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Written Answers

Volume 487: debated on Monday 26 January 2009

Written Answers to Questions

Monday 26 January 2009

Electoral Commission Committee

Catz Club

To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission what records the Electoral Commission holds of donations by Catz Club to the (a) Labour Party and (b) Labour-related regulated donees. (250352)

The Electoral Commission informs me that it has received one report of a donation by Catz Club to the Labour Party of £7,500 reported as accepted on 27 June 2008. No other donations from Catz Club have been reported to the Commission by the Labour Party or any regulated donee.

Policy Development Grant

To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission how the policy development grant is uprated each year; and whether the allocation of policy development grant will be (a) cut or (b) frozen if yearly retail price index inflation is negative. (250526)

The Electoral Commission informs me that section 12 of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act (2000) limits the policy development grant to an annual sum of £2,000,000. The amount of grant is not linked to the retail price index. However, the Act does allow for the Secretary of State, with the consent of the Treasury, to vary the annual amount.

Political Parties: Finance

To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission what plans the Electoral Commission has to revise its guidance on regulated donees following recent decisions by the Crown Prosecution Service. (250528)

The Electoral Commission informs me that it is currently reviewing the implications of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) decision in December 2008, not to bring charges in a case referred by the Commission to the Metropolitan Police.

Pending the outcome of that review, the Commission believes that the guidance it has issued on the reporting obligations of regulated donees remains valid. The Commission will consider whether it is necessary to revise its guidance when it has completed the review and has agreed with Government what steps, if any, are needed to clarify the legal requirements on the reporting of donations by regulated donees.

Transport

A14: Kettering

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when the detailed plans for the widening of the A14 between junctions 7 and 9 around Kettering will be made available for public consultation. (251081)

The Highways Agency is carrying out a detailed assessment of proposals to widen the A14 between junctions 7 and 9 at Kettering to dual three-lane standard within the highway boundary. A public information exhibition on the widening plans is expected to be held in autumn 2009.

Airports: Police

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what proportion of the policing costs for (a) East Midlands airport, (b) Humberside airport and (c) Bournemouth airport was met by the airport owners in each year since 1997. (250110)

Under section 25 of the Aviation Security Act 1982, there are only nine airports where the owners are required to pay for dedicated policing costs: London Heathrow, London Gatwick, Stansted, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow International, Glasgow Prestwick, Birmingham and Manchester. The extent to which airport operators at non-designated airports contribute towards policing costs is a private commercial matter for the parties involved.

Part 6 of the Policing and Crime Bill proposes that all airport operators should be required to meet the costs of any dedicated policing where they have agreed these with the Chief Officer of Police and police authority for the area.

Aviation: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what oversight his Department has over the allocation and use of (a) route development funds and (b) other sources of support for air services. (250656)

A regional body wishing to establish a route development fund to provide start-up aid for new air services will be expected to sign up to the Department’s Protocol governing the operation of such funds. The Protocol has been published on the DfT website at:

www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/aviation/domestic/anationalprotocol forukrouted2873

An air route on which a Public Service Obligation (PSO) has been imposed may be eligible for subsidy under the rules set out in Regulation EC 1008/2008. Any application to impose a PSO must be approved by the Secretary of State.

Any other proposals to provide funding for air services must take account of European guidance on the use of State aid. Any resulting State aid notification to the European Commission must be cleared by the Department.

Aviation: Standards

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his Department’s practice is with regard to the monitoring of (a) seat availability, (b) pricing and (c) competitive behaviour of individual airlines. (250655)

None. A European airline which meets the necessary safety and financial fitness requirements may operate without Government oversight of its seat availability or prices. In the European Union, airlines are of course subject to competition law as overseen by the competition authorities.

Biofuels

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what estimate he has made of the percentage of biofuel produced from used cooking oil; (250792)

(2) what steps he has taken to encourage production of fuel from used cooking oil.

The Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation requires suppliers of fossil fuel to ensure that a proportion of the fuel they supply is renewable fuel. Under the scheme biodiesel made from waste cooking oil is an eligible renewable fuel.

The Renewable Fuel Agency administers the scheme and their January quarterly report summarises data on fuel supplied between April and October 2008. This report indicates that used cooking oil made up 3 per cent. (22 million litres) of the biofuel supplied over this period to meet the obligation. Their report is available on the RFA website at:

http://www.dft.gov.uk/rfa/.

Cars: Sales

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many sales of (a) petrol- and (b) diesel-fuelled cars there were in each of the last three financial years. (250304)

The numbers (in thousands) of petrol and diesel-fuelled cars newly registered in Great Britain in each of the last three financial years were as follows:

Financial year

Fuel type

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

Diesel

900

910

978

Petrol

1,501

1,435

1,392

These data include all cars that have been newly registered in each financial year and will, therefore, include vehicles that have been imported into Great Britain during this time.

Departmental Catering

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what (a) directly-operated and (b) franchised catering outlets his Department and its agencies provide for staff. (249083)

Departmental Pay

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make it his policy that temporary and permanent employees of his Department employed at the same grade receive the same hourly rate of pay. (248419)

I refer the hon. Member to my answer of 18 December 2008, Official Report, columns 1004-05W.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much has been spent by his Department on staff reward and recognition schemes in each of the last three years. (248704)

In total £14,070 has been spent within the Department for Transport on staff reward and recognition schemes. This is broken down per year as follows:

£

2006-07

6,262

2007-08

6,433

2008-09 (to date)

1,375

Departmental Telephone Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what use (a) his Department and (b) service providers under contract to his Department make of (i) 0844 and 0845 telephone numbers and (ii) revenue-sharing telephone numbers for calls from members of the public; for which services such numbers are used; what prefixes are used for revenue-sharing numbers; how much revenue has accrued from revenue-sharing numbers in each of the last five years; what consideration his Department has given to introducing 03-prefixed telephone numbers for calls to all such services; and if he will make a statement. [Official Report, 12 March 2009, Vol. 489, c. 11MC.] (247349)

The Department for Transport and its Executive agencies operate three 0845 numbers and one 0844 number. The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency uses 0870 revenue-sharing numbers to provide access to nine public services. Information about these is set out as follows:

Number

DfT or agency

Purpose

Revenue (yes/no)

0845 877 0877

DfT

Freight Best Practice helpline providing free information to promote operational efficiency

No

0845 750 4030

HA

Motorway and trunk road information line

No

0845 600 5977

VOSA

Garages hotline for checking MOT standards

No

0844 800 0819

VCA

Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment helpline

No

0870 240 0009

DVLA

Allows the public to ask general driving licence inquiries

Yes

0870 240 0010

DVLA

Allows the public to ask general vehicle inquiries

Yes

0870 600 0301

DVLA

Allows the public to ask advice about health conditions and their effect on driver licensing

Yes

0870 241 1878

DVLA

Allows vocational drivers to seek advice regarding driver licensing

Yes

0870 850 4444

DVLA

Allows the licensing of vehicles over the telephone

Yes

0870 850 0007

DVLA

Allows customers to access information on DVLA’s local office network

Yes

0870 608 0604

DVLA

‘Continuous registration’ fine payment line

Yes

0870 850 2963

DVLA

Helpline for customers using our online driving licence service

Yes

0870 850 1074

DVLA

Allows customers to seek advice on the use of Smart Tachographs

Yes

Revenue information from the DVLA services is only available since January 2005. The figures are shown by calendar year.

£

2005

2,130,881

2006

2,328,307

2007

3,329,794

2008

3,047,304

In addition, the Driving Standards Agency and the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency have recently switched from 0870 to 0300 numbers for calls made to their contact centres. Revenue information about these is set out as follows:

£

DSA

VOSA

2004-05

706,399

10,386

2005-06

693,254

63,400

2006-07

623,284

72,400

2007-08

672,048

78,600

2008-09

1208,512

252,000

1 DSA switched to 0300 line on 31 October 2008.

2 VOSA switched to 0300 line on 30 September 2008.

Consideration is currently being given to switching to 0300 numbers for the Freight Best Practice helpline and for the Highways Agency Information Line. DVLA had intended moving to 0300 numbers in line with Ofcom recommendations prior to the retraction of the Ofcom paper on use of 0870 numbers. Preparations to move to 0300 are still in place, once the Ofcom paper and recommendations are republished.

Departmental Travel

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what expenditure his Department has incurred in providing transport for Ministers between Parliament and departmental premises in each of the last five years. (251869)

The Government Car and Despatch Agency does not routinely record the details of individual journeys made by cars allocated to Ministers.

Driving Offences: Fixed Penalties

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many appeals were made to traffic adjudicators against fixed penalty notices in each of the last five years. (247901)

This information is not collected centrally by the Government, but the available figures for the number of appeals made against the issuing of penalty charge notices and the number of appeals upheld for each local authority are set out in the annual reports of the traffic adjudicators: the Parking and Traffic Appeals Service (PATAS) for London, and the Traffic Penalty Tribunal (TPT) for outside London.

The reports of the PATAS are available at:

www.parkingandtrafficappeals.gov.uk.

The reports of the TPT are available at:

www.trafficpenaltytribunal.gov.uk.

Driving Tests: Motorcycles

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport for what reasons his Department decided to implement the new motorcycle test on 30 March 2009; and (a) how many and (b) what percentage of multi-purpose test centres will be operational from that date. (250921)

The new motorcycle test was due to be implemented on 29 September in accordance with the EU directive 2000/56/EC. However, the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) recognised that having 38 multi-purpose test centres (MPTCs) operational at the launch of the new test would mean candidates in significant parts of Great Britain would not have the expected access to a MPTC. 58 per cent. of the population would have been able to reach a MPTC within 45 minutes travelling time. Following consideration of representations from motorcycle interest groups, DSA decided to defer implementation for six months to allow consideration of delivery options which might help with the number of locations to offer the test when it was launched.

Since then we have been consulting on a modular approach to practical motorcycle testing. If adopted, DSA will split the off-road from the on-road part of the test.

By 30 March, DSA will have in place up to 67 operational sites including part-time and temporary sites for the off-road elements. In addition, there are outstanding planning approvals or legal negotiations on a further five sites that the Agency hopes to have ready in time. Not all of these sites are MPTCs. We will have operational sites in 94 per cent. of the original 66 search areas. This means that 89 per cent. of the population could reach a motorcycle testing site within 45 minutes travelling time. DSA will have 104 locations delivering the on-road test.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the maximum distance learner drivers and motorcyclists should have to travel from their homes in order to take their driving tests. (250922)

I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer given to the hon. Member for Mid-Dorset and North Poole (Annette Brooke) on 20 January 2009, Official Report, column 1298W.

Great Western Railway

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the time frame is for the construction of a connection between the Great Western main line and Heathrow Airport from Bristol and the west country. (249693)

The Department for Transport announced on 15 January 2009 that it will work with the airport operator and Network Rail to consider schemes that provide better connections from Heathrow airport to the Great Western main line while maximising the effectiveness of scarce railway paths. Until this work is concluded, it is not possible to determine potential timescales for construction of such schemes nor the destinations which would be served.

Heathrow Airport

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what additional risks have been added to the Heathrow Expansion Risk Register since 9 October 2007; and what the (a) inherent risk, (b) measures in place, (c) residual risk, (d) status and (e) further action are assessed by his Department for each risk; (246775)

(2) what the status is on the most recent edition of the Heathrow Expansion Risk Register of risk (a) 1.1.2, (b) 1.1.6, (c) 1.1.7, (d) 1.2.1, (e) 1.2.2, (f) 1.2.4, (g) 1.3.1, (h) 1.3.6, (i) 1.3.7, (j) 2.1.1, (k) 2.1.2, (l) 2.1.3, (m) 2.1.4, (n) 2.1.5, (o) 2.1.6, (p) 2.1.7, (q) 2.2.1, (r) 2.2.4, (s) 2.2.5, (t) 2.2.6a, (u) 2.2.6b, (v) 2.2.7, (w) 2.2.8, (x) 2.2.9, (y) 2.2.10, (z) 3.1.1, (aa) 3.1.2, (bb) 3.1.3, (cc) 3.13, (dd) 3.2.2, (ee) 3.2.1, (ff) 3.3.1, (gg) 3.3.2, (hh) 3.3.3, (ii) 3.3.5, (jj) 3.3.6 and (kk) 3.3.7 as identified by the numbering on the Heathrow Expansion Risk Register as at October 2008;

(3) what the most recent edition of the Heathrow Expansion Risk Register records as (a) measures in place and (b) further action required in respect of risk (i) 1.1.2, (ii) 1.1.6, (iii) 1.1.7, (iv) 1.2.1, (v) 1.2.2, (vi) 1.2.4, (vii) 1.3.1, (viii) 1.3.6, (ix) 1.3.7, (x) 2.1.1, (xi) 2.1.2, (xii) 2.1.3, (xiii) 2.1.4, (xiv) 2.1.5, (xv) 2.1.6, (xvi) 2.1.7, (xvii) 2.2.1, (xviii) 2.2.4, (xix) 2.2.5, (xx) 2.2.6a, (xxi) 2.2.6b, (xxii) 2.2.7, (xxiii) 2.2.8, (xxiv) 2.2.9, (xxv) 2.2.10, (xxvi) 3.1.1, (xxvii) 3.1.2, (xxviii) 3.1.3, (xxix) 3.13, (xxx) 3.2.2, (xxxi) 3.2.1, (xxxii) 3.3.1, (xxxiii) 3.3.2, (xxxiv) 3.3.3, (xxxv) 3.3.5, (xxxvi) 3.3.6 and (xxxvii) 3.3.7 as identified by the numbering on the Heathrow Expansion Risk Register as at October 2008;

(4) what his latest assessment is of the (a) inherent and (b) residual risk for (i) impact and (ii) likelihood of occurrence in respect of risk (A) 1.1.2, (B) 1.1.6, (C) 1.1.7, (D) 1.2.1, (E) 1.2.2, (F) 1.2.4, (G) 1.3.1, (H) 1.3.6, (I) 1.3.7, (J) 2.1.1, (K) 2.1.2, (L) 2.1.3, (M) 2.1.4, (N) 2.1.5, (O) 2.1.6, (P) 2.1.7, (Q) 2.2.1, (R) 2.2.4, (S) 2.2.5, (T) 2.2.6a, (U) 2.2.6b, (V) 2.2.7, (W) 2.2.8, (X) 2.2.9, (Y) 2.2.10, (Z) 3.1.1, (AA) 3.1.2, (BB) 3.1.3, (CC) 3.13, (DD) 3.2.2, (EE) 3.2.1, (FF) 3.3.1, (GG) 3.3.2, (HH) 3.3.3, (II) 3.3.5, (JJ) 3.3.6 and (KK) 3.3.7 as identified by the numbering on the Heathrow Expansion Risk Register as at October 2008;

(5) with reference to the Heathrow Expansion Risk Register, what change there has been to his Department’s assessment of (a) inherent risk, (b) measures in place, (c) residual risk, (d) status and (e) further action required since the October 2008 update to the register in respect of closed risk (i) 1.1.1, (ii) 1.1.3, (iii) 1.1.4, (iv) 1.1.5, (v) 1.2.3, (vi) 1.2.5, (vii) 1.3.2, (viii) 1.3.4, (ix) 1.3.5, (x) 1.4.1, (xi), 1.4.2, (xii) 1.5.1, (xiii) 1.6.1, (xiv) 1.6.2, (xv) 1.6.3, (xvi) 2.2.3 and (xvii) 3.3.4.

The risk register to which these questions relate was one of the tools used to manage a project which concluded with the publication, on 22 November 2007 of the consultation “Adding Capacity at Heathrow”. The project board has not therefore met since October 2007, and no further versions of the risk register were produced after this date.

Heathrow Airport: Railways

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects the proposed high-speed link from Heathrow to Scotland to come into operation. (250919)

The Government’s ambition is for a north-south high-speed rail line from London. As a first stage, the Government believe that there is a strong case for a new line between London and the West Midlands serving a Heathrow international interchange station. Direct high-speed services could make use of the new line and the conventional rail network to serve destinations in the north of England and Scotland, cutting journey times and increasing capacity.

The company, High Speed Two, has been created to advise Ministers on a credible, detailed plan for a new line to the West Midlands, and beyond with specific route options, by the end of 2009. Until this advice is available, it is not possible to determine when high-speed rail services could come into operation.

Level Crossings: Accidents

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he is encouraging Network Rail to take to reduce injuries and fatalities to pedestrians and cyclists at level crossings through the introduction of safer surface material. (249328)

The Office of Rail Regulation, the independent safety regulator for rail, is working to ensure that Network Rail is making proper use of non-slip surfaces to reduce risks to pedestrians and cyclists at level crossings.

More generally the Office of Rail Regulation is reviewing and revising its guidance on level crossings and one aspect of this includes reviewing the provision of non-slip surfaces on level crossings for all crossing users.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps his Department takes to ensure a full record is kept of all incidents at level crossings involving injury to pedestrians and cyclists but where trains are not involved. (249329)

Under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR), the railway industry must report certain injuries to pedestrians and cyclists at level crossings, where trains are not involved, to the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR). Failure to do so can, ultimately, result in prosecution.

If incidents involving pedestrians and cyclists are not brought to the attention of the relevant body, then they will not be reported to the Office of Rail Regulation.

Motor Vehicles: Licensing

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many new vehicles were licensed in each of the last five years; and how many licensed vehicles were sent for scrap in each year. (250746)

The number of new vehicles licensed at the end of each of the last five years in Great Britain were as follows:

New vehicles licensed at the end of each year

Number (thousand)

2003

3,081

2004

3,022

2005

2,871

2006

2,752

2007

2,831

Statistics relating to 2008 are not yet available, but are due to be published in April 2009.

Statistics are not held on the number of scrapped vehicles.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many vehicles were the subject of a statutory off-road notice but not sent for scrap in each of the last five years. (250747)

The numbers of registered vehicles subject to a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) in each of the last three years were as follows:

Registered vehicles subject to a SORN declaration

Number (thousand)

2005

1,565

2006

1,691

2007

1,705

Statistics on vehicles subject to a SORN declaration are not held for 2003 and 2004. In addition, statistics relating to 2008 are not yet available, but are due to be published in April 2009.

Statistics are not held on the number of scrapped vehicles.

Official Cars

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what cars are (a) owned, (b) leased, (c) hired and (d) otherwise regularly used by his Department, broken down by cubic capacity of engine. (250136)

Parliamentary Trains

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) on which routes parliamentary trains within the meaning of the Railways Act 1844 are running; (247440)

(2) how many rail replacement bus services are funded directly by his Department.

[holding answer 14 January 2009]: There are no parliamentary trains within the meaning of the Railways Act 1844.

Mindful of the requirements of relevant legislation, the Department for Transport is currently funding a rail replacement bus service between Ealing Broadway station and Wandsworth Road station. This service, which is a temporary measure until the Department can arrange a replacement rail service in this area, has been operating since 14 December 2008.

Other than the aforementioned service, no rail replacement bus services are directly funded by the Department. London Midland provide rail replacement bus services in place of all trains to Barlaston, Norton Bridge and Wedgewood. The costs for these are part of the overall subsidy payment for the London Midland franchise.

Public Transport: Bus Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the number of people using public bus services in each of the last five years for which figures are available. (250059)

The following tables show the number of bus passenger journeys in Great Britain for each of the last five years together with the frequency of bus use for British residents.

Local bus services passenger journeys: 2003-04 to 2007-08

Million

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

Great Britain

4,681

4,737

4,791

5,097

5,164

Source:

DFT Annual Surveys of Passenger Service Vehicle Operators

Frequency of use of local bus: 2003 to 2007

Percentage of individuals

2003

20041

2005

2006

2007

3 or more times a week

17

16

16

17

Once or twice a week

11

10

11

11

Less than once a week, more than once or twice a month

4

4

4

4

Once or twice a month

7

8

8

8

Less than once a month, more than once or twice a year

7

7

7

7

Once or twice a year

10

10

9

9

Less than once a year or never

44

45

44

43

Total

100

100

100

100

1 Data not available.

Source:

DFT National Travel Survey

Public Transport: Greater Manchester

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans his Department has for the funds previously earmarked for public transport improvement in Manchester as part of the Transport Innovation Fund bid. (250149)

The funding previously earmarked for the Greater Manchester Congestion Transport Innovation Fund package will now be made available to other high quality TIF proposals.

Public Transport: Rural Areas

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what grants his Department and its predecessor provided to subsidise public transport in rural areas in England in (a) 2001, (b) 2005 and (c) 2008; and if he will make a statement. [Official Report, 1 April 2009, Vol. 490, c. 7MC.] (250067)

The annual totals of grants paid to local authorities under the rural bus subsidy grant (RBSG) and rural bus challenge (RBC) schemes for the relevant financial years are shown in the following table.

£ million

RBSG

RBC

2001-02

41.2

12.1

2005-06

53.0

12.3

2008-091

2157.0

32.0

1 Paid to local authorities as part of their area-based grant.

2 Allocation.

3 Estimated.

In addition, local authorities support rural transport services using funds from the unhypothecated revenue support grant and local bus service operators, including those in rural areas, receive bus service operators grant from this Department.

Rural railways are funded as part of franchises covering both rural and urban areas or by grants to Network Rail which operates both rural and non rural railway. No separate figures are available for rural rail support.

Railway Stations: Parking

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will investigate car parking charge increases which have taken place over the last three years at railway station car parks; and if he will make a statement. (250152)

There are no plans to investigate increases in station car parking charges, which are a matter either for Network Rail at its managed stations or for the relevant train operating company at the franchised stations.

Railways: Repairs and Maintenance

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what guidance his Department gives to rail maintenance companies with regard to (a) damage to highways and (b) disturbance to residents during anti-social hours, with particular reference to the West Coast Main Line at Hampton-in-Arden. (249644)

This is an operational matter for Network Rail as the owner and operator of the national rail network. The hon. Member may consider contacting Network Rail's chief executive at the following address:

Iain Coucher

Chief Executive

Network Rail

Kings Place

90 York Way

London, N1 9AG.

Railways: Subsidies

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much has been paid in subsidies from the public purse to the rail network in each financial year since privatisation. (250072)

Historic Government support to the rail industry is published by the Office of Rail Regulation in National Rail Trends. Copies are available in the Library of the House and the data and accompanying notes are also available on the Office of Rail Regulation’s website at the following address:

http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/upload/xls/nrt-tables-6miscell111208.xls

Road Traffic Control

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what guidance his Department (a) has recently produced and (b) plans to produce for local authorities on their enforcement of box junction offences; and if he will make a statement. (250222)

The enforcement of box junctions in London is carried out under legislation promoted by the relevant local authorities. The Secretary of State has, therefore, no specific powers under which to produce guidance. The remaining provisions in part 6 of the Traffic Management Act 2004—which include the power to enforce box junctions—will be brought into force in due course with regulations. These will be accompanied by statutory guidance setting out the matters to which local authorities using the powers must have regard.

The Department for Transport has been discussing the timing and implementation of these powers with the Local Government Association, and our decisions will be informed by the outcome of their soundings with their membership.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the duties are of (a) traffic managers and (b) local traffic authorities with regard to (i) responding to and (ii) preventing traffic gridlock; what guidance his Department has issued on this issue; and what plans he has to issue such guidance in the next 12 months. (250227)

Local traffic authorities have a statutory responsibility (Network Management Duty) to secure the expeditious movement of traffic and to facilitate the same on the networks of others. The Traffic Manager is responsible for carrying out this function. The formal duties are laid out in sections 16 and 17 of the Traffic Management Act 2004.

The Department for Transport has published ‘Network Management Duty Guidance’ and ‘Guidance on Intervention Criteria’ to help Traffic Managers understand and implement the duty. These came into force in December 2004 and 12 March 2007 respectively. Currently there are no plans to issue further guidance in this area.

Road Traffic Control: Cameras

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the (a) locations and (b) roads in (i) the Metropolitan Police area of London, (ii) Essex and (iii) Hertfordshire are where box junction cameras (A) are in place and (B) will be in place within the next 12 months for the purpose of monitoring vehicles for offences other than speeding. (250223)

This information is not kept by the Department for Transport. In London, the enforcement of box junction markings is undertaken mainly by local traffic authorities in accordance with their powers in the London Local Authorities and Transport for London Act 2003. Those powers include the option of using cameras to enforce. Outside London, box junction enforcement is the responsibility of the appropriate police authority.

Road Works: Injuries

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many people working on roadworks have been (a) killed and (b) seriously injured in each of the last five years. (250929)

The following table gives the numbers of fatal accidents and major injuries that have occurred to those working on the Highways Agency’s road network in the last five years. There have been no further accidents of these types this year.

Fatal accidents

Major injury accidents

Total accidents

2004

1

17

18

2005

5

12

17

2006

2

21

23

2007

0

14

14

2008

1

12

14

Total

10

76

86

Information on road worker casualties on roads that are the responsibility of local highways authorities is not collected by the Department for Transport.

Roads: Accidents

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many pedestrians have been (a) injured, (b) seriously injured and (c) killed in collisions with (i) cars, (ii) all motor vehicles and (iii) cyclists in each of the last 10 years. (250454)

The numbers of pedestrians that were (a) injured, (b) seriously injured and (c) killed in collisions with (i) cars (ii) all motor vehicles and (iii) cyclists in reported personal injury road accidents in each of the last 10 years are given in the table:

Number of casualties

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

Cars

All injured

37,367

35,054

34,199

32,955

31,490

29,276

28,116

26,680

24,963

24,169

Serious

8,063

7,451

7,161

6,828

6,496

5,886

5,552

5,251

5,236

5,064

Killed

673

608

590

531

534

533

462

470

471

433

All motor vehicles

All injured

43,621

41,598

40,783

39,431

37,734

35,337

33,931

32,290

30,060

29,297

Serious

9,492

8,876

8,559

8,169

7,801

7,109

6,746

6,389

6,322

6,224

Killed

904

863

851

825

770

767

669

666

672

642

Pedal Cyclists

All injured

309

346

291

258

205

255

235

276

223

225

Serious

72

70

66

60

47

45

49

61

47

48

Killed

2

5

3

0

4

4

1

3

3

4

1. All injured includes seriously injured and slightly injured casualties.

Rolling Stock

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much rolling stock operates on (a) Northern Rail, (b) London Midland and (c) franchises providing commuter services in London and the South East. (250717)

The quantity of rolling stock operating on Northern Rail, London Midland and franchises providing commuter services in London and the South East is outlined in the following table.

Operator

Number of passenger vehicles in service December 2008

(a) Northern

663

(b) London Midland

508

(c) c2c

296

NXEA

1,039

FCC

659

Chiltern

156

FGW

609

SWT

1,339

Southern

1,141

South Eastern

1,328

Sea Rescue: Devon

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the reasons are for the time taken to initiate a consultation process following the suspension of the Hope Cove lifeboat by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. (250216)

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency is developing a local consultation which considers the search and rescue provision across a wide area of the South West Peninsular rather than just the provision at Hope Cove. I will be writing shortly to the hon. Member about the plans for local consultation.

Speed Limits: Accidents

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what evidence his Department holds on the effectiveness in reducing accidents of (a) 20 miles per hour zones and (b) other speed restrictions. (250877)

There exists a wide range of research which identifies the link between vehicle speed and accident risk. This answer identifies the key papers.

The Transport Research Laboratory conducted two reviews of 20 mph zones in 1996 and in 1998.

Both reports showed that 20 mph zones with traffic calming achieved an average 9 mph reduction in vehicle speeds and a 60 per cent. reduction in accidents whereas in those areas where there was little or no traffic calming, reductions in vehicle speeds were minimal.

For speed restrictions more generally, the Transport Research Laboratory published a review of non-UK studies in 1994 which established a link between vehicle speed and the risk of accidents. This indicated that, in broad terms, a 1 mph reduction in average speed can reduce accident risk by around 5 per cent.

In 2000 the Transport Research Laboratory published a report investigating whether this general rule could be applied to different types of UK roads and to further understand the relationship between vehicle speed and accident frequency.

The report concluded that for each 1 mph reduction in average speed the percentage reduction in accident frequency is between 2 and 7 per cent. depending on vehicle speeds and the nature and layout of the road.

Transport: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if his Department will commission research into the effects of public spending on capital projects and programmes in respect of different modes of transport in stimulating economic activity. (250715)

In 2006 the Department for Transport published the Eddington Transport Study. The study reviewed a broad range of evidence to understand how transport can contribute to economic success. The study highlighted transport's pivotal role in supporting the UK's future economic success. The study is published on the internet at:

http://www.dft.gov.uk/about/strategy/transportstrategy/eddingtonstudy

The Department has a comprehensive appraisal framework1 that is used to assess the costs and benefits of proposed transport schemes across all modes. It includes an ‘Economy Objective' concerned with improving the economic efficiency of transport, with a sub objective to provide beneficial wider economic impacts.

The appraisal framework builds on a broad base of evidence and research, including work produced for the Eddington Study. It builds in evidence on the value of time saved and reliability gains to businesses, which are important for economic efficiency. Recent evidence on the contribution of transport to national productivity, such as through transport's impact on the efficiency and effectiveness of the labour market is also being incorporated into the assessment framework for schemes.

The Department is currently undertaking research to develop an approach for evaluating the productivity effects of transport schemes, ex post (i.e. after they have been delivered). This forms part of longer term work to generate robust evidence about the actual effects of key transport schemes on business productivity.

1 The DFT appraisal guidance is on the Internet at the following address:

http://www.dft.gov.uk/webtag

Waterloo Station

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects platform 20 at Waterloo Station to re-open for train services; and what services will be provided from that platform. (248331)

Network Rail has now completed the works to convert platform 20 of Waterloo International for domestic usage. The Department for Transport is engaged with South West Trains seeking to reach agreement whereby they would operate train services into the platform.

Written Questions: Administrative Delays

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects to reply to Questions (a) 246918, (b) 246917, (c) 246775 and (d) 246919, on the Heathrow Expansion Risk Register, tabled on 18 December. (251347)

Olympics

Offenders

To ask the Minister for the Olympics how many former prisoners are employed by her Office; and what her Office's policy is on the employment of former prisoners. (246354)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on 15 January 2009, Official Report, column 872W.

Olympic Delivery Authority

To ask the Minister for the Olympics if she will place in the Library a copy of the most recent edition of the Olympic Delivery Authority's (a) register of board member interests and (b) register of gifts and hospitality. (250198)

In accordance with its management statement and its commitment to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_lnformation_Act>2000

the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) has made its register of board members' interests and its gifts and hospitality register publicly available.

The most recent editions of: the ODA's register of board members' interests (quarter ending September 2008), and the ODA's corporate hospitality register (July- September 2008), are available on the London 2012 website. I will have copies placed in the Library of both Houses.

Olympic Games 2012: Construction

To ask the Minister for the Olympics pursuant to the answer of 15 January 2008, Official Report, column 879W on Olympic Games 2012: construction, what RAG rating has been applied to the (a) budgetary and (b) timescale elements of the Olympics construction programme in each of the last six months. (250377)

[holding answer 22 January 2009]: It is not our policy to release the RAG ratings contained in confidential reports to the Olympic Board as, in isolation, they could be misinterpreted. When reporting to the Olympic Board, RAG ratings reflect the risks that exist, as well as progress to date, and these have recently focused primarily on financial challenges as a consequence of the current economic situation, as reflected in my statement of 22 January. Construction works over the last six months have continued to be delivered within the budget and on programme.

Olympic Games 2012: Facilities

To ask the Minister for the Olympics on what date construction began on (a) the Olympic Stadium and (b) the Olympic Village. (250269)

The Olympic Delivery Authority began construction of the Olympic Stadium in May 2008, two and a half months ahead of schedule, and of the Olympic Village in June 2008.

Olympic Games 2012: Finance

To ask the Minister for the Olympics pursuant to the answer of 15 January 2008, Official Report, column 879W on Olympic Games 2012: finance, what level of contingency was (a) requested and (b) granted in relation to the (i) additional seating requirements in the handball arena and (ii) the additional building works in the Olympic Stadium. (250376)

[holding answer 22 January 2009]: The details of contingency releases to date will be contained in the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games annual report, due to be published next month, and in subsequent quarterly financial updates.

Olympic Lottery

To ask the Minister for the Olympics how much the Olympic Lottery scratch cards had raised at the latest date for which figures are available; and when she expects the operator to reach its target of £750 million. (251020)

I have been asked to reply.

The National Lottery Commission have advised that as of 28 November 2008, designated Olympic lottery games have raised half of the £750 million target, and are on track to reach £750 million by 2012.

The National Lottery Commission compiles a quarterly report detailing the level of funds that have been transferred to the National Lottery Distribution Fund and the Oylmpic Lottery Distribution Fund, the next of which will be published on 11 February 2009 and will be available at the following weblink:

www.natlotcomm.gov.uk.

Olympic Park: Roads

To ask the Minister for the Olympics on what date the construction of the temporary roads and bridges required for traffic access to the Olympic Park was completed. (250267)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 20 January 2009, Official Report, column 1255W.

Scotland

Navy: Ports

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will hold discussions with the Secretary of State for Defence on the future use of Scottish ports by the Royal Navy. (250347)

Scotland Office Ministers are in regular contact with Ministry of Defence Ministers on a range of issues.

Wales

Departmental Manpower

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many members of staff are employed in his Department's media and communications team; when each member of staff was recruited; what the responsibilities of each member of staff are; and what the salary of each member of staff is. (248513)

The Wales Office has three members of staff employed in the media and communications team who are involved in a range of communication activities:

the Chief Press Officer recruited on 2 October 2006;

Senior Information Officer on 8 January 2007; and

Information Officer on 15 December 2008.

Salary information for individual staff is confidential and cannot be provided.

Departmental Pay

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many bonuses were awarded to senior civil servants working at his Department and its agencies in (a) 2007 and (b) 2008; and how much was spent on such bonuses in each of those years. (249860)

Northern Ireland

Antisocial Behaviour

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many anti-social behaviour orders were issued in each court area in Northern Ireland in (a) 2005, (b) 2006, (c) 2007 and (d) 2008. (251271)

The number of antisocial behaviour orders reported to the Northern Ireland Office by the relevant authorities is set out by court area and year in the following table.

Court Area

2005

2006

2007

2008

Total

Antrim

1

1

2

Ballymena

9

4

16

29

Bangor

2

1

3

Belfast

1

8

10

4

23

Coleraine

3

3

Craigavon

2

2

Derry

3

3

Downpatrick

3

2

5

Dungannon

1

2

3

Enniskillen

1

1

2

Larne

3

2

5

Lisburn

1

1

2

Magherafelt

1

1

Newry

2

1

2

5

Newtownards

2

2

Omagh

1

1

Strabane

1

1

Charities

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland to which (a) charities and (b) voluntary organisations his Department has provided funding in the last five years; and how much funding was provided to each. (247373)

Details of funding provided by the Northern Ireland Office to charities and voluntary organisations can be found in the ‘Government Funding Database’ which is located at the following address:

www.volcomgrantsni.gov.uk.

This database allows public access to grant awards made by the Northern Ireland Office and the NI departments. The information spans a number of financial years and is updated regularly by each department.

Departmental Pay

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much has been spent by his Department on staff reward and recognition schemes in each of the last three years. (248706)

The Department does not operate a reward and recognition scheme. Staff performance is recognised through the NIO's bonus arrangements.

Departmental Written Questions

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on how many occasions in the last 12 months Ministers in his Department have used their discretion to rule that a parliamentary question for written answer should be answered because it would be in the public interest to do so, even though to do so would exceed the disproportionate cost threshold of £700. (249130)

Of the 1,4771 questions received by my Department, from the beginning of 2008 until the end of the Session, only 24 received no answer on the grounds of disproportionate cost. This represents less than 0.02 per cent. of the total.

If a question is deemed to exceed the threshold it is my Department's policy to provide whatever information it can, if available, within that threshold.

1 These figures cover questions tabled in both the House of Commons and House of Lords, including oral questions in the House of Commons. They exclude transferred or withdrawn questions.

Ireland: Official Visits

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on how many occasions in 2008 the President of the Irish Republic visited Northern Ireland; and which official UK representative met her on each visit. (248933)

The President of the Irish Republic has visited Northern Ireland to conduct private working visits on 13 occasions during 2008. I have outlined the locations and confirmed the official UK representative who met the President on each occasion:

(1) Visit to Co. Down on 28 January and met by William Hall, Lord Lieutenant of Co. Down;

(2) Visit to Belfast on 8 February and met by Lady Carswell, Lord Lieutenant for the County Borough of Belfast;

(3) Visit to Co. Antrim, Co. Londonderry and Co. Tyrone on 20 February and met by Sheelagh Hillan, Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Co. Antrim;

(4) Visit to Armagh on 5t March and met by the right hon. the Earl of Caledon, Lord Lieutenant of Co. Armagh;

(5) Visit to Belfast on 18 March and 19 of March and met by Commander Keith Cochrane, Vice Lord Lieutenant for the County Borough of Belfast;

(6) Visit to Co. Down on 3 April and met by David Shillington, Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Co. Down;

(7) Visit to Londonderry on 29 May and met by Denis Desmond, Lord Lieutenant of Co. Londonderry;

(8) Visit to Londonderry on 10 June and met by Denis Desmond, Lord Lieutenant of Co. Londonderry;

(9) Visit to Belfast on 29 June and met by Lady Carswell, Lord Lieutenant for the County Borough of Belfast;

(10) Visit to Co. Tyrone on 17 September and met by Denis Desmond, Lord Lieutenant of Co. Londonderry (greeted at Deny City Airport);

(11) Visit to the City of Derry on 4 October and met by Donal Keegan, Lord Lieutenant of the City of Londonderry;

(12) Visit to Co. Down on 23 October and met by Commander Keith Cochrane, Deputy Lord Lieutenant for the County Borough of Belfast;

(13) Visit to Belfast on 18 November and met by Lady Carswell, Lord Lieutenant for the County Borough of Belfast.

Offensive Weapons

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what quantity of (a) firearms, (b) ammunition, (c) explosives and (d) detonators was discovered in Northern Ireland in 2008. (250826)

This is an operational matter for the Chief Constable. I have asked him to reply to the hon. Member directly, and I will arrange for a copy of the letter to be placed in the Library of the House.

Reparation By Offenders

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what methodology is used to (a) monitor the progress made by and (b) measure the outcome for those participating in community restorative justice schemes funded by his Department. (250827)

The Government protocol under which community-based restorative justice schemes are accredited provides that a multi-agency review panel, representative of key criminal justice organisations, will have responsibility for case monitoring, outcome reviews and the overall assessment of the effectiveness of specific interventions for particular categories of offence and offender. Additionally, the protocol provides that accredited schemes will also be subject to inspection by Criminal Justice Inspection Northern Ireland who will have access to all records of protocol activity undertaken by schemes to ensure that the prescribed standards are being maintained.

Security

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what recent assessment he has made of the security situation in Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement. (248994)

The 20th IMC report underlines the very significant progress that Northern Ireland has made towards a more normal society; however, dissident Republicans remain active and committed to killing or injuring police officers. They are isolated within the wider community and I have every confidence in the PSNI's ability to deal with the threat they pose. The extension of the decommissioning scheme provides loyalists with a final opportunity to signal their commitment to move forward and give up their weapons. This scheme does not cut across continuing PSNI efforts to find and remove illegal weapons.

Weapons: Northern Ireland

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland for what reasons the Government has extended the deadline for loyalist paramilitary decommissioning. (248362)

The Government remain committed to removing illegal weapons from Northern Ireland society.

The Secretary of State would not have sought an extension to the scheme unless he believed there was a reasonable prospect of decommissioning in the coming period. The scheme applies only in restricted circumstances to those who have reached agreement with the IICD on the process of decommissioning. It does not cut across continuing PSNI efforts to find and remove illegal weapons.

Witnesses: Protection

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the budget for the Key Persons Protection Scheme in Northern Ireland was in each of the last two years. (251272)

Admissions to the key persons protection scheme ceased on 31 October 2006 and was replaced by the limited home protection scheme.

Expenditure on the limited home protection scheme in the last two years is as follows:

As at 1 April to 31 March each year

Expenditure on the scheme (£ million)

2007-08

12.149

2008-09

21.655

1Actual spend.

2 Budget.

Defence

Afghanistan: Peacekeeping Operations

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence with reference to the answer of 14 January 2009, Official Report, columns 738-39W, on Iraq and Afghanistan: peacekeeping operations, what the reasons are for the four-month period between the withdrawal of Merlin helicopters from Iraq and their planned redeployment to operations in Afghanistan. (250214)

[holding answer 22 January 2009]: It is essential that all personnel are fully trained for the demanding operational conditions in Afghanistan ahead of any deployment. The majority of the preparation for the redeployment of Merlin from Iraq to Afghanistan is taking place while the Merlin Force remains committed to Iraq. However, certain key aspects of the flying training cannot be conducted until the equipment deployed in Iraq is released from theatre.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to replace the Harrier aircraft currently operating in south west Afghanistan. (251239)

I refer the hon. Member to the answers given on 17 November 2008, Official Report, columns 134W and 136W, to the hon. Member for North-East Milton Keynes (Mr. Lancaster).

Aircraft Carriers

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what consideration has been given to the deployment of unmanned aerial vehicles from the future aircraft carriers. (247172)

[holding answer 14 January 2009]: We keep our requirements under constant review and are conducting studies into the potential requirement for unmanned aerial systems including maritime systems. So far, this work has not specifically focused on the use of any particular maritime platform such as the future aircraft carrier.

Armed Forces: Health

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the (a) required, (b) actual and (c) actual personnel medically fit for purpose total is for (i) each battalion of the infantry (ii) 1 Rifles, (iii) 40 Commando Royal Marines, (iv) 42 Commando Royal Marines and (v) 45 Commando Royal Marines. (250402)

[holding answer 22 January 2009]: The figures requested for the infantry are shown in the following table:

Div

Unit

Required strength

Actual strength

Fit for purpose strength

Guards

1 Grenadier Guards

632

549

502

1 Coldstream Gds

626

511

511

1 Scots Guards

685

548

519

1 Irish Guards

633

602

575

1 Welsh Guards

626

584

540

Scots

1 Scots

630

554

508

2 Scots

627

476

451

3 Scots

629

575

546

4 Scots

686

588

538

5 Scots

657

561

535

Queens

1 Princess of Wales Royal Regiment

682

683

657

2 Princess of Wales Royal Regiment

623

524

503

1 Royal Regt Fusiliers

686

677

650

2 Royal Regt Fusiliers

623

505

423

1 Royal Anglian

658

733

710

2 Royal Anglian

629

627

613

Kings

1 Lancs

658

670

634

2 Lancs

612

607

570

1 Yorks

629

519

500

2 Yorks

623

489

469

3 Yorks

686

626

592

PoW

1 Mercian

628

523

487

2 Mercian

623

564

538

3 Mercian

658

594

541

1 Royal Welsh

623

543

522

2 Royal Welsh

686

625

579

Rifles

1 Rifles

534

542

477

2 Rifles

623

619

583

3 Rifles

623

634

628

4 Rifles

655

647

633

5 Rifles

686

712

672

RI

1 Royal Irish

650

571

528

Para

2 Para

648

677

624

3 Para

648

662

660

RGR

1 Royal Gurkha Rifles

643

739

720

2 Royal Gurkha Rifles

758

925

896

In addition to the battalions shown above there are three incremental guards companies which are primarily for public duties but which can also be used to augment the other guards battalions as required:

Unit

Required strength

Actual strength

Fit for purpose strength

N Coy Grenadier Gds

108

109

105

7 Coy Coldstream Gds

108

90

90

F Coy Scots Guards

108

108

105

The figures in both tables include personnel filling all roles within each battalion, not just infantrymen. “Fit for purpose” has been interpreted as fit for primary role.

The figures for the Royal Marines Commandos Units specified are as follows:

Unit

Required strength

Actual strength

Fit for purpose strength

40 Cdo RM

703

555

521

42 Cdo RM

703

703

649

45 Cdo RM

703

824

790

Armed Forces: Manpower

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 12 January 2009, Official Report, column 17, what the evidential basis is for his statement that there has been an overall improvement in recent times; and if he will place in the Library all relevant figures on harmony guidelines. (248398)

[holding answer 19 January 2009]: Maintaining Harmony helps to relieve the stress and burden on our armed forces and their families. Consequently, the Service Chiefs expend considerable effort in increasing intervals between operational tours intervals and maintaining the Harmony Guidelines. As I stated in the House on 12 January 2009, breaches of the Harmony Guidelines have decreased, albeit not as quickly as I would have hoped for, but I am confident that the trend is heading in the right direction and that the Service Chiefs have measures in place to monitor and address the breaches while maintaining operational capability. The first table following gives an indication of mean unit tour intervals, which shows that the Royal Artillery, Royal Signals and the Royal Logistic Corps units are suffering greater commitment than most. However, the unit tour interval does not reflect the degree of trickle posting of personnel through these units or how much separation an individual incurs.

Average tour interval

2007

2008

September

October

November

December

January

February

March

April

May

June

Infantry

23

22

22

23

23

23

23

27

27

24

RAC

24.1

24

24

26

26

26

26

26

26

25

RA

19.1

18.5

18.5

18.5

18.5

18.5

18.5

21

21

21

RE

26.9

26.9

26.9

26.9

26.9

26.9

26.9

26.9

26.9

26.9

R SIGNALS

19.6

19.6

19.6

19.6

19.6

19.6

19.6

19.6

19.6

19.6

RLC

15

15

15

15

15

15

15

15

15

15

The second table identifies the level of separation (Harmony), which incorporates all activities, such as training, support to operations and courses that take service personnel away from their family and friends.

The current levels of Individual Harmony show that:

Less than 1 per cent. of Royal Navy/Royal Marines personnel were in breach of the single service guidelines.

Owing to the introduction of the Joint Personnel Administration system, it is not possible at present to identify the exact level of breach of the Harmony Guidelines in the Army. Validated data will not be available until January 2010 but, for administrative purposes, the percentage is currently being held at 10.3 per cent. the last figure in which we can have confidence before the introduction of the new system. However, every effort is being made by all levels of the chain of command to ensure that soldiers are not overly committed.

The level of RAF breaches shows a significant drop from 9.4 per cent. to 6.1 per cent. The degree of change has been brought about by an amendment to the reporting criteria. The RAF Harmony Guideline has changed from 140 days separation in a 12-month period to 280 days in a 24-month period. Without increasing the level of separation commanders now have greater flexibility to deploy personnel on career courses, education and adventure training without breaking the Harmony Guideline.

Percentage of total personnel who have breached Individual Harmony

RN

Army

RAF

2002-03

Q1

<1

1

5.3

2002-03

Q2

<1

1

5.4

2002-03

Q3

<1

1

5.1

2002-03

Q4

<1

1

5.0

2003-04

Q1

<1

1

6.8

2003-04

Q2

<1

1

6.2

2003-04

Q3

<1

1

6.2

2003-04

Q4

<1

18.1

5.4

2004-05

Q1

<1

17.0

3.6

2004-05

Q2

<1

16.8

3.8

2004-05

Q3

<1

15.5

3.6

2004-05

Q4

<1

15.5

3.9

2005-06

Q1

<1

15.6

4.1

2005-06

Q2

<1

15.3

4.1

2005-06

Q3

<1

15.1

4.2

2005-06

Q4

<1

14.5

3.9

2006-07

Q1

<1

14.0

2.9

2006-07

Q2

<1

13.4

1.7

2006-07

Q3

<1

12.4

5.2

2006-07

Q4

<1

10.3

6.2

2007-08

Q1

<1

10.3

6.7

2007-08

Q2

<1

10.3

9.2

2007-08

Q3

<1

10.3

10

2007-08

Q4

<1

10.3

9.2

2008-09

Q1

<1

10.3

9.4

2008-09

Q2

<1

210.3

36.1

1 No record.

2 This is a holding figure as there is currently insufficient data held on JPA—this should become available in January 2010.

3 This reflects the changes in the reporting baseline—the RAF Harmony Guidelines has changed from 140-/12 to 280/24 and is now reported against a 0 level threshold.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many full-time equivalent (a) military and (b) civilian personnel are employed at the headquarters of each UK-based regional brigade. (250084)

The information requested is shown in the following table:

Brigade

Military posts

Civilian posts

15 (North East) Brigade

46

46

42 (North West) Brigade

33

53

51 (Scottish) Brigade

34

47

2 (South East) Brigade

26

44

43 (Wessex) Brigade

34

59

145 (South) Brigade

33

42

49 (East) Brigade

40

39

143 (West Midlands) Brigade

47

56

160 (Wales) Brigade

36

56

38 (Irish) Brigade

100

171

Military numbers include posts filled by non regular permanent staff and full-time reserve service personnel working alongside regular Army personnel.

Civilian numbers include some posts which are filled by contracted personnel who are not civil servants. Some of these posts may not be currently filled.

38 (Irish) Brigade figures are not in line with a typical regional brigade pending the full implementation of Northern Ireland normalisation plans.

Armed Forces: South Georgia

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the Royal Navy stations any vessels in the region surrounding South Georgia and the Sandwich Islands. (250288)

There are no Royal Navy vessels permanently stationed near South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. There are regular patrols in this area by the Falkland Islands Patrol Vessel, HMS Clyde, and the Atlantic Patrol Task (South). Visits would also normally include the Antarctic patrol and survey vessel in the austral summer (HMS Endurance). Regular air and land patrols also take place.

The South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands Government also have their own fisheries protection vessel, MV Pharos.

Army: Labour Turnover

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what the (a) inflow and (b) outflow rates of each army infantry battalion were in each month of 2008; (249727)

(2) what the (a) inflow and (b) outflow rates of each army corps were in each month of 2008.

Information broken down by each Infantry Battalion is not held centrally and is therefore currently unavailable. Flows information by Army Service is not currently available and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

However, the inflow to the trained strength of the total army can be found in Table 4 of Tri-Service Publication four UK Armed Forces Quarterly Manning Report and the outflow from the trained strength of the total army can be found in Table 6 of Tri-Service Publication four which can be viewed on the DASA web at the following link:

http://www.dasa.mod.uk/applications/newWeb/www/index.php?page=48&thiscontent=20&date=2008-11-27&pubType=l&PublishTime=09:30:00&from=home&tabOption=3

Athena Mechanism

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what changes have been made to the Athena mechanism in the last six months. (249697)

A number of changes have been made to the Athena mechanism in the last six months. The resulting revised Athena mechanism document 16561/08 dated 16 December 2008 has been published and can be found within the Council of the European Union's website at:

http://register.consilium.europa.eu/pdf/en/08/st16/st16561.en08.pdf.

I can confirm that the UK was successful in delivering our key goal of ensuring that the eligibility for common funding remained within previously agreed levels.

AWE Burghfield

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what evidence his Department holds on the safety of airborne particulate debris arising from the functioning of the Main Process Facility at AWE Burghfield. (249007)

The release of radioactive material to the environment is regulated by the Environment Agency (EA) under the Radioactive Substances Act 1993 (RSA93). Under this regulatory regime, the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) has an authorisation, issued by the EA, which places various requirements and limits on AWE operations, including those associated with the main process facility for the assembly/disassembly of nuclear warheads at AWE Burghfield.

The methodology used by AWE and accepted by the EA is based on air sampling and modelling and shows that actual discharges are well within safe levels i.e. those required by legislation. Sampling results are reported regularly by AWE plc to the EA and to the Ministry of Defence.

The EA is content that radioactive releases from the existing AWE Burghfield facility would have negligible impact upon the environment, even at the maximum permissible release limits as set out in the AWE Burghfield RSA93 Authorisation. The proposed replacement facility will be required to operate under the same regulatory regime and it is anticipated that radioactive releases from the proposed replacement facility will be no higher than the already negligible releases from the existing facility.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the risk from activity in the gravel gerties to (a) building workers, (b) other on-site workers and (c) the general public is below the basic safety objectives in the Burghfield assembly facility. (248811)

The basis for demonstrating the safe operation of nuclear facilities is that the requirements of good practice in engineering, operation and safety management are met. Risks from activities in the gravel gerties have to meet the legal requirement to be As Low As Reasonably Practicable (ALARP). There are also in place numerical risk targets defined by the independent nuclear safety regulator, the Health and Safety Executive's Nuclear Installations Inspectorate (NII).

When compared to these numerical targets, risks for building workers lie between the Basic Safety Objective and the Basic Safety Level and have been assessed to be ALARP. The risks for other on-site workers and the public are below the Basic Safety Objective. An ongoing programme of work in the gravel gerties, agreed with the NII, continues to drive risks down further. The NII is satisfied with this strategy and that operations continue to be completed safely.

Defence Equipment

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library a copy of the McKinsey and Co study, “Transforming the UK’s Defence Procurement System”. (249720)

Yes. I will arrange for a copy to be placed in the Library of the House.

Defence Management Board

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if he will place in the Library a copy of (a) Defence Board (08) Paper 03, Strategic Risk—Making The Defence Case, (b) Defence Board (08), Paper 02, Strategic Review of Remuneration, (c) Defence Board (08), Paper 10, Typhoon Tranche 3 and Future Support, (d) Defence Board (08) Paper 13, Corporate Manslaughter and Homicide Legislation, (e) Defence Board (08) Paper 17, Balanced Scorecard and (f) Defence Board (08) Paper 47, Departmental Management of International Acquisition; (249698)

(2) if he will place in the Library a copy of (a) Defence Management Board DMB (07) Paper 24, Defence Attaches Review, (b) DMB (07) 25, The Future of NAAFI, (c) DMB (07) 28, Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide, (d) DMB (07) 28, Maximising Defence Capability Through R and D, (e) DMB (07) 46, Managing Our Military Strategic Balance 2, (f) DMB (07) 57, the Future of NAAFI, (g) DMB (07) 58, Update on Maximising Defence Capability Through R and D, (h) DMB (07) 58, Update on Maximising Defence Capability Through R and D and (i) DMB (07) 60, Pay Strategy 2008;

(3) what Defence Management Board papers were taken in 2008;

(4) if he will place in the Library a copy of (a) Defence Management Board (07) Paper 11 Crown Immunity, (b) Defence Management Board (07) Paper 12 Maximising Benefit from Defence Research, (c) Defence Management Board (07) Paper 13 Crown Immunity in Defence, (d) Defence Management Board (07) Paper 15 Comprehensive Spending Review 07—Value for Money Reviews, (e) Defence Management Board (07) Paper 16 Science and Technology Rapid Assistance to Operations (STRATOS), (f) Defence Management Board (07) Paper 33 DMB Involvement with Investment Approval Decisions and (g) Defence Management Board (07) Paper 34 Defence Balanced Scorecard Revision.

The Defence Management Board was renamed the Defence Board in early 2008. It is the main corporate board of the MOD, providing strategic level leadership and strategic management of Defence, with responsibility to Ministers for the full range of Defence business, other than the conduct of operations.

It is a forum in which judgments about advice to Ministers are made, policy formulated, and issues relating to defence, national security and international relations (including some involving classified information, commercial and legal advice) are discussed. It is important that there should be a free and frank exchange of views. Accordingly, most of the papers it considers cannot be released.

However, reports on “Maximising Benefit from Defence Research” and “Maximising Defence Capability Through R and D”, which formed the basis of Defence Management Board papers (06)12 and (07)30 are publicly available on the MOD website. I have placed in the Library of the House copies of Defence Management Board papers (06)34 “Defence Balanced Scorecard Revision” and (07)58 “Update on Maximising Defence Capability Through R and D” and Defence Board paper (08)13 “Corporate Manslaughter and Homicide Legislation”.

Lists of the papers taken by the Defence Board in 2008 and of those taken by the Defence Management Board in previous years are published on the MOD’s website, together with meeting agendas and unclassified summaries of conclusions.

Defence: Military Aircraft

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many fixed-wing aircraft serve as (a) transport and troop carriers and (b) air refuelling craft; and where each such aircraft is based. (250085)

The aircraft that comprise the air transport and air to air refuelling fleets are in the following table.

Aircraft

Role

Base

Hercules CI30K

Air Transport

RAF Lyneham

Hercules C130J

Air Transport

RAF Lyneham

C-17 Globemaster

Air Transport

RAF Brize Norton

VC10

Dual-role Air Transport and Air to Air Refuelling

RAF Brize Norton

Tristar

Dual-role Air Transport and Air to Air Refuelling

RAF Brize Norton

Communications and training aircraft have been excluded.

For the aircraft numbers, I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 12 January 2009, Official Report, column 105W, to the hon. Member for Woodspring (Dr. Fox).

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Tranche 3 Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft are on order for (a) Saudi Arabia, (b) Japan and (c) the UK; and if he will make a statement. (250091)

There are currently no Tranche 3 Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft on order for any nation.

Departmental Air Travel

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence with reference to the answer to the hon. Member for Rochford and Southend, East of 6 October 2008, Official Report, column 253W, on departmental air travel, whether staff who travel in a cheaper class than that to which they are entitled receive a (a) personal and (b) pecuniary benefit from doing so. (250049)

Ministry of Defence or Defence Agency staff entitled to first or business class air travel may travel at a lower class if they wish. Where employees travel outside their entitlement, they receive no personal or pecuniary benefit for doing so.

Departmental Fuels

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what volume of (a) petrol, (b) diesel, (c) aviation fuel and (d) other fuels derived from petroleum his Department consumed in (i) 2005-06, (ii) 2006-07 and (iii) 2007-08; and if he will make a statement. (249634)

As MOD central financial systems do not record total fuels consumption, this information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Figures are, however, available for marine fuels consumed (including fuels for operations) by UK gallon and are set out in the following table:

UK gallon

Financial year

Fuel type

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

F-76 (marine diesel)

50,127,440

48,431,460

49,506,380

MGO (marine gasoil)

6,421,140

9,632,920

11,299,200

F-44 (marine aviation)

3,132,360

2,633,400

2,574,220

Some figures are also available for the amount purchased by UK gallon of aviation and ground fuels and these are set out in the following table:

UK gallon

Financial year

Fuel type

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

Avtur F-35 (aviation turbine)

138,991,189

152,765,198

131,781,498

ULGAS F-67 (unleaded petrol)

1,766,740

1,712,115

1

Dieso F-54 (road diesel)

13,276,872

12,219,604

13,450,000

1 Figure not yet available.

The figures in this table exclude fuel card purchases and some refuelling arrangements with other nations. Moreover, they do not include fuel for use on operations as non-marine fuels are obtained by arrangement with NATO and the United States.

Departmental ICT

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence with reference to the answer of 24 November 2008 to the hon. Member for Chesterfield, Official Report, columns 897-8W, on departmental ICT, (1) how many of the principal operators of the (a) 65 memory sticks lost or stolen from his Department in 2008 and (b) 11 memory sticks recovered by his Department in 2008, had security clearance to enable then to access (i) confidential, (ii) secret and (iii) top secret information; (249502)

(2) how many of the principal operators of the (a) 120 laptops lost or stolen from his Department in 2008 and (b) 26 laptop computers recovered by his Department in 2008, had security clearance to enable then to access (i) confidential, (ii) secret and (iii) top secret information;

(3) how many of the principal operators of the (a) 12 desktop computers lost or stolen from his Department in 2008 and (b) the desktop computer recovered by his Department in 2008, had security clearance to enable then to access (i) confidential, (ii) secret and (iii) top secret information;

(4) how many of the principal operators of the (a) 74 hard drives lost or stolen from his Department in 2008 and (b) five hard drives recovered by his Department in 2008, had security clearance to enable then to access (i) confidential, (ii) secret and (iii) top secret information.

The information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Manpower

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence with reference to the answer of 12 November 2008, Official Report, columns 1176-77W, on departmental manpower, whether civilian staff who are allocated to the redeployment pool are required to relocate to (a) permanent and (b) temporary positions in specific parts of the country. (250043)

Generally, full-time civilian staff at band D and equivalent and above have a full mobility obligation. All part-time staff and those below band D have a minimum mobility obligation, within the travel to work area. All civilian staff, whether in the redeployment pool or not, may be required to transfer within the terms of their mobility obligation, which may be to a permanent or temporary position.

Departmental Mobile Phones

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many mobile telephones (a) were reported as lost or stolen from and (b) have since been recovered by (i) his Department and (ii) each of its agencies in each year since 2003. (249501)

MOD units are not required to report centrally incidents of loss or theft of mobile phones. The information requested therefore could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

EC Defence Policy

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what changes in EU defence policy took place during the 2008 French Presidency. (250244)

I refer the hon. Member to the Explanatory Memorandum (EM number 30250) submitted for parliamentary scrutiny by the Minister for Europe on the presidency report of the European Security and Defence Policy. This EM was placed in the Library of the House on 10 December 2008 and sets out the HMG view on developments and changes for the European Security and Defence Policy that took place during the French presidency of the EU.

EU Battlegroups

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the cost to his Department of providing Britain’s commitment to the EU Battlegroup was between July and December 2008. (249742)

I refer the hon. Member to the answers my predecessor gave on 16 June 2008, Official Report, column 278W, and 2 June 2008, Official Report, column 681W. The UK EU Battlegroup did not deploy and hence there were no additional deployment-related costs to the UK.

Ex-servicemen: Radiation Exposure

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent representations he has received from veterans who were present at the nuclear tests which took place in and around Malden Island in the 1950s; if he will make compensation payments to such veterans whose health was affected by the tests; and if he will make a statement. (250209)

[holding answer 22 January 2009]: I refer the hon. Member to the replies I gave today to the hon. Member for Blaenau Gwent (Mr. Davies) and to the hon. Member for South Holland and The Deepings (Mr. Hayes).

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent representations his Department has received from the British Nuclear Test Veterans' Association (BNTVA) over claims for compensation from such veterans; and what the outcome was of his most recent meeting with the BNTVA to discuss compensation. (248784)

In December 2008 I received a letter signed by the Chairman of the BNTVA John Lowe, the hon. Member for Billericay (Mr. Baron) and my hon. Friend hon. the Member for Norwich, North (Dr. Gibson). That letter set out a case for an end to the atomic veterans litigation and for payment of damages to "nuclear test veterans and their affected offspring". While I have considered the points made, the Ministry of Defence has seen no general evidence of damage to nuclear test veterans' health, and therefore in my view the atomic veterans litigation must proceed at the High Court. I will place a copy of that letter and my reply in the Library of the House.

I do, however, take the concerns of our nuclear test veterans very seriously. For that reason, I met with representatives of the BNTVA, John Baron and Ian Gibson in October 2008 to discuss taking forward a study into the health of the offspring of nuclear test veterans. Officials also met the BNTVA and John Baron on 4 December 2008 to discuss preliminary scientific and ethical considerations that may be relevant to such a study. Both meetings were in clear agreement that compensation should not be discussed in advance of the forthcoming legal case. The Ministry of Defence has received no other recent representations from the BNTVA concerned with claims for compensation.

We are currently arranging a follow-on meeting to include the BNTVA and scientific experts, to take place as soon as practicable.

Future Large Aircraft

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what progress has been made on the position of the A400M project; and if he will make a statement; (249608)

(2) what the expected delivery dates for the A400M aircraft are; whether the aircraft will meet the Royal Air Force's heavy lift requirement needs; what recent discussions his officials have had with Airbus on the project; and if he will make a statement.

A contract for the development and production of the A400M aircraft was signed with Airbus Military on 27 May 2003 by the Organisation for Joint Armaments Co-operation (OCCAR) on behalf of participating nations (Germany, France, Spain, Belgium, Luxembourg, Turkey and the UK). The UK offtake is 25 aircraft from a total order of 180. The A400M is proving to be a challenging programme, and several delays and programme slips have been announced. Most recently, EADS/Airbus Military announced a slow down in production and that the first flight of the A400M prototype aircraft will slip until the “second half of 2009”.

EADS/Airbus Military have recently presented a proposed way ahead for the A400M programme and announced that they wish to discuss the delivery schedule and specific performance characteristics. The implications of these proposals are being studied by the nations and OCCAR.

Iraq: Peacekeeping Operations

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of co-operation between his Department and the Department for International Development in Operation Telic. (250853)

There is strong and effective cooperation between officials from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Ministry of Defence and the Department for International Development on Operation TELIC and in other areas of stabilisation and conflict prevention activity. On a recent visit to Basra, the US Commanding General in Iraq, General Ray Odierno, praised the levels of UK civil-military integration in Basra, describing it as ‘the way forward' for Iraq.

Joint Strike Fighter

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress has been made on procurement of the Joint Strike Fighter. (248373)

I refer my hon. Friend to my answer on 6 November 2008, Official Report, column 676W, to the hon. Member for Mid-Sussex (Mr. Soames) .

Met Office: Consultants

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much the Meteorological Office has spent on (a) public affairs firms and consultants and (b) external public relations companies in the last five years; and on which firms the money was spent. (250236)

The information requested is provided in the following table.

£

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

Public affairs companies

Politics International Ltd.

12,053

25,919

49,201

60,725

25,275

Cavendish Place Communications

4,000

External public relations companies

Citigate Communications

20,924

Primus Communications Ltd.

6,127

1,250

Payments to public affairs firms relate to training for Met Office witnesses appearing before Select Committees; training for Met Office staff in stakeholder management; assistance with the development and strengthening of relationships with key stakeholders, and support for Met Office participation in stakeholder events relating to meteorology and climate science.

Payments to external public relations companies relate to the provision of general PR support and advice. The Met Office no longer uses external public relations companies for this purpose.

Military Aircraft

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many helicopters were available for deployment by each service in each year since 2001. (249702)

All aircraft in the Forward Fleet are available for potential deployments worldwide. The Forward Fleet figures for each helicopter type by service are shown in the following table.

Financial year

Helicopter type

2001-02

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

Royal Navy

Merlin HM1

13

17

19

19

21

25

26

23

Lynx Mk 3

28

28

27

26

20

21

22

21

Lynx Mk 8

17

19

20

19

21

23

21

20

Sea King Mk 2/7

7

6

6

9

8

9

9

9

Sea King Mk 5

8

8

9

9

10

11

11

11

Sea King Mk 6

17

12

6

4

3

0

0

0

Sea King Mk 4 and 6c

29

29

29

29

29

29

29

29

Army

Apache

1

1

1

1

35

39

46

50

A109

4

4

4

4

4

4

4

4

Gazelle

2

2

75

69

53

49

42

42

Lynx Mk 7 and 9

2

2

75

75

75

66

59

59

RAF

Chinook

2

2

31

31

27

27

29

29

Merlin Mk 3

8

10

12

15

15

14

15

17

Puma

2

2

2

28

26

25

22

23

Sea King Mk 3/3a (Search and Rescue)

17

17

17

17

17

17

17

17

1 Not in service

2 Not recorded

Military Bases: Northern Ireland

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent progress has been made in the review of catering and other ancillary services provided to military bases in Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement. (251132)

The Department sent a consultation document to trade unions on 9 January 2009 seeking agreement on recommendations for the future delivery of catering, retail and leisure services and soft facilities support in Northern Ireland. The trade unions have 30 working days to respond plus an additional 15 days if required.

Navy: Piracy

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what Royal Navy assets will form the UK contribution to Op Atalanta in the (a) second quarter, (b) third quarter and (c) fourth quarter 2009; (249713)

(2) what Royal Navy assets are (a) currently participating and (b) planned to participate in (i) CTF 151 and (ii) Op Atalanta;

(3) which EU member states are contributing to the EU’s Op Atalanta; and what each is contributing.

The UK will contribute the Operation Commander and the Operation Headquarters to Op Atalanta throughout 2009, and the Royal Navy is currently providing HMS Northumberland for the first period of this EU counter-piracy mission.

Contribution of any further vessels is dependant on European Security and Defence Policy force generation requirements and UK operational priorities.

A number of European countries are contributing to Operation Atalanta. Questions regarding the specific contribution of other EU member states should be referred to the appropriate EU authorities.

HMS Portland will, on a case by case basis, support Combined Task Force 151 for counter-piracy operations. The UK will continue to provide a frigate to broader coalition operations in the region, including Combined Task Forces 150 and 151.

Nuclear Weapons: Ex-servicemen

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many settlements have been made by his Department of claims made by British nuclear test veterans; (248978)

(2) for which medical conditions his Department has accepted liability in relation to British nuclear test veterans;

(3) what reviews have been undertaken by the Government of the claims for compensation of British nuclear test veterans in the last 30 years;

(4) how much compensation has been paid to British nuclear test veterans to date.

The Ministry of Defence has not settled any common law claims for compensation relating to participation in the British nuclear testing programme of the 1950s and 1960s. The MOD does, however, have a long established war pension scheme which pays no-fault compensation in the form of tax-free pensions and allowances for ex-service personnel injured or made ill as a result of their service before 6 April 2005. There are no time limits for making a claim under the war pension scheme. The scheme is administered by the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency (SPVA). Information on awards under the scheme is published quarterly by the Department's Defence Analytical and Services Agency (DASA) derived from data from the war pension computer system. Those data do not enable injuries or illnesses to be linked to service at a particular location. It is not, therefore, possible to identify payments made to British nuclear test veterans under the war pension scheme. Nor is it possible to say how much has been spent on war pensions to nuclear tests veterans.

The Department is committed to compensation policy and individual decisions reflecting case facts and the relevant law, which are evidence based and in line with contemporary medical and scientific understanding. To meet this commitment there is routine scrutiny of the published peer reviewed literature and any other evidence of suitable quality.

When considering a claim for a war pension the facts of each case are considered on their individual merits. The test of proof is unique to the war pension scheme and is preferential to the claimant. It is more advantageous than the normal civil test of proof. In a war pension claim made more than seven years after leaving service there has to be no more than reliable evidence to raise a reasonable doubt that there is a connection between service and the claimed condition.

For nuclear test veterans, entitlement may be given under the war pension scheme for leukaemia, other than chronic lymphatic leukaemia, and polycythaemia rubra vera, in both cases where the condition arose within 25 years of presence at a nuclear test. This is based on the findings of the three National Radiological Protection Board epidemiological studies on mortality and cancer incidence of nuclear test participants 1952 to 1998 (published in 1988, 1993 and 2003). For these conditions, entitlement relates to presence at the sites and not exposure to ionising radiation. Otherwise the studies concluded that levels of mortality and cancer incidence in participants and controls were similar, with overall mortality less than expected from national rates.

A war pension, however, may be awarded in any individual case where the evidence shows that the individual is suffering from a recognised radiogenic disease and was exposed to a significant level of ionising radiation. It is important to note that the overwhelming majority of British nuclear test veterans received a “zero” dose of ionising radiation.

Pirates

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress has been made towards reaching an international agreement on a legal framework for the detention and trial of pirates. (250677)

Piracy is a crime of universal jurisdiction which any state is entitled, as a matter of international law, to prosecute. However it remains for individual countries to ensure legislation or suitable arrangement are in place for the detention and trial of pirates.

In line with UN Security Council Resolution 1851, the inauguration of the International Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia took place on 14 January to discuss an international response to piracy. The Contact Group was attended by 24 countries and five organisations, including UK representatives. One of the key focus areas is strengthening judicial frameworks for arrest, prosecution and detention of pirates, exploring regional arrangements, bilateral arrangements, and international judicial systems. A working group is taking forward discussions on this important issue.

Small Scale Focused Intervention Force

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which regiment or battalion forms the Small Scale Focused Intervention Force (SSFIF); whether it is fully equipped; whether the present SSFIF is deployed; and when the future SSFIF will take over from the present SSFIF. (249737)

The Small Scale Focused Intervention Force was replaced by the Small Scale Contingent Battle Group (SSCBG) in January 2009 and is currently formed by 3rd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment. A rotation of the SSCBG will take place in December 2009, for which a replacement unit has yet to be determined.

The SSCBG is not currently deployed, but is in a state of high readiness to deploy at 30 days notice.

Unmanned Air Vehicles

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles deployed by the Royal Air Force are fitted with precision munitions. (248631)

RAF Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles are capable of carrying 5001b laser guided bombs and Hellfire air-to-surface missiles. The actual weapons fitted during each operational deployment can and does vary and will be tailored to meet the operational requirement.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 19 January 2009, Official Report, column 1053W, on unmanned air vehicles, what drone systems were procured prior to the purchase of the Reaper system in the last 10 years; and at what cost. (250852)

I have taken the term “drone” to mean Unmanned Air Systems (UAS) rather than aerial target drones. The information requested is contained in the following table.

Year of procurement

System

Cost (£ million)

2003

Desert Hawk 1

0.95

2003

Buster

0.28

2005

Desert Hawk 1+

2.8

2006-08

Desert Hawk III

8.1

In addition to the systems listed above, the Hermes 450 UAS was declared In Service in July 2007. The Hermes 450 is not owned by MOD but is provided through a service provision contract with a Thales/Elbit consortium.

The ongoing Watchkeeper tactical UAS procurement programme, worth about £900 million, began in 2005.

Warships

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the (a) required and (b) actual level of spare part availability is for each (i) frigate, (ii) destroyer and (iii) submarine type in the Royal Navy. (249707)

There is no requirement to measure the availability of spare parts for Royal Navy vessels in the format requested as availability is measured at equipment, rather than platform, level. Instead, the Department holds data on the number of demands made for spare parts and whether the required delivery date for each line was met.

There are over 700 different types of equipment fitted to vessels across the fleet, made up of over 450,000 line items. These include items that support the systems and equipment onboard the vessels themselves, as well as the medical and general stores and the weapons and helicopters that they carry. Records of all replacement equipment demands are not currently held centrally as they are classified. A new system is, however, being rolled out that holds details for some 270,000 line items across 400 types of equipment. Performance statistics for demands placed against those items on the new system in the last 12 months are provided in the following table:

Vessel type

Percentage delivered by required date1

Type 23 Frigate

84

Type 22 Frigate

85

Type 42 Destroyer

88

Swiftsure Class Submarine

88

Trafalgar Class Submarine

85

1 Spares that were delivered in time to meet the required delivery date specified by the demander (e.g. ships’ crews).

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Agriculture

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps he is taking to increase public understanding of agriculture and horticulture. (243186)

DEFRA has undertaken a variety of activities to increase public understanding of agriculture and horticulture. These include:

A public awareness campaign celebrating 21 years of DEFRA agri-environment schemes highlighting the importance and contribution agriculture makes to protect the natural environment.

A regular stand at the Royal Show to highlight key agriculture and horticulture issues to the public.

Regular ministerial attendance of a wide range of agriculture and county shows.

A programme of ministerial regional visits to raise profile of key DEFRA projects in the regions.

Commitment to developing the understanding young people have of both where and how their food is produced by supporting the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) led Learning Outside the Classroom Manifesto.

Working closely with DCSF, the Department of Health, and other stakeholders to support the Year of Food and Farming (YFF) in Education, an industry-led initiative to reconnect children and young people with the countryside.

Supporting Open Farm Sunday, an industry run initiative, organised by LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming) with the objective of encouraging the public to visit farms, find out what farmers do, why they do it and why farms matter.

Agriculture: Subsidies

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 15 December 2008, Official Report, column 485W, on agriculture: subsidies, how the £10,000 for additional costs was allocated. (246402)

[holding answer 12 January 2009]: The £10,000 figure put against ‘additional costs’ was the estimate for dealing with ‘appeals’ against penalties imposed by the Rural Payments Agency on applicants who had a breach of cross compliance reported by the Environment Agency (EA). This relates to the time spent by the EA team in head office and the area inspector involved with the case.

The figure is an estimate as no direct cost measurement is in place.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many claims were made under the single farm payment scheme in (a) 2005, (b) 2006 and (c) 2007. (247175)

[holding answer 14 January 2009]: The following table gives the total number of claims made to the Rural Payments Agency under the Single Payment Scheme (SPS) in England for scheme years 2005, 2006 and 2007.

SPS scheme year

Number of claims

2005 SPS

119,964

2006 SPS

109,354

2007 SPS

106,341

The aforementioned figures are claims made and include, for example, duplicates and claims not subsequently valid for payment.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the administrative cost of processing an individual claim under the single farm payment scheme was in the latest period for which figures are available. (247176)

[holding answer 14 January 2009]: The average administrative cost of processing an individual Single Payment Scheme claim in 2007-08 is estimated at £742.

This figure was obtained by considering the direct processing costs and the total number of claims received. It is not however representative of the actual costs of processing individual claims because in practice, these vary in complexity and thus processing effort is required to validate and pay them.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many claims of under (a) £5, (b) £10, (c) £20, (d) £50, (e) £150, (f) £200, (g) £250 and (h) £400 were made under the single farm payment scheme in 2007. (247177)

[holding answer 14 January 2009]: The following table gives the value of claims made under the Single Payment Scheme (SPS) in England in 2007, falling into various size categories.

SPS claim value

Number of claims

[le]£5

5

≥£5 [le]£10

6

≥£10 [le]£20

34

≥£20 [le]£50

591

≥£50 [le]£150

4,361

≥£150 [le]£200

2,303

≥£200 [le]£250

2,188

≥£250 [le]£400

5,157

The figures represent the number of claims which have a claim value before any deduction is made, for example, taking off EU and National Modulation.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether he plans to introduce a de minimus level for single farm payments; and what the smallest such payment was in 2008. (249574)

Under the recently agreed CAP health check, member states will be required to introduce a de minimis threshold, within defined limits, for 2010 EU direct payments, including the single payment scheme (SPS). For the UK, this means having the option of setting the minimum either in the range of €100 to €200 or in the range of one to five hectares. A consultation exercise will be undertaken during 2009 on how this discretion will be exercised in England.

The smallest payment made so far under the 2008 SPS is £0.70.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what proportion of single farm payments in respect of (a) 2006-07, (b) 2007-08 and (c) 2008-09 remain outstanding; and what the sum of such outstanding payments for each year is. (249871)

The following table shows the proportion and sum of single payment scheme (SPS) outstanding payments in England for the scheme years 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008:

SPS scheme year

Percentage of total SPS payments outstanding for the scheme year concerned (rounded)

Value of outstanding SPS payments (rounded) (£)

2005

0.005

£75,000

2006

0.006

£93,000

2007

0.03

£446,000

2008

24.8

£400,000,000

For 2005 and 2006 the outstanding payments are held up awaiting the granting of probate for customers or the resolution of other legal issues blocking payment. Granting of probate is also the largest single issue holding up the remaining 2007 payments. The 2008 figure reflects the statement published on the Rural Payments Agency website on 22 January 2009.

Animal Welfare: Prosecutions

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 18 December 2008, Official Report, columns 1070-1W, on animal welfare: prosecutions, what steps are being taken (1) to increase the number of prosecutions for those abusing animals; (247841)

(2) to reduce the numbers of animals being abused.

The introduction of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 has already had a significant impact on improving the welfare of animals. We believe the new welfare offence, tightening up the law relating to animal fighting and ending the loopholes that allowed miscreants to circumvent disqualification orders introduced in the Act will help reduce the number of animals being abused. We are also currently in the process of producing new codes of practice for keeping dogs, cats and horses. These will help educate the public as to how to better keep their animals. We are also working on new secondary legislation under the Animal Welfare Act to help protect the welfare of racing greyhounds, and new codes of practice on the keeping of primates by private collectors and the rearing of gamebirds.