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Charlotte Atkins: Correspondence with hon. Members is normally dealt with by the Minister in the Department with main responsibility for the subject of the correspondence. Ministers have a target of replying to letters received from hon. Members within 15 workings days of their receipt.
The Minister responsible for a particular departmental initiative or decision will notify hon. Members whose constituencies are affected. A Minister will also notify an hon. Member when they are undertaking a departmental engagement in their constituency.
17 Jan 2005 : Column 668W
Virginia Bottomley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when the hon. Member for Plymouth, Devonport will reply to the letter from the right hon. Member for South-West Surrey of 10 December. 
Charlotte Atkins: Current franchise agreements require train operators to consider the needs of cyclists. The Strategic Rail Authority published its Cycling Policy in November 2004 which, among other things, covers the carriage of bikes on trains and their storage at stations. The Cycling Policy document is in the Library of the House. With the implementation of the proposals in the White Paper, "The Future of Rail", the Department for Transport would expect to continue to work with franchise operators to facilitate the integration of cycling with rail travel.
Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many times in each year since 1997 the (a) Dartford Tunnel and (b) Queen Elizabeth II Bridge, Dartford have been closed; how many closures were due to (i) road traffic accidents and (ii) adverse weather conditions; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Jamieson: Summarised information is not kept in the form requested. I have asked the Highways Agency to provide the information as soon as possible from the detailed records available and to write to the hon. Member and also place copies in the Libraries of the House.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list the equipment leasing arrangements entered into by his Department in each of the last two years; and what the cost is to public funds in each case. 
| Costs (£)|
|DfT(C)||Photocopying equipment||55,799.60||64,698.60||DfT leases photocopying equipment (including multifunctional devices) from two suppliers via a framework contract let in 1997. This contract expired on 31 October 2004 and the Department has now switched to using similar contracts put in place by the Office of Government Commerce buying. solutions on 1 April 2004.|
|Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency||Photocopying equipment||195,481.60||190,778.20||The leasing of this equipment is split on a UK-wide basis between Konica and Energy.|
|Despatch mailers||108,753||November 2003 to October 2008. Lease of two mailers from IBM.|
|Marine and Coastguard Agency||Photocopying equipment||92,473.93||89,608.89||MCA leased photocopying equipment from four suppliers via a DfT contract, which expired 31 October 2004. From 1 January 2004 the MCA has now switched to using similar contracts put in place by the Office of Government Commerce.|
|Vehicle and Operator Services Agency||Photocopying equipment||226,459.45||205,809.27||VOSA leases photocopying equipment (including multi-functional devices) from one supplier (IKON) via the DfT framework contract let in 1997.|
|Highways Agency||Multi-functional devices||Cost per financial year not|
|25 on three-year lease from 200407 at a total cost of £82,780 per annum.|
|Photocopying equipment||Cost per financial year not|
|Eight on three year lease from 200205 at a total cost of £48,000 per annum.|
|Vehicle||Cost per financial year not|
|One on three-year lease from 200306 at a cost of £3,128 per annum.|
|Vending machines||Cost per financial year not|
|Two on three-year lease from 200306 at a total cost of £2,032 per annum.|
|Vehicle Certification Agency||Photocopiers||7,402.94||8,240.93||VCA leases photocopying equipment from two suppliers (Xerox and Danka) via the DfT framework contract let in 1997.|
|Snack machine||834.13||625.65||Snack Machine leased from local supplier Citrus Vending until 26 November 2004.|
|Driving Standards Agency||Photocopiers||32,479||34,452||DSA leases photocopiers and a small number of fax machines from several suppliers, mainly using Government framework contracts.|
|Fax machines||1,021||1,021||DSA leases photocopiers and a small number of fax machines from several suppliers, mainly using Government framework contracts.|
Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the cost of travel within the UK for the Department was in each year since 1997; and how much of this was spent on (a) hire cars, (b) helicopter hire, (c) hotel accommodation and (d) subsistence. 
Charlotte Atkins: The Department for Transport came into existence on 29 May 2002 following machinery of Government changes. The total travel and subsistence costs for civil servants in the Department excluding the agencies in 200203 were £1,606,589, and in 200304 were £1,919,678. Information for earlier years, and the breakdown requested can be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
Information relating to overseas travel by Ministers is published on an annual basis. Information for the period 2 May 1997 to 31 March 2004 is available in the Library of the House. Information for the financial year 200405 will be published as soon as possible at the end of the current financial year.
17 Jan 2005 : Column 670W
Mr. Hunter: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) if he will make representations to the relevant bodies in the European Union to ensure consistency across Europe of the implementation of the recommended practices of the European Civil Aviation Conference in respect of disabled passengers, with particular reference to those who are deaf or who have impaired hearing; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) if he will take measures to ensure consistency of implementation by UK airlines of his Department's Code of Practice regarding disabled passengers, with particular reference to those who are deaf or have impaired hearing. 
Charlotte Atkins: Following the publication of the voluntary code "Access to Air Travel for Disabled PeopleCode of Practice", which we published in March 2003, we commissioned the Transport Research Laboratory to monitor the industry's take up of the code's recommendations. It is looking at compliance generally and not specifically in relation to any particular group of disabled people. The research is due to be completed towards the end of this year.
The UK Chairs the European Civil Aviation Conference's (ECAC) Facilitation Working Group on air travel for people with reduced mobility. We work alongside other member states to promote the recommended practices which ECAC has introduced. On the domestic front the ECAC recommended practices were the basis for our Code of Practice. At a recent meeting of the ECAC Facilitation working group we raised a number of issues relating to air travel for deaf and hard or hearing people. The group has agreed to consider those and have included them on their agenda for their next meeting later this month.
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