Previous Section Index Home Page

6 Feb 2006 : Column 792W—continued

South-east Asian Tsunami

Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the use made of aid allocated following the South East Asian tsunami; and if he will make a statement. [46131]

Mr. Thomas: A study by the National Audit Office of DFID's provision of humanitarian assistance following the tsunami is due to report shortly.

The initial report of the Tsunami Evaluation Coalition found that the relief phase was effective in meeting the immediate survival needs of those affected by the disaster. It also found that the speed with which money was donated and the unprecedented scale of funding allowed an early shift from immediate relief assistance to longer-term recovery. The report highlighted the need for better co-ordination of assistance and improved needs assessment in future disaster response.

An independent evaluation, commissioned by the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) on behalf its member agencies showed that there was rapid and extensive provision of appropriate relief and sensitivity to marginalised groups. Beneficiary surveys show a high level of satisfaction with initial relief work. The report concluded that overall the DEC agencies did a good job. However, there was a need for better co-ordination and greater accountability to beneficiaries.

The World Disasters Report also highlighted weak co-ordination between humanitarian non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in the response. The Indian Ocean disaster was exceptional in that large numbers of international NGOs were deployed to affected countries and with greater funding than previously experienced.

DFID has also been monitoring its response to the Indian Ocean Disaster. A report will be placed in the Library and published on the DFID website in February 2006.

Statutory Instruments

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State, Department for International Development if he will list the statutory instruments introduced by his Department since 6 May 2005. [46204]

Hilary Benn: None.


Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what progress has been made in dealing with the humanitarian crisis in Darfur. [47854]

Hilary Benn: There are 1.8 million internally displaced people and 3.4 million dependent on humanitarian assistance in Darfur. The priority is to provide assistance and protection for them, and to find a political solution that will allow people to return home and rebuild their lives.

Recent assessments indicate a major improvement in nutrition in Darfur with malnutrition rates almost half what they were in the previous year. Likewise the recent WHO Darfur survey showed mortality rates have, in
6 Feb 2006 : Column 793W
cases, reduced by two-thirds since August 2004. These improvements are due to the massive scale of the humanitarian effort.

The UK is the second largest bilateral humanitarian donor in Darfur (after the US), providing over £96 million since September 2003. These funds have meant that hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people have been provided with shelter, food, water and basic health care.

However, the situation still remains extremely fragile. We are particularly concerned about the impact that deteriorating security is having on humanitarian operations, especially in South and West Darfur. If aid were reduced because of conflict, insecurity or funding shortages, the humanitarian situation would deteriorate very quickly. We are taking every opportunity to call for an improvement in security and to press for a negotiated political agreement in Abuja.


A21 Upgrade

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he will publish the Regional Transport Board's advice on priorities regarding the proposed A21 upgrade. [49266]

Dr. Ladyman: The south eastern region submitted its advice on priorities to central Government on 31 January. The text of the advice can be found on the regional assembly's website at http://www.southeast-

Boeing 747–132 (N481EV)

Mr. Scott: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport why was Boeing 747–132, registration N481EV, not diverted to Stansted after encountering engine trouble on 24 April 2004 rather than being allowed to fly over London; and what cargo this aircraft was carrying. [46886]

Ms Buck: The captain of Evergreen 747 N481EV elected to divert to Heathrow rather than Stansted because the weather and visibility were good there and he had identified Heathrow when overflying that airport before the engine trouble occurred. The safety of the aircraft and choice of location for diversion is ultimately the captain's responsibility and air traffic control facilitated his request.

The captain did not notify air traffic control that the aircraft was carrying anything other than normal cargo.

C-385/04 Ruling

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will give details of case C-385/04, Commission of the European Communities v. United Kingdom and Northern Ireland; what estimate he has made of the costs of an appeal against the ruling; and if he will make a statement. [48290]

Dr. Ladyman: Case C-385/04 is a case brought by the European Commission against the United Kingdom, pursuant to Article 226 of the EC treaty. The case was
6 Feb 2006 : Column 794W
brought, because we did not implement Directive 2001/16/EC on the Interoperability of the Trans-European Conventional Rail System within the period prescribed, which ended on 20 April 2003.

The Regulations required to implement that Directive have now been through consultation and are intended to be signed and laid during February 2006. Accordingly, any issue of failure to implement will shortly become otiose and there is therefore no reason to appeal against the Court's ruling.

Commercial Aircraft

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will calculate the statistical probability of a commercial aircraft getting into difficulties in the flight path to Heathrow over London; and if he will make a statement. [46664]

Ms Buck: The Civil Aviation Authority has used its Mandatory Occurrence Reporting Database to review safety events inbound to and departing from London Heathrow, from 1 January 2000 to 31 December 2005. It has identified those reports in which in its opinion the crew experienced or might have experienced difficulties in carrying out normal procedures. In the few cases identified all the flights were completed safely.

Aircraft overfly portions of Greater London on both arrival and departure. Only seven incidents in the period met the chosen criteria, five on approach and two on departure, from 2,817,156 movements. CAA's estimate of the statistical probability of an aircraft getting into difficulties in the flight path to Heathrow is therefore as follows:

These figures equate to about one event a year.

Concessionary Transport

Mr. Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many pensioners in Tooting have (a) received discounted driving licences and (b) qualified for free bus travel in 2005. [47751]

Ms Buck: In the parliamentary constituency of Tooting, over 12,000 people aged 60 or older were eligible for concessionary travel on London's buses in 2005. In the whole of the London borough of Wandsworth, 36,000 people aged 60 or older were eligible. However, the take-up of concessionary travel in the constituency or the borough is not known. In London as a whole, the take-up rate of concessionary travel permits was 85 per cent. in 2004, the most recent year's data available.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) do not issue discounted driving licences. However, there is no charge for licence renewals either at the age of 70 and over or for medical reasons. The DVLA are unable to provide any information on the number of licence issues that occurred in any particular geographic area.
6 Feb 2006 : Column 795W

Departmental Estate

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what (a) land and (b) property is owned by his Department in Forest of Dean constituency. [47255]

Ms Buck: The Highways Agency (an Executive agency of the Department for Transport) owns a maintenance depot in the Forest of Dean constituency. The depot is located at Bury Court which is near junction 2 on the M50.

Next Section Index Home Page