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Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (1) what recent guidance his Department has issued on consultation on (a) supplementary planning guidance and (b) the change of use of allotments; [30218]

Mr. Byers: In March 1998, my Department issued guidance to local authorities to ensure that the availability of statutory allotments are actively promoted before applications for consent to their disposal are submitted. We have since consulted on draft Planning Policy Guidance note: (PPG) 17, which sets out revised criteria against which applications for consent to dispose of statutory allotments are to be determined. We will shortly be issuing the revised guidance to the Government offices and local authorities.

My Department, in conjunction with the Local Government Association, published: "Growing in the community: A good practice guide for the management of allotments" in June 2001. This guide provides comprehensive advice and good practice for local authorities on all aspects of allotment management. My Department has also recently published "Allotments: a plot holders guide", which provides advice to current and potential allotment plot holders.

Bus Ticketing

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what plans he has to improve the inter-changeability of bus tickets on routes served by different bus companies. [30220]

Mr. Byers: We wish to encourage joint ticketing schemes between bus operators, aimed at making life easier for bus users.

25 Jan 2002 : Column 1107W

Last year my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, on the advice of the Director General of Fair Trading, made an Order to exempt multi-operator ticketing schemes from having to be notified individually to the Office of Fair Trading. Any such scheme that meets the terms of the Order is therefore automatically exempted.

I am, however, aware of the concern expressed both by bus operators and local authorities about the terms of the ticketing schemes block exemption. It would be highly undesirable if operators felt compelled to abandon existing worthwhile initiatives, or were deterred from developing new ones. My right hon. Friend the Minister for Transport has written to the Director General of Fair Trading, emphasising the importance that we place upon

25 Jan 2002 : Column 1108W

the continuation of sensible, multi-operator ticketing schemes that have proved popular with the travelling public.

Rural Bus Challenge

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions when he will announce the results of the 2001 Rural Bus Challenge Competition. [31138]

Ms Keeble: I am pleased to announce today approval of the 58 projects listed which were submitted as bids by local authorities in this competition. This follows careful consideration of the 107 bids totalling more than three times the funding available submitted by authorities. Funding for the successful bids will total £20.5 million.

2001 Rural Bus Challenge Competition—awards

Authority/bid reference/nameFunding awarded
Taxi Plus151,000
West Huntingdonshire Rural Links339,839
Chester-Whitchurch Corridor—a rural Bus Quality Partnership718,000
Services for Young People in Vale Royal67,500
Rural Recovery—Blazing Trails160,000
Integrated Bissoe Valley Services469,000
Cumbria Connexion Enhancement250,000
Windermere Shuttle Bus292,300
Provision of Quality Passenger Infrastructure118,887
Clay Cross Accessible Transport Initiative (CATI)291,625
Devon Fare Cars471,000
Life in the Bus Lane—North Devon (Buses are Cool)373,000
County Durham RESPONSE941,300
East Riding
East Sussex
Travel Choice in the South Downs363,000
Harwich Connection Community Bus Co-operative293,500
Essex Taxi-Bus Carrier20,500
Greater Manchester
Expansion of Existing Rural Transport Co-operative in Partington and Cadishead188,000
Expansion of Existing Demand Responsive Taxi Service in Summersheat, Tottington and Ramsbottom45,000
Enhanced Daytime Bus Service135,000
Rural Taxibus Project396,000
Improving Access to Health Facilities190,000
Rural Community Transport and Accessible Vehicles386,700
Roundabout Transport112,900
Rural demand responsive transport in Shepway168,000
Bowland Transit634,375
InterConnect—Responding to Rural Demands771,500
Milton Keynes
Demand Responsive and Evening Service199,603
Transport, Health and Well Being—Making the Links471,000
North Yorkshire
Friarage Hospital, Northallerton—Bus Turning Area and Waiting Facility114,700
Kirky overflow and Sicklinghall Area Minibus, Dunkeswick Lane End Interchange276,000
Ingleton and Settle Area Taxibus and Stationlink170,000
North Selby Taxibus246,000
Four in One372,173
Kettering Area Transport Demonstration Project423,380
"The Villager" Corby Rural Bus Scheme111,860
East Northamptonshire Connecting People Project247,277
Wellibus Villager—Enhanced Service143,200
Hadrian's Wall Bus128,845
Demand Responsive Bus Service266,350
Community Transport in Mendip 'Special Rural Component'89,000
South Somerset Links, Langport and Chard197,000
The Rural Surrounds of Wiveliscombe 100,000
South Gloucestershire
Continuation of Existing Vale-Link Dial-a-Ride Services578,827
South Yorkshire
Stocksbridge and Penistone Rural Link1,013,689
Stone-Uttoxeter Rural Shopperbus222,000
3 into 1 Will Go490,676
Shotley Peninsula256,497
Waverley Transport Solutions150,000
Telford and Wrekin
Cross Boundary—Rural to Town Link742,895
Southam Flexibus433,195
West Berkshire
Widespread Introduction of Call-A-Bus493,950
West Sussex
DoRiS Plus442,000
West Yorkshire
Otley Area Transport Scheme802,800
Expansion of Demand Responsive Bus Network854,000
Windsor and Maidenhead
Borough Bus435,000
Twyford Community Bus470,000
EasyLINK flexi340,000
Total awards20,454,843

25 Jan 2002 : Column 1111W

Refrigerator Disposal Costs

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what arrangements he has made with regard to the allocation of the adjustment to the Environmental, Protective and Cultural Services block, announced in the provisional local government finance settlement, to cover the cost of implementing refrigerator disposal regulations. [29117]

Mr. Byers: Pursuant to my answer of 22 January 2002, Official Report, column 718W, £6 million has been added to the upper tier sub-block of the Environmental, Protective and Cultural Services Standard Spending Assessment for 2002–03 for the costs of implementing refrigerator disposal regulations for the period 1 January 2002 to 31 March 2002.

Ozone Depleting Substances

Mr. Prisk: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions whether he intends to match the costs in the next financial year to Hertfordshire county council in complying with EC Regulation 2037/2000 on ozone depleting substances. [29360]

Mr. Meacher: I have been asked to reply.

In December we announced a payment of £6 million funding for local authorities to cover their costs until March 2002. We are continuing to assess the impacts of the regulation and will determine what further action is required beyond that.

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