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Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will estimate (a) the number of council tax exempt properties on grounds of occupation by student households in each local authority with council tax setting powers and (b) the sums paid to those local authorities by way of compensation. 
Dr. Whitehead: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given to him on 31 October 2001, Official Report, column 675W. The additional amount of revenue support grant received by authorities to compensate them for properties exempted from the council tax because they consist of student households is equal to the amount of council tax forgone. We estimate therefore that the amount paid is about £90 million for England as a whole.
Mr. Djanogly: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how many times the West Anglian Great Northern railway service between Huntingdon and King's Cross and King's Cross and Huntingdon has been late in each of the past six months, as a percentage of the total number of journeys; and what the reasons were for the delays. 
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Mr. Jamieson: The information is not available in the form requested. The latest performance figures for the West Anglia Great Northern (WAGN) franchise as a whole are indicated in the table. Services are deemed to be late if they arrived at their destination beyond five minutes of timetable.
|1 April 2001 to 29 April 2001||21.1|
|30 April 2001 to 27 May 2001||20.5|
|28 May 2001 to 24 June 2001||20.3|
|25 June 2001 to 22 July 2001||21.6|
|23 July 2001 to 19 August 2001||22.8|
|20 August 2001 to 16 September 2001||20.4|
|17 September 2001 to 14 October 2001||23.1|
WAGN are still subject to 30 Emergency Speed Restrictions. These, coupled with a shortage of drivers, are the principal reasons for disruption. To remedy the driver shortage, WAGN has twice the number of drivers in training for which it currently has vacancies.
Mr. Djanogly: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (1) what revision there has been of the timetable for planned track improvements between Huntingdon and King's Cross since January; 
Mr. Jamieson: Railtrack's 2001 Network Management Statement, published in May, identifies the projects on which the company is working as well as expected completion dates. The Administrator has taken over Railtrack's contractual commitments. For the future, the East Coast Main Line upgrade proposals will feature improvements in this area. Further announcements will be made in due course. Emergency Speed Restrictions still apply across much of West Anglia Great Northern's network, while Railtrack carry out tracks maintenance and renewal of track following the Hatfield derailment last year.
Mr. Jamieson: Both stations are included in the Strategic Rail Authority's Incremental Outputs Statements scheme (IOS), a programme to deliver modern facilities at stations. The specific items to be provided and the timetable will be dependent on the programme's site surveys which are currently on-going. I understand that WAGN are also considering the possibility of extending the car park at St. Neots and for a bus interchange at Huntingdon.
Mr. Djanogly: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how many passengers travelled on the Huntingdon to King's Cross and King's Cross to Huntingdon services in each of the past 36 months. 
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Mr. Jamieson: The information is not available in the form requested. Across all West Anglia Great Northern services an estimated 62.5 million passenger journeys were made in 20002001, 61.2 million in 19992000, and 55.7 million in 19981999. West Anglia Great Northern's Passengers In Excess of Capacity (PIXC) figures for each of the last three years were 2.3 per cent. in 2000, 1.8 per cent. in 1999 and 1.2 per cent. in 1998. Train operators are required to keep PIXC to 3 per cent. or below.
Mrs. Fitzsimons: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions when he will announce his decision on additional neighbourhood renewal fund resources for Oldham. 
Ms Keeble: My officials have already explained to Oldham metropolitan borough council that there are no additional neighbourhood renewal fund allocations this year. We have written to the council offering discussions on how to address particular problems they are facing. Ideally these discussions should be informed by the Oldham Independent Review looking at issues raised by the disturbances in the summer, which is due to report in December.
Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (1) what steps he intends to take to ensure that the guidance in PPG3 is complied with following the inspector's decision in the planning appeal concerning Oughtrington Lane, Lymm; 
(3) if he will make a statement on the implications for urban regeneration in the north-west of the recent decision concerning the planning application at Oughtrington Lane, Lymm; 
(4) what steps he intends to take to protect greenfield sites in north Warrington following the recent appeal decision concerning the planning application for Oughtrington Lane, Lymm; and if he will make a statement. 
Ms Keeble: Warrington borough council has challenged in the High Court the Inspector's decision in the planning appeal concerning Oughtrington Lane, Lymm. As the appeal is now the subject of a High Court challenge it would not be appropriate to comment further on the matter.
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Through Planning Policy Guidance Note 3 "Housing" (PPG3) this Government have introduced a series of tough new measures designed to meet the country's future housing needs in the most sustainable way possible. PPG3 includes a sequential approach which gives priority to re-using brownfield sites in urban areas in preference to developing greenfield sites and we have a national target that, by 2008, 60 per cent. of additional housing should be provided on previously developed land and through conversions of existing buildings.
We expect local authorities to update their development plans to reflect PPG3 and to test all planning applications for housing development against the policies it contains. Local authorities are directed to consult the Secretary of State before giving planning permission for major housing developments on greenfield land allocated in their plans.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what steps are being taken to review the security and safety arrangements in Glasgow airport with regards to the building programme in progress following the events of 11 September. 
Mr. Jamieson: All construction work at an UK airport that has a security element must be registered, managed and approved by my Department prior to commencement. All significant projects are surveyed during construction and on completion to ensure compliance with the UK National Aviation Security Programme.
Geraldine Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what discussions he has had on modifications to the proposed Northern Bypass to include an additional bridge over the River Lune. 
Paddy Tipping: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions in the last year for which figures are available how many planning applications (a) were decided by local authorities, (b) went to appeal and (c) were dealt with at a public inquiry. 
Ms Keeble: In 200001, 420,000 applications for planning permission were decided in England. This resulted in 14,100 appeals against refusal or against conditions imposed in granting a permission, of which 1,400 were subsequently withdrawn. As of today's date 12,200 of the remaining appeals have been decided and 540 (4 per cent.) were decided by public inquiry.
An applicant can also appeal if an authority has not decided the application within eight weeks of its being submitted, or a longer period if agreed by both parties in writing. In 200001, there were 1,600 appeals against non-determination of planning applications, of which
26 Nov 2001 : Column: 628W
560 were withdrawn. Of the remaining appeals, 930 have been decided and 220 (24 per cent.) were decided by public local inquiry.
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