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Written Answers

Volume 684: debated on Wednesday 5 July 2006

Written Answers

Wednesday 5 July 2006

Autism: Inflammatory Bowel Disease

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What specialist provision is available for diagnosis and treatment for the sub-group of autistic children who suffer from an inflammatory bowel disease.[HL6650]

Children living with autism have access to the full range of local and specialist healthcare, including the diagnosis and treatment of inflammatory bowel disease.

Carbon Emissions

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What effect a lowering of the overall road speed limit to a maximum of 60 miles per hour would have on carbon emissions from the road transport sector.[HL6548]

The national speed limit of 70 miles per hour on dual carriageways and motorways reflects a practical balance between economic, environmental and safety objectives.

As part of a review of the UK Climate Change Programme, the Government have looked at the potential carbon savings that might result in 2010 under a range of different policy scenarios. One of these scenarios is a reduction of the speed limit on motorways and dual carriageways from 70 miles per hour to 60 miles per hour. The results of the analysis suggest that, if the new limit was strictly enforced, there could be carbon savings of around 0.84 million tonnes of carbon. However, such strict enforcement would not be easy to achieve in practice and could have significant implications and costs in its own right. Indeed, the analysis suggests that such a policy would not be cost-effective, with the benefits likely to be significantly outweighed by the costs.

Court Martial: Sergeant Selman and Others

asked Her Majesty's Government:

In the cases of Sergeant Selman and others recently acquitted at court martial, what material was disclosed on discovery by the prosecuting authority to the defence.[HL6213]

The defence was given the following material:

All statements that were taken during the investigation; this included audio and video copies of any statement that was recorded.

All exhibits that were produced in any of the statements.

Videos, photographs and maps of Basra General Hospital, the surrounding area and Bridge 4.

Copies of all unused material (material not used as evidence in the case), unless it was sensitive or irrelevant. This material included the “case file diary”—a daily record providing details of every action undertaken by the SIB during its investigation—and documentation relating to the compensation claim brought by the family of the deceased, including letters, statements and claim forms.

Drugs: Methamphetamine

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What was the incidence of illegal drug abuse in the United Kingdom using methamphetamine in each of the years 2001 to 2005; what is the addictive nature of this drug; and what is the incidence of recovery from such addiction.[HL6581]

Information is not collected centrally in the form requested.

The 2005 survey Drug Use, Smoking and Drinking Among Young People in England in 2005 reported that 1 per cent of 11 to 15 year-olds had taken speed or amphetamines, the category of drug in which methamphetamine use would be reported, in the last year.1 It is important to note that within this figure will be a number of other drugs within the amphetamine category.

The national drug treatment monitoring system, which is used to measure numbers in, and being retained in, drug treatment, reported 11 individuals as being in treatment, with methamphetamine identified as the primary drug of use, in 2005-06.

On 14 June this year, the Home Office Minister (Mr Vernon Coaker), announced that methamphetamine, or “crystal meth”, would be reclassified from a class B drug to a class A drug. This decision was based on international experience and has been taken on the advice of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, and the well documented dangers associated with production and use of this drug in all its forms, which will now be substantially easier to combat as a result of this reclassification.

Over the past few years there has been a substantial increase in the illicit use of methamphetamine in the Far East, parts of Europe and north America, but so far there has been relatively little evidence of misuse in the United Kingdom. While some seizures have been made, there is no evidence of large-scale use or demand for treatment.

Methamphetamine is a powerfully addictive stimulant that has potent effects on the central nervous system. It can be smoked, snorted, orally ingested, or injected to achieve a “high”. Using methamphetamine by intravenous injecting or by smoking is particularly liable to lead to addiction. We do not hold information on the incidence of recovery from such addiction.

1 A survey carried out for the Health and Social Care Information Centre and the Home Office by the National Centre for Social Research and the National Foundation for Educational Research. More than 9,000 pupils took part in the survey throughout England.

Equal Pay

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What are the percentage average weekly earnings of female full-time employees compared to those of men; and what steps they will take to reduce any gap between the earnings of male and female full-time employees.[HL6114]

The gender pay gap is 13.0 per cent, as measured by hourly earnings excluding overtime; this is the preferred measure of the gender pay gap. The gap in weekly median earnings is21.1 per cent less for women than for men1. The reasons for this differential can be explained by the fact that men typically earn more per hour than women and also that women in full-time employment typically work fewer hours per week than their male counterparts.

The Women and Work Commission has examined the causes of the pay gap and made practical recommendations to tackle it. The Government are committed to working with key players to tackle the gender pay gap and will issue an action plan later this year.

1 Source: ONS’s press release that accompanied the ASHE data in November 2005, and based on employee jobs paid at adult rates and not affected by absence.

European Convention on Human Rights

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by the Baroness Ashton of Upholland on 25 May (WA 120), whether they have evaluated the jurisprudence of the courts of the other member states of the European Union in interpreting and applying the European Convention on Human Rights; and, if so, whether they will publish this evaluation.[HL6725]

The Prime Minister has asked the Home Secretary to consider,

“whether primary legislation is needed to address the issue for Court rulings which over-rule the Government in a way that is inconsistent with other EU countries’ interpretation of the European Convention on Human Rights”.

This work will include an evaluation of the jurisprudence of the courts of a number of other member states of the European Union in interpreting the convention, particularly in relation to the balancing of the rights of individuals against those of the wider community. This work is under way and will be completed shortly. No decision has yet been taken on publication.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by the Baroness Ashton of Upholland on 20 June (WA 72), whether they have made an assessment of any cases in which the courts of other member states of the European Union have interpreted and applied Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights more restrictively than British courts but compatibly with the case law of the European Court of Human Rights; and, if so, whether they will publish details of such cases.[HL6726]

As part of the work that the Prime Minister has requested that both the Home Secretary and the Lord Chancellor undertake in relation to the operation and implementation of the Human Rights Act, the Government are examining the jurisprudence both of the European Court of Human Rights and of the courts of a number of member states of the European Union. This work will include an examination of the ways in which the courts of these member states have interpreted and applied various articles of the convention, including Article 3. No decision has been taken on publication.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by the Baroness Ashton of Upholland on 20 June (WA 72) regarding the interpretation of the European Convention on Human Rights, whether they intend (a) to include in their work an evaluation of the relevant case law and legislation of France, Germany and Spain, as European countries particularly affected by terrorism; and (b) to publish the results of this work.[HL6727]

The examination of the case law and legislation of key member states to which I have referred would specifically cover France, Germany and Spain as countries which have been directly affected by terrorism. In addition, I have, in my capacity as Minister with responsibility for human rights, had bilateral discussions with the justice Ministers of the Netherlands, Spain, France, Germany and Austria about the experience of their courts and Governments in applying anti-terrorism law in a way which is compatible with key articles of the European convention, including Article 3. These discussions will further inform the work being undertaken for the Prime Minister by the Home Secretary and the Lord Chancellor. However, no decision has been taken on publication.

Goods Vehicles

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether a category C or C+E light goods vehicle licence is required to drive a heavy locomotive which was first used after 1970 when it is (a) used solo without a trailer; (b) used with a trailer which is not a goods vehicle; (c) used with a trailer which is a goods vehicle, but is unladen; and (d) used with a trailer which is a goods vehicle and is laden.[HL6593]

A heavy locomotive manufactured on or after 1 January 1960 is classified as a large goods vehicle and if it is driven either as a solo unit or drawing a small trailer it requires a category C licence. If the maximum authorised mass (MAM) of the trailer exceeds 750 kilogrammes, a category C+E licence is required.

Whether the trailer itself constitutes a goods vehicle, and whether the trailer is laden or unladen, are not relevant considerations. The definition of MAM includes the weight of the trailer plus the maximum load it can carry.

Housing: Market Renewal

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What are the latest actual and estimated outputs for demolitions, refurbishments and new builds in each of the housing market renewal pathfinder areas.[HL6343]

Estimated outputs for demolitions, refurbishments and new build paid for by HMR in each pathfinder from the start of the programme until March 2006 are provided in the table below. However, HMR funding accounts for only a proportion of the total activity in these areas. This is particularly the case for new build where it is estimated that more than 8,000 properties have been built within pathfinder areas since 2004.

HMR funded outputs to March 2006


New Build

Repairs, improvements and refurbishments


Birmingham Sandwell




East Lancashire




Hull and East Riding




Manchester Salford








Newcastle Gateshead




North Staffordshire




Oldham Rochdale




South Yorkshire








Housing: Tenancy Deposit Scheme

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What progress has been made towards creating a new tenancy deposit scheme.[HL6012]

The Government have made good progress towards implementing statutory tenancy deposit schemes, which will apply to all assured shorthold tenancies, where a deposit is taken, in England and Wales.

There will be two types of scheme: a single custodial scheme, where deposits will be paid into and held in a separate account, and one or more insurance-based schemes, where the landlord or agent will hold the deposit and any failure on his/her part to repay it to the tenant will be covered by the scheme's insurance arrangements. Each scheme will offer an alternative dispute resolution service.

The schemes were originally due to be commenced on 1 October 2006. However, in a press release published on 23 June 2006 to accompany the publication of a summary of responses to a consultation document published in November 2005, the Government said that, in order to consider stakeholder concerns raised by that consultation, they had decided to review the commencement date and would confirm that date before Parliament rose in the summer.

Iraq and Afghanistan: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What steps they are taking to provide assistance to Armed Forces personnel suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental conditions as a result of service in Iraq and Afghanistan.[HL6421]

The MoD recognises post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a serious and disabling condition, but one which can be treated. We attach a high priority to increasing awareness of stress-related disorders, and to their diagnosis and treatment.

Teaching and training service personnel about operational stress and its management starts at the time of entry into the services and continues through their career.

We have put in place measures to increase awareness at all levels and to militate against the development of PTSD and other stress-related disorders occurring among service personnel. These include pre- and post-deployment briefing and the availability of support, assessment and, if required, treatment, both during and after deployments. This is available to all personnel, whether regular or mobilised reservist.

During their pre-deployment medical, while deployed or during the post-deployment normalisation period, all personnel including reservists can identify themselves to any medical officer or their chain of command if they believe they are suffering from any mental health condition. It is our policy that no stigma should be attached to this. Diagnosis and treatment of mental illness, including PTSD, is then performed by fully trained and accredited mental health staff.

Mental health professionals (psychiatrists and/or mental health nurses) are part of the deployed medical team on all significant operational deployments. This team will continue the educational process during the operational tour and will also brief the chain of command about operational mental health issues that are detected. Individuals might be referred to the team for assessment and management—the therapeutic options will include psychological treatments, the use of medication, or aeromedical evacuation of the individual out of theatre back to further care at their home base.

After deployment, it is policy to offer individuals a further briefing prior to returning to their home base, using a variety of media materials. Efforts are also made to arrange a “decompression period” during which servicemen can begin mentally and physically to unwind after their operational tour while having time to talk to colleagues and superiors about their experiences. Such a decompression phase appears to help the return to the non-operational environment. Returning personnel are also offered a presentation and issued with leaflets to alert them to the possible after-effects of the operational deployment.

Once back at their home base, community-based mental healthcare is available to every military unit via our 15 departments of community mental health (DCMH) across the UK plus satellite centres overseas. DCMH teams comprise psychiatrists and mental health nurses, with access to clinical psychologists and mental health social workers. The aim is to see referred individuals at their unit medical centre and, with the patient's permission, to engage with GPs and the patient's chain of command to help manage any mental health problems identified. The full range of psychiatric and psychological treatments are available, including medication, psychological therapies and environmental adjustment, where appropriate.

Inpatient care, when necessary, is provided in psychiatric units belonging to the Priory Group. Close liaison is maintained between DCMHs and the Priory units to ensure that all service elements relating to an inpatient’s care and management are addressed.

Should it be decided, after a patient has been assessed and managed as effectively as possible, that he/she will not be able to continue serving in the Armed Forces and will therefore need to be medically discharged, every effort is made to ensure a seamless transfer back to civilian life. The MoD liaises with the individual's future civilian GP and any NHS consultant that he or she might need to see. Individuals are referred to the defence mental health social workers, who offer the individual significant help in rehabilitating them back to civilian life, with advice on resettlement, medical issues, pensions, housing, employment etc. Service personnel are also made aware of the services offered by ex-service men’s organisations such as the Royal British Legion and the specialist mental health charity Combat Stress.

Upon leaving the Armed Forces, or on demobilisation for reservists, it is the long-established practice that responsibility for medical care passes to the NHS, and for the majority of veterans their health needs will be met by current NHS provisions. However, the MoD has work in hand to ensure that there is a coherent response to veterans’ mental health issues, co-ordinating inputs from the NHS, health departments throughout the UK, the services and ex-service men’s organisations, including the charity Combat Stress. Indeed, for treatments not available under the NHS, the Government fund courses of care at Combat Stress facilities, which last year cost £2.8 million, for those whose condition is due to service and for whom this is an appropriate course.

In support of these developments, the MoD is also working on further initiatives relating, for example, to the prevention and management of problems arising out of operational stress and to the need to address issues of stigma and discrimination. With respect to the department's responsibility for veterans in particular, we have work in hand to ensure that service leavers can recognise the signs of stress and know where to go for help, using suitable magazine-style material.

The MoD recently announced a new mental healthcare initiative for recently demobilised reservists, which will include a dedicated mental health assessment by appropriately qualified members of the Defence Medical Services (DMS). If individuals are then assessed as having a mental health problem that is categorised primarily as PTSD or a related traumatic adjustment disorder that is linked to their mobilised service, they will be offered outpatient treatment by the DMS. In instances where the assessment identifies cases that fall outside these parameters, such as complex multi-disorder diagnoses or acute cases requiring inpatient care, the DMS will refer them to the appropriate NHS provider, as well as encouraging contact with the relevant welfare organisations to ensure follow-up. Details of the programme will be confirmed later this year, including the location(s) at which the assessments will be provided, and the date on which the service will commence.

Israel: Tom Hurndall and James Miller

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What actions will now be taken by the Office of the Attorney General following the Attorney-General's recent meetings with the Israeli Attorney General and other Israeli Ministers and officials in regard to the Tom Hurndall and James Miller cases.[HL6252]

Following the recent inquests into the tragic deaths of James Miller and Thomas Hurndall in Gaza, the coroner wrote to me asking that I consider possible prosecutions in the United Kingdom. Since receiving that request, I met both the families on 5 May to discuss the cases. I also took advantage of a long-standing arrangement to visit Israel in the week commencing 21 May to have a meeting with the Attorney General and the Military Advocate General and the military prosecutors involved in these two cases. I also raised these cases in meetings with the Israeli Foreign Minister and the Minister of Justice and separately held meetings with Israeli lawyers, including the lawyers for the families. The principal purpose was to obtain further information about the cases and the investigations that were undertaken by the Israeli authorities to inform my decision, but I also raised the issue of holding an independent inquiry into the deaths and subsequent investigation and pressed for appropriate compensation to be paid, particularly to Mrs Miller, without delay.

The Israeli authorities are now actively considering disciplinary action against a soldier for lying in the course of the field investigation that took place following the death of James Miller. I also understand that the Israeli authorities are keen to make contact with the Miller family to discuss compensation.

My office has passed information about my visit to the Crown Prosecution Service and the Metropolitan Police and has also updated the English solicitors acting for the Miller and Hurndall families.

As a result of my visit I expect to obtain further information shortly that will assist me in carrying out my independent role in considering prosecutions in the United Kingdom. I will inform the House once I have reached a concluded view.

NHS: In Vitro Fertilisation

asked Her Majesty's Government:

To what age the National Health Service offers free in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment; what percentage of patients are offered natural IVF and under what circumstances; and how the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority involves patients in its deliberations.[HL6611]

The clinical guideline on the assessment and treatment of people with fertility problems, produced by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence and issued in February 2004, advises that stimulated cycles of in vitro fertilisation should be offered, if appropriate, where the woman is aged between 23 and 39 years at the time of treatment. Information on the percentage of patients offered in vitro fertilisation without ovarian stimulatory drugs is not collected centrally. However, the information collected by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority is that in 2002-04, 1,164 unstimulated cycles took place, with a live birth rate of 18.13 per cent. In the same period there were 55,923 stimulated cycles, with a live birth rate of 22.73 per cent. Patients wishing to consider the option of unstimulated cycles can tell the clinician treating them.

The HFEA involves patients in its work in a variety of ways, including regular consultation with an online patients’ panel, collection of feedback from patients on their experience of treatment services to inform the authority’s inspection process, and close and regular contact with organisations representing patients. The authority also seeks patients’ views when it consults publicly on the development of new policies.

NHS: Training Budgets

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What representations they have received from the British Medical Association about the 29 junior doctors who have had their vocational training placements deferred due to cutbacks in funding by the postgraduate medical deanery in London; and what assistance is being given to those junior doctors to ensure that their training can start in August 2006.[HL6586]

The Government have received representations from Dr Hamish Meldrum, chairman of the General Practitioners Committee of the British Medical Association, on this matter.

The priorities for investment of educational funding are a matter for the local strategic health authority working with their deanery in respect of medical education. This is therefore essentially a local matter for the SHA and the London Deanery to determine. However I am assured by the London Deanery that there has been no reduction in funded training places at the deanery. The deferment of the training places is the result of the number of trainees who could be recruited exceeding the available places on the training scheme. The deanery is confident that places on the scheme will be available for these doctors at the next available start date, in February 2007. In the mean time the deanery will work with the doctors concerned to offer careers advice and support, and to minimise the impact on them.

North/South Implementation Bodies

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they propose making any changes to the administration of cross-border implementation bodies between now and 24 November 2006.[HL6427]

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Rooker on 20 June (WA 77) which indicated that the proportion of Protestant employees in cross-border bodies has fallen to 32 per cent, what steps they are taking with regard to levels of confidence in the bodies in the Unionist community. [HL6538]

Public Bodies: Chairmen

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What are the salary and time requirements for all chairmen of public bodies appointed by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.[HL6531]

Remuneration for chairs of all DCMS public bodies, as of 31 March 2005, is detailed in the published document Public Bodies 2005. This is available at bodies2005.pdf.

The following table contains information on the time requirement for chairs of public bodies who are appointed by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.

Public Body with chair appointed by DCMS Ministers

Time requirement information below is as set out in published role specifications, or as provided by the public body, whichever is more recently available

Advisory Committee on Historic Wreck Sites

c. 5 days per year

Advisory Committee on National Historic Ships

c. 24 days per year

Advisory Committee on the Government Art Collection

c. 5 days per year

Advisory Council on Libraries

c. 2 to 3 meetings per year plus other time for preparation

Alcohol Education and Research Council

c. 52 days per year

Architectural Heritage Fund

c. 15 days per year

Arts Council England

c. 3 days per month

British Broadcasting Corporation

c. 4 days per week

British Library

c. 2 days per week

Casino Advisory Panel

c. 4 days per month

Churches Conservation Trust

c. 15 days per year

Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment

c. 2 days per week

Community Fund

c. 2 days per week

Culture East Midlands

c. 2 days per month

Culture North East

c. 2 days per month

Culture North West

c. 2 days per month

Culture South East

c. 2 days per month

Culture South West

c. 2 days per month

England Marketing Advisory Board

c. 1 day per week

English Heritage

c. 12 days per month

Football Licensing Authority

c. 4 days per month

Gambling Commission

c. 4 days per week

Geffrye Museum

c. 30 days per year

Historic Royal Palaces

c. 3 days per month

Horniman Museum and Gardens

c. 14 days per year

Horserace Betting Levy Board

c. 3 days per week

Horserace Betting Levy Tribunal

No fixed time requirement; as a tribunal it only sits when called

Horserace Totalisator Board (Tote)

Up to 4 days per week

Legal Deposit Advisory Panel

c. 12 days per year

Living East

c. 2 days per month

Museum of Science & Industry Manchester

c. 30 days per year

Museums, Libraries and Archives Council

Up to 2 days per week

National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts

c. 2 days per week

National Heritage Memorial Fund

c. 12 days per month

National Lottery Commission

c. 114 days per year

National Museum of Science & Industry

c. 36 days per year

National Museums Liverpool

c. 30 days per year

New Opportunities Fund

c. 3 days per week

Office of Communications *

up to 4 days per week

Olympic Delivery Authority

c. 15 days per month

Olympic Lottery Distributor

c. 2 days per month

Public Lending Right Advisory Committee

2 to 3 meetings per year plus preparation and other duties

Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and objects of cultural Interest

c. 12 days per year

Royal Armouries

c. 12 days per year

Royal Parks Advisory Board

c. 12 days per year


c. 3 days per week

South Bank Centre Board Ltd

6 meetings per year plus time for sub-committees and some other duties

Spoliation Advisory Panel

No fixed time requirement—meets as and when required to consider cases

Sport England

c. 2 days per week

Theatres Trust

c. 8 meetings per year plus some other duties

Treasure Valuation Committee

c. 24 days per year

UK Film Council

c. 1 day per week

UK Sport

c. 3 days per week/12 days per month

Victoria and Albert Museum

c. 30 to 40 days per year


c. 2 to 3 days per week

Wallace Collection

c. 25 days per year

West Midlands Life

c. 2 days per month

Yorkshire Culture

c. 2 days per month

* The New Opportunities Fund (NOF) and the Community Fund (CF) have been operating under the name the Big Lottery Fund since their administrative merger on 1 June 2004. However, they remain distinct legal bodies and will continue to do so until the National Lottery Bill, currently before Parliament, is enacted. Coterminous boards for NOF and CF—a separate board for each body, but the same membership for each board—were appointed on 1 June 2004, under the chairmanship of Sir Clive Booth. They will remain in place until the Big Lottery Fund proper is established later this year. Once appointed, the chair of the Big Lottery Fund will receive remuneration of £36,720 and the time commitment will be circa three days per week.

** The Ofcom chair is appointed jointly by DCMS and DTI

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What are the salary and time requirements for all chairmen of public bodies appointed by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.[HL6557]

Information on remuneration of chairs of public bodies is published in the annual Cabinet Office publication Public Bodies, prepared by the Agencies and Public Bodies Team in the Cabinet Office. The most recent published edition of Public Bodies provides information as at 31 March 2005.

Depending on the type of public body and the levels of responsibility, time input varies. All DCLG chairs of public bodies are part time, except one body, where an acting chair is full time on a temporary basis until the new chair is appointed. The time commitment ranges from meeting regularly two or three days per week, for most executive bodies, to meeting four times a year, for one advisory body.

Details on appointments made during the financial year, including remuneration and time commitments, are published in the department’s annual report.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What are the salary and time requirements for the chairmen of public bodies appointed by the Secretary of State for Scotland.[HL6592]

Railways: Late Arrivals

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether in future train operating franchises the penalty regime for late arrivals will apply to intermediate stations, particularly those with advertised connections, and not only to the final destination.[HL6600]

Winners of new rail franchises are required to commit to improving train performance by reducing their own train delays, wherever they might arise. The performance of franchised train operators will be judged on how they reduce delays throughout the journey, not just at their destination, in order to improve punctuality for the greatest number of passengers.

Regional Development: Northern Way

asked Her Majesty's Government:

In what ways the recent changes in departmental responsibilities will affect the scope, policy objectives and management arrangements for the Northern Way initiative; which Ministers are now responsible for the Northern Way; and whether they will make any announcements later this year in relation to the Northern Way.[HL6439]

As the Northern Way is an independent initiative by the three northern regional development agencies, the creation of the Department for Communities and Local Government will not affect its policy objectives and management arrangements, as they are a matter for the Northern Way itself. The department will continue to co-ordinate Government’s engagement with it.

My right honourable and honourable friends, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and the Minister for Housing and Planning, pay close attention to the Northern Way and Government’s engagement with it, and are regularly updated on its progress.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What are the costs so far of the Northern Way initiative; on what this money has been spent; what is the budget for the Northern Way for 2006-07; and which department or departments are responsible for spending it.[HL6440]

The Northern Way is an independent pan-regional growth strategy taken forward by the three northern regional development agencies and their partners. The Northern Way is not just about money; it is about the added value that a pan-regional strategy can bring to the north.

A £100 million Northern Way Growth Fund, match-funded 50:50 by the three regional development agencies and the Department for Communities and Local Government, was established in 2005-06 to kick start the strategy. The Northern Way business plan for 2005-08, published in June 2005, sets out how it will spend the growth fund, providing a work programme for each of its investment priorities. The Northern Way will shortly be publishing its annual report, including a report on the money spent to date and its budget for 2006-07.

Roads: A27

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many accidents occurred and how many fatalities were recorded on the A27 between Lewes and Polegate in each of the past 10 months, including the period up to 30 June.[HL6619]

The table below lists the reported number of injury accidents validated by the Sussex Police on the A27 between Lewes and Polegate.

Aug 05

Sep 05

Oct 05

Nov 05

Dec 05

Jan 06

Feb 06

Mar 06

Apr 06

May 06


Personal Injury Accidents












From September 2005 to June 2006 there was one reported fatality, in April 2006. Although figures for June 2006 are not available, we have no evidence of any fatal accidents during this month.

Roads: Improvements

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Which local authority major transport schemes currently have departmental approval; and, in each case, (a) whether the schemes have full or provisional approval; (b) what is the scheduled date for the start of construction; (c) what is the scheduled completion date; and (d) what is the capital cost of each scheme.[HL6443]

We have placed in the Library a table which sets out the local authority major transport schemes which have approval from the Department for Transport.

The table provides information on: what approval stage the scheme is at; date of start of works, where known; expected completion date, where known; and the latest approved contribution to the scheme costs.

The timing of start of works and completion of many of the schemes are subject to decisions on the advice we have received from the regions in England on the order of priority for timing and funding they attach to proposed major transport schemes. We hope to announce our response before the Summer Recess. The start of works and completion dates for schemes subject to this announcement are marked as “To be confirmed” in the table.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What schemes are currently listed in the Highways Agency’s Targeted Programme of Improvements; and what is (a) the scheduled date for the start of construction; and (b) the scheduled completion date.[HL6444]

A table has been placed in the House Libraries which lists all schemes in the current Targeted Programme of Improvements which are being progressed, taken from the published Highways Agency business plan 2006-07, against their respective actual or expected start and completion dates.

Trunk-road schemes of regional importance which are due to commence construction after April 2008 have been subject to a regional prioritisation process that is under way. Ministers are considering the advice from the regions on their priorities for major transport schemes in their region within indicative funding allocations. Final decisions by Ministers on the delivery timetable for regional trunk-road schemes due to start construction after April 2008 are expected to be announced before the Summer Recess.

Vehicle and Operator Services Agency

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Davies of Oldham on 28 June (HL6469), on how many occasions in the past three years the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency has been required to pay the costs of unsuccessful actions it has brought before the courts; and what was the total value of the costs paid.[HL6659]

There have been two occasions in the past three years when costs have been ordered against the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA), to the amount of £4,583.75 (£1,233.75+£3,350).

Volatile Organic Compounds

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether the environmental implications of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs's interpretation of “placing on the market” in the Volatile Organic Compounds in Paints, Varnishes and Vehicle Refinishing Products Regulations 2005 (SI 2005/2773) have been considered, given that the only option for compliance will result in the disposal as waste of 16 million litres of volatile organic compounds-compliant paint.[HL6615]

The implications of the interpretation of “placing on the market” have been part of the consideration throughout negotiations on the proposal that became Directive 2004/42/EC and in relation to the regulations transposing that directive into UK national law.

Industry has been aware of the provisions of the directive in respect of the timetable for meeting their obligations since it was adopted in April 2004. The directive includes provisions that allow for stock manufactured before 1 January 2007 to be sold until 31 December 2007.

My officials are discussing options with representatives from the paint industry but we do not accept that disposal as waste is the only option for compliance. The industry tells us that 85 per cent to 90 per cent of products expected to be in the supply chain after 31 December 2007 will comply with the directive's requirements on solvent content. These products could be sold by adding a label with the information needed by the regulations. The industry already has experience of undertaking such an exercise when it introduced a voluntary solvent-content labelling scheme for its products. It would be a commercial decision for those holding these stocks to treat them as waste.

My officials will continue to work with the industry to help them find the best environmental outcome to meet their obligations arising from the requirements.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions have been emitted as a result of the interpretation of the term “placing on the market” in the Volatile Organic Compounds in Paints, Varnishes and Vehicle Refinishing Products Regulations 2005 (SI 2005/2773) and the consequent transport of waste and replacement production activities.[HL6616]

I am not aware of any emissions of carbon dioxide as a result of the new regulations, as the standards for paint that they introduce do not yet apply, so no paint products would yet have been disposed of in response to the regulations.

Officials will continue to work with the industry to help them find the best environmental outcome resulting from implementation of the new product requirements.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What interpretation was given to the term “placing on the market” for the purpose of the regulatory impact assessment undertaken on the Volatile Organic Compounds in Paints, Varnishes and Vehicle Refinishing Products Regulations 2005 (SI 2005/2773); and what level of importance was attached to this wording.[HL6617]

Economic assessments of the potential impact of Directive 2004/42/EC and ofSI 2005/2773 have always assumed an interpretation of “placing on the market” that required obligations to be met at each stage throughout the supply chain, and the regulatory impact assessment was prepared on the basis of that interpretation. The interpretation of the term was recognised as being of high importance, throughout all stages of negotiation, adoption and implementation of the directive.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Why they agreed to change the original definition of “placing on the market” in Directive 2004/42/CE to the later definition which applies throughout the supply chain.[HL6618]

We are not aware of any change to the interpretation of “placing on the market” between Directive 2004/42/CE and the regulations (SI 2005/2773) that transpose it into UK law.

Water Supply: Consumption

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How much water in total and per occupant in cubic metres was consumed in the headquarters of the Department for Transport in each year since its creation.[HL6570]

Specific water targets in the Framework for Sustainable Development on the Government Estate were that departments should reduce water consumption in office buildings to an average of 7.7 cubic metres person per year by 31 March 2004 and 7 cubic metres per person per year for all new buildings/major refurbishment after 2002.

The water consumption data for the department's headquarters building since the Department for Transport’s creation are shown in the following table.


Per occupant (cubic metres)

Total consumption (cubic metres)













* The total consumption figures exclude water used in the kitchen and retail units