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Coach Passenger Safety

Mr. Cotter: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what plans he has to improve the safety of coach passengers under the age of five years. [116001]

Mr. Hill: Currently minibuses and coaches used to carry more than three children aged between three and 15 on organised trips are required to be equipped with a forward facing seat fitted with a seat belt for each child carried. In addition to this it is planned, following a consultation, to make the fitting of seat belts compulsory in new buses, coaches and minibuses which are not permitted to carry standing passengers.

Pleasure Boats

Mr. Beith: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when details of the new Code of Practice governing passenger-carrying pleasure boats which come into force on 1 April were sent to (a) local authorities with enforcement responsibilities and (b) skippers of vessels affected by the Code of Practice. [116044]

Mr. Hill [holding answer 23 March 2000]: The Code of Practice was developed with the advice and participation or organisations representing local authorities and skippers of vessels affected.

During the formal consultation in May 1998 interested parties, including each UK coastal authority, received a copy of the draft Code.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency is currently undertaking a series of roadshows throughout the UK to further inform local authorities and vessel operators about the Code.

Transport Allocation

Mr. Jim Marshall: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how he intends to spend the additional resources allocated to transport in the Budget; and if he will make a statement. [116355]

Mr. Prescott: Following the announcement in the Budget of an extra £280 million for transport spending in the UK, I intend to make the following allocations in England:

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    £6 million for cleaning up existing diesel buses and taxis in cities.

Ministerial Overseas Visits

Mr. Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will list his official foreign trips planned for the rest of the year, stating in each case the itinerary and the purpose of the visit. [116261]

Ms Beverley Hughes: It is not the normal practice of Governments to give details of forthcoming engagements.

Cumberland Gap

Mr. Maclean: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when he will announce the start of construction on the Cumberland Gap. [107577]

Mr. Hill: Following the Road Review, a lower cost option for upgrading of the A74 between Carlisle and Guardsmill to motorway has been identified. We are today adding this scheme to our targeted programme of trunk road improvements and it will now be developed by the Highways Agency. Subject to the completion of statutory procedures the aim will be to let a contract for the scheme in 2004.


Anti-social Behaviour Orders

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many anti-social behaviour orders have been imposed in (a) Hertfordshire and (b) England and Wales. [116098]

Mr. Charles Clarke: As I said in my reply to the hon. Member for Surrey Heath (Mr. Hawkins) on 21 February 2000, Official Report, column 824W, records of the

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numbers of anti-social behaviour orders applied for are not currently held centrally. We understand that about 30-35 orders have been made in England and Wales since the relevant provisions of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 came into force in April last year. None of these, as far as we are aware, have been in Hertfordshire.

Press Releases

Miss Widdecombe: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he is taking to improve access times to his Department's press releases posted on the COI website; if he will place his Department's press releases on the main Home Office website when they are released; and if he will make a statement. [116259]

Mr. Straw: The Home Office press releases from January 2000 are now available on the main Home Office website. This means that Home Office press releases are now posted on the main departmental site on the day they are released. Previous press releases will remain on the Central Office of Information site with a link from the Home Office website.


Mr. Winnick: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will take steps to ban the sale of R-44 Magnum handguns to those without a Class 1 firearms licence. [116097]

Mr. Charles Clarke: Long barrelled firearms of this kind are already subject to Section 1 of the Firearms Act 1968. Anyone wishing to purchase such a firearm must obtain a firearm certificate from his local police. The police will issue a certificate if they are satisfied that the applicant has a good reason to wish to possess such a firearm and can be trusted to keep and use it without danger to public safety or to the peace. Simple possession of a Section 1 firearm without authority is a serious criminal offence carrying a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment.

Registered firearms dealers are required to keep detailed records of their purchase and sale of firearms. It is itself a criminal offence to transfer a firearm to an unauthorised person, carrying a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment.

Peace-keeping Missions

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on continuing discussions at European Council level regarding the deployment of police forces in peace-keeping missions. [115578]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The European Council agreed at Helsinki last December that, in support of the Common Foreign and Security Policy, the European Union should be able to resort to the whole range of instruments from diplomatic activity, humanitarian assistance and economic measures to civilian policing and military crisis management options (Annexe IV of the Presidency Conclusions).

Follow-up discussion are now under way in European Union subsidiary bodies. Her Majesty's Government will seek the closest possible co-operation among the

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European Union, the Organisation on Security and Co-operation in Europe and the United Nations in civilian policing.

Public Bodies

Mr. Maclennan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the expenditure incurred by his Department, agencies and non-departmental public bodies on (a) the setting up and (b) the operation of websites, indicating the cases in which the expenditure has been above that budgeted; and if he will list for each

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website (i) the topics covered, (ii) the average number of hits per month and (iii) the estimated expenditure on each website for each of the next three years. [115088]

Mr. Straw: The available information for the websites of the Home Office and its executive agencies is shown in the table. Staff costs are not included and the figures are approximate in some cases. The non-departmental public bodies have set up their own websites independently of the Home Office in most cases. The information requested for these bodies is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

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Home OfficeFire Service CollegeForensic Science ServicePrison ServiceUK Passport Agency
Expenditure on setting up website£1,000 approx. (in-house development costs, 1995-96)£4,000 approx. (in-house development costs, 1999-2000)Less than £5,000 (in-house development costs, 1998)£34,780 (site design costs, 1999)£20,000 (site design costs, 2000)
Operation of website: cost per year (current)£17,575£1,000 approx.£10,000£3,000£9,000
Topics coveredThe subjects covered by the Home OfficeThe work of the Fire Service CollegeThe work of the Forensic Science ServiceThe work of the Prison ServiceThe work of the UK Passport Agency
Current average number of hits (page impressions) per month (approx.) 1,036,7002,034 (first month, site is not yet widely advertised)30,00091,600211,200
Estimated expenditure for next 3 years: cost per year £17,575£3,000 approx.2000-01: £20,000 2001-02: £10,000 2002-03: £15,000£3,000£9,000

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