emissions through the International Civil Aviation Organisation, the International Maritime Organisation and the EU. Our priority is the inclusion of the aviation sector in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme.
21. Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the regulatory implications of the recent takeovers of water companies. 
Ian Pearson: Water companies have statutory duties to provide water and sewerage services irrespective of their ownership. The economic regulator, Ofwat, examines any transfer of ownership and takes regulatory action to prevent prejudice to the interests of customers.
22. Mr. Devine: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress was made on tackling climate change at the Gleneagles dialogue meeting in Mexico. 
David Miliband: The meeting confirmed that real and practical progress is being made in a number of key areas, for example, promoting opportunities for low carbon technologies, recognising the scale of future investment needed, and underlining the importance of strong frameworks to support international climate change co-operation. The meeting also starkly illustrated the need for comprehensive global action to combat climate change.
Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps he is taking to ensure that staff in bodies for which he is responsible working to combat climate change have access to sufficient funding. 
Ian Pearson: We fund a variety of bodies working to combat climate change including the Hadley Centre, Energy Saving Trust, and Carbon Trust. We support work that maximises the impact and cost-effectiveness of our expenditure and will seek to ensure that any CSR settlement supports the Departments strategic priorities in this way.
Mr. Laxton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will carry out an impact study on the effect on British Waterways of the proposed reduction in its funding from his Department. 
Mr. Bradshaw: Government have consulted closely with British Waterways on the financial pressures facing DEFRA and the impact these will have on it.
It is important to understand that British Waterways restructuring plans predated the one-off in-year savings exercise that took 7 per cent. out of British Waterways 2006-07 grant in aid. These restructuring plans came on top of major investment by this Government which, in addition to £42 million to address the safety backlog, has reduced the general maintenance backlog from £270 million to just £119 million.
The restructuring will bring a greater focus to customer service on the bankside, improvements to business efficiency and to address the recent reductions in Government funding.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions he has had with British Waterways on the implications for safety of the reductions in staff allocated to operating bridges and locks. 
Mr. Bradshaw: This is an operational matter for British Waterways (BW). BWs priorities are to secure the safety and integrity of the network and it has assured me that there are no implications for health and safety.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when British Waterways was first informed of its budget allocations for (a) 2006-07 and (b) 2007-08. 
Mr. Bradshaw: As part of Spending Review 2004, British Waterways was given an indicative budget allocation for 2006-07 in April 2004. British Waterways was formally notified of its resource allocation for 2006-07 on 12 April 2006.
Following an in-year review of DEFRAs budgets, the Secretary of State formally notified the Board of its revised funding allocation on 27 July 2006.
Budget allocations for 2007-08 will be issued shortly.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what grant in aid has he allocated to British Waterways in each of the next four financial years. 
Mr. Bradshaw: British Waterways grant in aid allocation for 2007-08 will be issued shortly. No decisions have yet been made on levels of funding over the Spending Review period from 2008-09 up to 2010-11. This is subject to the Her Majestys Treasury timetable for a comprehensive spending review which is scheduled to conclude in the summer of 2007.
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