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Regional Development Agencies

Mr. Fallon: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussions he has had with Regional Development Agencies regarding clearance by the European Commission of Regional Venture Capital Funds. [155253]

Ms Hewitt: Officials in the Small Business Service wrote to the Regional Development Agencies, and other interested parties, to inform them of the European Commission's call for comments on the UK's Regional Venture Capital Fund programme, and the UK Government's view on the issues raised by the Commission.

National Radiological Protection Board

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment the National Radiological Protection Board has made of the study by Sir Richard Doll on a potential cancer link to overhead power line transmission; if he will make it his policy to (a) apply the precautionary principle and (b) impose (i) a buffer zone around the houses or (ii) a rerouting to avoid houses built under the proposed Lackenby to Shipton power line; and if he will make a statement. [154787]

Mr. Hain: Sir Richard Doll's Advisory Group on Non-Ionising Radiation published its report "Extremely low frequency Electromagnetic Fields and the Risk of

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Cancer" on 6 March 2001. (Documents of the NRPB Vol 12, No 1, 2001). Copies have been placed in the Library of the House. The National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB), an independent body set up under statute and who provide scientific advice to Government issued a response statement which can be found on the NRPB website www.nrpb.org.uk.

The report states that any possible risk of childhood leukaemia relates to those exposed at relatively high levels of domestic exposure but that these are not necessarily associated with proximity to overhead transmission lines. The NRPB consider that the report provides no additional scientific evidence to require a change in the guidelines to limit exposure to extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields.

The Government will consider carefully the recommendations of the NRPB and commission appropriate research with regard to that which is already under way. In the light of the available evidence and the advice from the NRPB it is too soon to state whether particular approaches will be taken.

The advice of the NRPB is welcomed and will be considered in a Government response to a European Union Recommendation on limiting public exposure to electromagnetic fields.

With regard to the proposed Lackenby to Shipton power line, this has been routed away from communities and individual dwellings on grounds of general amenity and was the subject of an environmental assessment and statement at the public inquiries. There are no houses under the proposed line. The existing 275kV line from Lackenby to Norton--30 km long (around the south and west of Middlesbrough) will be dismantled after the construction of the new 400kV line. There are 5,000 homes within 200 metres of the line to be dismantled compared with 250 homes within 200 metres of the new line. There is therefore a considerable net benefit in terms of general amenity.

Company Accounts

Mr. Rendel: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many days leeway are allowed before a fine is imposed for late submission of company accounts after the due date. [154583]

Dr. Howells [holding answer 20 March 2001]: The Companies Act allows no leeway for companies filing their accounts late after the due date.

The scale of late filing penalties, the class of company against which these are levied and the time periods involved are set out in the table.

Scale of penalties
£

Public companiesPrivate companies
Not more than 3 months late500100
More than 3 months but not more than 6 months late1,000250
More than 6 months but not more than 12 months late2,000500
More than 12 months late5,0001,000

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ENVIRONMENT, TRANSPORT AND THE REGIONS

Motorway and Trunk Road Accidents

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many crossover accidents on (a) motorways and (b) trunk roads there have been in each year since 1992-93. [154470]

Mr. Hill: The table shows the number of accidents involving vehicles crossing over the central reservation.

Accidents involving vehicles crossing the central reservation

Year of accidentMotorwaysTrunk roads
199260222
199352177
199466181
199557162
199652152
199776144
199852119
199955129

Note:

Trunk roads in this table include only trunk A roads


Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many fatalities have resulted from crossover accidents on (a) motorways and (b) trunk roads in each year since 1992-93. [154469]

Mr. Hill: The table shows the number of fatalities that were involved in accidents involving vehicles crossing over the central reservation.

Fatalities in accidents involving vehicles crossing the central reservation

Year of accidentMotorwaysTrunk roads
19921132
19931028
19941432
1995919
1996316
19971722
1998821
19991230

Note:

Trunk roads in this table include only trunk A roads


Crash Barriers

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what his policy is for the use of concrete crash barriers; and if he will make a statement. [154471]

Mr. Hill: The criteria for the provision of concrete crash barriers are contained in the Highway Agency's departmental standard TD 19/85 "Safety Fences and Barriers" and Manual of Contract Documents for Highway Works Volume 1, Specification for Highway Works Series 400. Copies are available in the Libraries of the House.

Barriers are procured by competitive tender and unless local circumstances indicate, both steel and concrete barrier types may be used otherwise.

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Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what the costs per kilometre are of (a) installing and (b) the whole life maintenance of (i) corrugated steel crash barriers, (ii) steel wire barriers and (iii) concrete crash barriers. [154473]

Mr. Hill: I have asked the Chief Executive of the Highways Agency, Tim Matthews, to write to the hon. Member.

Letter from John Kerman to Mr. David Amess, dated 23 March 2001:









Travellers

Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions, pursuant to his answer of 7 March 2001, Official Report, column 248W, on travellers, what steps have been taken to recover the cost of measures taken, from those who occupied the site at Willington, Derbyshire; and what representations the Highways Agency has made to his Department concerning the legal framework available to prevent and to reduce the impact of occupations of this kind. [154432]

Mr. Hill: I have asked the Chief Executive of the Highways Agency, Mr. Tim Matthews, to write to my hon. Friend.

Letter from John Kerman to Mr. Mark Todd, dated 23 March 2001:



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