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Written Answers to Questions

Friday 21 June 2002

TRANSPORT

Tram and Light Rail Schemes

Mr. George Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the effect on pollution of (a) buses and (b) light rail schemes. [62812]

Mr. Kilfoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what recent studies his Department has carried out to establish the environmental impact of tram and light rail systems; [62871]

Mr. Spellar: The studies below include some assessment of the environmental impact of tram and light rail systems.

Light Rail and Complementary Measures (Part 1). (Environmental and Transport Planning, 1998).

Light Rail and Complementary Measures (Part 2). (MVA, 2001.)

The Department's framework for the appraisal of individual major local transport schemes includes environment and safety among the five overarching objectives which are considered.

Mr. George Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what evaluation his Department has made of the impact of (a) tram and light rail schemes and (b) bus routes on social exclusion. [62794]

Mr. Spellar: The Social Exclusion Unit's interim report, Making the Connections: transport and social exclusion, looks at the ways in which transport problems can reinforce social exclusion. It concluded that bus services have a particularly important role to play in tackling these. When we consider proposals for major schemes in Local Transport Plans, we take into account their likely impacts on access to the transport system and on different social groups. These can only be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Mr. George Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what representations he has received on tram and light rail schemes from (a) passenger transport authorities, (b) passenger groups, (c) trade manufacturing organisations and (d) trades unions during the last 12 months. [62808]

Mr. Kilfoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) which local authorities have been consulted on tram and light rail proposals over the last five years; [62864]

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Mr. Spellar: No records are kept listing all such representations and contacts. However, in the last three years my officials have met local authorities responsible for the Local Transport Plans covering all six Passenger Transport Authorities and the other plan areas listed below to discuss tram and light rail systems.


Mr. Kilfoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) how often during the last five years the Council of Ministers discussed tram and light rail systems; [62890]

Mr. Spellar: My Department does not keep records of all such discussions. However, light rail systems have been discussed on a number of occasions in the context of the European Commission's proposal of 26 July 2000 for a Regulation concerning public service requirements and the award of public service contracts in passenger transport by rail, road and inland waterway.

Mr. Kilfoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what research his Department has carried out on engineering developments for tram and light rail systems; [62882]

Mr. Spellar: None.

Mr. Kilfoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) who is responsible for the regulation of tram and light rail systems; [62861]

Mr. Spellar: The Health and Safety Executive is responsible for the regulation of tram and light rail systems. Tram drivers must also comply with certain highways legislation, enforced by the police.

Mr. Kilfoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport on how many occasions since 1997 tram and light rail systems have been discussed with other departments as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review. [62884]

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Mr. Spellar: Light rail systems will have been mentioned from time to time during the discussions with colleagues across Government which take place during spending reviews. No records exist of the number of such occasions.

Mr. Kilfoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many qualified tram and light rail drivers there are in the United Kingdom. [62867]

Mr. Spellar: My Department does not hold this information. Figures for the number of drivers and on-vehicle staff employed on each system are below.

Number
Manchester Metrolink133
Sheffield Supertram160
Midland Metro91
Tyne and Wear Metro242
Docklands Light Railway200
Croydon Tramlink90
Blackpool Tramway35

Mr. Kilfoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many civil servants within his Department work on tram and light rail systems' policy. [62866]

Mr. Spellar: Policy on major public transport schemes, including light rail, in Local Transport Plans is handled by a team of three staff. Other colleagues, including specialist economists and lawyers, assist as required.

Mr. Kilfoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many proposals there have been for tram and light rail systems which his Department has rejected; and if he will list them. [62860]

Mr. Spellar: New arrangements were introduced with the inception of Local Transport Plans in 1999. Proposals for new tram and light rail schemes normally need Transport and Works Act powers. If funding from my Department is essential for the project to proceed, promoters should seek a provisional view from my Department on whether the scheme passes the Government's appraisal tests which are used to decide whether a project is eligible for funding before seeking powers. Since the start of these arrangements, two light rail lines (Midland Metro extensions to Birmingham city centre and to Brierley Hill) have received a positive provisional view, a number of others are under consideration, and none have yet been given a negative provisional view.

Mr. Kilfoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list those tram and light rail systems visited by ministers over the last five years in (a) the United Kingdom and (b) overseas. [62870]

Mr. Spellar: All seven tram and light rail systems in the United Kingdom, as listed below, have been visited by Ministers over the last five years. No information is available on visits to systems overseas.


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Mr. Kilfoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many times he has met with (a) the Environment Minister and (b) the Housing Minister to establish the impact of tram and light rail systems on their policy evaluation. [62886]

Mr. Spellar: None. However, the appraisal of tram and light rail systems takes account of five over-arching objectives: environment, safety, economy, accessibility and integration (including the extent of integration with land use and other government policies).

Mr. Kilfoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which manufacturers of components of tram and light rail systems have been consulted in drawing up departmental policy on tram and light rail systems. [62883]

Mr. Spellar: Departmental policy on tram and light rail systems is set out in the 10 Year Plan, published in July 2000. In preparing the Plan we took account of the large number of comments we received from consultees and a wide range of other stakeholders on the Integrated Transport White Paper, published in July 1998.

Mr. Kilfoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what statistics he collates on the number of tram and light rail systems in each state in the European Union. [62889]

Mr. Spellar: None. This information is published annually in Jane's Urban Transport Systems.

Mr. Kilfoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what qualifications are required to drive a (a) tram and (b) light rail train. [62868]

Mr. Spellar: A category 'B' Motor Vehicle driving license (Driving License Regulations, 1987) is the required qualification.


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