§ Alun Michael
An assessment of the environmental performance of various alternative fuels was carried out by the Cleaner Vehicles Task Force in 2000. A copy of their report is available via the DfT website, at www.dft.gov.uk. Copies are also available through the House of Commons Library. The research showed that road fuel gases can have environmental benefits over conventional fuels, particularly for air quality and noise, although progress with conventional engine and fuel technologies is reducing this advantage.
As announced in Budget 2003, the Government plans to consult key stakeholders on how best to ensure that future support for LPG and other road fuel gases continues to reflect environmental and other policy objectives.
Rural Transport Development Fund Rural Transport Partnership1 Parish Transport Grant Rural Bus Challenge2 Year Number Funding (£m) Number Funding (£m) Number Funding Number Funding (£m) 1998–99 N/A 1.6 N/A 4.2 — — 46 11.2 1999–2000 N/A 1.6 N/A 4.2 — — 58 16.8 2000–01 N/A 1.6 N/A 4.2 — — 51 21.2 2001–02 — — 278 8.0 40 2.0 58 20.5 2002–03 — — 350 12.0 116 5.0 46 20.2 2003–04 — — 3350 312.0 3200 38.0 4 4 2004–05 — — 3350 312.0 3300 37.0 4 4 1Prior to 2001–02 this was called the Rural Transport Partnership Scheme 2The Rural Bus Challenge is an annual competition and the level of funding refers to the total award granted to successful bids. 3Budget and project targets in the Countryside Agency Business Plan. 4DfT will administer a further round of the Challenge fund later this year.
DfT has also funded improved transport services in rural areas through the Rural Bus Subsidy Grant, and the 2003 Budget Statement announced the continuation of this grant to 2005–06. Local transport authorities can also use their own revenue resources and Local Transport Plan capital allocations for rural transport projects. Data on projects supported through these mechanisms is not centrally held.
§ Mr. Anthony Steen
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list the sources of funding available for rural transport schemes. 
§ Alun Michael
Funding for rural transport schemes is available through the Department for Transport's Local Transport Plan process, Rural Bus Subsidy Grant and Rural Bus Challenge scheme, as well as the Countryside Agency's Rural Transport Partnership and Parish Transport Grant schemes. Local transport authorities can also use their own revenue resources for rural transport projects.