Previous Section Index Home Page

25 Jan 2008 : Column 2318W—continued


Andrew Selous: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when a copy of the full progress report on the A5-M1 link will be sent to the hon. Member for South West Bedfordshire. [180649]

Mr. Tom Harris [holding answer 21 January 2008]: Following the meeting of officials with the hon. Gentleman and representatives of regional groups in December 2007, opportunities to advance the scheme have been reviewed.

I have asked that all these opportunities should be considered before the report is finalised. The Government Office for the East of England is working with the Department for Transport and other partners to finalise the report. I expect to receive the report during February 2008 and will send a copy of it to the hon. Member for South West Bedfordshire as soon as possible.

Aviation: Radioactive Materials

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many aeroplane flights occurred in which spent nuclear fuel was carried within UK airspace in each of the last 10 years; what the origin and destination was of each case; and what volume of fuel was carried in each case. [180659]

Jim Fitzpatrick [holding answer 21 January 2008]: This Department holds information on one shipment of spent nuclear fuel by air within UK airspace in the last 10 years. This was a shipment in 1998 from Tbilisi, Georgia to Dounrey, Caithness containing approximately 4 kg of uranium.

Aviation: Security

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many flights to the US operating out of (a) Heathrow and (b) Gatwick were accompanied by armed air marshals in 2006-07; what the nationality of such marshals was; and to whom they are accountable. [178153]

25 Jan 2008 : Column 2319W

Jim Fitzpatrick: For security reasons, it would be inappropriate to comment on the specific security arrangements which have been put in place at UK airports.

Bus Services: Concessions

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many individuals living in (a) Formby (L37), (b) Crosby (L23), (c) Hightown (L38) and (d) Seaforth and Waterloo (L22 and L21) have been awarded a free bus travel pass in 2007-08; what proportion of bus travellers this represents in each area; and how much this benefit has cost the public purse in each year since 1997. [181152]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Department does not hold information about the number of passes issued at the level requested. Merseyside Passenger Transport Executive (Merseytravel) administers the Concessionary Travel Scheme that covers (a) Formby, (b) Crosby, (c) Hightown and (d) Seaforth and Waterloo. In October 2007 Merseytravel reported to the Department that they had a total of 286,794 concessionary travel passes currently in circulation.

The Department does not have information about the number of bus trips taken by concessionaires at the level requested. Merseytravel is responsible for administering the scheme and may hold this data.

Funding for concessionary travel is within Revenue Support Grant (RSG), so it is not possible to disaggregate information for the cost of this to the public purse since 1997. When the statutory minimum concession was raised from half fare to free off-peak local bus travel from 1 April 2006 an additional £350 million was added to RSG in 2006-07, with a further £367.5 million in 2007-08. From April 2008 an additional £212 million will be paid directly to local authorities by special grant to fund the new national concession, rising to £217 million in 2009-10 and £223 million in 2010-11. In the provisional distribution of the grant in 2008-09 Merseytravel would receive £6.519 million through special grant in addition to the existing RSG funding.

Cars: Exhaust Emissions

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what percentage of new cars sold in 2006 emitted less than 100g of carbon dioxide per kilometre; and what projection she has made of the percentage emissions that will be allowed in each year up to 2040. [178137]

Jim Fitzpatrick: In 2006, cars with less than 100 g/km CO2 tailpipe emissions accounted for no UK sales and 0.002 per cent. of the total EU market.

Neither we nor the European Commission have any plans to set a limit per car. The Commission intends that new cars emit an average of 130 g/km from 2012, but has not yet proposed any figures for the longer term. We do not yet have a view for 2040; but we believe that 100 g/km as an average should be achievable by 2020 (or 2025 at the latest). We are urging the Commission, Parliament and Council to seek consensus on this as soon as possible.

25 Jan 2008 : Column 2320W

The dossier containing the Commission’s proposal will be debated in Europe during 2008.

Crossrail Line

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much funding will be raised from the new Statutory Planning Charge for Crossrail; for how long the charge will be collected; on what developments it will be levied; and which local authorities it will affect. [176367]

Mr. Tom Harris: The Planning Bill introduced to Parliament on 28 November 2007 provides for a Community Infrastructure Levy. As part of the funding agreement between Transport for London and the Department for Transport, it is envisaged that the levy will be used to secure contributions from developers to provide funding for Crossrail. I refer the hon. Member to the written statement made by the Secretary of State on 26 November 2007, Official Report, columns 133-34WS.

The timing of the charge, the type of developments and local authorities affected, and other details will depend on the final form of the legislation, the regulations laid under the proposed powers in the Planning Bill, and on the Mayor of London’s policies established in line with the legislation and the regulations.

Gatwick Airport

Mr. MacShane: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport for what reasons passengers travelling through Gatwick Airport continue to be restricted to one item of hand luggage. [179478]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The Secretary of State announced last year that the one bag restriction would be lifted from 7 January 2008, subject to airports demonstrating that they would be able to handle the additional bags without adversely affecting security. 23 airports have been approved to fully lift the restriction. Gatwick Airport’s South Terminal Flight Connections Centre has also been approved. We expect the other parts of Gatwick Airport to achieve this aim later in the year.

Heathrow Airport: Noise

Justine Greening: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate she has made of the proportion of planes landing at Heathrow Airport using the continuous descent approach; what assumptions have been made regarding the proportion of planes landing at Heathrow Airport using the continuous descent approach in the noise modelling findings contained in the Adding Capacity at Heathrow Airport public consultation document; and if she will make a statement. [181715]

Jim Fitzpatrick [holding answer 24 January 2008]: The current daytime levels of continuous decent approach (CDA) are around 80 to 85 per cent.

Noise modelling for future Heathrow scenarios is based on the airspace arrangements described in the supporting technical reports by NATS. This assumes full CDA capability on all approaches to a three runway airport; but reduced CDA capability under the
25 Jan 2008 : Column 2321W
mixed mode (‘maximum capacity, baseline’) option, at around 35-40 per cent., as explained in paragraphs 3.102 to 3.105 of the consultation document. As the document states, the main noise benefits from CDA are felt further from the airport, outside the area of the 57 dBA noise contour.

Heathrow Airport: Public Participation

Justine Greening: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what criteria are to be used to assess the appropriateness of the need for a public consultation on flightpaths for a third runway at Heathrow airport once detailed design and simulation work has been carried out, as noted on paragraph 1.24, page 24 of the Adding Capacity at Heathrow Airport public consultation document; and if she will make a statement. [181717]

Jim Fitzpatrick [holding answer 24 January 2008]: It is not for the Secretary of State for Transport to determine consultation criteria for airspace changes.

Changes to airspace arrangements are subject to the independent Airspace Change Process, governed by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). CAA Guidance on the Application of the Airspace Change Process (CAP725) provides detailed advice on the application of the process, including consultation requirements. It makes clear that all airspace changes will require some form of consultation but that the level of consultation will be determined by the impact that the change will have on others and not the size of the change itself.

Specific consultation requirements on airspace changes in support of a third runway at Heathrow would be a matter for the sponsor of the airspace change, in this case the airport operator, BAA, with the support of NATS, the air traffic service provider, to discuss with the regulator, the CAA, as and when a detailed proposal is developed.

M25: Contracts

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which companies have been invited to tender for the widening of the M25. [181644]

Mr. Tom Harris: There are three organisations that have been invited to tender for the M25 Design, Build, Finance and Operate (DBFO) contract. These are:

Network Rail: Bridges

Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport for what reasons Network Rail are required to replace their bridges that bear a load of 24 tonnes. [181385]

Mr. Tom Harris: Network Rail-owned bridges over railways most commonly carry local authority roads. EC directives 85/3/ECC and 89/460 ECC require member states’ “principal roads” to be made accessible to 40 tonne vehicles with 11.5 tonne axle weights. Network Rail-owned bridges are statutorily required to be able to
25 Jan 2008 : Column 2322W
carry 24 imperial tons. They are covered by a national programme of assessment and works (Bridgeguard 3), and a national cost sharing agreement with local authorities relating to the costs of assessment and strengthening.

There is no obligation on Network Rail to strengthen its bridges carrying roads to accommodate 40 tonne lorries. If such carrying capacity were required, it would be for the local highway authority to provide the funding.

Public Transport: Rural Areas

Mr. McLoughlin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps are being taken to ensure adequate spending on public transport in rural and remote areas of the country. [181158]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Local and central Government are currently spending £2.5 billion a year on buses—including those operating in rural and isolated areas. This includes bus service operators grant (BSOG), the costs of mandatory concessionary fares, local authority subsidy of non-commercial services and capital expenditure on bus-related infrastructure schemes. It is for local authorities to decide what resources to devote to the support of rural bus services within their area.

However, recognising the particular needs of rural areas, we have provided funding to local authorities in the form of rural bus subsidy grant. This grant is currently supporting over 2,000 new and enhanced services on which over 33 million passenger journeys are made annually. This year’s allocations total £55.6 million, bringing the grant’s total to nearly £450 million since its introduction in 1998.

Demand responsive, flexibly routed and community transport services provide essential links in rural areas. To assist these types of services, we changed the regulations that govern the operation of bus services to enable more flexibly routed services to be registered with the traffic commissioner. We have also provided support for many community transport services by making them eligible for the first time to receive BSOG.

The Local Transport Bill will benefit rural areas as well as towns and cities by modernising the regulatory framework for buses, giving local authorities a bigger role where this is necessary and providing strengthened arrangements for partnerships between local authorities and bus operators.

The Bill also contains measures to expand the role of community transport and enable private hire vehicle operators to provide local bus services, extending the existing taxibus provisions to this sector for the first time. Both these measures are of particular relevance to meeting rural transport needs.

Railway Stations: Chelmsford

Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when a decision will be taken on whether to build a new railway station in the North Chelmsford-Springfield area; and if she will make a statement. [181333]

25 Jan 2008 : Column 2323W

Mr. Tom Harris: The proposed new station in north Chelmsford is being privately promoted in connection with a major development in the Beaulieu Park area. The promoter is in active discussion with Network Rail, the train operator (‘One Railway’), the Department for Transport, local authorities, and the Highways Agency.

Railway Stations: Chorley

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when work will begin on the construction of the new railway station at Buckshaw Village, Chorley. [181704]

Mr. Tom Harris: This is a project that is being led by Lancashire county council with Network Rail. It is being funded largely by developer contributions. There is an active dialogue between the local authority and Network Rail, who will be responsible for project managing and delivering the station, provided the funding is fully in place. They are planning for the station to be operational by 2009 subject to funding.

Railway Stations: Easington

John Cummings: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans she has to re-open rail stations at Horden, Easington and Blackhall in Easington constituency; and if she will make a statement. [182376]

Mr. Tom Harris: We have no plans to re-open rail stations at Horden, Easington and Blackhall. It would be for the local authorities to propose and fund any new stations provided that they have a business case and if they consider that new stations are the best way of meeting local transport needs.

Railways: Chorley

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many trains stopped at (a) Chorley and (b) Adlington on weekdays in the most recent period for which figures are available. [181454]

Mr. Tom Harris: 97 passenger trains stop at Chorley and 42 passenger trains stop at Adlington (Lancashire) on weekdays.

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans there are to increase the (a) number and (b) capacity of trains calling at (i) Chorley and (ii) Adlington. [181796]

Mr. Tom Harris: The rail White Paper was published in July 2007. It sets out the resources we intend to make available to the rail industry and the increases in capacity, as well as safety and performance that we expect the industry to deliver in return.

The Department for Transport is currently reviewing the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities’ bid for funding from the Transport Innovation Fund (TIF). The proposal seeks to address congestion issues within the Greater Manchester area through introducing a road congestion charge bid while also investing in providing additional public transport opportunities, as part of the TIF bid.

25 Jan 2008 : Column 2324W

Railways: Colchester

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent assessment she has made of train (a) punctuality and (b) overcrowding on the line between Colchester and London. [180368]

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 ‘one’ to address performance issues. These are monitored monthly.

The most recent published PPM figures are those shown on Network Rail’s website for the rail industry as a whole. This shows confirmed PPM figures up to period 9 (ending 8 December 2007). The website shows that ‘one’s PPM for period 9 was 84.7 per cent. and the moving annual average (‘MAA’) was 89.7 per cent., compared to whole industry figures of 86 per cent. and 89.2 per cent. respectively.

Next Section Index Home Page