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Multi-modal Transport Studies

Lord Berkeley asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Lord Whitty): Government Offices, in partnership with regional planning bodies, are in the process of establishing the arrangements for participation in each of the multi-modal studies which will begin this year, including steering group membership. A list of the members of each steering group and their affiliations will be announced later this summer.

Vacant Council Housing

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Whitty: My reply on 29 March to the noble Baroness gave a figure of 81,700 vacant council (that is, local authority-owned) homes in England at 1 April 1998. The reply by the Minister of State for Local Government and Housing on 28 June to Mr. John Redwood quoted a figure of 95,300 vacant public sector properties at the same date; this figure is consistent with the earlier Answer but, by definition, includes a further 13,600 vacant dwellings owned by various government departments and other public sector agencies.

Humber Bridge Traffic Flows

Earl Attlee asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Whitty: The Humber Bridge Board have provided the following figures that do not separately

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distinguish cars from light vans or public service vehicles from heavy goods vehicles of 2 axles:

1994-951995-961996-971997-981998-99
Cars and Light Vans under 3.5 tonnes5,081,5835,138,2845,252,4385,312,9325,106,773
Cars and Light Vans with Trailers, Minibuses and Light Goods186,959191,620190,670194,184179,980
Heavy Goods Vehicles with 2 axles and Large Buses143,305153,100160,839165,713152,642

Humber Bridge: Tolls

Earl Attlee asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What changes in tolls for the Humber Bridge have been approved over the last five years.[HL3442]

Lord Whitty: In August 1997, following a public inquiry, the first toll increases at the Humber Bridge since 1989 were approved to restore the real value of the tolls set in 1981. The tolls charged prior to the implementation of this decision in September 1997 and those charged since are as follows:

Category of VehicleToll (£) to 7/9/97Toll (£) from 8/9/97Toll (£) from 1/4/98Toll (£) from 12/10/98
Motor cycle0.700.800.901.00
Car1.601.902.102.30
Goods Vehicle under 3.5 tonnes
Goods Vehicle over 3.5 but under 7.5 tonnes2.903.303.704.10
Car with trailer
Motor Caravan
Small bus (up to 16 passengers excl. driver)
Goods Vehicle over 7.5 tonnes, 2 axles6.507.508.409.20
Large bus (17 or more passengers excl. driver)
Goods Vehicle over 7.5 tonnes, 3 axles8.7010.0011.2012.30
Goods Vehicle over 7.5 tonnes, 4 or more axles10.9012.5014.0015.40

Single Currency: Economic Tests

Lord Barnett asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Which, if any, of the five economic tests for joining the European single currency, as set out by the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 27 October 1997, have now been met.[HL3286]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: On the basis of the five economic tests, set out by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in October 1997, the Government have said that making a decision during this Parliament to join the single currency is not realistic.

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Finance Bill and Human Rights Convention

Viscount Hanworth asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the compatibility of the Finance Bill with the European Convention on Human Rights.[HL3580]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: In accordance with the requirements of the Human Rights Act 1998, the Government are currently considering the compatibility of the Finance Bill with the Convention rights and will make the necessary statement in due course.

Hyde Park Concerts

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What arrangements the Royal Parks Agency has set up for monitoring (a) the noise levels, (b) the damage to the fabric of parks and (c) the effects on traffic and car-parking, both within parks and within neighbouring streets, of the commercial concerts and the related closing of roads that they have authorised in Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens; and whether Ministers have approved these arrangements.[HL3341]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Responsibility for the subject of this question has been delegated to the Royal Parks Agency under its Chief Executive, Mr. David Welch. I have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter to Lord Kennet from the Head of Policy of the Royal Parks Agency, Ms Viviane Robertson, dated 8 July 1999.

In the absence of the Chief Executive, David Welch, I have been asked by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport to reply to your parliamentary Question about the arrangements for monitoring noise, damage to fabric of the park and traffic resulting from concerts in Hyde Park and the closure of roads.

Noise levels at concerts are measured by the local authority's environmental health department before and during all performances to ensure that they do not exceed the statutory limit.

Approval to hold any event in the Royal Parks is subject to the organiser meeting strict conditions designed to protect the fabric of the park. All event organisers are required to deposit a sum as a bond against any damage that may be caused as a result of an event. The amount depends on the scale of the event, but is a substantial sum. A joint inspection is carried out of the condition of the park before the contractor comes in to build the event site and again once the contractor has dismantled it. A schedule is agreed with the event organiser of any damage, and the cost of reinstating it is retained from the deposit.

All the roads within Hyde Park are closed for safety reasons on the day of major concerts like the Prince's Trust concert because of the number of people in the park. The only longer term closure is of North Carriage Drive, which is closed between 22 June and 5 August. The effects of this closure on roads outside the park are

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monitored by the Royal Parks police, in liaison with the Metropolitan Police. To date, traffic has continued to move freely on Bayswater Road. We would of course re-open North Carriage Drive if the Metropolitan Police were to request us to because an emergency was seriously affecting traffic on Bayswater Road.

We decided to close the road from the date the contractor started on site following a risk assessment that the police carried out on North Carriage Drive last year. If we find, when we have seen the organisers' construction and servicing schedules for the sites, that we can open the road for some days between the late July series of concerts, we will of course do so.

I am afraid that we have no way of determining what effect these concerts might have on parking outside the park, but we always insist that event promoters encourage those attending events to come by public transport.

As these are operational matters for which the Royal Parks Agency are responsible, the Minister's specific approval is not required. At the end of the scheme we will be reviewing the impact of the concerts in the parks and submitting a report to Ministers.

Pembroke Lodge, Richmond Park

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What are the terms of the lease between the Crown Services Agency and the tenant of Pembroke Lodge in Richmond Park governing the maintenance and use of Pembroke Lodge; and[HL3404]

    What are the safeguards to ensure that traffic through Richmond Park is regulated so as to protect the wildlife in the Park and its character as an area of special scientific interest; and[HL3405]

    What restrictions are imposed on public access to Pembroke Lodge, Richmond Park, by reason of the leasing arrangement with a private individual; and[HL3406]

    What are the safeguards to protect wildlife in Richmond Park against the effects of night traffic attending private functions at Pembroke Lodge.[HL3407]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Responsibility for the subject of these questions has been delegated to the Royal Parks Agency under its Chief Executive, Mr. David Welch. I have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter to Lord Kennet from the Head of Policy of the Royal Parks Agency, Ms Viviane Robertson, dated 8 July 1999.

In the absence of the Chief Executive, David Welch, I have been asked by the Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport to reply to your parliamentary Questions about the Royal Parks Agency's arrangements for Pembroke Lodge and about traffic in Richmond Park. These are operational matters which are the responsibility of the Royal Parks Agency.

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The tenant of Pembroke Lodge is required to submit a planning application to refurbish and repair Pembroke Lodge. Following detailed negotiations with English Heritage and Richmond planners, planning and listed building consent was granted on 12 November 1998. Demolition has already commenced and building work in connection with this consent will commence shortly.

The lease, which runs until 31 March 2026, requires the tenant to put and keep the premises in good and substantial repair and condition and permits the premises to be used for restaurant, conference, functions, exhibition, seminar, craft workshop or residential purposes.

The agency is looking at all aspects of traffic in the park and drawing up a strategy to deal with it based on the results of a survey carried out last summer into the origin and destination of traffic using Richmond Park. We will consult interested parties before making any

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final decisions, and any measures we introduce will need to meet the requirements of all park users.

Pembroke Lodge is open to the public every day of the week, except Christmas Day. As a temporary measure until completion of the works, the tenant is permitted to close the building early on certain days for functions, provided he makes alternative catering arrangements within the gardens. The garden of Pembroke Lodge remains open to the public while work is in progress on the building.

There are strict safeguards to restrict access to Pembroke Lodge in Richmond Park after dark. To prevent unauthorised evening access, barriers have been erected at both Richmond Gate and at Pembroke Lodge, the design of which has been approved by the park manager. These are manned by staff employed by the tenant and only customers who appear on a guest list are allowed into the park to attend pre-booked functions at Pembroke Lodge after the park has closed.



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