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Nurse Recruitment

Mr. Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many nurses were recruited in each year since 1983; and if he will make a statement. [151529]

Mr. Denham: Information on the total number of nurses recruited into the National Health Service is not collected centrally.

ENVIRONMENT, TRANSPORT AND THE REGIONS

Highways Expenditure

Mr. Cash: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will list the levels of spending on highways per head of population in (a) Staffordshire and (b) each other county of England (i) in the current year and (ii) in each of the last three years. [150017]

Mr. Hill: The tables showing capital and current expenditure figures by Highways Authorities for the current year available have been placed in the Library of the House. Both tables include Staffordshire. The figures are derived from DETR/Government Office for London capital and revenue estimated outturn figures.

Figures for the three previous years were included in my reply to the hon. Member on 10 November 1999, Official Report, column 601W.

Mr. Cash: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will list the levels of spending on highways per head of population in (a) Staffordshire and (b) each other county of England (i) in the current year and (ii) in each of the last three years, distinguishing in each case the element represented by standard spending assessment. [148292]

Mr. Hill: The tables showing capital and current expenditure figures for the current year available have been placed in the Library of the House. Both tables include Staffordshire. The figures are derived from DETR/Government Office for London capital and revenue estimated outturn figures.

Figures for the three previous years were included in my answer of 10 November 1999, Official Report, column 601W.

Standard Spending Assessment

Funding for current expenditure on local authority highways is provided by central Government through the Revenue Support Grant (RSG). RSG covers routine maintenance on all local authority roads, part of the structural maintenance on non-principal roads, and an element for capital replacement of street lighting.

Highways Maintenance Standard Spending Assessment (HMSSA) is the figure used to calculate the highways element of the Revenue Support Grant (RSG). The largest single factor used in the calculation of HMSSA is the

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length and class of roads in each local authority's network. Other factors include average winter weather, levels of traffic volume, and population.

RSG provides the financial basis for local authorities to provide essentially similar levels of service. However, it is for local authorities to prioritise their use of the money available to them, and authorities may use part of the highways maintenance element for other services.

Road Maintenance

Mr. Cotter: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how much money was allocated to local authorities for road maintenance in each of the past five years in (a) North Somerset and (b) England. [150069]

Mr. Hill: The table shows capital allocation figures for highway maintenance, and figures for Highway Maintenance Standard Spending Assessment, for North Somerset and England, for the years in question.

Highway maintenance allocations for North Somerset and England

£ million
Highway maintenance (capital allocation) Highway maintenance SSA
North SomersetEngland (total)North SomersetEngland (total)
1996-970.5911866.4161,759
1997-980.6682006.3161,759
1998-990.5941806.2811,767
1999-20000.6862406.2951,813
2000-010.8953016.5761,858

Mr. Cotter: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what monitoring his Department carries out of local authorities in their provision of best value regarding road maintenance; and if he will make a statement. [150028]

Mr. Hill: We introduced a number of Best Value Indicators in 2000-01 which measure the effectiveness and efficiency of the highway maintenance function, including the condition of principal and non-principal roads, efficiency of street lighting, cost of highway maintenance, duration of temporary traffic controls caused by local authority road works on traffic sensitive roads, and time taken to respond to dangerous defects, in each highway authority.

Local authorities are required to publish details of their performance against these indicators in their annual Best Value Performance Plan (BVPP). They are also required to set realistic targets for all their services. These plans and targets are subject to scrutiny by the District Auditor.

The Government have set specific targets in the 10-Year Plan for Transport for halting the decline in road condition, and have made provision for this in the Local Transport Plan settlement. Best Value Indicators are one method by which the performance of highway authorities will be monitored.

National Air Traffic Services

Ms Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what steps he is taking to ensure that there are sufficient personnel

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available in NATS to maintain necessary service levels while training occurs for the new en route centre at Swanwick. [149849]

Mr. Robert Ainsworth: It is essential that air traffic controllers are trained to a high standard to operate the system at the Swanwick centre.

NATS have told us that the staffing situation with regard to manning of West Drayton while at the same time training for the Swanwick centre is tight but manageable. The training of controllers for the New En Route Centre commenced on 2 January 2001 and will be complete in January 2002. NATS has some 360 air traffic controllers available to meet a budgeted requirement for 300 controllers in the Area Control operation at the London Area and Control Centre at West Drayton and the surplus is participating in the training programme on a rotating basis. By June of this year, the actual number of West Drayton controllers is expected to increase to 374.

A3, Hindhead

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what information he has collated about accident rates on the A3 in the Hindhead area in the past three years. [150302]

Mr. Hill: As part of the recently completed road based study of the A3 at Hindhead, accident data were collected for a three-year period from late 1996 to late 1999. There are clusters of accidents on the single-carriageway sections and at the Hindhead crossroads but they are not markedly different from clusters elsewhere on similar roads. The number of accidents along the A3 between the scheme over the past three years is as follows:

Year/locationFatalSeriousSlight
1996-97
Single-carriageway section1524
Hindhead021
Total1725
1997-98
Single-carriageway section1530
Hindhead004
Total1534
1998-99
Single-carriageway section0322
Hindhead002
Total0324

Diabetes

Mr. Browne: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what representations he has received from Phil Gallie MSP about licence restrictions for people with diabetes. [150815]

Mr. Hill: We have received no representations from Phil Gallie MSP on this issue.

Nuclear Waste

Mr. Cotter: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what his

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estimate is of the length of time that a vessel could maintain traces of radiation having been used to dump nuclear waste at sea. [150797]

Mr. Meacher: Vessels used for sea dump in the North Atlantic were subject to licence under the Dumping at Sea Act 1974. Such licences contained a provision requiring the ships, on completion of sea dump operations, to be monitored and, if necessary, cleaned by a qualified person until free from significant radioactive contamination to ensure the ships could be returned to unrestricted use with other cargoes. The statutory limits of residual non-fixed radioactive contamination and radiation levels applicable at the time remain essentially the same to date, ie non-fixed contamination limits of 4 Bq/cm 2 (10- 4 Ci/cm 2 ) for beta/gamma and low toxicity alpha emitters, 0.4 Bq/cm 2 (10- 5 Ci/cm 2 ) for all other alpha emitters, and a surface radiation limit of 5 Sv/h (0.5 mrem/h).

Sea dump operations ceased in 1982 with the last operation of the MV Gem, which was certified free from significant radioactive contamination on 15 August 1982 by observers from the UK Atomic Energy Authority and the Nuclear Energy Agency of the OECD.


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