|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. Pike: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what research has been undertaken on the new criteria for postal voting; what steps have been taken to promote it; what the level of use of postal votes issued was; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Whitehead: The Electoral Commission intends to publish by the end of July its review of the general election, including the operation of postal voting. Statistical information, including information about the numbers of postal votes issued will be in the Commission's further report expected at the end of the year. When the general election was announced an extensive Home Office publicity campaign was launched on TV, radio, in the press and through leaflets.
Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions on what date the Traffic Area Network computer system will be implemented in the whole of the United Kingdom. 
Mr. Spellar: The Traffic Area Network (TAN) has embarked on a major change programme, called TAN 21, designed to modernise the way the organisation carries out its business. The programme includes complete renewal of all computer systems throughout the network. The ICT infrastructurethe hardware, the links between the offices and the new e-mail systemswas installed last year and is already operating nationally. The first phase of the new business system, which handles the processing of operator licences, is currently being piloted in the Scottish traffic area. Subject to satisfactory performance of the pilot, this phase of the system will be rolled out to the rest of the country shortly. We are aiming to complete implementation of all the new systems, which include new e-commerce services for the industry, computerisation of the compliance and local bus route registration systems and a new finance system, across the whole of Great Britain by the end of the year.
16 Jul 2001 : Column: 12W
John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what powers local authorities have to co-ordinate the excavation of roads within their areas by statutory undertakers and private companies; and what steps he is taking to review these powers. 
Ms Keeble: Section 59 of the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991 places an obligation on local highway authorities to co-ordinate the execution of utility street works and other works in their streets. This is intended to ensure safety, to minimise inconvenience to road users and to protect the structure of the street and any apparatus located in it. While we have no plans to review this requirement, we are looking at ways in which the co-ordination of works by authorities can be made easier and more effective.
(3) in which cities he intends to introduce (a) new trams and (b) guided bus systems over the next 10 years indicating in each case (i) when work is expected to commence and (ii) when the system is expected to open. 
Ms Keeble: It is for local authorities to put forward proposals for light rail or guided bus schemes as part of their Local Transport Plan, or the Mayor's Transport Strategy in the case of London. Where Government funding is sought, we require a thorough appraisal of the scheme. Since 1997, five new light rail lines have opened: two extensions to the Manchester Metrolink, the Midland Metro line to Wolverhampton, the Croydon Tramlink and the Docklands Light Railway extension to Lewisham. No new guided bus schemes have been opened within this period. The charts set out those light rail and guided bus schemes that have been approved or given provisional approval with construction and approximate opening dates.
|Tyne and Wear Metro Extension to Sunderland||Newcastle to Sunderland||1 line||Construction began February 2000opens 2002|
|Nottingham Express Transit||Nottingham||1 line||Construction began June 2000opens 2003|
|Manchester Metrolink Extensions||Manchester||3 lines||Construction to start early 2002planned to open in 2006|
|South Hampshire Rapid Transit||Fareham to Portsmouth||1 line||Construction to start late 200304planned to open in 2006.|
|Leeds Supertram||Leeds||3 lines||Construction to start 2002planned to open in 2006.|
|Docklands Light Railway to City Airport||London||1 line||Construction to start early 2002 subject to outcome of Transport and Works Act (TWA) applicationaim to open during 200405.|
|Bristol and South Gloucestershire Light Rapid Transit||Bristol||1 line||Provisional construction start 2004 subject to successful economic appraisal and any subsequent TWA applicationprovisional completion date 2006.|
|Midland Metro Extensions||Birmingham||2 lines||Construction to start 2003completion in 2006.|
16 Jul 2001 : Column: 13W
|A63/A64 York Road and Selby Road||Leeds||Under way||September 2001|
|A641 Manchester Road||Bradford||Under way||Autumn 2001|
|Crawley Fastway||Crawley to Gatwick||Preliminary works commenced. Major works start February 2002||Completion of all three phases by 2005|
|Chester/Deeside Transport System||Chester||Seeking TWA Powers.||Dependent on TWA application|
|Leigh||Manchester||Seeking TWA powers||Dependent on TWA application|
We are also aware of proposals for new light rail lines in Merseyside, Hull, Bath, East Lancashire and Blackpool and for further extensions to the Manchester Metrolink, the South Yorkshire Supertram, the Midland Metro, Nottingham Express Transit and the Tyne and Wear Metro. There are proposals for guided bus schemes between Luton and Dunstable, in Northampton and in Cambridge.
For London, the Mayor's Transport Strategy includes proposals for four tram or bus transit schemesEast London Transit, Greenwich Waterfront Transit, Uxbridge Road Transit and Cross River Transit. The Mayor and Transport for London will consult on each of these proposals to decide which, if any, should be taken forward, with a view to completing planning, determining funding and financing and starting the construction of any preferred scheme or schemes by 2004.
As part of the next Spending Review, which is due to be completed in the summer of 2002, provision for this scheme for 200304 will be confirmed, and provision agreed for 200405 and 200506. Provision for the remaining years of the 10-year Transport Plan (200607 to 201011) will be considered in the forthcoming review of the plan and in future Government Spending Reviews.
Mr. Syms: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what estimate he has made of the extent to which bus passenger journeys outside London will change in the next 10 years. 
Ms Keeble: Our assumption in the 10-year Transport Plan is that the measures, taken as a whole, would make achievable our target of a 10 per cent. increase in bus use nationally over 10 years. No separate estimates were made of the position outside London.
Mr. Syms: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what progress has been made towards extending the rural bus subsidy grant to cover more journeys serving market towns. 
16 Jul 2001 : Column: 14W
Ms Keeble: The White Paper "Our Countryside: The Future" last November announced our intention to extend the eligibility criteria for Rural Bus Subsidy Grant to allow for the support of services operating in and around towns of up to 25,000 (compared with 10,000 previously). We have already implemented that change to the rules from 1 April this year. We have also increased the funding available this year to £41.5 million, with further increases planned for the next two years. It is for the local authority to decide which particular services to support using these additional resources and we have given them some flexibility to fund existing as well as new services.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|