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21 Oct 2002 : Column 25W—continued

Rural Buses

Mr. Breed: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much of the (a) Rural Bus Subsidy Grant and (b) Rural Bus Challenge was spent in (i) 2001–02 and (ii) 2002–03 to date, broken down by county. [75186]

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Mr. Jamieson: The table below shows all payments made to County Councils, Unitary Authorities and Passenger Transport Authorities under the Rural Bus Subsidy Grant (RBSG) and Rural Bus Challenge (RBC) schemes during 2001–02 and 2002–03 to date. Total allocations to authorities for RBSG in 2001–02 were #41.5 million and for 2002–03 are #47.5 million. The payments shown for RBC schemes relate to projects that were approved in different years since the RBC competitions started in 1998. Further payments will be made under both RBSG and RBC schemes during the remainder of 2002–03.

2001–02 payments2002–03 payments
Shire CountiesRBC payments in 2001–02 Total RBSG Grant Paid in 2001–02 RBC payments in 2002–03 RBSG Payments in 2002–03
East Sussex466,888714,092150,000326,934
North Yorkshire509,0001,750,000701,522806,913
West Sussex223,773739,7520338,682
Passenger Transport Authorities
Greater Manchester0130,160077,357
South Yorkshire318,500432,5811005617198,049
Tyne and Wear630,050104,768047,966
West Midlands0110,837050,745
West Yorkshire208,928709,6280324,890
Bath & NE Somerset40,000178,731150,00081,829
Blackburn with Darwen033,000022,815
Bracknell Forest051,125023,407
East Riding166,863682,342592,271312,397
Isle of Wight0203,377093,112
Milton Keynes101,96591,265124,74141,798
NE Lincolnshire054,463024,935
North Lincolnshire114,313328,74457,157150,509
North Somerset0150,000077,669
Redcar & Cleveland20,00072,142033,029
South Gloucestershire80,000244,4220111,904
Telford and The Wrekin184,00097,107742,89544,459
West Berkshire0297,01567,806135,983
Windsor & Maidenhead064,592029,572

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Mayor of London

Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will set out the matters discussed and the conclusions reached at his meeting with the Mayor of London on 26 September. [76125]

Mr. Jamieson: A range of transport issues was discussed.

Congestion Charges

Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the future impact of congestion charges in London on his Department's PSA targets relating to congestion in London; and if he will make a statement. [76123]

Mr. Jamieson: I refer the hon. Member to my Answers of 24 July 2002, Official Report, column 1257W.

Cars (Taxes and Licences)

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what action he is taking to reduce the number of (a) unlicenced and (b) untaxed cars on UK roads. [75552]

Mr. Jamieson: The Government takes the problem of the use of unlicensed and untaxed vehicles on the United Kingdom's road seriously and is pursuing a wide range of initiatives to deal with the problem. We are currently developing proposals for the reform and modernisation of vehicle registration and licensing, to reduce evasion and to bear down on vehicle crime. In response to the recommendations of a report commissioned by my Department from the Jill Dando Institute of Crime Science—a copy of which was placed in the Library in June 2002—we have established a Modernising Vehicle Registration Implementation Board (MVRIB), including representatives of motorists' organisations, the motor trade, the police and the insurance industry to advise on and develop those proposals.

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The 2002 Finance Act contained provisions under which the responsibility for licensing and taxing vehicles will be placed on the registered keeper, who will remain liable for doing so until such time that the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) has properly been notified of a change of keeper. These proposals will mean that it is not necessary for a vehicle to be detected on the road for effective enforcement action to take place. The implementation of these new powers is at the heart of MVRIB's agenda.

Detection of unlicensed vehicles on the public road is currently carried out by police and traffic wardens, who pass offence reports to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) for enforcement action. Last year 800,000 offenders were brought to book, bringing in #110m in fines, penalties and relicensing revenue. Since 1997 a nationwide scheme has been operating to wheelclamp and impound untaxed vehicles seen on the public road. Over 100,000 vehicles have been clamped since the scheme started. The scheme has been a success and we are looking to increase the level of wheelclamping across the country. A pilot scheme has proved the feasibility of local authorities using DVLA's powers to wheelclamp and impound untaxed vehicles. Following a succesful pilot in the London Borough of Newham, this is being rolled out to local authorities that wish to join the scheme. In addition, mobile digital camera technology has been introduced to detect untaxed moving vehicles.

DVLA is also working closely with other enforcement agencies in schemes to target both unlicensed and abandoned vehicles, in particular through Operation Cubit, a joint operation between DVLA, the police, fire service and local authorities which removes offending vehicles from the road immediately, and has been run in a number of locations including Kent, Hastings, Brighton, Liverpool, Belfast and Cleveland.

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Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on the funding of water treatment projects in and around Kabul. [75219]

Clare Short: There are three main organisations working in various areas of Kabul's water system, KFW (German Development Bank), CARE International and the International Committee of the Red Cross. Projects currently being worked on or considered include linking the Loghar Valley Water Supply Scheme to South East Kabul to serve an additional 40 per cent. of its population; a new reservoir for North Kabul; a geological survey to identify deeper aquifers; and a proposal to feed Kabul from the Pansher valley, a project that would include substantial water treatment facilities. Some 5,000 water supply household connections have been repaired and piped water supply has almost doubled in the city since June 2002.

Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many (a) deaths and (b) injuries it is estimated have been caused by unexploded bomblets following the use of cluster bombs in Afghanistan. [75224]

Clare Short: UNMAS is currently collating information from the International Committee of the Red Cross on mine and unexploded ordnance casualties throughout Afghanistan as well as additional reports from mine action organisations.

Unfortunately the information gathered is not comprehensive due to the lack of a complete surveillance system. Consequently accurate national level estimates of casualties from specific types of ordnance are not available. However, an upcoming landmine impact survey will provide additional data, and the introduction of the Information Management System for Mine Action, which includes this information as an element of incident reporting, will enhance the capacity for such analysis.

Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on progress being made in the safe disposal of the unexploded bomblets remaining following the use of cluster bombs in Afghanistan. [75225]

Clare Short: A total number of 234 BLU Strike areas have been reported to UNMAS by the US forces to date. So far 108 of these areas have been cleared by organisations working as part of the Mine Action Programme for Afghanistan, and the capacity for clearance of CBU has been greatly increased over the last 12 months to increase the rate of completion. At current rates of clearance UNMAS estimate that all known areas will have been cleared in 2003.

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