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Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he has approved the construction of the A380 Kingskerswell bypass; and what funding has been allocated for the construction of the road. 
Gillian Merron: The Department has not received a proposal for this scheme from Devon county council. We are currently considering the advice from the South West region on the priority it attaches to major transport schemes in the South West, including the Kingskerswell Bypass, within the indicative Regional Funding Allocation (RFA) for the region. We hope to announce our response to the regions advice before the parliamentary summer recess. Any schemes identified for funding from the RFAs will be subject to the Departments approval processes.
The absence of confirmed cases of tri-ortho-cresyl phosphate (TOCP) poisoning from cabin air and the very low levels of TOCP that would be found even in the highly unlikely worst case of contamination from oil leaking into the air supply lead us to conclude that the concerns about significant risk to the health of airline passengers and crew are not substantiated.
There is also a scientific inquiry under way into the global evidence and we have commissioned the independent Committee on Toxicity (COT) based at Imperial College (and funded by Government to advise the Food Standards Agency and other Government Departments) to review evidence from BALPA (the British Air Line Pilots Association).
The COT secretariat put up on its website on 21 June a draft discussion paper. It will discuss this with BALPA further on 26 June, and then there will be a full hearing, in public, which will take place on 11 July.
Anne Snelgrove: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will take steps to help local councils and bus companies devise innovative ways of increasing the number of bus journeys, including by providing further Government funding; and if he will make a statement. 
Councils have been able to apply for Kickstart and Rural and Urban Bus Challenge funding to pump-prime bus services that have the potential to increase patronage. DfT awarded £20 million for Kickstart schemes in 2005-06 to fund 43 bus services that could become self-sustaining. Between 1998 and 2003 the Rural and Urban Bus Challenge supported over 400 projects at a cost of £163 million.
In addition, the Government have provided £350 million for 2006-07 and a further £367.5 million for 2007-08 to fund free off-peak local bus travel for people aged 60 and over and disabled people. This will be extended further to national bus travel from April 2008, for which the Treasury has earmarked up to an additional £250 million per year.
Also, all bus operators receive Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG) which provides a rebate of about 80 per cent. of the duty paid by them on the fuel they use, with 100 per cent. rebate for environmentally friendly fuels. The budget for BSOG in England for 2005-06 was £380 million.
The Transport Innovation Fund is a new approach to transport investment which is not geared to particular modes, but will support measures which help to tackle congestion and promote national productivity. Up to £200 million of the fund has been made available specifically to support packages of measures that will address congestion in towns and cities through demand management and public transport improvements, including better bus services.
Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the letter from the Minister of State of 8 February 2006, reference SL/001336/06, in relation to the Dart Harbour and Navigation Authority, when he expects the undertakings made in the letter to be met; and if he will make a statement. 
Gillian Merron: Audits have been conducted at our buildings to ensure that we are complying with our responsibilities under the employment and service provider provisions of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA). Reasonable adjustments have been made at a number of locations (including our main HQ building) and further improvement work is in hand at some sites.
Information on the extent to which each building is complying with the employment and service provider provisions of the DDA is not collected centrally and can be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the operation of the Road Traffic (Driver Licensing and Information Systems) Act 1989; what recent representations he has received about the operation of this Act; and whether he plans to amend this Act. 
|Calendar year||Number of replacements|
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport issues the guidance for flying flags on Government buildings. This includes flying the St. Georges flag on St. Georges day (23 April) and the European flag on Europe day (9 May) on buildings with two or
more flag poles provided they are flown alongside the Union flag with the Union flag in the superior position.
Gillian Merron: The table shows the funding allocated to West Sussex county council in the local transport capital settlements between 1997-98 and 2005-06. Not included in the table is an additional amount of approximately £14.5 million which we have provided to West Sussex county council between 2001 and 2005 for major local public transport schemes.
|West Sussex county council nature of funding|
|(1) For 1997-98, 1998-99 and 1999-2000, no figures are given for the integrated transport block and highways capital maintenance as there were different funding streams operating then. Total figures are shown.|
Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether the Health and Safety Executive investigated the safety implications of the incident on the Victoria Line on the evenings of 29 and 30 May 2006 between Highbury and Finsbury Park; and if he will make a statement. 
Gillian Merron: Her Majestys Railway Inspectorate (HMRI) is the independent health and safety regulator for the railways, covering the safety of the travelling public and employees. HMRI was transferred from the Health and Safety Executive to the Office of Rail Regulation on 1 April 2006.
The incident occurred when a northbound Victoria Line train was held in the tunnel between Highbury and Islington and Finsbury Park stations at around 00.30 am on Tuesday 30 May. This was the penultimate passenger service of the day. The problem required the traction current to be switched off and when repairs were completed normal passenger services had ceased and engineering hours started on the line. Delays then occurred as due to safety procedures the current could not be switched back on to move the train until it was confirmed that no workers were on the line. Eventually passengers were taken off the train and walked back to Highbury and Islington station before 03.00 am.
HMRI and London Underground Ltd. (LUL) have both investigated this incident. LUL have now modified their procedures and decision-making processes, particularly for incidents within one hour of engineering hours. This should ensure that protracted delays in detraining passengers do not occur in the future. HMRI will continue to monitor the effectiveness of these and other procedures which relate to the evacuation of passengers from trains.
Specific funding has already been made available from the Department for Communities and Local Government (formerly ODPM) to support public transport schemes serving the North Northamptonshire area, including Growth Area Funding (GAF) of £4.4 million to improve services and infrastructure on the X4 bus route connecting Corby, Kettering, Oundle and Wellingborough, with wider links to Northampton, Milton Keynes and Peterborough.
GAF funding has also been provided to examine key issues in North Northamptonshire and this has helped identify current movement trends in the area. Northamptonshire county council has commissioned a series of transportation studies to inform the development of a specific Transport Strategy for Growth, which will address issues of modal shift across the wider area.
Northamptonshire's second Local Transport Plan also seeks to encourage modal shift through the implementation of specific strategies and programmes related to bus patronage, walking and cycling, travel planning and accessibility. Developer contributions on public transport infrastructure and service provision are also highlighted as a potential major contributor in this area.
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