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Railways: Yorkshire and the Humber

Mr. Graham Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many train journeys originating in Yorkshire and the Humber in the last 12 months have been made in trains with no more than one carriage; what percentage of the total number of rail journeys in the region this represents; and if she will make a statement. [197433]


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Mr. Tom Harris: The three franchised train operators running services that originate in Yorkshire and the Humber are Northern Rail, TransPennine Express and National Express East Coast. An estimate of the number of journeys made on different types of rolling stock would be a matter for the operators involved.

Northern Rail is the only train operator that runs a one carriage service in Yorkshire and the Humber.

Road Traffic

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment she has made of the level of congestion on trunk roads and motorways on the afternoon of 8 February 2008; what figures she collates on such matters, including the cost to the economy; and if she will make a statement. [188470]

Mr. Tom Harris: Fully validated congestion data for 8 February 2008 will be available in May 2008. This is due to the time it takes to collect, validate and produce these figures.

Once produced, journey time and delay figures are available nationally, at individual route level, by day and by time of day.

Figures on the cost of congestion to the economy are not routinely calculated, although assessments of this have been made, most recently in the Eddington Study, published in 2006.

Roads: Repairs and Maintenance

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what representations her Department has received on the prioritisation of (a) the A1 Elkesley flyover and (b) improvements to the A57 in major capital road schemes in each of the last 10 years. [197471]

Mr. Tom Harris: The information is as follows:

(a) Representations on the prioritisation of the A1 Elkesley Junctions Improvement (locally known as Elkesley Bridge) were received from:


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Correspondence Date

PLaN Parkman, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire

12 March 1999

Elkesley Parish Council

1 July 2003

Elkesley Parish Council

7 October 2003

Patrick Mercer MP

10 December 2003

Dr. David Pell

23 January 2004

Elkesley Parish Council

1 June 2004

House of Commons re: Elkesley Parish Council

16 August 2004

Elkesley Parish Council

16 September 2004

Elkesley Parish Council

5 October 2004

Elkesley Parish Council

4 January 2005

Dr. David Pell

26 January 2005

Elkesley Parish Council

1 February 2005

Patrick Mercer MP

14 February 2005

Dr. David Pell

23 March 2005

Nottinghamshire county council

25 August 2005

Residents/Users of Coal Pit Lane

18 September 2005

Elkesley Parish Council

7 November 2005

Elkesley Parish Council

27 July 2006

Mr. Simpson on behalf of Elkesley Villagers

20 October 2006

Dr. David Pell

23 June 2007

Dr. David Pell

2 August 2007

Dr. David Pell

28 February 2008


(b) Representations received on the prioritisation of improvements to the A57 in major capital road schemes:

The Highways Agency detrunked the A57 in 2002 and 2003. Prior to detrunking, representations had been received from Rotherham metropolitan borough council (RMBC), local groups and Parish Councils for improvement of the A57 from Todwick crossroads west to the M1. Dunham Parish Council was also keen to see the village bypassed. Subsequent to detrunking, information about any improvement schemes on the A57 should be requested from the relevant local highway authority.

Transport: Capital Investment

Mr. Hepburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much capital funding from the public purse was provided to transport infrastructure in (a) Jarrow constituency, (b) South Tyneside, (c) Tyne and Wear, (d) the North East and (e) the UK in each year since 1997. [197655]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The following table contains the transport capital expenditure identified by the Public Expenditure Statistical Analyses as having been made in the North East region and the United Kingdom in each year from 2001-02 onwards. Figures for 1997 are not available and the figures that were produced for 1998-99, 1999 to 2000 and 2000-01 are not comparable with the later figures.

This information is not available for Tyne and Wear, South Tyneside or Jarrow constituency.

Table 1: Transport c apital e xpenditure
£ million
Expenditure North East R egion Expenditure United Kingdom

2001-02

188

4,594

2002-03

225

5,771

2003-04

260

7,657

2004-05

267

8,192

2005-06

272

8,543

2006-07

293

9,693



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The Public Expenditure Statistical Analyses, including the definitions and assumptions used in them and the figures for 1998-99 to 2000-01, can be viewed at the HM Treasury website:

Woodhead Tunnel and Cross-Pennine Rail Link

Tony Lloyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what assessment she has made of the feasibility of maintaining Woodhead tunnel fit for future rail operations should the National Grid lay electricity cables along it; [182501]

(2) what assessment she has made of the most viable option for a new cross-Pennine rail link. [Official Report, 21 April 2008, Vol. 474, c. 8MC.] [182502]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The need for additional passenger capacity can best be met through the provision of longer carriages and faster journey times on the Manchester to Leeds via Huddersfield route.

Should additional capacity be required across the Pennines at some future date, capacity enhancements on the three existing Victorian tunnels on the Woodhead route would be considered first. This is because they are more likely to offer value for money than the re-opening of a fourth route.

I shall be meeting with National Grid to confirm that we would wish to explore the option of continued inspection and maintenance of the Woodhead tunnels once National Grid have vacated them.

I intend to meet key stakeholders for their views on transport challenges across the Pennines and how this might tie in with the development of a longer term strategy.

Written Questions: Government Responses

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when she expects to reply to Question 185523 tabled on 4 February 2008 by the hon. Member for Eddisbury on Wikipedia. [195273]

Jim Fitzpatrick: A reply was given to the hon. Member today.

Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform

Post Office

10. Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what recent assessment he has made of progress on the Post Office network change programme; and if he will make a statement. [198420]

Mr. McFadden: To date, 26 out of the network change programme's 47 area plans have gone out to public consultation and final decisions announced for 15 of them. The programme is scheduled to be complete by the end of the year.

16. Mr. Heathcoat-Amory: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what recent discussions he has had with the
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management of Post Office Ltd about the provision of Government services by post offices. [198428]

Mr. McFadden: I regularly meet and discuss a range of issues relating to the post office network with the Managing Director of Post Office Ltd. These include its contracts to provide Government services.

18. Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform if he will make a statement on recent progress made by the Post Office network change programme. [198430]

Mr. McFadden: To date, 26 out of the network change programme’s 47 area plans have gone out to public consultation and final decisions announced for 15 of them. The programme is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year.

Renewable Energy

12. John Penrose: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what assessment he has made of the effect of Article 5(2) of the proposed European directive on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources on the Government's consideration of the options for renewable energy in the Severn estuary. [198422]

Malcolm Wicks: The Government's initial view is that this draft article is helpful for the UK as it gives partial credit to very large renewable projects with very long lead times and significant risks. It is not a reason for favouring one Severn estuary scheme over another. The Government intend to consider all potential technology and location options on a comparable basis.

Alcohol

14. Mr. Grogan: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what recent discussions he has had on the possibility of making an order under the Competition Act 1998 to allow minimum pricing of alcohol for exceptional and compelling reasons of public policy. [198425]

Mr. McFadden: The Government are looking carefully at ways to reduce alcohol related harm. In this context, Ministers have been discussing a number of potential policy options, including the possibility of action relating to alcohol pricing. Making an exclusion order under the Competition Act remains one of the possible available measures for consideration.

Sub-Post Offices

15. Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform if he will make a statement on the future of sub-post offices. [198427]

Mr. McFadden: The Government are committed to a national network of post offices, has set access criteria to ensure reasonable access to post office services for all communities and is providing a network subsidy payment of up to £150 million a year to support the
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non-commercial part of the network. Under the access criteria, Post Office Ltd is required to ensure that nationally 99 per cent. of the UK population is within 3 miles of their nearest post office outlet and 90 per cent. within one mile.

Energy Prices

17. Sir Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what assessment he has made of the effect of recent rises in the cost of energy for (a) domestic and (b) business consumers. [198429]

Malcolm Wicks: Recent increases in retail energy prices, while unwelcome, have been largely due to steadily rising producer prices for oil, coal and gas. The UK is not alone in experiencing these price rises, and the UK’s competitive markets have ensured that prices are no higher than necessary. As of 1 January this year, UK energy prices for average domestic customers were significantly lower than in most EU15 states and prices for average industrial customers were around the EU15 median(1).

20. Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what recent discussions he has had with domestic energy supply companies on their pricing arrangements. [198432]

Malcolm Wicks: Although Ministers have not met companies to discuss pricing arrangements, we have met with them to discuss how to take forward the announcement in the Budget on increasing the level of assistance energy companies provide to vulnerable households.


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