|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will list the London borough councils that follow a cabinet system of administration in their local authority area. 
Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many members of rent tribunals covering the Greater London area come from an ethnic community background. 
Mr. Mullin: There are 10 members from ethnic minorities appointed to sit on rent tribunals in the Greater London area. This represents 10 per cent. of the total membership of the London rent assessment panel, from which rent tribunals are drawn.
Mr. Edward Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) if his Department intends to monitor the number of abandoned vehicles on public highways and private property over the forthcoming year and the associated removal costs incurred by local authorities; 
Mr. Mullin: My officials are currently in discussion with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), the Local Government Association (LGA) and the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) to address the growing problem of abandoned vehicles.
The Government have improved registration arrangements to require the seller to notify DVLA of a change of ownership. DVLA is encouraging local authorities to link electronically with them so that vehicle keeper information can be obtained more quickly. DVLA will also shortly issue a circular to all local authorities on the procedures for dealing with abandoned vehicles.
24 Jan 2001 : Column: 607W
Last year the LGA carried out a survey on the scale of the problem, how it was being managed locally and the operating costs involved. A LGA/ACPO working group has been convened, involving Government officials, to produce (i) a good practice guide for local authorities and police forces on the management of abandoned vehicles and (ii) a Memorandum of Understanding between LGA and ACPO. At this stage, we believe a separate Government monitoring exercise on abandoned vehicles would create unnecessary duplication.
Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement about the frequency and reliability of Thameslink services from Mill Hill, Bushey and Hendon. 
Mr. Hill: Most rail services have been subject to delay and cancellations due to adverse weather conditions and the speed restrictions imposed for safety reasons by Railtrack in the aftermath of the tragic accident at Hatfield. Improved services on the cross-London route began to take effect from 8 January and Thameslink is now running a near normal service.
Mr. Gill: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many escalators are installed at London Underground stations; how many are out of action; and what is the average length of time taken to bring unserviceable units back into service. 
Mr. Hill: This is an operational matter for London Underground (LUL) who inform me that the total number of escalators on the network is 403 (plus six at Canary Wharf which are commissioned but not yet in passenger service).
I understand from them that at the 8 January 2001, 26 machines were unavailable for customer service. There are three basic causes for an escalator to be out of service--planned maintenance or replacement, casualty repair and work to rectify any extraordinary safety issues such as top-shaft replacement. Of the 26 out of service, 14 were part of planned maintenance or refurbishment programmes. In most cases where an escalator is out of order there will be a parallel escalator which is in operation to minimise passenger inconvenience and disruption. This generally enables stations to remain open while the works are in progress and at all times safety is the priority.
There is a range of types of escalators, and the mixture of types of work which may be needed on them varies significantly as indicated above. It is therefore difficult to estimate the average length of time taken to bring unserviceable units back into service. This is because the snapshots of various moments in time which reflect different escalators affected, and the different types of work involved, may lead to significantly different estimates.
24 Jan 2001 : Column: 608W
he has made of the effect of cyclists using bus lanes in terms of (a) delay caused to buses, (b) danger to other road users due to buses overtaking cyclists and (c) danger to cyclists. 
Mr. Hill: As part of an ongoing research project, my Department has commissioned a study of the use of bus lanes by cyclists. The emerging results indicate that in bus lanes of less than 3.5m, buses may be delayed by cyclists, but that this is only a significant problem if cycle flows are high. The Department's guidance on bus lanes, Local Transport Note 1-97 "Keeping Buses Moving", is that they should be designed to the recommended width of 4.25m wherever possible. That width allows buses to overtake cyclists safely, and reduces the likelihood of interference from general traffic in the adjacent lane. Pedal cyclists are allowed to use withflow bus lanes because they would be more likely to be involved in an accident if required to ride in the main traffic lane with buses passing on their nearside. Results of attitude surveys of cyclists indicate that cycling in a bus lane was considered to be safer than cycling on a similar road without a bus lane.
Mr. Hill: None. We recommend that cyclists use cycle lanes on the carriageway because of the protection they can offer cyclists from other traffic. However, decisions on whether and when to use cycle lanes are for individual cyclists to take.
Mr. Linton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when he expects rent officers and rent assessment panels to complete the process of (a) revising rents and (b) recovering overpaid rent paid by registered tenants affected by the House of Lords decision on the Maximum Fair Rent Order. 
Mr. Mullin: We expect the Rent Service to complete revision of registrations affected by the judgment which fall to rent officers by the end of February. The rent assessment panels are considering what action committees should take on the small percentage of cases which fall to them in the light of the guidance issued by my Department.
Mr. Norman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will place in the Library details of the numbers of incidents of illegal trespass by travellers reported by local authorities for the last three years (a) in total and (b) for each local authority. 
24 Jan 2001 : Column: 609W
Mr. Steinberg: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what the financial allocation from his Department is to housing associations in the City of Durham for the (a) 2000-01 and (b) 2001-02 financial years. 
Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what discussions he had with representatives of Gloucestershire fire and rescue service before announcing their standard spending assessment; and if he will make a statement. 
Ms Armstrong [holding answer 23 January 2001]: I announced the provisional local government finance settlement for 2001-02 on 27 November last year. Under our proposals, Gloucestershire's fire standard spending assessment increased by £0.166 million or 1.4 per cent. Consultation finished on Tuesday 9 January and I have been considering all responses, including the representations received from Gloucestershire county council, as I take final decisions. The House will have the opportunity to debate our proposals--this is provisionally set for Wednesday 31 January.
24 Jan 2001 : Column: 610W
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|