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5 Oct 2005 : Column 2881W—continued

Driving Tests

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many (a) passes and (b) failures of motor car driving tests there were in each test centre in (i) Essex and (ii) the Metropolitan Police area of London in (A) 1990, (B) 1995 and (C) each year since 1999. [14291]

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Dr. Ladyman: Tables showing the results of practical car driving tests conducted at test centres in Essex and within the Metropolitan Police area of London from 1999 have been placed in the Libraries of the House.

The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) does not hold pass rates by driving test centres for 1990 and 1995.

Freedom of Information

Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many Freedom of Information Act 2000 requests have been answered by the Department; and in how many cases (a) information was wholly exempted, (b) information was partly exempted and (c) the requests were answered in full. [14955]

Ms Buck: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. and learned Friend, the Minister of State for Constitutional Affairs on 28 July 2005, Official Report, column 2248W.

Management Consultancies

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which five management consultancies received the highest value of contracts awarded by his Department in each of the last three years; and what the total value was of the contracts awarded to each. [12587]

Ms Buck: Details of top five external consultants and advisers used by the Department in each of the last three years are shown in the following table. Separate figures for management consultancy are not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
SupplierValue of contracts (£)
Salomon Brothers Int. Ltd.12,842,062
Mott MacDonald11,128,019
Mott MacDonald14,049,491
Citigroup Global Markets Ltd.5,302,184
Mouchel Parkman3,904,283
Atos Origin IT Services UK Ltd.10,387,260
Mott MacDonald8,234,813
PA Consulting Group4,829,344
Parsons Brinckerhoff4,769,409

Opinion Surveys

Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the (a) subject matter and (b) dates were of opinion survey research undertaken by the Department and its agencies in the last 12 months; if he will place copies of the results of each survey in the Library; which companies were used in conducting the research; and how much each was paid. [14810]

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Ms Buck: A list of public opinion surveys undertaken by the Department, agencies and non-departmental bodies in 2004–05 is provided in a table, which has been placed in the Libraries of the House. The table provides details of regular quantitative surveys and surveys of a more ad hoc nature. Details concerning subject matter, costs, survey contractors and information about where findings can be obtained are provided in the table.

Public Transport (Work Force Skills)

Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what work has been undertaken to promote the increase in skill base of the workforce in the (a) rail, (b) aviation, (c) maritime and (d) bus and coach sectors. [13246]

Dr. Ladyman: For rail, the rail industry is currently developing proposals for an industry-led forum to be formed, which brings together representatives across the industry to set the strategic direction of skills and act as a repository of knowledge on the skills agenda.

"The Future of Air Transport" advocated the establishment of centres of excellence in civil aircraft engineering and training at regional airports. The industry is working up a number of proposals for such facilities. In addition, the European Union has just agreed a common air traffic controller licence which harmonises training and licensing requirements and enables mutual recognition of licenses across Europe for the first time.

The Support for Maritime Training scheme (SMarT) has been running since April 1998 and provides support for the training of officers and ratings. The current budget is £9.4 million per annum.

In the bus and coach industry, as well as other parts of the passenger transport sector, a Sector Skills Council for Passenger Transport (Go Skills) has been established to assist with meeting skill requirements. The Department has announced funding of £0.75 million over the period 2005–06 to 2007–08 in support of Go Skills' work and the Bus Partnership Forum has recently established a Task and Finish Group on Recruitment and Retention. The group will consider and make recommendations on skills and training issues.


Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will ask the Highways Agency to control ragwort on the A417 and M5 motorway. [14624]

Dr. Ladyman: The Highways Agency takes a proactive approach to the control of injurious weeds such as ragwort. Priority is given to the control of ragwort on highway land which is near to agricultural or grazing land. The Highways Agency is currently implementing a ragwort control programme on the A417 and the M5 motorway. Control techniques include: selective spraying of identified plants, mowing to inhibit growth prior to flowering, and pulling up and burning flowering plants prior to seeding.
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Mr. Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what percentage of his departmental budget was spent on light rail in 2004–05; and if he will make a statement. [7120]

Mr. Darling: Spending on light rail varies from year to year according to the progress of schemes. Since the opening of Tyne and Wear Metro in 1980, Government have contributed some £1.2 billion towards light rail schemes, including around £0.7 billion since 1997.

In 2004–05 the Department provided £36 million to directly support light rail schemes outside London. This represents 0.3 per cent. of its Departmental budget.

The Department does not directly fund light rail in London, therefore it is not possible to calculate precisely the percentage of the Departmental budget that is spent on light rail when taking London schemes into account.

Transport for London—which receives approximately 45 per cent. of its income from grant provided by the Department—spent £59 million on London light rail lines (including DLR, but excluding the tube).

Assuming 45 per cent. of the costs for light rail in London were met by Departmental funding, the overall percentage for spend on light rail in 2004–05 would be 0.5 per cent.

Road Charging

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on what method he plans to use for road charging for lorries as part of his wider national road pricing policy; and what steps he intends to take to ensure that the method of charging takes account of the costs of the effects of lorries on (a) the road network and (b) the wider environment. [15069]

Dr. Ladyman: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced to the House on 5 July that we will take forward work on distance-based lorry charging as part of our wider work on road pricing—to work for a single, comprehensive, cost-effective system. That work will include a detailed examination of technical options. We will ensure that the lessons learned during the Lorry Road User Charge project are taken into account as we take this work forward.

Road Traffic Accidents/Statistics

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 13 July 2005, Official Report, columns 1052–56W, on road traffic accidents/statistics, if he will place in the Library equivalent information for Highways Agency road schemes not included in the tables provided. [14084]

Dr. Ladyman: A table has been placed in the Libraries of the House showing road traffic accidents and flows for the Highways Agency Targeted Programme of Improvement (TPI) road schemes where data is available. Information on local network management schemes managed by the Agency could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
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