Previous Section Index Home Page

22 Mar 2006 : Column 379W—continued


Peter Viggers: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport where the Mobility Advice and Vehicle Information Service (MAVIS) is located; what acreage of land it occupies; what the terms of the current lease are; what the possibility of renewing the lease is; how many people (a) are employed by the service on a permanent basis and (b) were trained in each of the last five years; what the maximum number of trainees under training was at one time in the last 12 months; how many vehicles are employed by the service; what the breakdown of training between mileage driven on the MAVIS site and mileage driven on public roads is; what sites have been identified as a possible future location for MAVIS; what consultations have taken place with (i) local authorities and (ii) other local representative bodies on a future location for MAVIS; and if he will make a statement. [60059]

Derek Twigg [holding answer 20 March 2006]: The Department for Transport's mobility centre, the Mobility Advice and Vehicle Information Service (MAVIS) holds a lease of part of O" Wing at the Crowthorne Business Estate at Crowthorne in Berkshire at an open market rent which expires on 30 March 2011. The lease is protected under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 which gives, in some circumstances, the right to extend the lease. A track agreement with a different lessor is held by MAVIS nearby to the O" Wing property.

Ten staff are currently employed at the MAVIS with one vacancy due to be filled shortly. The MAVIS as an organisation does not train disabled drivers but assesses older and disabled drivers and passengers. Over the last five years it has carried out on average 507 driving and passenger assessments per year. The MAVIS currently has 30 vehicles, the majority adapted for the assessment of drivers with disabilities, but we do not record separately the number of miles driven on the highway compared to those driven on the Small Road System.

We are investigating whether it is possible to remain at the Crowthorne site and considering alternative sites for the MAVIS. This work is still continuing but
22 Mar 2006 : Column 380W
alternative sites .that have been considered so far include sites in Lee-on-Solent, Winchester, Arborfield, Salisbury and Winfrith.

We have not held any discussions with local authorities or local representative bodies.

Network Rail

Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what factors underlay the decision not to include guaranteed work levels in Network Rail's regional contractors' agreements; what estimate he has made of the relative value-for-money for each regional contract; and if he will make a statement. [60082]

Derek Twigg: Network Rail are a private company and as such these commercial matters are a matter for it alone and Ministers have no locus. Network Rail have agreed to write to the hon. Member directly.

Noise Limits

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the likely impact of Commission Decision 2006/66/EC., OJ L37 of 8 February 2006, on (a) UK noise limits for (i) pass-by freight, (ii) stationary freight, (iii) locomotives, (iv) multiple units, (v) trailers, (vi) other stock, (vii) driver's cab limits and (b) existing and planned (A) track and (B) rolling stock; what UK derogations and exceptions apply; what the estimated total cost is of required adaption; what time period is permitted; and if he will make a statement. [59803]

Derek Twigg: This decision brings in limits for externally emitted noise from trains. These have no equivalent in existing UK legislation. It also brings in short time limits for loud noise in the driver's cab which will apply as well as the longer term exposure limits set in the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005.

New rolling stock has to comply after a transitional period of two years. The design of new UK freight rolling stock is such that it is already likely to be compliant. The UK has negotiated permanent specific cases for locomotives and diesel multiple units to allow for the constraints that the limited UK loading gauge presents to fitting onboard noise shields, but there may be a small increase for cab soundproofing in the cost of new locomotives. For refurbished rolling stock it is only necessary to demonstrate that noise has not been increased. There is no impact on track.

Package Travel

Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans his Department has to review the Package Travel, Package Holidays, Package Tour Regulations Act 1992. [60220]

Mr. Sutcliffe: I have been asked to reply.

The Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992 (SI 1992/3288) implement the Package Travel Directive (90/314/EEC). The European Commission is currently in the early stages of a review of eight consumer-facing directives, including the Package Travel Directive. In preparation for this, officials have met with the main stakeholders with an interest in this
22 Mar 2006 : Column 381W
market to discuss how the directive might be amended and certain aspects of the current implementing regulations. We are also engaging stakeholders through an informal on-line exercise to hear their views on this directive, the other seven directives and a piece of academic research into the implementation of them in the UK. This is available on the DTI website at

Parking and Travel Appeals Service

Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the work of the Parking and Travel Appeals Service. [60146]

Dr. Ladyman [holding answer 21 March 2006]: PATAS provides the independent adjudication service for deciding disputed parking and bus lane penalties charged by London borough councils and Transport for London (TfL) and congestion charging penalties issued by TfL.

PATAS has a team of Adjudicators who decide the appeals and can direct London Borough Councils and TfL to cancel Penalty Charge Notices. The adjudicators are independent solicitors or barristers of at least five years standing and their decisions are binding on both parties. They are appointed by the Association of London Government's Transport and Environment Committee ALGTEC who are also responsible for paying their salaries.

Parking Tickets

Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he takes to monitor the number of parking tickets issued illegally by each local authority; if he will take steps to reduce the number; and if he will make a statement. [60148]

Dr. Ladyman: It is for local authorities to ensure that Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) are issued in accordance with primary legislation, Regulations, local Traffic Regulation Orders and on-street signage. A Local Authority Circular 1/95 Guidance on Decriminalised Parking Enforcement Outside London" has been issued to guide them in these duties. Records are not kept centrally of the number of unlawful PCNs issued but it is likely that an appeal against such a PCN would be allowed by the parking adjudicators and local authorities pay close attention to the results of appeals. It is also likely that the local government ombudsman would accept an invitation to investigate a local authority that persistently issued PCNs that were not in accordance with the national and local regulatory framework.

Rail Services

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many train services have been (a) cancelled and (b) partially cancelled in each year since 1985; and how many scheduled train services there have been in each year since 1985. [54959]

22 Mar 2006 : Column 382W

Derek Twigg: Information for franchised passenger train services is only available for cancellations, and only from 1997–98 as follows:
Number of
trains planned
Trains cancelledPercentage of total planned trains cancelled

SS Montgomery

Mr. Gale: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will place in the Library the briefing notes for meetings held with hon. Members on 6 February and 16 March on the SS Montgomery; and if he will make a statement. [60157]

Dr. Ladyman: There were no briefing papers as an oral presentation only was made at the meeting on 6 February. The meeting on 16 March was postponed.

The wreck of the SS Richard Montgomery has been the subject of regular surveys since 1965 to ascertain its condition and to consider the options for its future management. The most recent survey was in September 2005—the results of that survey are still being analysed. We are currently updating the risk assessment work and have commissioned further studies. These will be reported on in spring 2006. No decisions on the future management of the wreck will be made until all the relevant information is available.

Next Section Index Home Page