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Rail Safety

Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what plans he has to consult the railway industry on the proposed EU Directive on Railway Safety; which Departments are involved in discussions with the Commission; and how many British representatives are on the working party to consider railway safety. [158824]

Mr. Hill: We will consult widely on the proposed EU Directive on railway safety regulation once it is published by the Commission. We currently expect publication to be at the end of this year, as part of a broader package of proposed measures taking forward completion of the single market in the railway sector. My Department will co-ordinate the UK Government's input to any discussions convened on this Directive, with support from all relevant bodies.

A180

Shona McIsaac: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement on replacing the concrete road surface on the A180 with low noise surfacing. [159355]

Mr. Hill: My hon. Friend's question relates to an operational matter on the A180 Trunk Road. I have accordingly asked the Chief Executive of the Highways Agency, Mr. Tim Matthews, to write to my hon. Friend.

2 May 2001 : Column: 635W

Letter from Tim Matthews to Shona McIsaac, dated 2 May 2001:





A12

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what was the accident rate on the A12 Brentwood--Ipswich in the last 12 months; and what was the average accident rate on motorways carrying a similar volume of traffic in the same period. [159008]

Mr. Hill [holding answer 26 April 2001]: The table shows the number of injury accidents per month on the A12 between its junctions with the M25 and the A14 in 1999, for the last 12 months for which National Statistics are available. Monthly traffic flow data are not readily available for this stretch of road and therefore it is not possible to present accident rates for comparison with other roads.

MonthNumber
January20
February8
March22
April15
May21
June17
July12
August19
September22
October20
November22
December28

Airport Provision

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what his policy is towards the predict and provide approach to airport provision in the south-east of England. [159250]

Mr. Robert Ainsworth: Our policy is one of sustainable development, applying the principles set out in the New Deal for Transport White Paper (Cm 3950) to airports in all parts of the United Kingdom. We are currently studying a wide range of options for the future development of airports in the south-east of England. When we announced this study, we said that it would assess the economic, environmental and social impacts of the options, and that we would balance all these before

2 May 2001 : Column: 636W

coming to a view about whether additional capacity should be provided, either at a particular site or at all. This remains our position.

Commercial Property Market

Mr. Cotter: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) what plans he has to address the issues of choice, flexibility and provision of information in the commercial property market; [159934]

Ms Beverley Hughes: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave my hon. Friend the Member for Reading, East (Jane Griffiths) on 23 April 2001, Official Report, columns 5-6W.

Crash Barriers

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions, pursuant to his answer of 23 March 2001, Official Report, column 391W, if he will identify the type of crash barrier in use at the time for each of the fatalities that were involved in accidents involving vehicles crossing over the central reservation on (a) motorways and (b) trunk roads in each year since 1992-93. [160114]

Mr. Hill: The information requested is not held centrally.

Animal Welfare

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement on the independent research to find alternatives to animal products used in traditional medicine, with special reference to bile from Asiatic black bears. [160073]

Mr. Robert Ainsworth: My Department has commissioned research from Dr. Henry Lee, Head of Chinese Medicine Development at Middlesex University, to identify plant substitutes for four key animal species used in traditional medicine--Asiatic black bears, tigers, and white and black rhinos. The research, which is expected to report in early 2004, will identify the active chemical components of these animals, determine equivalent chemical substances from plant sources, and develop an appropriate strategy for introducing and encouraging the use of those plant alternatives. The total cost of this research is £135,472, towards which my Department is contributing £67,500. The remainder is being met by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).

Local Government Finance

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what the average Band D council tax was in the north-west for each of the years from 1997 to date. [160078]

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Ms Beverley Hughes: Average Band D council tax levels in the north-west between 1997-98 and 2001-02 are given in the table:

£

Average council tax for a Band D dwelling in the north-west
1997-98798
1998-99856
1999-2000901
2000-01943
2001-02991

Malewick Lane Waste Transfer Station

Mr. Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he intends to publish the inspector's report on the Malewick Lane Waste Transfer Station, Sompting, West Sussex, planning application before 7 June. [160106]

Ms Beverley Hughes: The Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions will publish the Inspector's report when he determines the planning application for a waste management centre at Halewick Lane, Sompting, West Sussex. This decision will be issued as soon as possible.

Incinerators

Mr. St.Aubyn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) when his Department intends to require incinerator plant permit holders (a) under the IPC regime and (b) under the IPPC regime to adopt the environmental standards being proposed by the EU; [160111]

Mr. Hill: The UK Government are committed to transposing the EU Waste Incineration Directive (WID) and the provisions therein, into UK law by 28 December 2002.

The new WID will apply to all new incinerators within its scope by 28 December 2002, and to existing plant by 28 December 2005. Incinerators are currently regulated under the Integrated Pollution Control or Local Authority Pollution Control systems.

This directive updates the two Municipal Waste Incineration Directives of 1989. The Environment Agency is of the opinion that all new Municipal Solid Waste Incinerator (MSWI) projects can already meet the requirements of the new Directive without excessive cost and therefore will apply these standards as a "minimum" requirement. The Agency intends to review the performance of existing plant before the Directive applies.

In addition, the Agency has already been setting limits for oxides of nitrogen and for dioxins for MSWIs. Most existing MSWIs already achieve dioxin release

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concentrations of 0.1 ng/m 3 and collectively the sector has shown almost a 30 fold fall with a share of UK emissions down from over 50 per cent. to under 5 per cent. since 1995.

In transposing the WID into UK law the Government will consider whether further guidance for planning authorities and the Environment Agency is necessary. Planning guidance on incineration is contained within PPG 10 "Planning and Waste Management", which as with all planning guidance documents is periodically reviewed.


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