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23 May 2005 : Column 6W—continued

Staffing Structure Regulations

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will make a statement on the time scale for publication of the arrangements for the Review of Staffing Structure Regulations; and if she will delay the start of the consultation period for schools. [186]

Jacqui Smith: The Education (Review of Staffing Structure) (England) Regulations 2005 came into force on 6 May. They require that the staffing structures of all maintained schools and pupil referral units in England should be reviewed by the end of this year with a view to implementing any resulting changes to staffing arrangements by the end of 2008. Guidance to schools and local authorities on the review process will be published later this month.

Sure Start

Mrs. Ellman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment she has made of the impact of Sure Start in Everton, Liverpool; and if she will make a statement. [415]

Beverley Hughes: Everton in Liverpool has benefited from both the Sure Start West Everton and Breckfield local programme approved in 1999 and the Everton Early Childhood Centre (EEC) approved in February 2001 which are based on the same site. The building was developed with local and national Government funding including both the Sure Start and Early Excellence programmes.

The Sure Start local programme supports around 1,212 young local children and their families living in Everton. Through a multidisciplinary team, a highly trained volunteer force and committed partners they are delivering a range of services including: outreach and home visiting; support for families and parents; access to good quality play, learning and childcare experiences for children; primary care and health, including advice about child health and development; and support for children and families with special needs, including access to specialised services such as the paediatrician and child and adolescent mental health team.

The Sure Start local programme has strong parental participation reflected in the management board membership with seven of the 20 places taken by parents. Parents have also been trained as researchers for the local evaluation of the programme and have been encouraged to use the findings to improve the way the programme is being developed.
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The Everton Early Childhood Centre provides health, education and family support services to around 188 0–5 year olds. The services include baby clinic drop in sessions, eye clinic, outdoor play and environmental education, and reading support.

The Sure Start local programme and the EEC were brought together and designated as one of the first integrated children's centres in June 2003.


A3 (Hindhead)

Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the estimated cost is of the tunnelled section of the A3 at the Devil's Punchbowl near Hindhead in Surrey. [112]

Dr. Ladyman: The approved budget for the A3 Hindhead improvement is £240 million, which includes an estimated £93.2 million for the costs of the two bored tunnels to take the A3 under the Devils Punchbowl.

Alternatively Fuelled Road Vehicles

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on his policy on providing support for the construction of energy points for the refuelling of alternatively fuelled road vehicles. [456]

Dr. Ladyman: The Department have given £469,947 in grant aid in the last two years to assist the construction of natural gas refuelling stations, bringing the number of these stations built in the last decade to 30. In the same period 13 electricity recharging points have been installed and 1,202 LPG and 106 biodiesel fuelling points have been installed on forecourts, all without Government support.

That earlier grant programme ended on 31 March. A new programme that would extend grant funding for construction in relation to natural gas, electric, bio-ethanol and hydrogen refueling is under consideration and has been notified to the European Commission in accordance with the state aid rules. The time scale for introducing a new programme will be dependent on the process of review and clearance by the European Commission.

Channel Tunnel Rail Link

Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the implications of the completion of the channel tunnel rail link for (a) London Bridge and (b) Waterloo stations. [110]

Derek Twigg: Completion of the channel tunnel rail link (CTRL) will have two significant effects on the rail network in the south. First, it will allow the operation of high speed domestic services from Kent to St. Pancras. This will provide some relief to existing capacity constraints at London Bridge. The new service pattern proposed in the specification for the Integrated Kent Franchise will improve operational performance at London Bridge, delivering improved reliability and
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punctuality for passengers. The high speed domestic services from Kent are expected to begin operation in 2009.

Second, international services will no longer require access to the domestic network, except for access to Ashford International, so existing international facilities at Waterloo and at North Pole depot will become available for alternative use. The Strategic Rail Authority, in conjunction with the Department for Transport, has commissioned the first phase of a study to examine the best alternative uses for these facilities. The study is examining the potential impact of options on London Bridge Station, as well as Waterloo station. The phase 1 report, which will be completed this summer, will identify the most promising options for further detailed evaluation.


Sir Gerald Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he will reply to the letter from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton dated 7 April 2005 with regard to Mr. Michael Addie. [197]

Mr. Darling: A reply was sent to my right hon. Friend on 15 April 2005.

Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many vehicles are registered with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, broken down by category. [463]

Dr. Ladyman: The numbers of vehicles currently registered at DVLA as of December 2004 in the main categories are:
Motor cycles (including tricycles, quadricyles)1,174,000
Goods vehicles2,207,000
Buses and coaches175,000
Others (e.g. ambulances, fire appliances etc.)927,000

Driving Tests

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on further planned changes to the driving test. [488]

Dr. Ladyman: Driving Standards Agency (DSA) issued a report in August 2002 outlining the implementation of Commission Directive 2000/56/EC (Implementing European Changes to the Driving Test). The changes are:

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DSA continues to meet its Road Safety Strategy commitment by annually reviewing the theory test question bank and updating the hazard perception film clips on a regular basis.

EU Driver Licensing Committee

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will place in the Library (a) a list of the members of the EU Transport Directorate's Driver Licensing Committee and their official contact details and (b) a list of the members of the European Working Group on Eyesight indicating (i) official contact details, (ii) credentials experience and (iii) at what stage they are at with their revision of Annex III of the 2nd Directive on Driving Licensure. [413]

Dr. Ladyman: Membership of the European Commission's Regulatory Committee on the Driving Licence and its working group on eyesight is a matter for the European Commission, to whom inquiries about membership should be directed.

The United Kingdom provides a member of the Committee on the Driving Licence in the person of a senior policy official in the Department for Transport, and is providing input to the working group on eyesight in the person of a senior medical expert from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency.

No decisions have yet been taken about any revisions to the medical standards set out in Annex III to Directive 91/439/EEC.

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