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Dr. Ladyman: The measure that has been used is derived from comparing actual traffic speeds with those that would be achievable in the absence of congestion. Full details of the methodology are available on the Department's website at www.dft.gov.uk/stellent/groups/dft transstats/documents/page/dft transstats 021863.pdf
Under this measure, the estimated average congestion vehicle delay in 2000 in England was 3.8 seconds lost per vehicle kilometre (sec/vkm) on motorways, 4.5 sec/vkm on dual carriageway A roads and 4.7 sec/vkm on single carriageway A roads.
These are the latest figures currently available. The Department is currently developing new, more detailed data sources and new measures of traffic congestion which will provide the basis for new targets to be set in July 2005.
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list (a) historical and (b) archaeological sites that have been subject to (i) appeals against road construction and (ii) emergency excavation in road construction since 1997; and if he will list those where the road encroachment was authorised. 
There are no historical or archaeological sites on the motorway and trunk road network that have been subject to appeals against road
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construction or emergency excavation since 1997. Local roads are the responsibility of the respective local highway authority and we, therefore, do not retain records of this nature.
Mr. Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which counties in England and Wales do not offer motorists caught speeding the option of taking a speed awareness course; what plans he has to increase the availability of such courses; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Ladyman: The eight police forces in England listed as follows currently run speed awareness courses, offering them to drivers where they judge this to be an appropriate alternative to prosecution. The Association of Chief Police Officers is putting in place arrangements for a national programme, including guidance to ensure consistent and rigorous standards, and plans to launch this initiative later in the year. The Government welcome this move, which will help make drivers more aware of speed and its effects, rather than simply punishing them.
Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which organisation has responsibility for determining temporary speed limits in the event of a motorway accident; at what level of seniority in that organisation the decision is made; what monitoring is undertaken by his Department of the level at which such limits are set and the duration for which they apply; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Ladyman: In the event of a motorway accident the responsibility for determining temporary speed limits lies with the police. Temporary speed limits are normally set by the police control room but these speed limits, which are in any case advisory, are able to be changed by the senior officer at the scene of the accident, who may request that control room staff alter speed limits. On the M25 between junctions 10 and 16 the temporary speed limit signs are set automatically in response to sensors in the road which detect traffic speed. The signs, on this section of controlled motorway, are mandatory. Data on the level at which speed limits are set and the duration for which they are applied are recorded and available.
Derek Twigg: Shortlisted bidders for the replacement Thameslink and Greater Northern franchise were announced on 1 April 2005. Invitations to Tender will be issued to bidders in June. The strategy for this route was set out in the Midland Main Line Route Utilisation Strategy which was published by the Strategic Rail Authority in March 2004.
Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the new timetable for Thameslink services for Mill Hill, with particular reference to the ending of the fast train service from Mill Hill to central London. 
Mr. Brazier: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the size of the UK merchant marine was by (a) tonnage and (b) number of ships (i) in the last period for which figures are available and (ii) 20 years ago. 
|End 1984(5)||End 2004|
|Gross tonnage (thousand)||14,312||10,221|
|Deadweight tonnage (thousand)||21,970||10,499|
Mr. Brazier: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many (a) officers and (b) seamen were serving in the merchant marine (i) in the last year for which figures are available and (ii) 20 years ago. 
Ian Pearson: We remain deeply concerned by the situation in Burma, including the terrorist attacks on 7 May in Rangoon which led to at least 19 deaths and many more injured. The EU Troika, including the United Kingdom, expressed concern over the situation in Burma to the Burmese Foreign Minister in Kyoto on 6 May. On 16 May our ambassador in Rangoon drew the attention of the Burmese Foreign Minister to the level of concern in both Houses. We continue to believe that it is essential for the State Peace and Development Council to enter into a genuine and constructive dialogue with Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy, other legitimate representative bodies and the ethnic groups to promote a peaceful, negotiated and democratic solution to the ongoing problems in Burma.
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the condition of political prisoners and prisoners of conscience held in Burma. 
Ian Pearson: The UK and the EU have repeatedly called for the release of all political prisoners in Burma. When the EU Troika, including the United Kingdom, met the Burmese Foreign Minister in Kyoto on 6 May, they handed over a list of 19 political prisoners whose release the EU requested on urgent humanitarian grounds. On 16 May our ambassador in Rangoon reminded the Burmese Foreign Minister of the importance we attach to the release of prisoners on this list, and of the level of concern in both Houses over the situation in Burma and abuse of human rights.
We are concerned that, despite the release of a few political prisoners in recent months, arrests for political reasons have continued. In particular, we are concerned by the detention in February of a number of Shan leaders including Khun Htun Oo, Sai Nyunt Lwin and Sai Hsoten, who are being tried in secret in Insein Jail, without contact with their families, and who have been unable to appoint a lawyer of their own choosing. Furthermore we are concerned by the arrests during the last two months of elected representatives U Kyaw Hsan, U Kyaw Min, U Saw Hlaing and U Kyaw Khin, since these arrests all appear to be politically motivated.
There have been no recent ministerial discussions with the French Government on Total Oil's investment in Burma. Our embassy in Paris remains in regular contact with the French Government over the human rights situation in Burma.
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Ian Pearson: There are regular discussions in the United Nations on the situation in Burma. Most recently, the UK was centrally involved in the EU's negotiation of resolutions on the human rights situation in Burma at last year's UN General Assembly and this year's Commission on Human Rights. Adopted by the UN in December 2004 and March 2005 respectively, these resolutions condemned the many human rights abuses being committed in the country.
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what discussions he has had with the Government of Burma regarding the use of chemical weapons against Karenni people in eastern Burma; 
We treat any allegations of chemical weapons use with the utmost concern. We have examined the information that has been seat to us to date to support these recent claims and have also discussed them with international partners, but at this stage we do not believe that there is enough evidence to warrant further action. We continue to follow the situation carefully and remain ready to consider any further evidence.
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will (a) make representations to ASEAN to strip Burma of its chairmanship, (b) make it his policy not to participate in meetings with ASEAN under Burma's chairmanship and (c) urge ASEAN to suspend Burma. 
Ian Pearson: The terms of membership of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and decisions on its chairmanship are internal matters for its members. We are, however, concerned about Burma's forthcoming chairmanship of ASEAN in 2006. This prospect makes the need for change in Burma all the more pressing.
The UK attends EU-ASEAN meetings as a member of the EU. Decisions on attendance are taken by consensus in the EU. It is too early for the EU to take a decision on the approach it will take in July 2006.
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We will continue to take advantage of our regular bilateral and multilateral contacts with all ASEAN nations to encourage substantive change in Burma; most recently, we did so at the Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM) Foreign Ministers meeting in Kyoto on 67 May. We have made clear that we wish to see real progress towards genuine democratisation in Burma, including the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners.
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