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Roads: Repairs Backlog

Lord Hanningfield asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: We do not have this information for local authority maintained roads by individual authority. All local highway authorities have been encouraged to produce asset management plans for their roads. These will consist of inventories of stock, its existing condition, and target condition based upon desired service levels. This will inform
 
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calculations of the backlogs on local roads. Asset management plans will also provide a tool to obtain and organise information to support the requirement for local authorities to introduce Whole Government Accounts for 2006–07.

There is no maintenance backlog on roads maintained by the Highways Agency.

Rural Enterprise Scheme

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Bach): The current England rural development programme will end on 31 December 2006. The project-based schemes, including the rural enterprise scheme (RES) and the processing and marketing grant scheme (PMG)—will close to new applications on 30 June 2006. A consultation on the priorities of the new rural development programme will commence very shortly.
SchemeSpend to end March 2005Budget for 2005-06Ceiling for 2006-07Total
RES£65.5 million£36 million£34 million£135.5 million
PMG£23.7 million£8 million£8 million£39.7 million

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bach: Economic returns for rural enterprise schemes (RES) are dependent on the individually sponsored scheme. They are not a deciding factor when making a grant under the scheme.

All applications for assistance under RES are assessed by the Rural Development Service against a range of criteria including outcomes as well as sustainability and value for money.

The Government are seeking to achieve a range of complex outcomes for the measures in the rural enterprise scheme—for instance, the number of new or maintained jobs, number of quality agricultural products marketed, number of tourist day visits and area of land made irrigable.
 
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RES also supports community projects—for instance, community shops and post offices, and the renovation of village halls, where we want to ensure funding benefits as many rural people as possible.

Stansted Airport

Lord Hanningfield asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: In the consultation that preceded the Future of Air Transport White Paper, a number of responses supported expansion of Stansted Airport. Statistics on this were provided in the report by Aviasolutions entitled A Report to the Government's Consultation: South East (December 2003). This report is on the Department for Transport's website.

Following the White Paper, the Government have received many representations about development of Stansted Airport—both for and against. It would involve disproportionate costs to provide details on how many of these were in support of expansion.

Sudan: Darfur

Lord Alton of Liverpool asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Triesman): We welcome the African Union's (AU) decision at the 12 January Peace and Security Council expressing support in principle to handing over its monitoring mission in Darfur (AMIS) to the UN. The UN Security Council has instructed the UN Secretary-General to report back to the council on the options for such a UN operation. We are discussing with the UN and the AU the possible size, mandate and composition.

Transport Research Laboratory

Lord Hanningfield asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: There are currently no secondments between the Department for Transport and the Transport Research Laboratory—either inward or outward.
 
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Transport: Research and Consultancy Services

Lord Hanningfield asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: The review was conducted between October 2004 and February 2005 and covered contracts let by the department during the period 1 April 2002 to 31 December 2004.

The review led to the formulation and adoption of a key supplier management system, designed to promote better business relationships with the leading suppliers to the department. This system was implemented on 1 April 2005.

Transport: Urban Congestion

Lord Bradshaw asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: The 10 largest urban authorities, which account for a significant proportion of all congestion on urban roads, will publish congestion targets based on new data sources provided by the Government during the summer 2006. Other local authorities which identify congestion as a key local issue may also set appropriate targets and indicators in their local transport plans, but are not required to do so.

Universities: Higher Education Funding Council for England

Baroness Sharp of Guildford asked Her Majesty's Government:

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Education and Skills (Lord Adonis): The council has been consulting the higher-education sector on the future formula to be used for the distribution of grant for teaching. I am sure the council will consider carefully any arguments on these issues and I expect the end result to be compatible with the earlier commitments the Government have made. We have already brought forward proposals to provide additional support amounting to £40 million over the next two years for part-time students from non-traditional backgrounds.


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