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Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: During the period 1989-99, the total amount of support received from the European Union for Northern Ireland Railways per head of the population in Northern Ireland was about £56. I understand that a comparable calculation for the railway system in the rest of the United Kingdom is not available.

County Down to Belfast Rapid Transit System Proposal

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: The Government have not made such a decision. However, given the current financial resources available for public transport in Northern Ireland, there are currently no plans to proceed with such a scheme.

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: The E-way proposal for a modern transit route on the Newtownards-Belfast Corridor has never been on a

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public transport implementation programme. Its current status is that of potential solution to present and future transportation difficulties on this corridor.

However, the Draft Regional Strategic Framework and the comments of the panel that conducted its examination in public both stress the importance of a modern integrated sustainable transport system to the future development of Northern Ireland and the quality of life for all its citizens.

The Department for Regional Development is responding to this challenge by preparing a transportation strategy that will identify how to make such a transport system a reality. In preparing this strategy consideration will be given to what such a transportation system would comprise, the establishment of corridor investment priorities and the manner in which projects and initiatives can be funded and implemented.

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What were the detailed costs of the expressway-style rapid transit system from the northern part of

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    County Down to the centre of Belfast upon which the decision was taken not to proceed; how the calculation were made and by whom.[HL1876]

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: We understand from the Northern Ireland Transport Holding Company that the overall capital cost for construction of the E-way scheme would be £15.6 million. Vehicle costs for the intitial fleet were estimated at £8.4 million. Cost data were derived from a variety of sources by W S Atkins Consultants Ltd. The Government have made no decision on this scheme. However, given the current financial resources available for public transport in Northern Ireland, there are currently no plans to proceed.

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What was the response to the public consultation exercise concerning the express-style rapid transit system from the northern part of County Down to the centre of Belfast.[HL1877]

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: We understand from the Northern Ireland Transport Holding Company that the general response was positive.

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