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13 Jan 2005 : Column 598W—continued

Midland Metro

Ross Cranston: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the likely (a) start and (b) completion date for construction of the extension of the Midland Metro light rapid transit system from Wednesbury to Brierley Hill; and if he will make a statement. [207588]

Charlotte Atkins: No assessment has been made. I understand from the West Midlands Passenger Transport Executive, Centro, who are the promoters of the scheme, that they expect the construction to start mid 2007 and to be completed in 2010. This is, however, subject to powers for the extension being confirmed by Parliament and to our consideration of a final business case, which is expected to be submitted in the spring. Although the Department announced on 20 December 2004 that the Secretary of State had decided to make an Order under the Transport and Works Act giving powers for the scheme, the Order will need to be subject to special parliamentary procedure before it can come into force, as it involves the compulsory purchase of open space without other land being offered in exchange. It is expected that the Order will be laid before Parliament later this month.

Ministerial Visits

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what ministerial visits are planned for each Minister in his Department in the next six months; and if he will make a statement. [207303]

Charlotte Atkins: The Secretary of State and other Ministers in the Department for Transport expect to undertake a number of visits on Departmental business in the next six months. It is not intended to publish details of these in advance as this would create an increased security risk.

Press Officers

Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many press officers are employed in the Department. [206529]

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Charlotte Atkins: The number of full-time equivalent press officers employed in DfT on l April 2004, broken down between the central department and the agencies, is:
Transport (Central)16
Driving Standards Agency2
Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency8
Highways Agency6
Marine and Coastguard Agency3
Vehicle Certification Agency0
Vehicle and Operator Services Agency1


Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many vessels have run aground around the UK coastline in each of the past 10 years for which figures are available. [208157]

Mr. Jamieson: The following numbers of groundings—broken down between fishing vessels and merchant vessels (of >=100 gt)—in UK coastal waters were reported to the Marine Accident Investigation Branch as occurring in each of the years from 1994 to 2003:
Fishing vesselsMerchant Vessels of>=100gtTotal

For the purposes of this answer "the UK coastline" is defined as UK territorial waters (i.e. 12 mile limit).


Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what action he has taken to ensure that waterways and canals which are navigable are not subject to development other than for transport purposes. [208171]

Mr. Jamieson: Last year my Department, along with Defra and ODPM, published a guide to planning for freight on inland waterways. This is designed to help policy makers and planners, bodies responsible for the management of the waterways, carriers and other bodies to understand how good planning can support and encourage the use of inland waterways for freight transport.

My Department also keeps in close touch with the water freight industry, and works to encourage proper consideration of the risks and benefits for developments that might affect the potential for waterborne freight.
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Departmental Staff

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what percentage of departmental staff are based in London. [208058]

Mr. Caborn: All of the Department's staff are based in London.

Motor Racing

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what meetings the Minister for Sport has recently attended regarding the future of the Formula One Grand Prix at Silverstone; and if she will make a statement. [205051]

Mr. Caborn: I attended several meetings last year where the Formula One racing at Silverstone was discussed. I am pleased that the British Racing Drivers Club have secured the future of the British Grand Prix for the next five years.


Freedom of Information

John Mann: To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what categories of information are available under Freedom of Information legislation that have not been provided in written parliamentary answers on behalf of the Speaker's Committee in the last three years. [207778]

Mr. Viggers: I assume that the hon. Member is referring to categories of information that the Speaker's Committee had declined to provide in written parliamentary answers in the last three years. I am not aware of any occasion when such a situation has arisen.


Chlamydia Screening

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what his Department's policy is on chlamydia screening for men; and if he will make a statement; [208093]

(2) if he will arrange for chlamydia screening for women to be followed up by advice for their partners on access to appropriate treatment for men; and if he will make a statement. [208099]

Miss Melanie Johnson: The Department's policy for chlamydia screening for men is to promote greater uptake through the national chlamydia screening programme. The national chlamydia screening programme targets sexually active men and women under 25, who are most at risk of infection. It provides a co-ordinated framework for screening which includes testing, treatment, health promotion, partner notification and contact tracing.
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The Department has also commissioned the Men's Health Forum to oversee the "Men and Chlamydia" project, which aims to increase men's awareness of chlamydia, promote safer sex and encourage men to seek testing and treatment. Young men and women are also targeted with information about chlamydia through our national sexual health media campaigns, including a major new campaign to be launched later this year, as announced through the White Paper.

The Public Health White Paper, "Choosing Health: Making healthy choices easier" included a commitment to accelerate the roll-out of the national chlamydia screening programme, with the goal of making this available across the country by March 2007, backed by investment of £80 million to achieve this aim.


Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many conferences were (a) attended by officials from his Department, (b) cancelled by and (c) facilitated by his Department in each year since 1997; and what the (i) cost to the Department and (ii) location was in each case. [205756]

Ms Rosie Winterton: This information is not held centrally and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.


Sir Michael Spicer: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when the hon. Member for Doncaster, Central (Ms Winterton) will reply to the letter of 15 November 2004 from the hon. Member for West Worcestershire. [207979]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The letter was answered on 11 December 2004.
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Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the impact of the abolition of the Commission for Patient and Public Involvement in Health. [206909]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The abolition of the Commission for Patient and Public Involvement in Health (CPPIH) will contribute to the £500 million savings that will result from the review of all the Department's arm's length bodies. These savings will be re-invested in frontline services—this includes patients' forums. We are currently consulting patients' forums and other key stakeholders about the arrangements that will be put in place to support patients' forums once the CPPIH has been abolished.

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