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Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what changes have taken place to the MOT test since 1997; what plans there are to make further changes to the test; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Jamieson: There have been no significant changes to the scope of the MOT test since 1997 and there are none planned. However, detailed testing standards and methods are constantly updated to keep pace with changing vehicle technology and legislation.
The introduction of the MOT computerised database from January 2003 will improve the availability of standards information for testers and enable much more information on the results of tests to be gathered. It will also alter administrative procedures for recording a test and the issue of test certificates.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how many cars (a) initially failed, (b) passed on completion of necessary work and (c) passed without additional work the MOT test in each year since 1990. 
Mr. Jamieson: The Vehicle Inspectorate collects returns from all 18,869 MOT testing stations on a monthly basis which contain details of the vehicles tested, failures and passes. A 2 per cent. sample of the returns is used as the basis for calculating an annual fail rate and details are shown in the table. The inspectorate does not hold details of the numbers of vehicles passed on completion of necessary work or passed without additional work. More information about failure rates and defect categories can be found in the Vehicle Inspectorate Effectiveness report 200001, a copy of which has been placed in the House of Commons Library.
|Year(35)||Number of vehicles(36) tested||Fail rate (percentage)|
(35) Figures not available in a comparable format prior to 199495
(36) Cars, vans and passenger vehicles with up to 12 seats
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Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what steps (a) his Department and (b) the Vehicle Inspector (i) have taken and (ii) plan to take to monitor the work of MOT testing stations and the effectiveness of the MOT test. 
Mr. Jamieson: Checks of the standard of MOT test procedures and authorised premises are carried out by the Vehicle Inspectorate (VI) by means of regular visits during which premises are inspected and tests observed; observed tests of vehicles submitted by "incognito" vehicle examiners; checks carried out in response to appeals against the test result from members of the public; and special investigations in cases where the inspectorate believes that there might be significant breaches of the regulations. The Vehicle Inspectorate has the power to take enforcement action when evidence of sub-standard testing is found. Sanctions can range from the issue of warning letters to withdrawal of authorisation.
VI trialled a new check of testing effectiveness in 200001 which has been introduced fully this year. Examiners carry out random re-inspections of recently tested vehicles and the results give VI a measure of how well garages are applying test standards.
The introduction of the computerised MOT database from January 2003 will enable the inspectorate to analyse detailed statistics on the performance of test stations, testers and the outcome of individual tests. This will enable VI to increase its effectiveness through improved targeting of enforcement checks, training and advice.
Mrs. Mahon: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (1) how many local authority (a) road safety officers and (b) school crossing patrol coordinators there are in the UK; 
Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will place in the Library the guidance issued by his Department on the location and visibility of speed cameras. 
Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what is the intended date for the introduction of digital tachographs; how many representations he has received about the need to protect data from fraudulent manipulation; how many times drivers will be able to lose their smartcard and remain within the law; and what information he has made available to the freight industry. 
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Mr. Spellar: The fitting of digital tachographs to new vehicles will become compulsory two years after the publication by the European Commission of the technical specification for digital tachographs. I understand that publication should take place in May this year. On this basis, digital tachographs will need to be fitted to new vehicles from May 2004.
To date, no representations have been received about the vulnerability of data to fraudulent manipulation. The regulation lays down strict security requirements and provides that type approval may not be granted until the whole system has demonstrated its capacity to resist attempts to tamper with or alter the data.
A driver may hold one valid driver card only. If the driver card is damaged, malfunctions or is lost or stolen, the issuing authorityin the UK the Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVLA)will issue a replacement card. The issue of a replacement card will be shown on DVLA's database and the original card recorded as withdrawn. Multiple losses of cards by drivers will be reported by DVLA to the Vehicle Inspectorate who may investigate.
We have kept the industry informed about developments through the Road Haulage Forum and other on-going contacts. Now that the Commission is shortly to publish the technical specification, starting the countdown to implementation of the regulation, we will be consulting the industry on various detailed aspects of the implementation process.
Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how many cases of electrocution there were from 1995 arising from the seepage of water through aerial and satellite cables into television and set top boxes; and if he will make a statement. 
Over the past eight years Government have provided funding for the work of the Building Research Establishment programme that looks at problems in concrete materials. This work has included an investigation into mundic treatment processes and testing procedures.
Ms Atherton: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what progress has been made in developing methods of testing and assessment to enable the maximum number of homes built using mundic aggregate to be accepted by mortgage lenders. 
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The Civil Defence (General Local Authority Functions) Regulations 1993 require county councils, unitary authorities, metropolitan districts and London Boroughs to prepare and review plans for civil defence purposes, to exercise and train for those plans and to consult other local authorities and fire authorities affected by those plans. They require district councils to train their staff, to provide information to county councils and to assist county councils in making and revising plans.
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