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Mr. Tom Harris: The Secretary of State met the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) on 10 December to discuss a range of fares and ticketing issues, principally fares simplification as outlined in the White Paper.
Jim Fitzpatrick: We have a comprehensive strategy: supporting the development and application of new aircraft technology, making gains in air traffic control systems, encouraging more efficient practices, and promoting market-based measures such as emissions trading. Airlines have a strong incentive to minimise fuel use, which would be strengthened by proposals in the Governments consultation on Aviation Duty.
Mr. Tom Harris: The A46 Newark to Widmerpool improvement schemes is one of the schemes that are planned to be funded from the East Midlands Regional Funding Allocation for major transport schemes. I understand that the region plans to review its recommended programme of schemes in the light of emerging cost pressures. We will carefully consider the regions advice both for the programme as a whole and in relation to the A46 scheme.
Mr. Tom Harris: None. This is an operational matter for Network Rail. Network Rail informs me that it is currently discussing with Stoke-on-Trent city council whether the development and implementation of an aesthetic painting scheme for Longton viaduct can be included in its structures maintenance programme for 2008-09. A decision will be made later this year.
Ms Rosie Winterton:
Our main support for rural transport has been through the Rural Bus Subsidy Grant and Rural Bus Challenge schemes. Funding provided under those schemes was £61.3 million in
2007 and £61.4 million in 2006. Local authorities also support rural transport through Revenue Support Grant and other resources.
Let one give just three examples of that. The Government have committed up to £30 million for UK research and development work on the Low Carbon Vehicles Innovation Platform. Government are also supporting the development of the Energy Technologies Institute, and they fund a wide range of greener aviation R and D through the National Aerospace Technology Strategy (NATS).
In particular, I refer my hon. Friend to the Departments Low Carbon Transport Innovation Strategy, which was published last year at the time of the Energy White Paper, and provides a comprehensive guide to the Governments policies and activities in this area.
Mr. Tom Harris: In the preparation of the Rail White Paper, the Government carried out assessments of the adequacy of the capacity of the rail network. This drew on work carried out by the rail industry. The outcome of this work is published in the 2007 Rail White Paper Delivering a Sustainable Railway.
Mr. Tom Harris: Ipswich station has been prioritised for Access for All-funded improvements between 2009 and 2011. Step-free access to its platforms will be provided through the installation of a new footbridge and two new lifts. Local stakeholders are currently being consulted on the plans, which are now reaching the detailed design stage.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when she received the Inspectors Report on the A1 upgrade to motorway status between Dishforth and Barton; and when she expects to take a decision on the report. 
Mr. Tom Harris: The following table shows the number of people killed and seriously injured on the A12 in Essex over the past five years. The Highways Agency does not currently hold any full accident figures for 2008.
|Accidents A12 Essex|
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions her Department has had or plans to have on the past and potential future impact of (a) changes in noise levels permitted from individual aircraft and (b) changes in the size of aircraft upon (i) past increases and future total passenger and freight numbers and (ii) past and future (A) economic, (B) environmental and (C) social impacts; and what representations have been received on these matters. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: The White Paper The Future of Air Transport White Paper set out our key aim to limit and where possible reduce the number of people in the UK significantly affected by aircraft noise.
In the White Paper, we highlighted the importance of promoting research and development work on quieter aircraft and airframe technology. We are pursuing this aim through both international and national forums.
Although technological change is a long-term issue, the aviation industry has made encouraging progress in addressing the noise of the airline fleet. For example, the newest generation of wide-bodied aircraft is expected to make significantly less noise on arrival than the largest aircraft currently operating. We have also seen the introduction of new engines which include innovations to reduce noise and improve fuel efficiency.
Possible future technological change and related impacts are taken into account in our forecasting. For example, the current consultation on the future expansion of Heathrow (Adding Capacity at Heathrow Airport) has been prepared against this background. Paragraph 3.82 of the consultation document notes that although there were 73 per cent. more aircraft movements in 2005 compared with 1975, the number of people significantly affected by noise has fallen by 87 per cent. and the area affected reduced by 86 per cent. In addition, the night flights regime introduced in October 2006 at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted recognises technological change by providing incentives for introducing quieter aircraft. The regime was only introduced after an extensive two-stage public consultation exercise.
All major UK airports (i.e. 50,000 annual movements or above) have been required to map aircraft noise in compliance with the European environmental noise directive. Later this year, the airports will have to prepare strategic noise action plans setting out noise mitigation measures. These plans will have to be prepared in consultation with the local community and as such provide an opportunity for relevant local issues to be considered. In addition, we regularly receive representations on aircraft noise issues which help inform the Departments policy making.
Mr. Paul Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many aircraft routes cross High Wycombe and Marlow at 7,000 feet or less; what the height of each route is; how many planes per hour on average flew along each of those routes during (a) night time, (b) daytime and (c) at peak times in the last 12 months; how many planes per hour on average are expected to fly along each of those routes during (i) night time, (ii) daytime and (iii) at peak times in 2014; and whether she has made an estimate of the likely impact of air traffic noise on levels in High Wycombe and Marlow in 2014. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: This is an operational matter for National Air Traffic Services, the air navigation services provider, and I suggest the hon. Member direct his inquiry to the chief executive of NATS.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what legislation governs the payment of compensation by airlines for injury or damage occurring accidentally while in flight; what representations she has received on this issue; and if she will make a statement. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: Passengers must always take their own legal advice in relation to claims. Article 17 of the 1999 Montreal Convention provides that the carrier is liable for damage sustained in the event of death or bodily injury of a passenger upon condition only that the accident which caused the death or injury took place on board the aircraft or in the course of embarking or disembarking. The amount of compensation is governed by article 21. The Montreal Convention is given effect in the United Kingdom by the Carriage by Air Acts (Implementation of the Montreal Convention 1999) Order 2002, which came into force on 28 June 2004. The Department is not aware of any recent representations on this issue.
Mr. Paul Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment she has made of the likely impact proposals by the National Air Traffic Service to redraw the aircraft route map across Southern and Eastern England will have on aircraft noise in High Wycombe and Marlow in (a) 2009 and (b) 2014. 
The process for making changes to airspace is governed by the independent Civil Aviation Authority (CAA)'s airspace change process as set out in the Airspace Charter (CAP724) and Guidance on the Airspace Change Process (CAP725).
NATS, the sponsor of the proposed change, is responsible for developing and consulting upon proposals. Detailed guidance is given on what impacts are to be taken into account, how they should be measured and who should be consulted. Informed by the consultation, the sponsor will submit the proposal to the CAA's Directorate of Airspace Policy for assessment. In determining whether to accept or reject a proposal, the CAA's process will reflect the Secretary of State's Directions and Guidance to the CAA on the exercise of its statutory duties and environmental objectives.
Stephen Hesford: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much biofuel was produced in the UK in the last 12 months; and what estimate she has made of the effect on the UK's carbon dioxide emissions of use of biofuels in substitution for fossil fuels in that period. 
These figures do not, however, distinguish between imported fuels and domestically produced fuels, and the Government are unable to provide a detailed breakdown of this. Nor is it possible to provide a precise estimate of the reduction in carbon dioxide emissions associated with these biofuels. This is because information on the feedstocks from which the fuels were produced, and on their country of origin, is not currently collected.
This is one of the reasons why the Government are introducing the renewable transport fuel obligation (RTFO) in April. Under the RTFO, transport fuel suppliers who wish to earn renewable transport fuel certificates in respect of their biofuels will have to report to the Renewable Fuels Agency (RFA) on matters such as the country of origin, the wider sustainability and the carbon intensity of those fuels. The Renewable Fuels Agency will be required to report regularly on these matters, and this will allow the Government to monitor very closely the carbon dioxide savings associated with the policy, as well as its wider environmental impacts.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will make a statement on the operation of the Carriage by Air Acts (Implementation of the Montreal Convention 1999) Order 2002; what amendments have been made to this Order; and what recent representations she has received on this Order. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: The 1999 Montreal Convention is an international convention prepared by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). It seeks to modernise and consolidate the 1929 Warsaw Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules relating to International Carriage by Air and related conventions.
The Carriage by Air Acts (Implementation of the Montreal Convention 1999) Order 2002 gave effect to the Montreal Convention in the UK from 28 June 2004 (see Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules of International Carriage by AirCm 6369) by amending the Carriage by Air Act 1961. No amendments have subsequently been made to either the Order or the Convention. The Department is not aware of any recent representations on this issue.
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