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14 Feb 2006 : Column 1873W—continued

Departmental Staff

Kate Hoey: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans his Department has to change the London allowance of its staff; and if he will make a statement. [50004]

Ms Buck: Within the Department, the Driving Standards Agency retains a separate London Working Allowance based on those workplaces located within the M25. This will increase by £100 as at 1 April 2006. However, this will not apply to those staff working within the equivalent of the old Inner London weighting area (DSA Charles House Area Office)

There are no further planned changes to the London Allowance, where paid.

Disabled Parking

Mr. Rob Wilson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will introduce legislation to make it a fineable offence for a non-blue badge holder to park in designated disabled parking bays. [51539]

Ms Buck: It is already an offence under section 47 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 to park a vehicle which is not displaying a blue badge in a designated disabled person's parking bay. The maximum fine on conviction is £1,000 and this applies in addition to whatever penalty may be imposed for the associated parking offence.

East Coast Main Line

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent assessment he has made of capacity on the East Coast main line. [51647]

Derek Twigg: Capacity assessments for the national rail network are the responsibility of Network Rail. They have recently started work on a route utilisation strategy for the East Coast main line, and draft conclusions are expected later this year.


John Hemming: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what proportion of total UK emissions he estimates will be provided by aviation in (a) 2030 and (b) 2050 (i) with and (ii) without allowance for radiative forcing calculated at 2.7. [35573]

Ms Buck: Emissions from international flights do not currently count in the national inventories of greenhouse gas emissions, there being no international agreement yet on ways of allocating such emissions. There is, therefore, no agreed definition for UK aviation. In order to provide illustrative figures we have previously provided data based on a number of assumptions—that the UK takes responsibility for emissions from all departing flights, that all other sectors of the economy reduce their CO 2 emissions in
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line with the Energy White Paper goal. These figures do not take into account the impact of economic instruments like emissions trading.

The Department for Transport provided an illustrative table showing the relative contribution of aviation to UK emissions to the Environmental Audit Committee (published on 7 June 2004 in Aviation: Sustainability and the Government Response", HC 623). On this basis, aviation would be responsible for 15.2 per cent. of UK CO 2 emissions in 2030 and 21.3 per cent. in 2050. Using a radiative forcing factor of 2.7, aviation would be responsible for 27.6 per cent. in 2030 and 34.3 per cent. in 2050 of the UK's contribution to global warming.

The Air Transport White Paper sets out the Government's belief that the best way of ensuring aviation contributes towards the goal of climate stabilisation would be through a well-designed emissions trading regime, for which we are pressing at international and European level. We are working through the International Civil Aviation Organisation towards an international emissions trading scheme for aviation—this is consistent with the request to ICAO from the UN Climate Change Convention for action on aviation emissions. We are also pursuing the inclusion of aviation in the EU emissions trading scheme. The details of how a scheme would work in practice, like the overall cap and the distribution of allowances between member states will be subject to discussion with other member states' governments.

Fair Trade

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his Department's policy is on the procurement of fair trade produce for consumption on its premises. [49962]

Ms Buck: I can confirm that our policy on catering is to source items from fair trade producers wherever possible within the boundaries set by the public procurement rules and value for money policies. In addition, as part of any tendering process for the supply of catering services to the Department, we specify that the contractor should take account and support the Department in our response to the relevant parts of the Government's Strategy for Sustainable Farming and Food—Facing the Future". This sets out the Government's aims and objectives for sustainability within the farming and food sectors, contributing to a better environment and healthy and prosperous communities.

Products that are consistently purchased which typically relate to this ethos are fair trade bulk brew filter coffee and down to earth fair trade enveloped tea as part of our hospitality arrangements. These products are also made available in staff restaurants as well as fair trade sweets and chocolate, free range eggs and organic pasta.

Free Travel (Greater Manchester)

Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions his Department has had with (a) bus operators in Greater Manchester and (b) Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive
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to ensure that any increase in demand caused by the introduction of free off-peak travel for pensioners is met. [51740]

Ms Buck: The Department set up a working group consisting of representatives from local authorities, the Passenger Transport Executives and the Confederation of Passenger Transport to advise on the overall implementation of the free local off-peak travel for those 60 and over and disabled people. There have been no specific discussions on Manchester.

Highways Agency (Litter)

Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what obligations the Highways Agency is under to remove litter from motorway embankments and verges; and how often the agency has undertaken to remove litter from the (a) M60 and (b) M67 motorways in Denton and Reddish constituency in its cleansing programme. [51141]

Dr. Ladyman: The Highways Agency is obliged, by the Environmental Protection Act 1990, to remove litter from motorways, including the central reservations, verges, and embankments. This arrangement has regard to the nature and use of the highway, and the need to limit disruption to traffic. To comply with the Act, which specifies, through a supplementary Code of Practice, standards of cleanliness and response times, the Agency undertakes a regime of sweeping and litter picking on the M60 and M67 Motorways.

Litter picking on the verges and embankments is undertaken at regular three-monthly intervals on both the M60 and M67. The offside lane and central reserve is routinely swept and litter picked every three months on the M60 and every two months oh the M67.

The hard shoulders are swept every two months on the M60, and every three months on the M67. Where the Agency's daily routine inspections identify a particular problem, additional litter picking and sweeping is undertaken.

Identity Cards

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 7 December 2005, Official Report, column 1313W, on identity cards, whether he has finalised current best estimates of the cost of using the identity cards scheme to support the services which he oversees. [50321]

Ms Buck: The Department for Transport contributed to the Benefits Overview Document which was published by the Identity Cards Programme in June 2005. The Department has not yet finalised its estimates of the benefits or costs of using the ID Cards Scheme to support the services which it oversees. Officials from across the department are working with the Home Office ID Cards Programme to identify and quantify benefits and develop a realisation plan in line with the recommendation of the ministerial committee on ID Cards.
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Motor Cycling (Disabled Badges)

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what measures he plans to introduce to ensure that disabled motorcyclists can display disabled badges without risking theft; and if he will make a statement. [50251]

Ms Buck: There are no plans to introduce specific measures.

For motorcycles we advise that the badge should be exhibited in a conspicuous position on the vehicle so that the relevant details on the front are visible. The precise method of attaching and securing the badge is a matter for the badge holder to determine.

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