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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Lord Whitty): The full reasons for the decision by my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions not to approve Merseytravel's proposed guided trolleybus scheme are set out in his decision letter of 12 May, a copy of which I am sending to my noble friend. I am also placing a copy in the Library of the House.
The Government are not opposed in principle to the reintroduction of the trolleybus in urban areas. Indeed, as the letter explains, we generally welcome the development of emission-free public transport vehicles in city centres. However, each proposal must be considered on its merits. In the Merseytravel case, the Inspector who conducted the public inquiry into the proposals expressed concerns, amongst others, about whether the need for the scheme had been adequately demonstrated, whether the route through the pedestrianised city centre and the site of the proposed park and ride site were appropriate, and the possible effects of the scheme on existing bus services and jobs in the industry.
On 30 March, a consultation paper on the review of the structural funds was issued, seeking views from interested parties on the designation of eligible UK areas under Objective 2. The final date for comments was 25 May. All areas will be considered for inclusion equally on the basis of need and against objective criteria, even if no specific representations are made.
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