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Dr. Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what assessment he has made of the resources available to Birmingham city council to improve its council housing stock. 
Mr. Robert Ainsworth: Capital investment by local authorities is financed by support from central government and from their own resources. The size of their overall programme, the total for housing and the proportion of this spent on the council housing stock are for authorities to decide.
Government support for housing investment by Birmingham for 2001-02 totals £90.2 million, which is two and a half times the allocation for 1997-98. Around half of the 2001-02 allocation is being provided through new Major Repairs Allowance, which provides resources to meet the on-going capital costs of maintaining the council housing stock.
Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if bidding for the East Coast main line franchise has been suspended; and if he will make a statement. 
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Mr. Hill [holding answer 26 February 2001]: On 14 February the Strategic Rail Authority announced a pause in the franchise replacement process for the East Coast main line as a result of the increased cost estimates for upgrading the line that Railtrack has now provided.
My right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister has asked the Chairman of the SRA, Sir Alastair Morton, to advise him urgently of the reasons for the increase in Railtrack's cost estimates and why this information has only become available at this late stage.
Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how much public money was spent on work relating to (a) possible improvements to the A27 Lewes to Polegate and (b) the A27 Polegate bypass between 1 January 1989 and 30 April 1997. 
Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if it is his Department's policy to encourage heavy traffic to use local roads as a diversion from trunk roads. 
Mr. Hill [holding answer 26 February 2001]: Trunk roads are intended as through routes for heavy traffic. It is not the Department's policy to encourage heavy traffic to divert to local roads, although in the event of an incident these can be used as a temporary diversion.
Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how much money has been levied in fines and penalties for late performance on Railtrack and the train operating companies by the Rail Regulator since May 1997; and if he will set out the date and amount of each fine. 
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Mr. Hill [holding answer 26 February 2001]: On 24 November 1999, the Rail Regulator made an enforcement order imposing a penalty of £10.8 million on Railtrack. Railtrack has sought mitigation and is to provide the Regulator with further information to enable him to make a final decision. The imposition of penalties on train operators for late performance is a matter for the Strategic Rail Authority, not the Regulator.
Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if it is the policy of Her Majesty's Government to remove cycle storage lockers from main railway stations; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Hill [holding answer 26 February 2001]: No. The provision of cycle storage facilities at their 14 main railway stations is a matter for Railtrack. I understand that their policy is to provide for such facilities wherever possible. Railtrack is currently carrying out an audit of cycle facilities at all their stations to determine whether greater provision is needed.
Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions for what reason he has decided to de-trunk the A36(T); and how much he estimates this will save his Department in the first three years of de-trunking. 
Mr. Hill [holding answer 26 February 2001]: The A36/A46 route was identified as a non-core route for de-trunking in the White Paper "A New Deal for Transport", which set out the factors taken into account in defining the core trunk road network (paragraph 3.130). Following consultation with regional planning bodies on the proposed core/non-core split a further study of the role of the A36/A46 was carried out. This study concluded that the proportion of core route traffic on the route is low although it recognised that the A46/A36 met to some degree the criteria for core route status. In view of the short journey length of the majority of the traffic and in particular the need for local initiatives to manage the impact of heavy goods vehicles on the route the Secretary of State decided to confirm its status as a non-core route.
De-trunking is not an exercise to save money. We are committed to a fair transfer of resources to local highway authorities taking over de-trunked routes and arrangements for ensuring this have been discussed and agreed with the Local Government Association.
Furthermore, in the light of the major study which we commissioned to look at alternative ways of dealing with the city's transport problems following the cancellation of the A36 Salisbury Bypass in 1997, we announced in the local transport settlement last December £13.7 million to be spent over the next five years on integrated transport measures from the Salisbury Package included in Wiltshire County Council's local transport plan. We also provisionally accepted the proposals for the Brunel Link and Harnham Relief Road, estimated to cost £13 million, which are also part of the Package.
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Mr. Kirkwood: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what proportion of the funds allocated to the Powershift cleaner fuels programme has been spent to date in the 2000-01 financial year, broken down by fuel type of conversion. 
Mr. Hill [holding answer 26 February 2001]: My Department is providing Powershift with a total of £9.9 million this financial year. In the period 1 April 2000 to 16 February 2001 grants totalling £7.2 million towards the cost of purchasing cleaner fuel vehicles had been offered and accepted with £2.1 million so far actually paid. Information on the detailed breakdown by fuel type is being prepared and I will write to the hon. Member.
Sir Nicholas Lyell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many road traffic accidents which have given rise to (a) fatalities and (b) personal injury occurred in each of the past five years for which figures are available; how many of each of the above categories of road traffic accidents occurred in areas subject to (i) a 30 mph speed limit, (ii) a 40 mph speed limit, (iii) a 50 mph speed limit, (iv) subject only to national speed limits for the relevant category of road and (v) on motorways subject only to the 70 mph speed limit; and in how many of each of the above categories of accident excessive speed was a significant cause of the accident. 
|Speed limit (mph)||Fatal accidents||Other injury||All personal injury(10)|
|60 or 70|
(10) Includes fatal accidents
(11) Includes unknown and other speed limits
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