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Greenwich Peninsula Land Sale

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions, pursuant to his answer of 11 July 2001, Official Report, column 527W, under what circumstances British Gas (Lattice Properties plc) would receive 7.5 per cent of the open market value of the land on the Greenwich peninsula. [4410]

Ms Keeble [holding answer 17 July 2001]: This is a matter to be agreed by British Gas (Lattice Properties plc) and English Partnerships, taking account of the Sale and Purchase Agreement between both these parties, dated 7 February 1997.

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions, pursuant to his answer of 11 July 2001, Official Report, column 527W, what previous estimates have been made of the open market value of the British Gas (Lattice Properties plc) interest in land on the Greenwich peninsula; and what its estimated current value is. [4411]

Ms Keeble [holding answer 17 July 2001]: Various (public and private) estimates have been made of the value of the land on the Greenwich peninsula which English Partnerships acquired from British Gas (Lattice Properties plc) in 1997, and consequently of the British Gas interest in such land. However, any valuations are confidential and it would be against the public interest to reveal these figures.

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions, pursuant to his answer of 11 July 2001, Official Report, column 527W, who will be responsible for establishing the open market value of the British Gas (Lattice Properties plc) interest on the Greenwich peninsula. [4412]

Ms Keeble [holding answer 17 July 2001]: This is a matter to be agreed by English Partnerships and British Gas (Lattice Properties plc), in accordance with the Sale and Purchase agreement between both these parties, dated 7 February 1997.

Speed Restrictions (Trains)

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how many speed restrictions were in place on the rail network at the

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end of each month since October 2000 in (a) Great Britain and (b) the area covered by each franchise; and how many are anticipated to be in place at the end of (i) July, (ii) August, (iii) September and (iv) October. [4652]

Mr. Spellar [holding answer 17 July 2001]: Railtrack reports that the number of temporary speed restrictions in place across its network in Great Britain at the end of each month was:

Number
October 2000504
November626
December1,100
January 20011,045
February964
March1,188
April908
May779
June773

These national figures cannot meaningfully be broken down into the areas covered by each franchise because the services of many franchisees overlap. Individual speed restrictions will often affect the trains of several operators all using that line. Railtrack does however ensure close dialogue on outstanding speed restrictions with each operator in order to maintain safety and service reliability.

Railtrack is working with train operators and contractors to return to a sustainable level of speed restrictions across the network as soon as possible, but the precise number of restrictions which will be in place over the coming months cannot be accurately predicted.

At any one time there is always a large number, typically 300 to 500, of speed restrictions in force on the network; these are needed to maintain safe operation in adverse operating conditions and to enable normal maintenance activities to be completed. Allowances are made for such speed restrictions within timetables.

Air Traffic Control

Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how many programme trouble reports there are in the air system controls at the new En Route Centre at Swanwick; and in each case, what the details and severity of the programme trouble reports are. [4616]

Mr. Spellar: There are currently 136 Programme Trouble Reports (PTRs) or "bugs" on the Swanwick systems that are required to be fixed before the unit enters operational service on 27 January 2002. Of these PTRs, fixes for 51 are scheduled for deployment on to the Swanwick software this week. Fixes for the remainder will be delivered in the software build which will be deployed to the operational system in November 2001. Listing the details and severity of each PTR would be extremely time-consuming and could be provided only at disproportionate expense.

Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions in what

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circumstances a programme trouble report can cause an aircraft not to be shown on a controller's screen. [4618]

Mr. Spellar: NATS have informed us that no programme trouble reports logged in the development of the Swanwick systems have caused aircraft not to be shown on a controller's screen.

Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how much extra traffic will be accommodated by the new air traffic control systems at the new En Route Centre at Swanwick in the first year of operation. [4617]

Mr. Spellar: When the Swanwick Centre enters operational service in January next year, the capacity of the unit will be constrained while ATC staff gain confidence and familiarity with the new equipment and procedures. As this confidence and competence improves, capacity will be slowly increased to match the capacity of the equivalent LATCC sectors. NATS anticipate that, by the end of summer 2002, capacity will increase by around 5 per cent.; and by a further 5 per cent. the following year.

Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how many workarounds relating to air system control there are at the new En Route Centre at Swanwick. [4619]

Mr. Spellar: NATS have informed us that the Swanwick systems contain no "workarounds", i.e. sub- optimal solutions to achieve system modifications.

Compulsory Purchase

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (1) what action he has taken to improve the system of compulsory purchase and compensation; and if he will introduce reforming legislation at an early date; [4595]

Ms Keeble: In response to the consultation on the Fundamental Review, to which my hon. Friend refers, we are currently preparing a Policy Statement setting out the Government's proposals for making the system of compulsory purchase and compensation more efficient, more effective and fairer to all parties. This will be published as soon as possible, and will include an assessment of the need for reforming legislation. The Fundamental Review also pointed out that the operation of the compulsory purchase system is suffering from a loss of expertise and experience in acquiring authorities. We have therefore commissioned a Guidance Manual to help authorities make more effective use of the current system. This is due to be published in the autumn.

Empty Homes

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how many empty homes there were in England broken down by region for the most recent year for which statistics are available. [4631]

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Ms Keeble: The available information on empty residential property in England at the beginning of 2000–01 is given in the table:

Total vacant dwellings
North East49,000
Yorkshire and the Humber99,700
East Midlands68,000
Eastern70,200
London(5)105,200
South East87,500
South West64,100
West Midlands79,800
North West(5)138,300
England763,900

(5) Denotes that local authority (LA) vacants exclude any such dwellings situated in another authority district. England totals reflect all LA-owned vacants.

Sources:

DTLR Annual Housing Investment Programme and Housing Corporation annual RS returns


The majority of these vacants are transitional ones between owners or tenants and are vacant only for a short period.

Deep Vein Thrombosis

Mr. John Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions when he expects the study funded by the Civil Aviation Authority into research into deep vein thrombosis and air travel to be completed; and if he will make a statement. [4587]

Mr. Jamieson: The study, which is being funded by the Civil Aviation Authority to look into the link between aircraft seat dimension and passenger size, is being carried out on behalf of the Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA). Publication of the study, which will include a review of recent work on deep vein thrombosis, will follow its approval by the JAA member states. In addition, my Department and the Department of Health, together with the Civil Aviation Authority and the Health and Safety Executive, are supporting a study to look into the research that has been done to date on all aviation health matters. This study will cover a number of health issues associated with air travel—including deep vein thrombosis—and will make suggestions for further research. This report will be published during July.


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