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Written Answers to Questions

Friday 27 February 2004


Parliamentary Questions

Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many days on average his Department took in Session 2002–03 to give a substantive answer to a parliamentary Question for ordinary written answer; and what the greatest number of days taken to answer such a question was. [155927]

Mr. Hain: In the Session 2002–03, the Wales Office took 10 sitting days, on average, to provide a substantive reply to parliamentary ordinary written questions.

The greatest number of days taken to answer an ordinary written question was 58 sitting days. In this instance providing a substantive answer required considerable research with colleagues in the National Assembly for Wales and the department for Trade and Industry.

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many Parliamentary Questions have been tabled to his Department since 1 January 2003, broken down by (a) ordinary written and (b) named day; what percentage in respect of (a) were answered within 10 working days; and what percentage in respect of (b) were answered by the specified date. [157745]

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Mr. Hain: Since 1 January 2003:

(a) 336 (ordinary written questions) 67.5 per cent. answered within 10 sitting days.

(b) 38 (Named Days) 60.5 per cent. were answered on the specified date.


Flight Delays (Terrorism)

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the cost to UK businesses of flight delays between London and Washington due to terrorism alerts in recent months. [156072]

Mr. McNulty: None. Aviation security is kept under review at all times and measures are adjusted from time to time. Delays and occasional cancellations may sometimes be necessary but the first priority is always the safety of the travelling public.

10-year Plan

Mr. Truswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress has been made (a) in London and (b) outside London in achieving the Ten-year Plan targets for growth of more than 12 per cent.by 2010 compared with 2000 in the use of (i) bus services and (ii) light rail. [156176]

Mr. McNulty: The Department has a PSA target of 12 per cent. growth in patronage on local public transport (bus and light rail) in England by 2010–11 compared with 2000–01. We are on track for achieving this national target, with bus and light rail patronage growing by 4 per cent. in the first two years of the period, to 2002–03. Progress is shown in the following table:

Local bus and light rail passenger journeys by area and mode:

2000–012001–02 2002–03 2000–01 to 2002–03
MillionsMillionsPercentage changeMillionsPercentage changePercentage change
(i) bus3,7563,7981.13,8972.63.8
(ii) light rail1241326.51416.813.7
(i) bus1,3591,4345.51,5427.513.5
(ii) light rail536013.2646.720.8
Outside London2,4682,436-1.32,432-0.1-1.5
(i) bus2,3972,364-1.42,355-0.4-1.8
(ii) light rail71721.4777.08.5

Bad Weather Disruption

Mr. Randall: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment his Department has made of the cost of bad weather disruption to transport in London in each of the last five years. [156520]

Mr. McNulty: No assessment has been made by the Department about the cost of bad weather disruption to transport in London over the last five years. Responsibility for ensuring London Underground is not adversely affected by bad weather now rests with Transport for London following its transfer last July. Transport for London and London boroughs are also responsible for ensuring London's road network is not unduly disrupted.

Crossrail Scheme

Linda Perham: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) whether he will make changes to the ownership of Cross London Rail Links to manage the Crossrail scheme; [156077]

Mr. McNulty: My right hon. Friend has now received advice from Adrian Montague which he is studying closely and whose findings will be published. It covers a

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very wide range of issues, including governance arrangements and possible legislation. My right hon. Friend will respond to the report in due course.

Montreal Convention

Mr. John Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many EU member states have yet to ratify the Montreal Convention. [157128]

Mr. McNulty: For legal reasons it is intended that ratification of the Montreal Convention by the European Community and by individual EU member states should be synchronised. The Commission is pressing member states to finalise their internal ratification procedures as soon as possible. The UK is ready to ratify the Convention.

Rail Safety

Linda Perham: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he is taking to improve rail safety. [156082]

Mr. McNulty: The Health and Safety Commission and Executive (HSC/E), as the regulator for railway health and safety, work with the industry to improve health and safety on the railways. Details about the work of the HSE are contained in its annual report on the safety record of the railways in Great Britain, copies of which are available in the House Libraries. Two recent key measures to improve rail safety are the fitment of the Train Protection and Warning System which was completed during 2003 and the continuing removal of Mark 1 rolling stock from the network.

Rural Bus Services

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many (a) villages and (b) towns in Lancashire have been served by rural bus services in each year since 2000; and if he will make a statement. [157294]

Mr. McNulty: The information is not available without incurring disproportionate cost.


Food Crime

Mr. Gardiner: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs (1) what training (a) has been and (b) is intended to be provided for magistrates and judges on issues of food crime, with particular reference to cases involving illegally imported meat; [155687]

Mr. Bradshaw: I have been asked to reply.

In 2003, The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs produced a case study on illegal imports that was included in the Magistrates' Association training CD.

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Defra, HMCE and FSA liaise closely on cases of food crime, and will keep under review the need for further advice, guidance or training.


Animal Welfare

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether animal welfare agencies and charities have access to lists of (a) convicted animal rights abusers and (b) those banned from animal ownership. [155680]

Mr. Bradshaw: Animal welfare organisations do not have direct access to details of those people who have been convicted of animal cruelty or those disqualified from keeping animals.

However, the department is considering, as part of the proposed Animal Welfare Bill, the introduction of an Animal Welfare Enforcement Database which would assist in the enforcement of animal welfare legislation in England and Wales. It is proposed that the database would include details of those people who have been convicted and disqualified from keeping animals. No decisions have been taken as to whether or not those welfare organisations who currently undertake enforcement work would be able to obtain full access to the database.

Beef Imports

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much beef was imported in each of the last five years, broken down by country of origin. [155333]

Alun Michael: The attached table shows the level of beef meat and meat products imported into the UK for the years 1998–2002 broken down by the country of despatch.

The data is subject to a degree of statistical error. The overall level of errors is low, but these errors have a much greater proportional effect on countries with small values or volumes of trade. Therefore, care is needed when interpreting the data.

UK imports of beef meat/products, 1998–2002

Irish Republic7697113135160
New Zealand62110
Grand Total208240257306343


HM Customs and Excise

Data prepared by Statistics (Commodities and Food) Consultancy

Trade & IT, ESD, DEFRA

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