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Southall Rail Inquiry Recommendations

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions when the Health and Safety Commission will issue its next progress report on its action plan to implement the recommendations of the Southall Rail Accident Inquiry report. [32108]

Mr. Jamieson: The HSC aims to publish by mid-April a report on the industry's progress on the action plan to February 2002. This will cover the two year period proposed by Professor Uff for implementing the report's recommendations.

Integrated Transport Policy

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions, pursuant to his answer of 19 December 2001, Official Report, column 536W, on Transport Direct, what research has been conducted for his Department's reviewing policy on (a) travel information and (b) retailing; and if he will make a statement. [32409]

Mr. Jamieson: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 19 December 2001, Official Report, column 536W.

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London Underground

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how much was spent in each of the last five years by London Underground Ltd. on renewal and improvement of train signals and related equipment; what is the extent of signal renewal necessary over the next five years; what he expects will be undertaken and completed; and if he will make a statement. [33380]

Mr. Jamieson: London Underground advise that the following has been spent on the renewal and improvement of train signals and related equipment in each of the last five years:

Year£ million
1996–9716.7
1997–9814.4
1998–9927.9
1999–200030.1
2000–0125.7

The Tube Modernisation plans are designed to achieve a comprehensive modernisation of the entire underground network. This is necessarily a long-term programme and there is a limit on the amount of work that can be done simultaneously without causing excessive disruption to

7 Feb 2002 : Column 1097W

the service to the public. The overall requirements have therefore been specified by London Underground to renew signalling equipment over time, prioritised to deliver the greatest benefits as quickly as possible. The detailed requirements will be published by London Underground shortly.

Geraint Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will make a statement on the London Underground PPPs. [34640]

Mr. Byers: The Board of London Regional Transport has today announced that it is minded to proceed with its plans for the modernisation of London Underground. It will now consult the Mayor of London and Transport for London as required under the terms of S298 of the Greater London Authority Act 1999. At the request of the Mayor and Transport for London, London Regional Transport has offered to extend the period of consultation until 8 March.

The Board of London Regional Transport has undertaken a thorough evaluation of the bids to assess whether they are likely to provide value for money. It is confident they would do so and that the proposed contracts would provide an appropriate basis for the future management of the London underground infrastructure.

The contracts envisage a long-term partnership between London Underground and three private sector infrastructure companies who will take over responsibility for maintaining and upgrading the network. The private sector will be committed, under contract, to deliver specific improvements and will be incentivised appropriately. If they fail to do so they will be penalised. Persistent inability on the part of infrastructure companies to meet their obligations could lead to their contracts being terminated.

I have taken separate independent advice from Ernst and Young. Ernst and Young have confirmed to me that the process followed by London Underground's evaluation team has been suitably robust and that London Underground's recommendation that the PPP proposals deliver value for money is a subjective one which is supported by its analysis. A copy of Ernst and Young's report has been placed in the Library of the House and is available on my Department's website.

I will of course take full account of Ernst and Young's findings. In particular, I agree with Ernst and Young that the Arbiter, whom I will appoint in accordance with the Greater London Authority Act 1999, should be resourced to be fully effective, and I will ensure that is the case. And I agree with Ernst and Young that the final decision to go ahead should be conditional upon, among other things, the final prices and risk transfer proposals submitted by the bidders not altering materially prior to financial close.

Depending on the outcome of the statutory consultation, the Board of London Regional Transport would be likely to take a final decision on whether or not to proceed with its modernisation plans for the London underground in the middle of March.

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The safety case still has to be accepted by the Health and Safety Executive. The proposals will not proceed unless this acceptance is obtained.

Ordnance Survey

Mr. Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will make a statement on (a) the current and (b) the planned proportions of Ordnance Survey's investment in the Digital National Framework which are based on (i) partnerships with the private sector and (ii) National Interest Mapping Services Agreement funding. [32840]

Ms Keeble: Ordnance Survey's partnership arrangements with the private sector have not contributed to the investment in the Digital National Framework (DNF). Ordnance Survey's plans include working with the private sector in developing the content of the DNF in future.

By the end of 2001–02, funding under the terms of NIMSA will have contributed approximately half of the investment in the DNF. This has enabled complete national coverage with accelerated delivery. No further NIMSA contribution is planned.

National Air Traffic Services

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will publish the advice provided to his Department by the Civil Aviation Authority on the sale of National Air Traffic Services. [33359]

Mr. Jamieson: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given to the hon. Member for Epsom and Ewell (Chris Grayling) on 30 January 2002, Official Report, column 327W.

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what representations he has received from the Airline Group on the funding requirements for the future of air traffic control services. [33357]

Mr. Jamieson: Officials from my Department and the Treasury have been, and continue to be, involved in discussions with the Airline Group and other relevant parties about the financial position of National Air Traffic Services.

Air Traffic

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what his estimate is of the change in air traffic in the UK since 11 September. [33358]

Mr. Jamieson: My Department has not made an estimate and the latest available published monthly traffic data from the Civil Aviation Authority, which is the most comprehensive UK source, is October for airports and September for airlines. However, more recent data are available for some airports and airlines, primarily BAA airports and BA. The most appropriate measure of change is that over the same period in 2000. These show that there has been a recovery in passenger numbers, but not air transport movements, in December 2001.

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Traffic changes in 2001 compared with same period in 2000
Percentage

BAA BA
PassengersAir transport movementsPassengers
April-August1.44.0-2.5
September-6.00.8-11.0
October-12.00.3-14.6
November-10.6-4.0-11.5
December-6.4-4.8-8.5
September-December-8.8-1.8-11.7

The impact has not been uniform across all segments of the market, with transatlantic services experiencing the most severe decline. The low cost carriers have continued to experience passenger growth since 11 September.

City Challenge

Andrew Bennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how many of the dwellings built or improved under the city challenge scheme for 1992 to 1998 are still occupied. [33656]

Ms Keeble: Under the former City Challenge programme, which operated from 1992 to 1998, over 110,000 dwellings were improved or completed in the 31 partnership areas. Information on how many of these dwellings are still occupied is not available centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate expense.


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