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20 Dec 2005 : Column 2909W—continued

Weapons Amnesty

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) which local police forces in England have offered a weapons amnesty in each year since 1997; [36988]

(2) whether he plans to encourage local police forces to offer permanent weapon amnesties. [36989]

Hazel Blears: The information requested is not collected centrally. It is a matter for police forces in conjunction with the local Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to decide whether to hold an amnesty or hand-in scheme in respect of particular types of weapons. We are, however, developing plans for a knife amnesty in England and Wales in the new year.


A21 Upgrade

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what representations he has received about further public consultations for the proposed A21 upgrade. [39254]

Dr. Ladyman: A meeting was held on 7 December 2005, chaired by the Hurst Green Parish Council Chairman, where the Highways Agency discussed the plans to upgrade the A21 between Flimwell and Hurst Green with representatives of Goudhurst Parish Council, Hurst Green Parish Council, Hurst Green And
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Flimwell Chamber of Commerce, A21 Sussex Action Group, Cedar and Ringden Farms and councillors from Rother district council and East Sussex county council.

The details of the meeting will be reported back to me shortly and I will write to my hon. Friend with further information.

Air Bags (Motor Vehicles)

Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he has commissioned independent research on the efficiency of air bags in motor vehicles. [38729]

Dr. Ladyman: The Department completed research into the effectiveness of airbags in motor vehicles in 2003. The principal findings were presented at the International Research Council on the Biomechanics of Impact International Conference 2002. This project focused on obtaining an improved understanding of the overall benefits and risks involved with both front and side airbag deployments for a range of vehicle occupants. The project determined that in general frontal airbags offer extra protection to vehicle occupants, with significant overall benefits for head injuries. The benefits for thoracic injuries are less clear, and airbags are less effective at reducing injuries in certain types of accidents (such as angled impacts, pole impacts and high intrusion impacts). There is insufficient data available at present to draw any firm conclusions on the risks and benefits of deploying side airbags.
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Aircraft Flight Plans

Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many aircraft flight plans have been filed to the Integrated Flight Plans System for or on behalf of (a) the Central Intelligence Agency and (b) other departments or agencies of the United States Administration since the beginning of 2003; and if he will make a statement. [38944]

Ms Buck: UK law on civil air operations is governed by the UK's obligations under the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation 1944.

Under the Rules of the Air established in Annex 2 to the Convention, the commander of an aircraft must file a flight plan for all flights that will cross international borders, and for most other flights that are engaged in commercial operations. For flights operating in European controlled airspace, flight plans are filed with the Central Flow Management Unit (CFMU) at Eurocontrol, the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation.

On receipt of the flight plan, the CFMU perform a number of checks before distributing the information to the relevant air traffic control units along the projected route of the aircraft. Each of the air traffic units, for example National Air Traffic Services (NATS) in the UK, then utilises the information in order to provide air traffic services for the flight.

The flight plan provides information on the aircraft's identity (whether it is civil or state) and equipment, the point and time of departure, the route and altitude to be flown, the destination and estimated time of arrival, and the alternate airport to be used should landing be impossible. The flight plan also specifies whether the flight will be carried out under visual or instrument flight rules.

Consequently, the Department does not hold the requested information.

Aircraft N829MG

Sir Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport on how many occasions since September 2001 an aircraft with registration number N829MG has transited a United Kingdom airport carrying a passenger who was not of US nationality. [38630]

Ms Buck: The Department for Transport has no records of an aircraft with registration N829MG having been granted a permit under article 138 of the Air Navigation Order 2005. Permission from the Secretary of State for Transport is only required by foreign aircraft operating civil flights into the UK where they land and take on board or discharge passengers or cargo, and where payment is given or promised in respect of that carriage.


Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many (a) paved and (b) unpaved airport runways there are in (i) Scotland, (ii) Wales, (iii) each of the English regions and (iv) Northern Ireland of (A) under 914 metres, (B) 914 to 1,523 metres, (C) 1,524 to 2,437 metres, (D) 2,438 to 3,047 metres and (E) over 3, 047 metres in length. [39210]

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Ms Buck: The full information requested is not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Arriva Buses

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much bus service operators grant has been claimed by Arriva buses in (a) England, (b) the North East Government Office Region and (c) the boroughs of the Tees Valley sub-region since 1995. [32811]

Ms Buck: We are unable to provide commercially confidential information.

Arriva Trains Wales

Dr. Tony Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many trains on the Arriva Trains Wales service between Birmingham and Aberystwyth did not (a) depart from and (b) arrive at Birmingham in the most recent period that figures are available; and what percentage of journeys on the line these figures represent. [35446]

Derek Twigg: Between 16 October and 12 November 2005 (Period 8), 112 services between Aberystwyth and Birmingham either terminated short of Birmingham or commenced outside Birmingham. This accounts for 24 per cent. of the scheduled services between Aberystwyth and Birmingham. This is due to a combination of speed restrictions and delays caused by other train services. It is for Network Rail to determine the location and duration of temporary speed restrictions.

Mrs. James: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much subsidy Arriva Trains Wales has received from his Department in each year since 2004; how much the company has paid in penalties in each year; and if he will make a statement. [38241]

Derek Twigg: Arriva Trains Wales received a total cash subsidy of £46.4 million for the period from franchise commencement on 8 December 2003 to 31 March 2004. It received a total cash subsidy of £97.8 million for the period 1 April 2004 to 31 March 2005. No penalty payments were made by Arriva Trains Wales during either of these periods.

Bicycle Use (Environmental Effects)

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what lifecycle analysis he has (a) conducted and (b) evaluated on the carbon dioxide emissions of bicycle use. [39339]

Dr. Ladyman: We are not aware of any detailed research in this area. Any carbon dioxide emissions resulting from the manufacture and distribution of bicycles are likely to be more than outweighed by the carbon savings associated with the use of the bicycle as a substitute for motorised transport over its lifetime.

British Transport Police

Patrick Mercer: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what additional manpower he plans to allocate to the British Transport police for security duties on the London underground. [37177]

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Derek Twigg [holding answer 13 December 2005]: The London underground area of the British Transport police is funded by London Underground and Transport for London. Since 2003–04, TfL/LU has funded an additional 200 police officers bringing the total for LU to 677.

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