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Local Transport Plans

28. Ms Ward: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement on implementation of the local transport plans. [148472]

Mr. Hill: The local transport capital settlement announced on 14 December 2000, Official Report, column 202W, provided an £8.4 billion boost for local transport improvements over the next five years. Local authorities are responsible for delivering the proposals in their local transport plans. Authorities are required to submit annual progress reports on the delivery of their

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plans. My Department will assess progress not only on the plans themselves but also progress towards the local transport outcomes envisaged in our 10-year plan for transport.

Industrial Development (Greenbelt Land)

29. Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement on industrial development on greenbelt land. [148473]

Ms Beverley Hughes: Construction of new buildings for industrial development is inappropriate development in designated green belts except where it involves infilling or redevelopment of a major developed site in an adopted development plan. There remains a presumption against inappropriate development in green belts, as set out in planning policy guidance note 2.

Integrated Transport

31. Mr. Day: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when he last met the British Chambers of Commerce to discuss progress towards achieving integrated transport in Britain. [148475]

Mr. Hill: The Secretary of State has not had the opportunity to meet the British Chambers of Commerce to discuss integrated transport in Britain, although meetings with individual chambers have taken place. Lord Macdonald will, however, be addressing the British Chambers of Commerce annual conference on 28 March, where I am sure the subject of transport policy will be raised.

Ports

32. John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement on modernising British ports. [148476]

Mr. Hill: The Government announced the publication of a ports policy paper, "Modern Ports", on 27 November. Ports have an important role in integrated transport policy. The paper identifies a number of specific initiatives we hope to pursue. We intend to promote better regulation of the industry, and agreed national standards and good practice for port management and port operations alike. The paper sets out a balanced policy on port development which aims to make the best use of existing and former operational land, secures high environmental standards, but supports sustainable projects for which there is a clear need.

Neighbourhood Wardens

34. Mr. Ian Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement on the neighbourhood wardens programme. [148478]

Ms Beverley Hughes: We announced the first round of 50 successful bids for the neighbourhood wardens grant on 18 September 2000. A further announcement on the success of an additional 36 schemes is being made today. The successful schemes are of a good regional spread, tackling issues on improving the environment, quality of life and community safety.

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Housing Investment

Mr. Healey: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement on plans for investment in (a) social housing and (b) council housing. [148474]

Mr. Robert Ainsworth: The spending plans for 2001-02 to 2003-04 announced following last year's spending review provide for significant increases in housing investment by both local authorities and registered social landlords. These increases, which build on the substantial additional resources already made available through the capital receipts initiative and the 1998 spending review, reflect our commitment to bring all social housing in England up to a decent standard by 2010 and to provide additional social housing in areas where there is a need for it. Allocations for housing capital expenditure by local authorities have been increased from £750 million in 1997-98 to £2.6 billion in 2003-04, while allocations for investment in new housing by registered social landlords will increase from £0.7 billion to £1.2 billion over the same period.

EU Structural Funds (Merseyside)

Mrs. Ellman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when he last discussed with the European Commission matters relating to the Merseyside objective 1 programme that have been referred to the DTI state aid unit; and when he expects the project to be approved. [147848]

Ms Beverley Hughes: Those project proposals that require notification will be put to the European Commission for approval. None of the proposals for funding from the Merseyside objective 1 programme has as yet been put to the EC and the Secretary of State has not entered into discussion about them. Advice is being sought on a number of project proposals for this programme and it is likely that additional information will be required on some before notification can take place. Approval is a matter for the EC and notifications are dealt with as quickly as possible.

Transport Plan

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) how many of the new light rail lines mentioned in paragraph 6.61 of the 10-year transport plan he forecasts will start to be built over the period 2001-02 to 2005-06; and what the forecast public expenditure will be, including public resource and public investment, in the period on those lines; [149110]

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Mr. Hill [holding answer 6 February 2001]: "Transport 2010: The 10 Year Plan" assumes that public expenditure on local transport in England in the period 2001-02 to 2005-06 will total £30.7 billion. Of this, £12.4 billion is capital expenditure, of which £8.4 billion will be provided to local authorities outside London through local transport plans. Public resource expenditure is assumed to be £18.3 billion.

The plan assumes that £2.5 billion of public resource expenditure will be used to support urban and rural bus services in England between 2001-02 to 2005-06. This figure excludes expenditure that the plan assumes the Mayor will provide for bus services in London. In addition, local authorities outside London will be taking forward a number of major bus projects and will be using a significant proportion of the capital resources available to them for smaller-scale schemes on bus-related measures.

Of the £30 billion of public expenditure to eliminate the backlog in local road and bridge maintenance, complete the bridge strengthening programme and replace life-expired lighting on local roads over the 10-year plan period mentioned in paragraph 6.61 of the plan, the plan

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assumes that revenue spending on highways maintenance by local authorities will be £10.1 billion in the period 2001-02 to 2005-06. A further £3 billion of capital expenditure for local road maintenance will be provided in this period to local authorities outside London through local transport plans.

Paragraph 6.32 of the plan states that the specific schemes on the strategic road network to be progressed by the Highways Agency over the period of the plan will depend on the outcome of the multi-modal studies and decisions taken in the context of regional planning guidance. The only forecast that can be made about the number of schemes to be started in the period 2001-02 to 2005-06 is in respect of those committed trunk road schemes currently included in the targeted programme of improvements. Contracts for 13 of these schemes will be let in the current financial year (2000-01). The Agency expect contracts for a further 25 schemes, including nine by-passes, to be let in the period 2001-02 to 2005-06, subject to completion of statutory procedures for 13 of these schemes. The 10-year plan anticipates that public expenditure on the strategic road network will total £9.4 billion between 2001-02 and 2005-06. Of this, £5.7 billion will be capital expenditure and £3.7 billion will be resource expenditure.

The most advanced proposals for light rail schemes, which would deliver 13 new lines, are identified in paragraph 6.61 of the plan. The current position on each of these projects is set out in table 1. There are also a number of other proposals which are at a less advanced stage, including new systems in Merseyside and Hull and extensions to Midland Metro, Tyne and Wear Metro, Manchester Metrolink, South Yorkshire Supertram and Nottingham Express Transit. Work on these proposals is not yet at a sufficiently advanced stage to be able to forecast whether they could be under construction by 2005-06 or the level of public expenditure that might be involved. However, the plan assumes that public capital expenditure on light rail outside London between 2001-02 and 2005-06 will total £1 billion. The actual amounts will depend on progress with individual schemes and the funding packages agreed with promoters.

In London, it will be for the Mayor to decide priorities within the resources available to Transport for London.

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Table 1: Progress on light rail lines

Scheme Capital cost(10) (£ million, cash)Government support(11) (£ million, cash) State of progress
Nottingham Express Transit(12)180(12),(13)180Under construction
Tyne and Wear Metro: extension to Sunderland10050Under construction
Manchester Metrolink extensions: three lines (Oldham-Rochdale, Ashton under Lyne, Manchester airport)(14)513(15)256Construction to start in early 2002
Docklands Light Railway: extension to London City airport98(16)30Construction could start in 2002 and be complete by the end of 2004, subject to the outcome of an application for Transport and Works Act 1992 (TWA) powers
Midland Metro extensions: two lines (Birmingham city centre, Wednesbury-Brierley Hill)165(17)--Provisional view announced that scheme passes economic appraisal. Construction could start before 2005 subject to outcome of an application for TWA powers
Leeds Supertram (three lines)434(17)--Economic appraisal under consideration; announcement to be made as soon as possible. Construction could start before 2005
South Hampshire Rapid Transit System190(17)--Economic appraisal under consideration; announcement to be made as soon as possible. Construction could start before 2005 subject to the outcome of an application for TWA powers
Bristol Light Rapid Transport194(17)--Economic appraisal under consideration; announcement of provisional view to be made as soon as possible. TWA powers not sought yet. Construction could start before 2005 subject to the outcome of an application for TWA powers

(10) Capital cost figures are in some cases estimates

(11) Government support figures are for capital expenditure

(12) PFI

(13) Government provide resource expenditure to support payments made under PFI deals

(14) Total construction costs of the Metrolink extensions

(15) Government support may also include resource expenditure if a performance and availability payment regime is adopted

(16) Support for the DLR extension is being drawn from the Capital Modernisation Fund

(17) No decision yet


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