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Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if it is his policy to close rural or under-used passenger rail services or lines to create additional capacity on major routes. 
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The Prime Minister, the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions and the Home Secretary have all written to their French counterparts to ask that all necessary measures be put in place as soon as possible, to enable full rail freight services to resume.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions when he last discussed with the French Government the SNCF restriction of channel tunnel rail freight services; and when he expects the restrictions to be removed. 
Mr. Spellar: I discussed this issue with Monsieur Gayssot, the French Transport Minister, during the last Transport Council meeting in December. Since then, the Secretary of State has written personally to M. Gayssot and there have been a number of other contacts between our Governments.
The removal of the restrictions is dependent on the implementation of additional security measures at the Calais Fréthun yard so that SNCF can deal effectively with potential illegal immigrants. Work on strengthened fencing is now under way and, we are told, due to be completed by mid-February. The Prime Minister has written to M. Jospin asking him to do all he can to ensure the necessary physical security measures and police presence are put in place as soon as possible, to enable the resumption of a full rail freight service through the tunnel.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how many people in (a) the UK and (b) Buckinghamshire left the work force following injury or illness caused at work, in each year since 1997. 
Dr. Whitehead: The regular statistical sources do not provide a basis for reliable estimates of the data requested. However, the HSE publication "The costs to Britain of workplace accidents and ill health in 199596" (the most recent such data available) estimates that in Great Britain approximately 27,000 people 1 were forced to give up work in 1995 as a result of injury or illness caused by work.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what steps were taken by the Government (a) prior to 1 May 1997, (b) between 1 May 1997 and 24 February 1999 and (c) since 25 February 1999 to ensure adequate numbers of trained train drivers within the railway industry; and if he will make a statement. 
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Mr. Jamieson: When franchises were originally let in 1996 the purpose of the Government at the time was to give train operators full discretion and responsibility for providing resources, including drivers, to meet their obligations. In November 1998 the Government held a meeting with Railtrack and the train operating companies to discuss the poor performance of the industry and to agree a plan to deliver solutions. Part of that plan included the recruitment and training of 800 new drivers. The SRA is currently encouraging train operators to recruit sufficient drivers to meet their service obligations. In some cases the extension or replacement of franchise agreements will enable the SRA to contractualise measures to ensure adequate numbers.
Mr. Jamieson: All parts of the London underground infrastructure have been allocated to one of the three infrastructure companies that were established as subsidiaries of London Underground in April 2000. Under the PPP, the infrastructure companies will transfer to the private sector. They will continue to be responsible for maintaining and modernising the infrastructure in accordance with detailed contractual obligations. These obligations include a requirement to maintain disused underground tunnels in a safe and secure condition, and in a manner which prevents deterioration.
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Dr. Iddon: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what estimate he has made of the percentage of drivers of company vehicles who have had an accident in the last three years. 
However, recent research shows that fleet car drivers have a higher probability of involvement in accidents than other drivers. This confirms the results of other research studies. It has also been estimated that between a quarter and a third of road accidents involved someone who was working at the time.
Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how many local council employees were required to work on Sundays in each year between 1990 and 2000. 
Ms Keeble [holding answer 29 January 2002]: The Government will introduce legislation giving local authorities the power to deal with complaints about high hedges as soon as there is space in the parliamentary timetable. We supported the Private Member's Bill on this issue introduced by the hon. Member for Solihull (Mr. Taylor) in the last session of Parliament and were disappointed that the Bill failed to complete all its stages before the election.
Guidelines commissioned by my Department, which provide an objective method for assessing whether high hedges block out too much light to adjoining properties, were published on our website in December. These guidelines are likely to be a factor for local authorities to take into account when determining complaints under a future statutory scheme. In the meantime, we want to encourage people to apply the guidelines and use the results to settle disputes with their neighbours amicably. We are preparing a leaflet specifically designed for this purpose, which we expect to launch in the spring.
Mr. David Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what estimate he has made of the level of slot demand as a proportion of supply at Gatwick airport for summer 2002; and if he will make a statement on actual supply and demand for slots in (a) 2001, (b) 2000, (c) 1999, (d) 1998 and (e) 1997. 
Mr. Jamieson [holding answer 29 January 2002]: For summer 2001, the demand for slots at Gatwick was 206,419 and 174,484 slots were allocated. For summer 2002, the demand for slots rose to 231,211 with 177,657 slots being allocated. However, the increase in demand
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was due to a number of opportunistic bids for slots following the events of 11 September. I will write to my hon. Friend in due course to make a statement on supply and demand for slots in 19972001.
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