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Following completion of our appraisal of the proposed Leeds Supertram system of three light rail lines, we are satisfied that the project passes the test for Government funding to be made available and that it should be taken forward as a single scheme. We have also agreed a funding package with the promoters which includes a local contribution towards scheme costs.
Orders have been made under the Transport and Works Act 1992 giving powers for the scheme. However, these cannot come into force until a special parliamentary procedure has been completed, because the orders authorise the compulsory purchase of open space, for which no land is to be given in exchange. Funding approval is given on the assumption that this process is completed satisfactorily.
Following completion of our appraisal of the South Hampshire Rapid Transit project, we are satisfied that the project passes the tests for Government funding to be made available. Subject to the scheme receiving Transport and Works Act (TWA) powers and no material change to the scheme as submitted, we intend to provide funding and have agreed a package with the promoters which would include a local contribution towards scheme costs.
This decision is given solely in respect of the economic appraisal of the scheme as submitted to us and the associated funding arrangements. It does not in any way indicate any view that I may take on the TWA application that is currently being considered on its own merits, having regard to the Inspector's report of the inquiry.
In accordance with the policy set out in my Department's Guidance on Local Transport Plans, Bristol City Council and South Gloucestershire Council sought a provisional view on the economic appraisal for the Bristol and South Gloucester Rapid Transit scheme, prior to seeking the necessary powers under the Transport and Works Act (TWA). I am aware that the authorities are continuing to work on some aspects of the proposed scheme. However, I am satisfied that, on the basis of the available information, were the current proposals and their
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appraisal to be confirmed by the authorities following that further work they would pass our economic appraisal tests for deciding eligibility for funding.
This provisional view is given solely in respect of the economic appraisal, and does not in any way indicate any view that I may take on any subsequent TWA application. Any such application would be determined entirely on its merits in the light of all the relevant considerations, and only after all interested persons had been given a full opportunity to state their views.
Should TWA powers be obtained, final approval of the project for funding would depend both on whether an updated economic appraisal, reflecting any changes to the scheme as a result of the TWA process or any other developments, demonstrates that the project still represents good value for money and on conclusions of a satisfactory agreement on funding.
Mr. Fallon: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will set out the business experience of each member of the South East England Development Agency. 
Ms Armstrong: Short biographies of each of the board members of the South East England Development Agency have been placed in the Libraries of the House. These are also available on DETR's website at www.detr.gov.uk and SEEDA's website at: www.seeda.co.uk.
Dr. Godman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when he expects to receive a copy of the report of the Health and Safety Executive's study of employees' health at the National Semi-Conductor plant in Greenock; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Meacher: This study is being taken forward by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) as a matter of priority. Work to trace members of the work force is nearing completion. HSE will then link this to information on deaths and cancer registrations to determine which workers have suffered cancer. The final report is currently expected to be published in late summer 2001.
Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what plans he has to speed up the action taken against businesses which operate without planning permission. 
Mr. Raynsford: Local planning authorities have a wide range of discretionary enforcement powers to enable them to deal swiftly and effectively with unauthorised development that is harming amenity in the neighbourhood. Last August we announced improvements to enforcement appeal procedures which will increase their speed and efficiency. We are now preparing the necessary statutory instruments and guidance to implement the changes.
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has to allow people who protest against a planning decision to appeal against favourable decisions by local councils. 
Mr. Raynsford: Local people already have the opportunity to make their views known on development proposals before local planning authorities determine planning applications. There is also the right to challenge the grant of planning permission by a local planning authority by seeking judicial review. We have no current plans to introduce a third party right of appeal against authorities' decisions to grant planning permission.
Mr. Robert Ainsworth: Key targets have been agreed for the Agency. They are included in the Agency's Business Plan, which includes management objectives, performance indicators and key tasks. Copies of the Business Plan will be placed in the Library in due course.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he has decided to agree to the National Trust's proposals for a bridge across the A21 Lamberhurst Bypass at Scotney. 
Mr. Hill: I am pleased to say that following discussion with the Trust over the last few months. I have asked the Highways Agency to develop proposals to maintain the existing access to Scotney Castle and remove the severance caused by the bypass. Further development work will now be undertaken leading to the publication of those proposals in the summer.
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