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11 Jan 2005 : Column 154W—continued

Freedom Pass

Clive Efford: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the cost of operating the freedom pass
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was to local authorities in London in the last year for which figures are available; and how many pensioners are eligible from each constituency. [207268]

Charlotte Atkins: The Freedom Pass scheme is managed and operated on behalf of the London boroughs by the Association of London Government (ALG), who report that the scheme cost £169 million in 2003–04. No data are available on the number of eligible pensioners in each parliamentary constituency.

HSE Staff (Relocation)

Mr. MacDougall: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether Health and Safety Executive staff will be relocated as a result of their transfer to the Office of the Rail Regulator. [207060]

Mr. McNulty: This matter is being considered by the Health and Safety Executive and the Office of Rail Regulation as part of the transition programme. No decisions about location have yet been taken.

Local Transport Plans

Sir Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if his Department will seek to ensure that local authority expenditure on the local road network matches central Government allocations over the five-year period of the local transport plans. [206571]

Mr. Jamieson: Most revenue and capital allocations for the local road network are indicative and are not ring fenced. It is for local authorities to decide priorities for spending their resources on the various services they provide.


Mr. Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what traffic and noise projections were made for the stretch of the M40 that passes through the Chilterns at the time of its widening in 1991; and if he will make a statement. [200636]

Mr. Jamieson: The M40 passes through the Chilterns between junctions 4 and 5. This stretch of motorway was widened in 1990–91. Traffic and noise projections will have been produced as part of the preparation for this widening scheme. The Highways Agency holds some historical records for past motorway and trunk road schemes and extensive searches of its archives have produced extracts which have been placed in the Libraries of the House.

The noise related figures are taken from a report commissioned in 1988 and the traffic figures are taken from a report of the feasibility study in 1987. Both of these reports were commissioned prior to the widening scheme commencing. The Highways Agency is continuing to search for the full report, however earlier searches have not been successful.


Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of how the development of high occupancy vehicle lanes will affect the flow of traffic on motorways. [206380]

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Mr. Jamieson: The benefit of high occupancy vehicle lanes is that they facilitate the movement of more people per lane, reducing peak hour travel times while maintaining safety and reducing pollution. The introduction of the lanes should result in some drivers choosing to leave their cars at home or a convenient parking point and car share with others. This should result in a net decrease in traffic on the motorway, on the local network leading to the motorway and on the return journey home. This should help to reduce congestion associated with each of these journeys.

Rail Organisation

Mr. Hopkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of how many staff will be employed in his Department's new rail organisation; and how the estimate was calculated. [207473]

Mr. McNulty: I estimate that the total number of staff which will be employed in the new Rail Group of the Department for Transport after the transfer of responsibilities from the Strategic Rail Authority to the Secretary of State will be in the region of 250–300. This compares with a total of about 530 people currently employed in the SRA and the Rail Directorates of the Department. The estimate is an indicative figure, based on the new approach to the strategic direction of the rail industry outlined in "The Future of Rail" and discussions with key figures in the Authority and other industry organisations. It will be refined during further design work which will take place early in 2005.

Railway Bridge (Colindale)

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will assist in bearing the cost of widening the railway bridge over Aerodrome road, Colindale; and if he will make a statement. [206987]

Mr. McNulty: Following the establishment of the Mayor for London in 2000, responsibility for allocating capital funding for London borough local transport schemes, such as widening of the Aerodrome road bridges in Colindale, was transferred from central Government to Transport for London.

Special Advisers

Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many special advisers there are in the Department, broken down by Civil Service pay grade. [206504]

Charlotte Atkins: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my hon. Friend the Minister for the Cabinet Office on 21 December 2004 Official Report, column 1640W.

Stolen Property

Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many civil servants from his Department have (a) faced disciplinary proceedings as a result of allegations of theft, (b) been charged with theft and (c) been dismissed following theft allegations in each year since 1997. [206398]

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Charlotte Atkins: The Department for Transport was established in May 2002 following machinery of Government changes. The Department's policy setting out disciplinary action that might be taken against staff accused of theft is contained in the Departmental Staff Handbook.

Since the Department was established, one member of staff was investigated for alleged theft. The individual was not subsequently charged with theft. This was in 2003.

Strategic Rail Authority

Mr. Hopkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what the current grading structure of the Strategic Rail Authority is; what the (a) pay minimum and (b) pay maximum is for each grade; and what the equivalent civil service grade is for each SRA grade; [207474]

(2) how many staff are employed in the Strategic Rail Authority broken down by grade. [207475]

Mr. McNulty: The information requested is as follows:
SRA gradePay band minimum (£)Pay band maximum (£)Number of staff in gradeEquivalent DfT
pay band
A12,91617,2383Pay band 1
B16,17724,85240Pay band 2
C22,71334,67795Pay bands 3/4
D32,47948,906101Pay bands 5/6
E46,64365,27181Pay band 7
F54,761114,99967SCS band 1
G75,570158,80840SCS band 2
H90,000192,00011SCS band 3

1. As at 1 December 2004.
2. Staff numbers exclude Rail Passengers' Council.
3. "Equivalent" means having pay falling into broadly the same range as the relevant SRA grade.

Tilbury Town Railway Bridge

Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will instruct his officials to visit the railway bridge at Tilbury Town to examine its compliance with disability and mobility rights legislation. [205663]

Mr. McNulty: It is the responsibility of the railway operators to comply with the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. The Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) provides guidance to operators about making train and station services accessible for disabled passengers. I have been informed by the SRA that the train operating company responsible for Tilbury Town station, c2c, is investigating the possibility of providing ramp access to the footbridge to improve accessibility for disabled passengers.

Timetable Changes (Maidenhead)

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what representation his Department has received regarding the recent timetable changes on routes from Paddington to Maidenhead and Twyford. [207590]

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Mr. McNulty: The Department for Transport has received a small number of representations requesting information or expressing concern about the changes to the service pattern from Maidenhead and Twyford to London that were implemented in the December timetable change.

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what action his Department proposes to take to reduce overcrowding and ensure safety following the introduction of the new train timetable on routes from Paddington to Maidenhead and Twyford. [207591]

Mr. McNulty: Trains are designed to operate safely when fully loaded. The Strategic Rail Authority will meet First Great Western Link (FOWL) during January to assess crowding and identify with FOWL any action necessary.

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