Written Answers to Questions
Tuesday 19 June 2007
House of Commons Commission
Departments: Information and Communications Technology
The House of Commons uses a specialist commercial company for the disposal of all Members centrally provided and House of Commons Administration IT equipment.
The company is used by a number of other Government agencies and all personnel with access to parliamentary equipment are security cleared.
Equipment is securely cleaned of all data and data destruction certificates issued once this has been completed. Equipment is then evaluated as to its resale potential; where possible it is sold on to second level users with the original manufacturer’s operating system and no other software. Proceeds from the sale of equipment are returned to Parliament. Equipment with no resale value is disposed of in line with the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive. This involves breaking down the equipment into its base materials for reuse with only completely un-recyclable materials being sent to landfill.
I am well aware of this issue and know that there have been a number of complaints about temperature control in the building. The Serjeant at Arms has directed his staff to investigate and to take the appropriate remedial actions. He will write to the hon. Lady when the issues involved are clear.
Parliamentary Works Services Directorate staff monitor the environmental conditions and systems in Portcullis house using the computerised building management system. As a result they are aware that since Easter the temperature has not been controlled as well as it should have been. An investigation of the cooling system has revealed a number of small faults. The majority of these have now been rectified and work is in hand to address the remainder as quickly as possible.
I understand that no survey of the thermal comfort of workers in Portcullis house has been undertaken. Nor has a workplace temperature risk assessment been carried out.
The Northern Ireland Office received responses from:
the Superintendents Association of Northern Ireland;
the Periodical Publishers Association of Ireland; and
the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission.
I have made arrangements for these to be placed in the Library.
Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency
This has now been placed in the Library.
The percentages for the staff of the Wales Office is as follows:
(a) 49 per cent. of the staff are male
(b) 51 per cent. of the staff are female
(c) 12 per cent. of staff are aged 55 or over
The Wales Office has a small number of staff with disabilities. For privacy reasons the numbers are confidential, in line with guidance issued by the Cabinet Office, which states that Departments are not required to provide figures on the number of disabled staff where it is less than five in the department.
In the last financial year three members of staff have received bonuses, representing 5 per cent. of the workforce. All of the bonuses together came to £862.30 before tax, and the largest single payment was £362.30.
Following are the publications produced by DFID that have been provided directly to the Parliamentary Labour Party Office in the last 12 months. All of these publications are available free of charge (and indeed copies have been requested by representatives of other parties).
Publication Quantity G8 Gleneagles: One year on turning talk into action 500 Eliminating World Poverty White Paper III popular version 840 The World Classroom—Developing Global Partnerships 250
G8 Gleneagles: One year on turning talk into action
Eliminating World Poverty White Paper III popular version
The World Classroom—Developing Global Partnerships
These figures are total figures for orders sent directly to the Parliamentary Labour Party Office through DFID's mailing house contractor in the last 12 months. These may not reflect the total number of publications sent out, as it is not possible to establish the number of publications posted by DFID staff in response to individual requests. DFID has not sent any publications to the Labour Party via its mailing house contractor in the last 12 months, and it is not possible to establish the number of publications posted by DFID staff in response to individual requests.
Any publications produced in the last 12 months that have been priced are classified as Command, or House of Commons, papers. These publications are available to be purchased from The Stationery Office (TSO) under a Government-wide agreement. DFID would have no record of who had purchased these items via this route. DFID does not itself sell these publications.
Departments: Sick Leave
For the years 2001-05 (the latest for which figures are available) the average working days per employee lost to sick leave for DFID are:
Days 2001 6.0 2002 8.0 2003 7.0 2004 4.8 2005 5.7
Departments: Sign Language
DFID does not currently have any video material on its website. An exercise is under way to assess the technical facilities and procedures needed to create and deliver video effectively, and the use of BSL videos will be considered as part of this work. DFID aims to make its website as accessible as possible, and an independent review of the site recently gave it a high rating for accessibility. The internal Intranet does include video material, and DFID has a policy that this material should have a written transcript, subtitles or a BSL interpreter.
Developing Countries: Energy
Improved access to reliable affordable energy supplies and services is essential for the achievement of international development goals. In the energy sector, DFID engages primarily through our international partners and international financial institutions.
DFID has been actively engaged with the EU Energy Initiative for Poverty Eradication and Sustainable Development (EUEI) since it was launched in 2002. We contribute to the Energy Sector Management Assistance Programme, which is managed by the World Bank on behalf of the donors. DFID is also working closely with the World Bank and regional development banks on the new Clean Energy Investment Framework. DFID is also currently developing a new £800 million Environmental Transformation Fund that will finance environmental projects, including clean energy. In 2007 DFID launched a five-year Energy Research Programme that will include the application of renewable energy, building on earlier DFID funded work on renewable energy technologies.
DFID has not provided any bilateral funding to developing countries during the last five years for the development of industry to extract fossil fuels or for the development of local renewable energy sources.
Developing Countries: Fossil Fuels
DFID’s primary involvement with fossil fuel extraction projects in developing countries is an indirect one, as a “shareholder” in multilateral financial institutions, such as the World Bank group and the Regional Development Banks, which invest in projects in this sector.
However, DFID reviews how the effects of fossil fuels extraction are managed as part of a commitment to sustainable development and attainment of the Millennium Development Goals.
DFID has supported non-governmental organisations in the analysis of the impacts of extractive industries, including fossil fuels. For example, work on the Democratic Republic of Congo looked at natural resource governance. DFID also takes note of the many studies about opportunities and effects of extractive industries, including work by Transparency International, the “Publish What You Pay” campaign and the Resource Endowment Study of the International Council on Mining and Metals.
DFID was actively engaged in the Extractive Industries Review and the International Finance Corporation’s review of its environmental and social safeguards policies and procedures. These safeguards are a key tool to ensure the prudent management of the exploitation of natural resources in developing countries. This includes the impact on welfare of people in those developing countries.
DFID has provided support to countries wishing to implement the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). This initiative supports improved governance in resource-rich countries through full publication of company payments and government revenues from oil, gas, and mining. EITI enables non-governmental organisations to participate in the process and work with government and companies to ensure that revenues from extractive industries are fully disclosed.
Developing Countries: Renewable Energy
DFID is committed to increasing access to reliable and affordable energy to reduce poverty and increase economic growth in developing countries. Renewable energy has an increasingly important role to play in helping developing countries make progress towards the Millennium Development Goals.
In terms of future aid allocations, we expect deployment of clean energy investment to happen not through DFID’s bilateral aid allocations, but through a big change in the way the multilateral agencies engage in the energy sector. We are encouraging the World Bank and regional development banks to give renewable energy greater attention.
For example, the World Bank has scaled up its financial support for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. In August 2006, it announced a rise to $680 million in commitments in the year to June 2006, an increase of 48 per cent. compared to the previous year. This figure excludes large hydropower projects and covers solar, wind, geothermal, biomass and small (less than 10 MW) hydropower technologies.
We very much welcome this increased investment by the World Bank on clean energy. We now think that the bank needs to set out a high level of ambition for funds flowing through the Clean Energy Investment Framework over the coming years. At the recent spring meetings of the World Bank the UK called on the bank to set a range of new investment and outcome targets, including a higher target for renewable energy.
As announced in the 2007 Budget Statement, a new £800 million Environmental Transformation Fund will finance environmental projects, including clean energy.
DFID has supported the creation of a new €220 million EU African, Caribbean and Pacific Energy Facility, which will start funding projects this year from the European Development Fund. This facility aims to improve access to energy, especially in rural areas of Africa, and has encouraged viable renewable energy proposals.
Finally, DFID is increasing research funding for the energy sector to reflect the growing interest in clean energy for development. This year DFID launched a new five year, £3.75 million energy research programme on renewable energy and is currently scoping areas for further work.
Overseas Aid: Climate Change
The 2006 DFID White Paper recognises that climate change poses the most serious long-term threat to development and poverty reduction. We are working to implement our White Paper commitments on three main fronts: work for a global agreement, including helping developing countries prepare for international negotiations; assisting developing countries to adopt clean energy technologies; and helping developing countries adapt to the impacts of climate change.
We assess how well these policies are being implemented through our standard organisational systems. For example, the Department’s internal Development Committee regularly assesses how well the Department’s policies are being rolled out.
We are considering the changes that will be necessary to how we deliver programmes as a result of climate change. For example we are planning to have procedures in place by 2008 to identify and manage risks associated with climate variability. We have also committed to mainstreaming climate into DFID development activities in climate sensitive sectors, such as agriculture, water, health infrastructure and energy, by 2008, to help developing countries adopt low carbon energy and adapt.
As part of our support to the Clean Energy Investment Framework, we have called for the World Bank and the other multilateral development banks to set out a set of specific targets to cover investments in areas such as renewables and energy efficiency. For example, last year the World Bank committed $860 million in these areas, but it needs to do more. The banks also need to look at their entire investment portfolios including lending for fossil fuels and help Governments make the right choices about their energy mix to underpin sustainable growth and poverty reduction. We expect this analysis to contribute to a better understanding of how to minimise the impact of development investments on carbon emissions.
Our Evaluation Department is currently considering establishing a baseline of data on climate change related indicators to help us better measure the Department’s contribution to helping developing countries mitigate and adapt to climate change.
Overseas Aid: Fossil Fuels
During the last five years the World Bank (International Development Association (IDA) and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development) provided around $1.2 billion (£609 million) in financing for activities in fossil fuels. Around one-third of this is for policy work and mine closure programmes. Of the remaining two-thirds, around 80 per cent. is for investment in gas projects, including infrastructure investment such as storage and distribution. Loans for fossil fuel extraction from the Asian Development Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development amounted to $350 million (£178 million) and €768 million (£518 million) respectively. The International Monetary Fund, the African Development Bank, the Inter-American Bank and the Caribbean Development Bank did not fund any fossil fuel extraction projects during this period.
In financial years 2001-02 to 2005-06 the UK provided £2.42 billion for the World Bank’s IDA, the African Development Fund (ADF) of the African Development Bank, the Asian Development Fund (AsDF), the Caribbean Development Bank Special Fund, the IMF, Regional Development Bank Capital Subscriptions including the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), and other IFI programmes. Details can be found in DFID’s Annual Report 2007, copies of which are in the Library of the House.
Contributions from the UK and other shareholders are one source of finance drawn upon by the international financial institutions to provide loans and grants to developing countries. The banks also draw on other sources such as repayments and investment earnings. Lending on more commercial terms—to more developed countries—is usually financed from the banks’ own resources. Assistance to poorer countries, on much more concessional terms, is financed by a combination of the banks’ and donor resources. Therefore it is not possible to say what proportion of the UK’s contributions was spent on fossil fuel extraction projects.
Project Al Yamamah
I refer to my previous explanations of the views which were conveyed to the Director of the Serious Fraud Office about the national security implications of the investigation, 14 December 2006, Official Report, column 1120; 7 February 2007, Official Report, columns 875-76.
The number of staff in the Scotland Office is published in the Office's Annual Report for 2007, a copy of which is in the House Library.
Departments: Official Cars
I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given by my hon. Friend, the Minister of State for Transport on 14 June 2007, Official Report, column 1269W.
I refer the hon. Member to the answers given to my right hon. Friend the Member for Leicester, East (Keith Vaz) on 19 December 2006, Official Report, column 1765W and to the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Carmichael) on 13 June 2007, Official Report, column 1048W.
Departments: Renewable Energy
The Scotland Office subscribes to the sustainable development policies adopted by the Ministry of Justice.
The Scotland Office is included in the Ministry of Justice's annual returns on total energy usage across the Ministry's estate.
The Scotland Office subscribes to the sustainable development policies adopted by the Ministry of Justice.
It is for individual Returning Officers to decide on the conduct of the count. All 32 Returning Officers chose to conduct the count electronically and are confident of the accuracy of the result.
Oil: Natural Gas
The fiscal regime for the UK oil and gas sector is a reserved matter. The Government are committed to realising the full potential of our oil and gas reserves. This is why this year's budget confirmed that we would provide stability in the North sea fiscal regime—as requested by the industry—including retaining generous capital allowances and a continuing engagement with the industry to consider a future fiscal regime for the North sea.
Olympic Games: Greater London
The construction of the Olympic park and venues present huge opportunities for Scottish businesses. The flexibility within the UK labour market, that is a benefit of Union, has contributed substantially to the record levels of employment Scotland currently enjoys.
Departments: Sign Language
Although British Sign Language is not used on the Number 10 website, my Office is committed to providing a website that is accessible to the widest possible audience, including those who have hearing impairments. For example, the website provides transcripts and captions for audio and audio-visual material.
Trade and Industry
Carbon Sequestration: Research
DTI supports research and development for carbon capture and storage (CCS) through the Technology Programme. During 2005-06 some £3.5 million was set aside for Carbon Abatement Technologies of which £2.3 million has been allocated to CCS. This funding will continue through 2007 at which stage the new arrangements for the Technology Strategy Board and Energy Technologies Institute will be introduced.
Additionally £35 million has also been allocated for the demonstration of components for CCS technologies. To date some £1.4 million of those funds has been set aside for one project.
Funding is also made available by the Research Councils. The following table outlines their expenditure on CCS research to date:
£ 2000-01 23,000 2001-02 42,000 2002-03 78,000 2003-04 30,000 2004-05 966,000 2005-06 1,072,000
The DTI and the Department for International Development work closely together on issues relating to the Cotonou Agreement, in particular on economic partnership agreements.
Article 37.4 of the Cotonou Agreement states that the parties should carry out a formal comprehensive review in 2006. The UK was active in ensuring that the ACP had full participation in the review. All six EPA regions completed their reviews by April this year and these were endorsed by the EU-ACP Council of Ministers on 25 May 2007.
Central records indicate that the Department has procured no services or products from Remploy in the last 12 months.
The Government’s Chief Scientific Advisor, Sir David King, has not provided specific advice in relation to the collection of household rubbish. Lead responsibility for assuring the quality of scientific evidence within individual Departments lies with the Chief Scientific Advisors appointed by those Departments.
Estate Agents: Complaints
[holding answer 15 June 2007]: None of the complaints received by the Office of Fair Trading in 2006 were referrals from the Ombudsman for Estate Agents.
Estate Agents: Fees and Charges
[holding answer 15 June 2007]: The Department has not carried out, or commissioned on its behalf, any research into average fees charged by estate agents since 2004.
The Office of Fair Trading has a general duty to keep under review the estate agency market including commercial developments relating to the carrying on of estate agency work, and the working and enforcement of the Estate Agents Act 1979.
The Office of Fair Trading is also responsible under UK competition legislation for monitoring markets and investigating allegations of anti-competitive behaviour.
Industrial Diseases: Compensation
[pursuant to the reply, 12 June, Official Report, c. 906W]: The entry on the table under VWF claims: Families who received interim payment in the Stoke-on-Trent Central constituency should read 13 and not 11. The total outstanding (miners) for Stoke-on-Trent North constituency should read 45 and not 47. Families who have received an interim payment in the Stone constituency should read 6 and not 4.
The entry on the table under Carpal Tunnel Syndrome claims: Families who have received an interim payment in the Stroke-on-Trent Central constituency should be 2 and not 4. Families who have received interim payment in the Stone constituency should read 1 and not 3.
Intellectual Property Review
(2) what steps he is taking to ensure that internet service providers and copyright holders are observing protocols to remove and disbar internet users engaged in online copyright theft; and if he will make a statement;
(3) what progress is being made in ensuring that internet service providers accept their responsibility to tackle online copyright theft; and if he will make a statement.
Industry associations representing the interests of internet service providers and copyright holders are actively discussing developments of a voluntary protocol to address misuse of content and copyright theft. Discussions are proceeding well and we would anticipate agreement in autumn to forestall the need for Government intervention.
Minimum Wage: Young People
[holding answer 18 June 2007]: The Low Pay Commission has not been asked to undertake research in this area.
[holding answer 18 June 2007]: The Government have no plans to introduce a minimum wage for those under the age of 16.
Overseas Trade: Russia
[holding answer 18 June 2007]: The statistics are not available. HM Customs and Excise do not record trade with individual Russian provinces (or regional data for any other country).
There were two successful prosecutions made by trading standards departments in 2000, followed by a further one in 2004 and another in 2006.
The tidal energy resource can be split into two categories: tidal current—the extraction of kinetic energy from fast moving tidal currents, and tidal range—the extraction of potential energy release from water at high level relative to low level.
The UK tidal energy programme that ran between 1978 and 1994 estimated the total resource available in the UK, for tidal range energy generation from reasonably exploitable estuaries with a mean tidal range of 3 metres or more, at around 50 tera
watt hours per year (around 15 per cent. of current UK demand). Nearly all of this potential resource is in England and Wales, with 90 per cent. located in eight large estuaries—the Severn, the Dee, the Mersey, Morecambe Bay, Solway Firth, the Humber, the Wash and the Thames. The remaining 10 per cent. is in 30-40 smaller estuaries.
A study undertaken in 20051 estimated the tidal-current resource at approximately 16 tera watt hours per year (around 5 per cent. of current UK demand).
1 Black and Veatch (2005). Tidal Stream—Phase II UK Tidal Stream Energy Resource Assessment. A report to the Carbon Trust's Marine Energy
The Department has also carried out a study called ATLAS2 that looks at the marine resource around the UK, including tidal power. A copy of the study can be found online at
2 ABPmer, The Met Office, Garrard Hassan and Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory (2004). Atlas of UK Marine Renewable Energy Resources:
Technical report. A report to the Department of Trade and Industry.
The Department has not assessed the proportion of UK energy supply that tidal power could be expected to provide in the next decade.
Some unions with political funds do not affiliate to any political party. In the case of those unions that affiliate to a political party, the affiliation arrangements are matters for the unions and political parties to decide in accordance with their rules and constitutions. The Certification Officer therefore has no specific powers to monitor the number of members that trade unions affiliate to political parties.
Unfair Commercial Practices Directive
(2) when he plans to introduce regulations to implement the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive.
[holding answer 11 June 2007]: On 29 May I published a consultation paper seeking views on draft Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations to implement the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive. On the same day the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) published a consultation on joint OFT/DTI draft guidance to accompany the regulations. The deadline for responses to both consultations is 21 August. The regulations will be made in the autumn to come into force on 6 April 2008. The guidance will be finalised at the end of this year or in early 2008.
Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977
[holding answer 11 June 2007]: The Government asked the Law Commission and the Scottish Law Commission to consider the case for a unified regime for unfair terms in consumer contracts, bringing together the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977 and the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999. The Commissions reported in February 2005 in favour of a unified regime, and provided a draft Bill. The Government have accepted in principle the recommendations of the Commissions, subject to further consideration of the detail of the issues, and to further work to identify potential cost impacts.
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Arms to Sierra Leone Inquiry
According to the published report, the inquiry undertaken by Sir Thomas Legg and Sir Robin Ibbs took 68 days and its direct costs amounted to approximately £112,500.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advertises in different media for a number of varied reasons. The main expenditure is on recruitment advertising for generalist and specialist staff in the FCO and FCO Services (an executive agency of the FCO since 1 April 2006). In the last five financial years the following totals have been spent on recruitment advertising:
£ 2002-03 456,504 2003-04 381,683 2004-05 493,324 2005-06 547,514 2006-07 460,359
Other FCO departments may also place advertisements on an ad hoc basis, as will the FCO's agency (Wilton Park), and its posts overseas. Details of this expenditure are not held centrally and could be collated only at disproportionate cost.
The figures requested for Foreign and Commonwealth Office staff are:
Staff Percentage Male 57.5 Female: 42.5 Disabled1 4.3 Aged 55 or over 11.2 1 Staff are not obliged to declare whether they have a disability nor what it may be. This number represents those who have told us that they are disabled.
Aged 55 or over
1 Staff are not obliged to declare whether they have a disability nor what it may be. This number represents those who have told us that they are disabled.
We are committed to ensuring that our UK workforce reflects fully the diversity of modern Britain.
We were also one of the few Departments to decide in 2006 to dispense with mandatory retirement ages for staff below the Senior Management Structure.
[holding answer 14 June 2007]: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) does not hold educational details on all staff centrally, and the full information could be collated only at disproportionate cost. Some details are available from 1997 for the FCO fast stream, administered by the Cabinet Office, and for the FCO operational stream from 1997-2000 and 2006. 2007 data are not yet available, as the final list of FCO fast stream and operational appointments has not yet been made.
Percentage of intake from Oxbridge Number of appointments from Oxbridge 1997 48 — 1998 65 — 1999 44 — 2000 57 20 2001 61 13 2002 47 17 2003 51 18 2004 40 10 2005 44 8 2006 50 13
Percentage of intake from Oxbridge
Number of appointments from Oxbridge
Percentage of intake from Oxbridge Number of appointments from Oxbridge 1997 6 — 1998 7 — 1999 4 — 2000 4 — 2001 — — 2002 — — 2003 — — 2004 — — 2005 — — 2006 8 6
Percentage of intake from Oxbridge
Number of appointments from Oxbridge
Our recruitment processes are run on the principle of fair and open competition, as laid down in the Civil Service Commissioners’ Recruitment Code (www.civilservicecommissioners.gov.uk). The minimum education requirement to apply at fast stream is a lower-second class degree in any subject. To apply at operational stream the minimum education requirement is a degree or 2 A-levels with GCSE Mathematics and English Language (grade A* - C) or five GCSEs including Mathematics and English Language (grade A* - C).
Our work experience schemes for undergraduates in 2006 offered placements to students from 18 different universities. The FCO is also active in outreach activities, such as careers fairs and community business events throughout the UK. Through this, the FCO aims to recruit a talented and diverse work force that reflects the society we serve.
Departments: Sick Leave
The average number of days recorded as sick leave absences by staff of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for each of the past five calendar years is as follows:
Number 2002 4.93 2003 5.66 2004 6.17 2005 5.62 2006 5.14
These figures, particularly for the early years, may contain a level of under-reporting. They rely on staff and their managers entering absences accurately on our electronic management information system. We have recently revised our sickness absence procedures to improve the accuracy of our records and to reduce the number of days lost to sickness absence. Subject to agreement with our trade unions, we plan to implement the new procedures in September.
Developing Countries: Drugs
We await the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) report following the meeting between the UNODC and senior officials from Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan which took place on 12 June.
The UK is keen to encourage increased participation between these partners to stop drug trafficking along their common borders. We encourage regional co-operation between Afghanistan and her neighbours as part of our commitment to supporting the Government of Afghanistan to deliver their National Drugs Control Strategy. This is undertaken through either bilateral or multilateral mechanisms through UNODC. Bilaterally, our missions in Islamabad, Tehran and Kabul help to facilitate better working level contacts and information sharing between these countries to take forward regional practical assistance, including improved border control. We also provide support to the Afghan Ministry of Counter Narcotics Good Neighbourly Relations Declaration meetings to encourage Afghanistan's neighbours to engage in the drugs process. We support UN capacity building projects which foster greater links between regional law enforcement agencies to exchange information on drug trafficking and strengthen Afghanistan's borders.
Iran: Bahai Sect
We continue to have concerns about the situation of religious minorities in Iran and treatment of the Bahá'í community in particular. We often receive reports of discrimination against Bahá'ís in Iran.
We most recently addressed the situation of the Bahá'ís in our dialogue with the Iranian authorities on 25 May, through an EU Statement. We will continue to raise this issue bilaterally and through the EU.
We have pressed the Iranian authorities on many occasions to take seriously their international human rights obligations, uphold the right to freedom of religion and belief as described in article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and address the intimidation and discrimination suffered by Iranian Bahá'ís. We also take action at the UN, and in December 2006, we along with all EU countries co-sponsored a resolution on human rights in Iran, which expressed serious concern at:
"the escalation and increased frequency of discrimination and other human rights violations against members of the Bahá'í Faith".
Nepal: Human Rights
Under the Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed in Nepal in November 2006, both sides to the conflict have agreed not to include or use children under 18 years of age in the armed forces. The Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) have agreed that any children in the cantonment camps who are identified under phase II of the UN monitoring process will be removed to the care of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and partner agencies to arrange their return home and reintegration into civilian life.
Through the Global Conflict Prevention Pool, the UK has recently provided £150,000 to support UNICEF's programme for the reintegration and rehabilitation of child soldiers. In addition, we have provided funding and technical expertise to help with the arms verification process.
Pakistan: Human Rights
On 4 June, the Government of Pakistan introduced an ordinance giving the state regulatory media body, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority, enhanced powers to confiscate equipment and revoke licences of media organisations without recourse to a complaints council. However, on 7 June, the Government of Pakistan withdrew these media restrictions pending a review. We welcome the decision to suspend the ordinance as the UK views media freedom as essential to economic and social development and stability, and we actively support the evolution of free and fair media in Pakistan. We have received no reports of government intrusion into internet access or telecommunications in Pakistan.
We have found no record of annulment or revocation by the United Kingdom of the Defence (Emergency) Regulations 1945 made by the then Government of Palestine.
We are clear that the US would not render a detainee through UK territory or airspace without our permission. In an interview covering these issues alongside my right hon. Friend the then Foreign Secretary (Mr. Straw) in March 2006 the US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, said
“the United States respects the sovereignty of our allies and of other countries in the international system”.
We have also carried out extensive searches of official records and have found no evidence of detainees being rendered through the UK or overseas territories since 1997 where there were substantial grounds to believe there was a real risk of torture.
There were four cases in 1998 where the US requested permission to render one or more detainees through the UK or overseas territories. Records show the Government refused the US request in two cases and granted the request in the two others. In both these cases, the detainees were subsequently tried and later prosecuted on criminal charges in the US.
Saudi Arabia: Terrorism
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) provides the British public with an assessment of the safety of travellers and expatriates overseas through its travel advice.
All of our travel advice is regularly reviewed and draws on a variety of sources, including the local knowledge and expertise of the FCO's overseas posts and intelligence sources.
We believe there is a continuing high threat of terrorism in Saudi Arabia and that terrorists are planning further attacks, including against westerners.
The travel advice for Saudi Arabia can be found on the FCO website at:
Saudia Arabia: Arms Trade
The Government are in frequent and regular contact with the government of Saudi Arabia as part of the normal conduct of our close bilateral relationship across a wide range of issues of mutual concern.
Somalia: Politics and Government
Lasting security in Somalia will only be possible with a credible political reconciliation process. We believe that the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) is the only body that can bring stability across Somalia, as envisaged by the Transitional Federal Charter. But we strongly believe it must be more inclusive and develop a broad base of clan acceptance if it is to succeed. Therefore, we have repeatedly stressed to the TFG that it should reach out to all Somalis who reject violence, regardless of clan and that the National Reconciliation Congress, now scheduled to start in mid July, represents an excellent opportunity to do this. My noble Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Lord Triesman of Tottenham, made this point in person to President Yusuf when he visited the UK in February and to the Somali Foreign Minister on 7 June. The meeting of the International Contact Group in London on 6 June sent the same strong message to the TFG through the Somali Foreign Minister. We will continue to work for this.
We do not believe the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) still exists as a coherent political entity. A meeting of the International Contact Group (ICG), hosted by the Government in London on 5 and 6 June, strongly condemned actions of extremists and terrorists and those looking to undermine the political and reconciliation process. The ICG called on the international community to do everything it could to prevent further acts of violence. We fully support these views.
At the same time, the ICG has publicly stressed the need for the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) to do all it can to make the National Reconciliation Congress as inclusive as possible so that there will be a broad clan-based acceptance of the TFG. We believe that this offers the best long-term way to increase political participation and stable government, as well as to reduce the scope for violence.
Sri Lanka: Internally Displaced Persons
On 7 June, the Sri Lankan Government removed between three and four hundred people from boarding houses and lodges in a mainly Tamil area of Colombo and transferred them to majority Tamil areas of the north and east of the country.
We supported an EU statement which condemned their forced eviction and called on the Sri Lankan Government to halt this activity and to take action to safeguard the rights of those already removed.
We welcomed the apology offered by the Sri Lankan Prime Minister for the evictions.
Although we receive frequent representations on the conflict in Sri Lanka and on the peace process there, we have not so far received any specific representations on this issue.
Sudan: Armed Conflict
We regularly discuss Darfur with the Chinese Government including at the UN. We want China to use its influence with the Sudanese Government to ensure Khartoum supports the deployment of joint UN peacekeeping forces in Darfur, as well as committing to a ceasefire and renewed political process. We gave this message to the Chinese Government before President Hu's visit to Africa earlier this year. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary raised Sudan with the Chinese Government during her trip there last month, as did my right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister during his visit to China in April. We have also raised our concerns about Sudan directly with the Malaysians and Indians and pressed them to use their influence with Khartoum to get them to co-operate.
WMD Intelligence Review Committee
I have been asked to reply.
I refer the right hon. Member to the answer given in the other place to the noble Lord Palmer on 27 October 2004, House of Lords, Official Report, column WA125, by my right hon. Friend the Lord President of the Council (Baroness Amos).
Eddington Transport Study
The Government set out in the December 2006 pre-Budget report how we intend to take forward the recommendations of the Eddington Study. My Department is now reviewing its strategy and delivery processes in the light of the key conclusions of both the Eddington and Stern reports—including through the recently announced refresh of our appraisal framework. The Department will provide its detailed response to Eddington and Stern alongside the Comprehensive Spending Review.
It is Government policy to encourage the greater use of the inland waterways for carrying freight, where this is practical and economic. Passenger transport on canals is dominated by the leisure industry.
Road Safety Targets
Provisional statistics for 2006, compared with the 1994 to 1998 averages, indicate that the number of people killed or seriously injured was 34 per cent. below the baseline, the number of children killed or seriously injured was 53 per cent. below the baseline and the slight casualty rate was 26 per cent. below the baseline.
The draft Local Transport Bill proposes changes to enable local authorities to secure better local bus services. It sets out measures to promote more effective partnership working between local authorities and bus operators and makes the implementation of quality contracts schemes a realistic option in areas where it is in the public interest for local authorities to take greater control of bus services.
Last month the Government published a draft Local Transport Bill for consultation. This includes proposals to provide the necessary powers for local authorities to improve bus services as set out in "Putting Passengers First".
In October 2006 the Secretary of State announced that he was granting programme entry, for funding purposes, to Phase 2 of the system. In April 2007, Nottinghamshire county council and Nottingham city council applied for the Transport and Works Act powers required to construct and operate the system. I cannot comment on the merits of that application, in order not to prejudice the Secretary of State's fair and impartial consideration of it.
Foreign Registered Aircraft
The Civil Aviation Authority is not conducting a consultation on the treatment of foreign registered aircraft based permanently in the UK. However, the Department completed a consultation in 2005 and the Government response is available on the Department's website.
We will continue to increase capacity through the franchising process and in other ways. In particular, the Secretary of State announced on 14 March that the High Level Output Specification, to be published in July, will include a commitment to a thousand extra carriages. They will be targeted at the most congested routes on the network.
The Government are implementing the Community Rail Development Strategy which is intended to increase the number of passengers using branch lines and other rural and suburban routes.
Between 1996-98 (combined years) and 2005, the average number of trips and the average distance travelled per person per year as a car driver has remained stable at around 435 trips and 3,700 miles respectively. However, because the population of Great Britain has increased by 3 per cent. over this period, overall there has been an increase in car travel.
Voluntary agreements are currently in place requiring the car industry to reduce carbon dioxide emissions of new cars by around 25 per cent. from 1995 levels (to an average of 140 grammes per kilometre by 2008-09). However, these agreements are unlikely to be met - the 2004 average for the EU was 163g/km. The Commission is now proposing mandatory new car CO2 targets and the UK supports this approach.
Nottingham Express Transit Tramway
The total cost of building Nottingham Express Transit (NET) Line 1 was £200 million.
Up to the end of the 2006-07 financial year approximately £10 million has been spent on developing NET Phase Two. The approved scheme cost for Phase Two is £482 million (2005 present value prices).
It is possible that approximately 80 properties may be demolished by the NET Phase Two proposals, although this remains subject to detailed design. Overall land costs, which would include these properties, is estimated at approximately £37 million. The promoters of the system have stated that detailed property values are commercially sensitive at present.
A public consultation on options for dualling the A120 between Braintree and Marks Tey ended on 17 June 2005, and resulted in a number of additional routes being suggested by respondents. The Highways Agency has been carrying out further work on these proposals, which should be complete this summer. Once I have received that advice I will be in a position to consider the way forward and how those affected should be informed.
(2) if he will make a statement on the delivery of the Baldslow link improvement on the A21; and whether it will be brought forward to be delivered in parallel with the Bexhill to Hastings link road;
(3) when he expects the Baldslow link improvement to be delivered; and whether funding has been allocated for its construction.
The A21 Baldslow Link trunk road improvement is being promoted by the Highways Agency and is a complementary scheme to the Bexhill - Hastings Link Road which is being promoted by East Sussex county council. The Baldslow Link has been prioritised by the south east region for funding from the Regional Funding Allocation with a start of works in 2010-11. It is currently intended that the Baldslow Link would start construction at about the time the Bexhill Hastings Link Road opens to traffic. While planning of the scheme is currently on time, the Highways Agency will seek to improve on this.
Aviation: Exhaust Emissions
Government are committed to ensuring that effective policy development and environmental action relies upon sound research, evidence and knowledge transfer. This is why we are investing in initiatives such as the new knowledge transfer network called OMEGA (Opportunities for Meeting the Environmental Challenge of Growth in Aviation). OMEGA defines specific areas where work is needed, facilitates inter-disciplinary research and supports strategic longer-term thinking. A number of other collaborative research programmes funded through the DTI collaborative research mechanism are set to deliver improvements. These include the £95 million Environmentally Friendly Engine programme. I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Minister for Industry and the Regions on 18 June 2007, Official Report, column 1492W.
Government are also supporting work from the aviation industry. We welcomed the Sustainable Aviation initiative, launched in June 2005, which aimed to place sustainability at the forefront of the sector’s strategic planning. The Government also welcomed the Advisory Council for Aeronautics Research in Europe (ACARE), which adopted stretching European targets for environmental performance of new aircraft and engines by 2020. These include reducing the fuel consumption and hence carbon emissions by 50 per cent., relative to new aircraft in the year 2000, with 20-25 per cent. savings from airframe developments, 15-20 per cent. from the engines and 5-10 per cent. from improved air traffic management.
On an international level the UK is playing an important role and is contributing to a number of work streams in the Committee for Aviation Environmental Protection under the auspices of the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
The Government intend that the initiatives such as those mentioned above will improve our evidence base on aviation science, technology, operations and economic issues in ways that will help deliver improved environmental performance and longer term sustainability.
Aviation: Northern Ireland
During the period from 1 June 2006 to 31 May 2007, three Airprox incidents in airspace over Northern Ireland were reported to the independent UK Airprox Board (UKAB) for investigation and assessment.
One of these Airprox is reported to have involved one aircraft operating into Belfast International airport, the other aircraft being outbound from Belfast City airport. This Airprox remains subject to assessment by the UKAB following which the findings will be published both on the UKAB's website at www.airproxboard.org.uk and subsequently in hardcopy.
The UK was a strong advocate of the establishment of baseline security requirements across the European Union, and supports the principle of harmonisation for the benefits it can bring for travellers and industry. It is important however that member states are able to require additional aviation security measures in their own territory, where they judge this necessary for the proper protection of aviation interests and passengers.
(2) when he last assessed the basis for the restrictions on the number of pieces of carry-on luggage allowed for passengers departing UK airports;
(3) when he expects the restrictions on the number of pieces of hand luggage for airline passengers to be amended or removed.
The current security regulations remain under constant review. It is not possible to state when further adjustments might be made to the measures that apply to cabin baggage. However we have made clear throughout our readiness to remove the one bag limit once industry—collectively—is confident of its ability to deliver security effectively without it.
Blue Badge Scheme: Misuse
The Department for Transport is working with the Home Office and local agencies to improve data collection and promote good practice in this area.
The Department is committed to tackling all Blue Badge misuse as signalled by a three month, strategic review of the scheme, which will report in September 2007. This will culminate in the production of a comprehensive Blue Badge Reform Strategy by April 2008.
Bus Services: Concessions
(2) what the expected start date is for the introduction of the national off peak free bus travel scheme for pensioners and disabled people;
(3) from which budget the national off peak free bus travel scheme for pensioners and disabled people will be funded;
(4) what eligibility conditions for travel will be in place for the national off peak free bus travel scheme for pensioners and disabled people.
As announced in the 2006 Budget the national bus concession will be introduced in April next year (the exact date will be decided in due course). Eligibility on age or disability grounds will be the same as for the current statutory concession—people aged 60 and over, or who come under one of the seven categories of disability listed in the Transport Act 2000, will qualify.
Guidance to local authorities on eligibility for disabled people was published in 2001 and updated in 2005 (copies have been placed in the Libraries of the House). The Department is looking to re-issue this guidance later in the year following consultation with its Concessionary Fares Working Group.
An eligible person, on the presentation of a pass, will be entitled to travel for free on any local bus service in England from 9.30am to 11pm on weekdays and at any time at weekends and Bank Holidays.
The responsibilities for administering the concession—assessing eligibility, issuing passes, reimbursing the bus operators and enforcement—will rest with the existing travel concession authorities (TCAs). These are shire districts, unitary authorities, the Passenger Transport Executives in the metropolitan areas, and the London boroughs (we expect the London councils to administer the concession on behalf of the boroughs). The Concessionary Travel Bill currently before Parliament includes an order making power to change the tier of local government at which the concessionary fares is administered in the future, for example from shire districts to county councils.
TCAs can voluntarily enter into joint arrangements with other authorities e.g. a county council could administer the scheme on behalf of its districts. The Department is keen to see such arrangements, due to the administrative efficiencies.
The Concessionary Travel Bill will require the TCA to issue passes to those people that qualify, on age or disability grounds, who appear to have their ‘sole and principal' residence in the TCA.
The extra funding (up to £250 million per year) will either be distributed via the formula grant system (as is the case for current funding of mandatory concession) or specific grant. A decision on the funding route will be made in due course.
No specific assessment has been made but the Department is reviewing two related areas. The first review will identify the key safety issues with large passenger, goods and agricultural vehicles, and suggest cost-effective proposals to address them. The second review will improve our understanding of the nature, and underlying causes of trends in pedestrian accidents involving large passenger and goods vehicles.
The reports are expected to become available in the autumn, for consideration of appropriate further action.
Cycling England, the Government's advisory body on cycling, is tasked with getting more people cycling, more safely, more often. It is working with local authorities and others to promote cycling, focusing on the journey to work and to school. We doubled Cycling England's budget to £10 million last year and launched “Bikeability” cycle training earlier this year. The six cycling demonstration towns with whom Cycling England is working have increased cycle trips by around 30 per cent. in just one year.
Furthermore, the Finance Act 1999 and the Income Tax (Earnings and Pensions) Act 2003 provided a tax exemption for employers to purchase cycles for their employees to commute to work. In June 2005 the Department issued guidance and assisted in the establishment of a group consumer credit licence for all UK businesses to allow them to implement the scheme up to a value of £1,000 per cycle. We understand from the scheme providers that approximately 70,000 people have benefited from the scheme to date.
Since 1999, we have also sought to mainstream the use of workplace travel, planning to reduce car use and increase sustainable travel such as cycling through guidance and pump priming funding for local authority employed travel plan officers. In February 2007 we set up the National Business Travel Network to enable businesses to share their experiences of travel planning with a view to promoting wider take-up of sustainable workplace travel.
Departments: Carbon Emissions
Savings of 5.1 MtC in 2010 were projected in the 2006 climate change programme from existing transport measures. We remain on track to achieve these.
The Department was formed in May 2002. Details of expenditure by the Department on consultants from 2002-03 to 2006-07 are shown as follows:
£ million 2002-03 227.5 2003-04 239.5 2004-05 193.3 2005-06 72.1 2006-07 81.2
The business units within the Department currently use separate accounting systems which record expenditure differently. The totals include a mixture of committed spend (i.e. orders raised) and actual spend incurred. The Professional Services Forum definition of consultancy has been applied since 2005-06 resulting in more accurate coding of expenditure.
The current established headcount of the Rail and National Networks Directorate is 325.
The Rail Directorate wages and salaries costs for the last five years were:
£ million 2002-03 3.5 2003-04 4.5 2004-05 4.9 2005-06 19.1 2006-07 16.5
The 2005-06 and 2006-07 costs include staff transferred into the Department from the Strategic Rail Authority.
Departments: Official Hospitality
The Department for Transport spent £552,796.35 on hospitality for the financial year 2006-07. This spend includes costs for refreshments provided at meetings and working lunches.
The following agencies were not able to provide the information requested without incurring disproportionate cost:
Highways Agency (only provided by the Information Directorate);
Vehicle and Operator Services Agency; and
Driving Standards Agency.
Departments: Official Residences
No Ministers in the Department for Transport are allocated a ministerial residence.
The requested information is as follows:
£ 2002-03 11,657,000 2003-04 4,324,000 2004-05 8,887,263 2005-06 11,852,000 2006-07 9,191,000
The requested information is as follows:
£ 2002-03 3,269,753 2003-04 4,087,889 2004-05 4,094,935 2005-06 4,225,375 2006-07 3,651,636
Departments: Public Relations
The Department's prime use of external public relations is in support of our marketing activities on the THINK! road safety and Act on CO2 campaigns. Expenditure in each of the last five years is as follows:
Total (£) 2002-03 798,254 2003-04 860,934 2004-05 811,538 2005-06 923,072 2006-07 959,681
Departments: Sign Language
The Department for Transport website has been designed to follow the Guidelines for Government websites and to meet the Web Accessibility Initiative Guidelines conformance level double A. The Code of Practice for Part III of the Disability Discrimination Act states that websites should be made accessible to ensure provision for people with disabilities, hence conformance to the double A standard.
We do not routinely produce BSL versions of material on our website, but have produced a BSL film on use of Seatbelts and Child restraints in support of our THINK! road safety campaign. BSL versions of the Highway Code will be available from the Driving Standards Agency from September if required.
Departments: Travel Agents
The Department for Transport came into existence in May 2002 under machinery of government changes. From that date until June 2005, travel agent’s fees were paid at 1.5 per cent. of contract turnover, an average figure of £12,500 per quarter. Since 1 July 2005, fees have been paid at a fixed annual rate of £50,000. This figure includes one of the Department’s agencies and a small element for the Department for Communities and Local Government.
Five of the Department’s agencies either do not pay travel agent’s fees, or do not record the fees separately from other travel costs. Further information could only be provided at disproportionate cost.
The remaining agency, VOSA, spent £199,000 in 2003-04, £180,000 in 2004-05, £134,000 in 2005-06, and £124,000 in 2006-07.
Currently there are approximately 33 million vehicles on the DVLA database and 2.5 per cent. of this figure is 825,000.
Driving Tests: Fees and Charges
The following table shows the theory test cost since its introduction in 1996.
Date Test type Cost (£) Reason 1996 All categories of vehicle 15.00 Cost of initial theory test 1999 All categories of vehicle 15.50 Inflationary increase 2002 All categories of vehicle 18.00 Hazard Perception Test introduction 2003 All categories of vehicle 20.50 Balance of Hazard Perception Test costs 2005 All categories of vehicle 21.00 Inflationary increase 2006 All categories of vehicle 21.50 Inflationary increase 2007 Vocational (LGV/PCV) 32.00 Enhanced test with new topics, such as first aid 2007 Car/motorbike 28.50 Enhanced test with new topics, such as first aid
All categories of vehicle
Cost of initial theory test
All categories of vehicle
All categories of vehicle
Hazard Perception Test introduction
All categories of vehicle
Balance of Hazard Perception Test costs
All categories of vehicle
All categories of vehicle
Enhanced test with new topics, such as first aid
Enhanced test with new topics, such as first aid
Heathrow Airport: Security
[holding answer 15 June 2007]: I would refer the hon. Gentleman to the BAA website—www.heathrowairport.com—which has summary statistics on its monthly performance against a range of service quality measures, including passenger security queuing.
I refer the hon. Member to my answer of 15 January 2007, Official Report, column 754W.
Motor Vehicles: Excise Duties
Evasion among all vehicles in use was estimated to be around 6 per cent. in 2006. This was 2.2 million vehicles.
(2) what steps his Department has taken to raise awareness amongst drivers of the problems caused by incorrect parking in disabled parking bays.
The Department for Transport has not made any assessment of the effectiveness of road markings distinguishing parking bays for disabled people.
On-street parking provision and enforcement is the responsibility of individual local authorities. In this context local authorities are best placed to raise the awareness of both disabled and non-disabled drivers about the provision for parking and how disabled parking bays should be used.
The provision and enforcement of parking bays in off-street car parks, whether local authority or privately owned, is a matter for individual car park operators. The Department issues advice on signage and markings in off-street car parks in its Traffic Advisory Leaflet 5/95, “Parking for Disabled People”.
The Department is conducting a three month review of the Blue Badge Scheme which will aid us in the publication of a comprehensive Blue Badge Reform Strategy by April 2008. Tackling abuse of the Blue Badge Scheme and the issue of enforcement of disabled person's parking bays on-street will be included in the review.
The numbers of pedestrians who were killed as a result of being hit by a bus or coach in a road accident in each of the last seven years is shown in the table:
Number 1999 69 2000 60 2001 79 2002 55 2003 57 2004 52 2005 47
2005 is the latest year for which figures are available.
Public Transport: Costs
Table 1 shows in index form bus and coach fares and rail fares in real terms in each year since 1997.
Bus and coach fares Rail fares 1997 100.0 100.0 1998 99.9 100.7 1999 101.9 102.8 2000 103.0 101.5 2001 105.4 103.6 2002 106.9 104.2 2003 108.2 103.0 2004 110.5 103.9 2005 114.6 105.1 2006 112.6 105.9 Source: Office for National Statistics
Bus and coach fares
Office for National Statistics
Between 1997 and 2006 the real cost of bus and coach fares has increased by 12.6 per cent. and rail fares have increased by 5.9 per cent.
Local transport plans (LTP) are the mechanism by which local authorities undertake transport improvements at the local level. The objectives of the East Sussex LTP include the reduction of congestion to improve the efficiency of the transport network, the protection of the environment and the improvement of access to services. East Sussex county council received over £10 million from Government to implement its LTP in 2007-08. In Eastbourne the plan's objectives will be delivered via the Eastbourne local area transport strategy which is aimed at addressing local needs.
In addition a number of improvements to the trunk road network in east Sussex have been prioritised by the south east region for funding from the regional funding allocation for major transport schemes. The A27 Southerham-Beddingham improvement (£32 million) is currently under construction and, subject to successful completion of statutory procedures, the Bexhill-Hastings Link Road (£47 million) and the A21 Baldslow junction improvement (£18 million), have both been prioritised for funding by the region over the next five years to 2010-11. East Sussex county council have reported that the Bexhill to Hastings Link Road estimated cost has increased to around £89 million and the region are currently considering whether it is still a priority at the higher cost. In addition, £15 million worth of congestion relief improvements on the A27 at Wilmington have also been prioritised by the region for 2015-16.
On 22 May we published a consultation document ‘Strengthening Local Delivery’ accompanied by a draft Local Transport Bill. The draft Bill would ensure that local authorities have the right mix of powers to improve their local bus services, following on from the proposals in ‘Putting Passengers First’.
The Concessionary Bus Travel Bill, currently before Parliament, provides for a national bus travel concession for older and disabled people in England. The Bill extends the existing statutory concession of free off-peak local bus travel within an eligible person's local authority area, introduced in 2006, to free off-peak local bus travel anywhere in England, widening access to services and opportunities for a significant number of Eastbourne and east Sussex residents.
With regard to Rail investment, figures are not available specifically for east Sussex but the county will benefit from a number of recent improvements. All older ‘slam-door' rolling stock south of the Thames has been removed from the network. The electric multiple units now used by southern TOCs are less than three years old, and are more reliable, and faster than their predecessors. With the accompanying power supply upgrade of recent years, passengers on Southern, Southeastern and South West Trains have also benefited from £2.7 billion worth of investment since 2003.
A research commission to assess parts 2, 3 and 4 of the Traffic Management Act 2004 commenced on the 4 June 2007, and where appropriate results will be presented by Government office region.
An assessment of how local traffic authorities performed their network management duties (part 2 of the Act) was conducted in 2006, the results of which are still to be finalised.
In April 2007 an assessment took place following the deployment of the Traffic Officer Service (part 1 of the Act). Results of the assessment are yet to be published.
Research by Ashton and Mackay estimated the chances of a pedestrian surviving if hit by a vehicle travelling at a variety of speeds. This showed that:
At 20 mph there is about a 1 in 40 chance of being killed.
At 30 mph there is about a 1 in 5 chance of being killed.
At 35 mph there is about a 50/50 chance of being killed.
At 40 mph there is about a 9 in 10 chance of being killed.
The research also showed the chances of a child pedestrian surviving are:
At 30 mph there is about a 1 in 5 chance of being killed.
At 40 mph there is about an 8 in 10 chance of being killed.
Pedestrians being hit by vehicles travelling at 39 mph, 50 mph and 60 mph were not assessed as part of this research.
Thames River Safety Inquiry
(2) what the cost was of the 2000 Clark Inquiry into issues arising out of the identification of victims following major transport accidents;
(3) what the cost was of the Marchioness Inquiry.
The total cost to the Department of the Thames Safety Inquiry, the public inquiry into the identification of victims following major transport accidents and the Marchioness Formal Investigation was approximately £6.3 million. Since the individual inquiries ran either concurrently or within a very short time of each other, a breakdown for each separate inquiry is not obtainable except at disproportionate cost.
Bidders for the franchises that are out to tender currently (East Midlands, West Midlands, New Cross Country and InterCity East Coast) are required to consider bike-rail integration and facilities at stations in their bid submissions. The Government's aspiration is to see 95 per cent. of journeys originating from stations with adequate cycle parking facilities.
Last year the Government asked Cycling England, our advisory group on cycling, to look into how we might better encourage bike and rail journeys. Cycling England has accepted this remit and is now looking to see where progress can best be made further to improve bike and rail integration.
Also, we will continue to encourage Train Operating Companies (TOCs) to carry bikes on trains where possible. This is in line with the Cycling Policy document first published by the former Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) in 2004 and recently adopted by the Department. The Cycling Policy document advises TOCs to facilitate the carriages of cycles on off-peak services and encourages the carriage of folding cycles at all times. However, I accept that during the peak hours, where capacity is under pressure, there will be occasions where it is in the interests of the majority of passengers not to permit non-folding cycles on board.
It is right that TOCs are given a steer by Government as to how they should ensure they are fully maximising the potential of bike and rail to help reduce car use. However, TOCs are best placed to know where and when pressure on services exists and they must be free to impose restrictions accordingly, although I hope that such restrictions are carefully considered and kept to a minimum.
Trams: Greater London
The Secretary of State has had no recent discussions regarding the West London Tram. However, officials from Transport for London and the Department for Transport continue to discuss London’s investment options and priorities as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review.
(2) what estimate he has made of the cost of obtaining a licence by people who wish to contract with local authorities to provide transport for children to and from special schools; and if he will make a statement.
The decision to repeal section 75(1)(b) of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1975, known as the “contract exemption”, was motivated by the paramount need to ensure the safety of those being carried under contracts for the hire of a Private Hire Vehicle (PHV).
PHV licence fees are set by local licensing authorities and vary widely from area to area. Making reasonable assumptions about the numbers of drivers, vehicles and operators likely to be involved in total across all sectors, and about average licence fees, we estimate that the total cost will be about £1 million.
No specific estimate of the costs for those involved in transport to and from special schools has been made.
It should be borne in mind that many contracts will already be carried out by drives, vehicles and operators that are already licensed or to whom the contact exemption did not apply. Furthermore, the proportion of licensing cost which will be passed on to those awarding contracts will depend on contracts terms in each case.
Bournemouth Hospital: Accident and Emergency Departments
[holding answer 24 May 2007]: This is a matter for the chair of The Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. We have written to Sheila Collins informing her of the hon. Member’s inquiry. She will reply shortly and a copy of the letter will be placed in the Library.
There was no specific assessment of the needs of people with lymphoma as part of the “Our Health, Our Care, Our Say” White Paper. The White Paper's broad focus meant it did not deal with specific illnesses, but focussed instead on principles that would improve care for all patients such as greater integration between health and social care, more treatment in the community and better preventative and early intervention services.
I have been asked to reply.
The Government have not estimated the number of children under the age of five years who have died following abuse or neglect in the last five years. The Government do not collect that specific information.
Chiropractors are required to register with the General Chiropractic Council. Chiropractors would be required to register with the Healthcare Commission if they also intended to operate an independent clinic where services are provided by medical practitioners as defined under section 2(4) of the Care Standards Act 2000.