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Ports

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what representations he has received on the impact of the proposed European Directive Access to Ports Services on ports; and if he will make a statement. [154707]

Mr. Hill: The European Commission published proposals for a Directive on access to port services on 14 February as part of its Communication on Sea Ports. We have received representations on this from the Transport and General Workers Union, Hutchison Ports, the UK Major Ports Group and the British Ports Association. There are a number of important issues to be addressed in developing the Government's position on the proposals. We are submitting an Explanatory Memorandum to Parliament, and we will be consulting widely in order to assess the potential impact.

Hazardous Road Freight (Morecambe and Lunesdale)

Miss Geraldine Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will list the (a) hazardous and (b) radioactive material which has been transported through the Morecambe and Lunesdale constituency by road on a regular basis in the last year. [154834]

Mr. Hill: There are no regulatory requirements for transporters to notify movements of dangerous goods by road and therefore my Department does not hold this information.

Information on the movement of radioactive material is not routinely held by this Department. However, I understand from British Nuclear Fuels plc that they have made 17 shipments of new nuclear fuel from their plant at Springfields, Preston, to Heysham Nuclear Power Station, by road, in the last 12 months.

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Concessionary Travel

Mr. Blizzard: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will estimate the cost of a concessionary travel scheme that would allow pensioners to travel for half fare on all buses in the country. [155132]

Mr. Hill: We have already guaranteed that from 1 June all pensioners (and disabled people) will receive at least half fare reductions on local buses, with a free pass. The cost of extending that to allow travel at half fare on buses anywhere in England is provisionally estimated at £25 million a year.

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Departmental Policies (Chichester)

Mr. Martyn Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will set out, with statistical information relating as directly as possible to the Chichester constituency, the effects on Chichester of his Department's policies and actions since 2 May 1997. [155284]

Mr. Robert Ainsworth: The principle funding this Department has provided to Chichester District Council from 1997-98 to date is shown in the table. It includes grants and borrowing approvals for revenue and capital expenditure.

It is not possible to determine how much of this money has been spent on the Chichester constituency. It is for the local authority to decide where within its boundary these resources are applied.

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£ million

Nature of funding1997-981998-991999-20002000-012001-02(8)
Revenue Support Grant2.5772.2722.1491.9692.363
Income from National non domestic Rates3.3043.3393.6444.0894.073
Housing Investment Programme(9)1.1921.1311.2472.9661.362
Housing Revenue Account Subsidy0.720.130(11)0N/A
Capital Receipts Initiative0.3051.0041.12400
Cash Incentive Scheme00.04000
SRB Funding(10) ------0.0351.5
Transport Supplementary Grant4.0880.6740.75500
Transport Annual Capital Guideline4.0880.7140.69301.135
Transport Block Supplementary Credit Approval0.8710.9251.3264.56211.289
Rural Bus Challenge Grant(12)--0.24860.21800.313388--
Rural Bus Subsidy Grant(12)--0.2932520.5793240.5793240.739752

(8) Where known.

(9) Housing Investment Programme--between 1997-98 and 1999-2000 includes Annual Capital Guidelines, Private Sector Renewal Grant and Disabled Facilities Grant. From 2000 onwards, due to the single pot allocations are Annual Capital Guidelines and Disabled Facilities Grant.

(10) SRB funding covers deprived towns in West Sussex. This includes Selsey within Chichester district council area.

(11) Provisional figure.

(12) Grants not available.


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Council Dwellings (Sales)

Mr. Linton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) what the cost to public funds is of the discounted sales of council dwellings under Consent A3.3 in each of the last three years in (a) Wandsworth and (b) the United Kingdom; [155124]

Mr. Robert Ainsworth: The data collected centrally on sales and disposals of council dwellings do not distinguish between them by type of consent.

Railtrack

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what powers (a) the Government and (b) the Rail Regulator have to ensure the compliance of Railtrack with the 21 May deadline; and if he will make a statement. [155331]

Mr. Hill: The Rail Regulator has enforcement powers under the Railways Act 1993. Railtrack has told the Regulator that it would restore normal operation for most train operating companies by 21 May. The Regulator, having judged that Railtrack is currently in breach of its

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obligations under Condition 7 of its network licence, is using his powers under section 55 of the Railways Act 1993 to ensure Railtrack's compliance with that deadline. On 19 March he issued a provisional order under section 55 requiring Railtrack to restore its network to normal capability in most cases by 21 May.

Any failure to comply with the order would expose Railtrack to further action by the Regulator using his powers under the Railways Act, including his powers to impose penalties.

The Secretary of State has no enforcement powers under section 55 in respect of breaches of licence conditions.

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what assurances he has (a) sought and (b) received from Railtrack concerning the time scale for reinstating the railway infrastructure. [155247]

Mr. Hill: My right hon. Friend the Minister for Transport chairs the Rail Recovery Action Group. Since its establishment in December, the Group has been assessing reports from Railtrack at least weekly on its progress in implementing its National Recovery Plan, and has been urging the company to ensure the network is restored to normal condition as soon as possible,

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consistent with high safety standards. Railtrack has reiterated its commitment to delivering recovery in accordance with the timetable specified in the Rail Regulator's provisional enforcement order of 19 March.

Climate Change Levy

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what representations he has received on the impact of the climate change levy on rural enterprises, with particular reference to farms, horticultural producers, sub-post offices and small hotels; and if he will make a statement. [155270]

Mr. Meacher: I have received a wide range of representations about the impact of the climate change levy, including representations about farms, horticulture, post offices and hotels. Farms producing pigs, poultry meat and eggs are eligible to join climate change agreements to obtain an 80 per cent. reduction in the rate of levy in return for commitments to achieve agreed reductions in their energy consumption. Horticulture has been granted a 50 per cent. reduction in the rate of levy for five years and we have allocated up to £5 million over three years (subject to State Aid approval) to provide energy efficiency advice to help them to adjust to the full rate. The horticulture sector has committed itself to a voluntary agreement to reduce energy consumption as part of this arrangement. The hotels sector has already entered into a similar agreement. Small businesses in rural areas will be subject to the levy. However, the smallest businesses, with domestic levels of energy usage, will be exempt. Like other businesses, small rural enterprises will be entitled to free energy efficiency advice from the Government's Energy Efficiency Best Practice Programme and from the Energy Efficiency Advice Centres funded by the Energy Savings Trust.

Motor Vehicle Body Repair Shops

Mr. Stevenson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what regulations apply to motor vehicle body repair shops and the use of volatile organic compounds and other hazardous substances. [155140]

Mr. Meacher: Occupational Health and Safety legislation considered to be the most relevant to the use of volatile organic compounds and other hazardous substances in motor vehicle body repair shops is (i) Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, (ii) Highly Flammable Liquids and Liquefied Petroleum Gases Regulations 1972, (iii) Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 1999, (iv) Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, (v) Personal Protective Equipment at Work Equipment Regulations 1992, and (vi) Electricity at Work Regulations 1989.


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