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4 Nov 2004 : Column 430W—continued

TV Licence Fees

Tom Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many pensioner households in the London borough of Wandsworth are in receipt of a free television licence. [195374]

Malcolm Wicks: The number of households with at least one resident aged 75 or over in the London borough of Wandsworth is 10,370. Each of these households would therefore be eligible for a free TV licence.

CHURCH COMMISSIONERS

Responsibilities

Mr. Key: To ask the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, representing the Church Commissioners if he will list the responsibilities for which he answers to the House. [195957]

Sir Stuart Bell: The Second Church Estates Commissioner answers in relation to the Church Commissioners' trustee responsibilities, namely the management of their investment portfolio; their funding commitments for clergy pensions, the work of bishops and cathedrals and the support of parish ministry in areas of need; and the administration of the legal framework for pastoral reorganisation and settling the future of redundant churches. These responsibilities are closely interwoven with the full range of the Church of England's activity—its nation-wide ministry and the upkeep of its built heritage—and the Second Commissioner will speak more broadly to those areas when the matter raised by hon. Members requires it.
 
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TRANSPORT

Air Pollution (Heathrow)

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment his Department has made of the effects on air pollution of widening the M4 around Heathrow. [195098]

Mr. Jamieson: An air quality assessment was made of the effects on air pollution of proposals to widen the M4 between Junctions 3–4b in connection with Heathrow Terminal 5. It was included in the Environmental Statement published in May 1996 with the Draft Highway Orders. The assessment covered a range of pollutants including nitrogen dioxide, fine particles, carbon monoxide and benzene. The air quality assessment was further developed in connection with the Planning Inquiry for Heathrow Terminal 5.

Buses

Mr. Stringer: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the proportion of the national bus fleet which is subject to annual random inspections by the Traffic Commissioners. [196092]


 
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Charlotte Atkins: The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) carries out targeted roadworthiness inspections of coaches and buses through spot and fleet checks as part of its work to support the Traffic Commissioners. During 2003–04 some 25,000 vehicles were inspected as a result of these checks representing an annual proportion of approximately 29 per cent. of the national bus and coach fleet.

Mr. Stringer: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many buses were inspected by Vehicle and Operator Services Agency officials in each of the last five years; and how many were subject to (a) immediate prohibition notices and (b) delayed prohibition notices. [196093]

Charlotte Atkins: Data held on the number of public service vehicles (PSVs) inspected by Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) includes all buses and coaches licensed to carry nine or more fare paying passengers. Details of roadworthiness inspections carried out on these vehicles are shown in the following table:
Roadworthiness spot and fleet checks(13)
Exhaust emissions checks
Prohibition rates at
roadworthiness spot checks
(Percentage)
Prohibition rates at fleet
roadworthiness Checks
(Percentage)
Number of prohibitions issued
Number of vehicles examinedImmediateDelayedImmediateDelayedNumber of vehicles examinedImmediateDelayed
2003–0425,1127.38.06.67.55,402412
2002–0324,6696.38.26.67.95,447324
2001–0223,0866.88.75.67.66,733337
2000–0126,3576.108.45.46.66,919036
1999–200028,8145.97.54.96.08,827243


(13) These figures exclude vehicles checked as part of the annual PSV baseline survey. Only one prohibition notice is issued per vehicle although it may list several defects/offences


In addition to roadworthiness items VOSA examiners also check for drivers hours, tachograph and records offences as well as overloading. Serious infringements can result in drivers and/or vehicles being prohibited. Details of prohibitions issued for these infringements during the last five years are shown in the table:
Number of vehicles examined (including the number weighed)Prohibited for drivers hours, tachograph and records(14)Prohibited for overloading
2003–0413,45036414
2002–0313,26522611
2001–0210,768968
2000–0115,0037
1999–200017,1615


(14) Prohibitions for drivers hours offences for UK vehicles were only introduced in 2001–02


Mr. Stringer: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many Vehicle and Operator Services Agency officials in each of the English regions are responsible for (a) checking the safety of bus vehicles and (b) surveying the reliability and punctuality of bus services. [196094]

Charlotte Atkins: The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) deploys some 1,100 frontline staff responsible among other duties for checking the safety of public service vehicles (PSVs) throughout England, Scotland and Wales.

Nine Bus Compliance Officers (BCOs) responsible for surveying the reliability and punctuality of bus services are deployed in the five English regions of the Traffic Area Network. They are distributed on the following basis:
Traffic areaNumber of BCOs
North Eastern/North Western3
West Midlands1
Western2
South Eastern and Metropolitan2
Eastern1









 
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Departmental Estate

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list the properties occupied by (a) his Department and (b) its agencies in (i) 1997 and (ii) 2004; and what the (A) area and (B) annual rental value (1) in aggregate and (2) in each case was in each year. [196072]

Charlotte Atkins: The Department for Transport was formed in May 2002 and as a result the information provided relates to the period from then. As a result information is available only for 2003–04.

The information requested relating to the year 2003–04 covers over a thousand properties and has been placed in the Libraries of the House. Some information requested relating to smaller properties is not kept on record centrally, but by the Agency in question. To obtain this information would result in a disproportionate cost.

Press Officers

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many press officers the Department has employed in each of the past five years. [195273]

Charlotte Atkins [holding answer 1 November 2004]: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my hon. Friend the then Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Mr. McNulty) to the hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Laws) on 25 March 2004 Official Report, columns 983–84W.

ITC Consultants

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much the Department spent on outside information technology and communication specialist consultants and engineers in the 2003–04 financial year. [191910]

Charlotte Atkins: The value of orders raised in 2003/04 for information technology and communications specialist consultants and engineers by the Department for Transport was £5,541,670.25.


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