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Bus Lanes

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

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Government are taking to ensure that only buses travel in the bus lane at peak times; and if he will make a statement. [158404]

Mr. Hill: It is for the local highway authority to decide, in the context of its local transport objectives, whether other classes of vehicles, such as cycles and taxis, should be permitted to use bus lanes. The highway authority would normally liaise with the local police on the enforcement of the traffic regulations so that only permitted vehicles use the lanes, but where authorities had taken on the powers now available to them to enforce parking restriction, they would be able to target parking offences in bus lanes more effectively.

Following successful trials in London, enforcement systems using bus-mounted and CCTV cameras are being introduced along bus routes in London. This includes local authorities carrying out enforcement using camera evidence.

My Department will be consulting later this year on regulations to allow local authorities outside London to take up powers in section 144 of the Transport Act 2000 to enforce bus lanes using camera evidence. These new powers would be available to authorities which have parking enforcement powers. We would hope to see a wider use of such approaches leading to better compliance with bus lanes restrictions, keeping them clearer for buses to use.

School Transport

Mr. Hurst: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what assessment his Department has made of the US-style yellow bus as a home-to-school transport service in those counties where it has been piloted; and what implications the scheme has for home-to-school transport throughout the rest of the United Kingdom. [158769]

Mr. Hill: The Government are keen to promote bus travel as an alternative to using the private car. We have reached an agreement with First Group plc which enables them to offer suitably modified US-style buses for use in pilot schemes. We shall be evaluating the results of these schemes in due course.

Sites of Special Scientific Interest

Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions, pursuant to his answer of 4 April 2001, Official Report, column 182W, regarding sites of special scientific interest, if he will list the locations of SSSIs in Shrewsbury and Atcham; and if he will make a statement. [158763]

Mr. Robert Ainsworth: The table shows the name of all 27 sites of special scientific interest (SSSIs) wholly or partly within the Shrewsbury and Atcham area. It also gives the date the site was notified, its area and grid reference.

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SSSIs within Shrewsbury and Atcham borough council area

SiteNotification dateArea (HA)Grid reference
Attingham Park22 March 2000190.75SJ550096
Berrington Pool25 January 19844.8SJ524072
Bomere, Shomere and Betton Pools26 October 198359.8SJ502080
Buildwas River Section5 February 19861.29SJ640045
Buildwas Sand Quarry22 December 19920.14SJ644041
Bullhill Brook21 July 19980.31SJ555015
Chermes Dingle17 July 19865.46SJ614064
Comley Quarry26 July 19851.92SO484963
Coundmoor Brook20 August 19853.99SJ558037
Earl's Hill and Habberley Valley26 July 198562.62SJ410048
Granham's Moor Quarry28 November 19852.64SJ389036
Hencott Pool4 March 198511.8SJ490160
Hope Valley30 March 19874.85SJ348013
Hughley Brook13 November 198510.42SO585996
Huglith Mine15 March 19934.2SJ404016
Lin Can Moss16 February 19841.88SJ375210
Long Mynd23 March 19902,719.29SO421924
Minsterley Meadows28 November 20008.14SJ379048
Old River Bed, Shrewsbury18 February 198514.99SJ496147
River Severn at Montford14 December 199427.02SJ422144
Sheinton Brook5 February 19862.51SJ607037
Shrawardine Pool12 July 198317.89SJ398161
The Wrekin and The Ercall17 December 1986287.05SJ630084
Tick Wood and Benthall Edge22 August 1985144.74SJ650029
Trewern Brook28 November 19855.1SJ305121
Wenlock Edge17 December 1986135.24SO596986
Whitwell Coppice13 November 198515.35SJ619021

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Foot and Mouth

Mr. Anthony D. Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will provide financial assistance to local authorities under the Bellwin scheme in respect of costs incurred following recent outbreaks of foot and mouth disease. [158891]

Ms Beverley Hughes: Councils and other authorities around the country should be commended for the way they have responded to the outbreak of foot and mouth disease. While they have a responsibility to budget for the unexpected, the costs that some authorities have incurred because of this outbreak may be exceptional. The Government are keen to ensure that authorities are reimbursed for any extraordinary emergency expenditure so other key services such as education and social services do not suffer.

That is why I am announcing today an extension of the Bellwin scheme to provide emergency financial assistance to local authorities to help them meet some of the costs of responding to outbreaks of foot and mouth disease.

I am satisfied that financial assistance under the Bellwin scheme is justified to help those councils affected by foot and mouth disease. Under section 155 of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989, grant will be paid against valid claims to cover 85 per cent. of the eligible costs above a threshold. These are costs incurred in connection with the taking of immediate action to safeguard life and property or to prevent severe inconvenience following an emergency connected with foot and mouth disease.

My officials are in correspondence with local authorities about the details of the Bellwin scheme. Information will shortly be posted on the Bellwin website which can be found at www.local.detr.gov.uk/finance/ bellwin/bell0001.htm.

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CULTURE, MEDIA AND SPORT

EU Youth Orchestra

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will make a statement on his policy towards funding of the European Union youth orchestra; and how much support was given from public funds in the current financial year. [158755]

Mr. Alan Howarth: The European Union youth orchestra offers young musicians from across the European Union the opportunity to work together to extend their musical experience, and to perform with leading world conductors and soloists. The specialist training and preparation for concerts provides invaluable training and experience for young musicians and can help in the pursuit of a professional career.

The European Union youth orchestra is primarily supported financially by the European Union. Additional contributions come from the 15 member states of the European Union, of which the UK's contribution was £30,000 from the British Council for the financial year ending 30 September 2000. Funding is also received from corporate and private sponsors.

TRADE AND INDUSTRY

Cheltenham Gold Cup

Mr. Nigel Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps he is taking to assist businesses and individuals who have been financially disadvantaged by the cancellation of the Cheltenham Gold Cup Festival. [158346]

Mr. Caborn: The Government recognise that businesses in areas affected by foot and mouth disease (FMD) are under considerable financial pressure, while

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visitor numbers are down and high-profile events such as the Cheltenham Gold Cup are cancelled or postponed.

The Government are constantly monitoring the financial impact of FMD in the country, and have already announced a range of measures to assist businesses through any immediate financial difficulties, including a £120 million extension to the Small Firms Loans Guarantee Scheme (SFLGS).

In addition to these measures, the South-West Regional Development Agency (SW RDA) and Objective 2 partnership have identified over £4 million to assist with the immediate needs of the region and invest in recovery programmes to rebuild businesses and communities over the longer term.

Genetically Modified Fish

Mr. Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will list the projects funded by his Department and its research councils in the past 10 years on scientific research into genetically modified or transgenic fish in the United Kingdom and abroad, by research project title indicating the purpose of the research, the project timespan, its total cost and recipient research centres including projects recently begun. [157754]

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Mr. Alan Johnson: Project details are listed as follows. All experiments using fish must satisfy the regulations of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986. Those involving genetic modification are subject to the regulations governing releases to the environment. Marketing of genetically modified fish would also require further approvals, principally as a novel food.

In 1991-92, the then Agriculture and Food Research Council (AFRC) funded three grants to work on transgenic fish. These were on carp, salmon, trout and goldfish (a form of carp). These grants finished in 1995. One was to determine how to undertake transgenesis in fish because techniques for other species did not work well, one was to manipulate the onset of sexual maturity and the third to change the rate of growth of the fish.

In addition, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and Medical Research Council are supporting a good deal of research using the fish genome as a model. However, this research is aimed at understanding genetic function more generally at a fundamental level, not at improved varieties of fish.

The research councils are also supporting a range of wider research on fish genetics and aquaculture, but I understand this does not involve genetic modification (GM). I would be happy to provide my hon. Friend with the details if he so wishes.

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Research project titleTimespanCost (£)Institution
Agriculture and Food Research Council
Efficient production of transgenic fish21 October 1991- 21 October 1995112,100University of Southampton
Directing gene expression in transgenic fish13 January 1992- 13 September 199599,500Universities of Southampton and Edinburgh
Grass carp growth hormone gene expression in the early development of goldfish and salmon9 November 1992- 9 December 1995118,200University of Aberdeen
NERC
The genetic impact of escaped farmed Atlantic salmon on local adaptation and fitness of wild populations: performance of second generation hybrid (ie investigating the genetic impact of genetically modified fish on the wild fish)September 2000- February 200236,240Queen's University Belfast

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