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Written Answers to Questions

Thursday 17 March 2005


Departmental Accounts

Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether Ministers in his Department have issued written instructions to override his Department's accounting officer's objections since 1997. [221117]

Charlotte Atkins: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 14 March 2005, Official Report, column 80W, by my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary to the Treasury

Disabled Access

Mr. Edwards: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will increase the penalties against car drivers who park by dropped kerbs intended for use by people with disabilities. [222677]

Charlotte Atkins: We recognise that dropped kerbs are of great benefit to wheelchair users and ambulant disabled people.

The specific prohibition on parking at a dropped kerb currently applies only in London, under section 14 of the London local authorities and Transport for London Act 2003. The penalty charge levels for contravening the prohibition in London are decided by the Mayor for London.

However, section 86 of part 6 to the Traffic Management Act 2004, once commenced, will allow this prohibition to apply in areas of England and Wales where civil enforcement of parking contraventions is exercised by the local traffic authority and appropriate application for these specific provisions has been made to the relevant national authority. The Secretary of State will be responsible for setting the level of penalties in England. The penalty level will be set when section 86 comes into force, which is currently expected to be in 2006.

Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency

Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what targets he sets the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency for responding to correspondence; whether the time taken is measured from the date when a letter is (a) received and (b) opened; and what steps he is taking to improve turn-around times. [222375]

Mr. Jamieson: We have not set the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) a correspondence response target. However, the Agency has been asked continuously to maintain or improve the levels of customer satisfaction. To achieve this DVLA has an internal target of answering 95 per cent. of written correspondence within eight working days from the date of opening.
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Entry Ports (Security)

David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many security staff are employed at each of the 35 main ports of entry to the United Kingdom. [221092]

Mr. Jamieson: All ports handling international traffic must meet Government security standards. However, the number of staff that are employed by a port to carry out security is a decision for the ports themselves. We therefore do not hold this information centrally.


Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 3 March 2005, Official Report, column 1334W, on hauliers (working time restrictions), whether the new working time rules will apply to mobile workers employed by non-UK hauliers operating in the UK. [221267]

Mr. Jamieson: The new Regulations will apply to mobile workers employed by any non-UK hauliers operating in Great Britain, provided those hauliers are established in a member state of the European Union. Separate regulations with similar effect will apply in Northern Ireland.

Mobile workers from non-EU member states will be bound by the terms of the Directive, provided they are deemed to be employed by a EU employer under the terms of our Regulations.


John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what the level of air traffic movements at Heathrow is; and when such movements are expected to reach the cap set for Heathrow of 480,000 movements; [221626]

(2) what action is planned by the Government when the capped level of 480,000 air traffic movements has been reached at Heathrow airport. [221654]

Charlotte Atkins: The number of Heathrow Air Transport Movements (ATMs) in the year ending 28 February 2005 was 469,544. The condition limiting air transport movements to 480,000 a year applies from the date that the core Terminal 5 building opens, which is expected to be 2008. The number of ATMs is forecast to reach the 480,000 limit by the end of 2007. I am advised by BAA that an administrative process for managing the cap has been discussed and agreed in principle with the local planning authority to ensure that the limit is not exceeded.

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects the final scheme for compensation for blight associated with any future development of Heathrow airport to be published. [221630]

Charlotte Atkins: BAA plc published a consultation paper on 21 September 2004 setting out its proposals for a non-statutory scheme to protect property values around the airport. At the request of local residents BAA extended the consultation by one month to January 2005. BAA is presently considering the responses to the consultation and has advised the local community that it expects to publish its final scheme by the late spring.
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John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what further work is to be undertaken to assess the economic impact of a third runway at Heathrow airport. [221631]

Charlotte Atkins: The economic impact of a third runway at Heathrow was assessed in the work preceding the Air Transport White Paper and is set out in the White Paper and supporting documentation. No further assessment is planned, beyond any that may be necessary to reflect changed circumstances.

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what arrangements have been made to ensure the openness and transparency of the workings of Project Heathrow, with particular reference to the dissemination of information on this initiative to (a) residents of communities living near Heathrow and (b) their elected representatives. [221649]

Charlotte Atkins: We are keen to ensure that the Project for the Sustainable Development of Heathrow (Project Heathrow) is taken forward in an open and transparent manner, and to communicate information about the project to local communities and their representatives. The Heathrow Airport Consultative Committee, whose membership includes locally elected representatives, receives regular updates from DfT officials and BAA. Local authorities are represented on Project Heathrow's air quality technical panels. Information about the project has been on the Department's website www.dft.gov.uk/aviation/projectheathrow since last summer and we endeavour to keep this up to date as the project progresses. In addition, Ministers and officials have meetings from time to time with a variety of interested parties. I am currently seeking to arrange a further such meeting with relevant Members of Parliament.

For their part, BAA Heathrow have been working to ensure that the local community is well informed about Project Heathrow. BAA's work has included updating the Heathrow Local Focus Forum on progress and meeting with local action groups to discuss issues connected with the project. BAA has also published the leaflet One Year On—How BAA airports are delivering the Future of Air Transport White Paper" which is available from the company's website www.baa.com.

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what impact the decision in the case of the judicial review of the Government's proposals for airport expansion has had on the proposals for a third runway at Heathrow. [221651]

Charlotte Atkins: None. The Court upheld the White Paper policy as regards Heathrow, although we are aware that this is the subject of a further appeal.

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what process would need to be pursued (a) to amend and (b) to delete the environmental mitigation measures on airport operations at Heathrow under the Cranford Agreement. [221653]

Charlotte Atkins: Any proposals to amend or abandon the existing noise amelioration operations at Heathrow under the Cranford Agreement would need to be subject to a full environmental appraisal, public
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consultation and ministerial approval. Any agreed changes would then need to be reflected in operational instructions in the NATS Manual for Air Traffic Services.

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