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Mr. Randall: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what meetings the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster has had with representatives of the (a) British Wind Energy Association, (b) oil and gas industry, (c) Association of Sea Fisheries Committees and (d) Shellfish Association of Great Britain since October 2001. 
Lord Macdonald has not had any meetings with conservation bodies in his capacity as the Chancellor of the Duchy. However, Duchy surveyors regularly meet representatives from a wide section of conservation and environmental bodies and groups as part of their management of the Duchy estates.
Mr. Randall: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what representations the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster has received with regard to the regulatory impact of the Marine Wildlife Conservation Bill. 
Mr. Jamieson: Work is proceeding to identify a phased programme, co-ordinated with franchise replacement, for implementation of the London Metro concept. A Steering Group, chaired by the Strategic Rail Authority, comprising the key stakeholders, including Transport for London, Railtrack, the Train Operating Companies, local authority and passengers representatives has been meeting regularly to take forward implementation.
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held certificates to (a) work on the track, (b) supervise others working on the track and (c) train people to work on the track in each year since 1990. 
Ms Keeble: This is a matter for the Mayor and Transport for London. However, I understand that the length of the red route network currently in use is some 515km. Further information may be obtained from:
The Assistant Director of Street Management Services:
TfL Street Management
4250 Victoria Street
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how many new council houses have been (a) built since 1997 and (b) brought out of disrepair and are now available. 
|Number of dwellings|
Figures are not held centrally on the number of council dwellings in disrepair in 1997 which have now been brought out of disrepair. However, we are committed to improving the condition of social housing. In July 2000, the Government set targets to ensure that all social housing meets set standards of decency by 2010 and reducing the number of households living in social housing below these standards by a third between 2001 and 2004. Most of this reduction will take place in deprived areas. We currently estimate that we are on track to meet the 2004 target which should mean 550,000 more units of social housing of a decent standard by 2004.
Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions which companies that have been involved in public-private partnerships with his Department have become insolvent since 1997; and if he will make a statement. 
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Ms Keeble [holding answer 26 February 2002]: National policy on rural exception sites is set out in Planning Policy Guidance Note 3: Housing and my Department's circular 06/98: Planning and Affordable Housing. It allows local planning authorities to adopt rural exception policies for the release of sites for small-scale residential development within or adjoining existing villages where planning permission would not otherwise be given. Under the rural exception policy an authority must be satisfied that any application to build housing would meet a local need not being achieved through existing plan policies, and that it could remain as affordable housing to meet local needs in perpetuity.
Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what duty of care is required for members of the boards of registered social landlords when undertaking investment decisions; and what the consequences are of failure to meet this duty. 
Ms Keeble: Members of the boards of registered social landlords (RSLs) have the same fiduciary duty to the RSL as any company director and, if the RSL is a charity, the same duty as any other charity trustee. The consequences of failing to meet their duties will also be the same.
The Housing Corporation, as regulator of RSLs, lays down in its Regulatory Code the fundamental obligations it expects RSLs to meet: that they must be viable, well- governed and well-managed. RSLs' governing bodies are expected to provide leadership and control and, among other things, to protect public investment in the sector. Where an RSL falls short of its obligations, the corporation has statutory powers to take action.
Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions, pursuant to the answer of 13 February 2002, Official Report, column 249W, on reputational externalities, if the concept of reputational externalities was used as an element of the financial analyses of the London Underground PPP final assessment; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Jamieson: Details of the financial analysis behind the value for money appraisal of the bids for the tube modernisation contracts are given in the final assessment report produced by London Underground. This is available on London Underground's website.
Mr. Woodward: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what percentage of residential dwellings are vacant in St. Helens, South including (a) privately rented, (b) owner occupied, (c) council rented or (d) housing association. 
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Ms Keeble: 4.8 per cent. of all residential dwellings in St. Helens, South are vacant. Of this, 1 per cent. is within the council's stock, with the remaining 3.8 per cent. made up of owner occupiers, Registered Social Landlords, and the private rented sector.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will list the equipment leasing arrangements entered into by his Department in each of the last four years; and what the cost is to public funds in each case. 
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