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Mr. Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will list by location the number of sub-regional studies he has authorised; and what the expected timescale is of each of the studies. 
Dr. Whitehead: This question is broad in scope and therefore covers a very large number of pieces of work, across the whole of the range of the Department's responsibilities. Information on these is not collated centrally.
Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what modes of transport are used to transport radioactive materials; and what is provided for in terms of (a) security and (b) safety. 
Mr. Jamieson: Radioactive material is transported by air, sea, rail and road. Such transport is permitted subject to safety regulations which are based upon the standards recommended by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and implemented internationally by the appropriate modal authorities. These standards are reviewed and, when necessary, revised on a regular basis to ensure an acceptable level of control of hazard to persons, property and the environment.
Mr. Jamieson: As stated in the Government's Road Safety Strategy "Tomorrow's RoadsSafer for Everyone", we want to ensure that new drivers have a broader and more extensive experience of driving conditions before they take the practical driving test. We therefore plan to consult soon on options for improving the safety of novice drivers.
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what is his latest estimate of the completion date for the new franchise agreements for (a) Chiltern, (b) South West Trains and (c) South Central. 
Mr. Jamieson: It is not generally helpful to speculate about franchise completion dates as this may constrain the Strategic Rail Authority in negotiations with train operators and thus make it more difficult to achieve best value for public money.
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assessment has been made by his Department of the progress made by the Strategic Rail Authority since April 1999 to (a) protect the interests of users of railway services, (b) contribute to the achievement of sustainable development, (c) promote efficiency and economy on the part of persons providing rail services, (d) promote measures to facilitate journeys involving the use of services of more than one passenger service operator, including through ticketing, (e) impose on the operators of railway services the minimum restrictions which are consistent with the performance of the Authority's functions, and (f) enable persons providing railway services to plan the future of their business with a reasonable degree of assurance; if he will place copies of reports published in the Library; and if he will make a statement; 
(3) what steps his Department (a) has taken and (b) plans to review the performance of the Strategic Rail Authority against the directions and guidance provided by his Department in (i) September 1999 and (ii) July 2001; if he will provide details of the conclusions of the reviews which have taken place; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Jamieson: The Railways Act 1993, as amended by the Transport Act 2000, requires the Strategic Rail Authority to make to the Secretary of State an annual report on its activities and the Secretary of State to lay a copy of every such report before Parliament. The Authority's first overall strategy, due to be published on 14 January 2002, will set out its future plans. A corporate plan for 20023 will also be published in due course.
The Secretary of State may give directions and guidance to the Authority in relation to its strategies and as to the manner in which it is to exercise its functions. A draft was issued for consultation on 29 June 2001. We are currently considering the responses received.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what representations he received between June and December relating to the publication of monthly train punctuality statistics from (a) train operating companies, (b) Railtrack, (c) the Rail Passenger Council, (d) rail passenger committees and (e) others; and if he will make a statement. 
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Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what representations his Department has received from, and what discussions his Department has had with (a) train operating companies, (b) Railtrack, (c) the Rail Passenger Council, (d) rail passenger committees, (e) the Strategic Rail Authority and (f) others on the measure of overcrowding levels of rail passenger services used by the Strategic Rail Authority; and if he will make a statement. 
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how many delays on the rail network there were in the three months (a) before and (b) after the Hatfield crash. 
Mr. Jamieson: The Health and Safety Commission will advise the Government next spring on the recommendations on train protection systems arising from the public inquiry chaired by Lord Cullen and Professor Uff.
Mr. Jamieson: My Department does not hold this information. Following the entry of Railtrack plc into administration, staffing is a matter for the administrator. I understand that turnover remains at its normal level.
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions, pursuant to his answer of 13 December 2001, Official Report, column 1015W, what variations in budget have been recorded in management accounts provided by Railtrack under section 8.1.6.(a). 
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Mr. Jamieson: The European Commission has established the European Rail Research Advisory Council to improve synergy between European Union national and private rail research, to serve better society's needs, to lead to sustainable transport and to strengthen the competitive leadership of the European rail industry. The first meeting of the council was held in Cologne on 26 November 2001. The United Kingdom's designated member is the Technical Director of the Strategic Rail Authority. In addition, Roger Goodall, Professor of Control Systems, Loughborough University has been nominated as one of the two Council members from academia.
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