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22 Mar 2006 : Column 382W—continued

Terrorism

Patrick Mercer: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps the Department has taken (a) to prevent terrorist attacks on UK ports and harbours and (b) to screen cargo arriving at UK ports and harbours for hazardous materials that could be used in a terrorist attack. [59539]

Dr. Ladyman: It is not our policy to comment in detail on, or provide information relating to, the specific techniques employed to counter terrorist attacks, for very good security reasons.

On 1 July 2004, The Department for Transport fully implemented EC Regulation 725/2004 on enhancing Ship and Port Facility Security. It aims to prevent acts of terrorism which threaten the security of passengers and crews and the safety of ships. The regulation provides for a comprehensive system of physical and procedural security measures at about 550 UK Port Facilities. These are aimed in part at deterring and preventing the threat of terrorism, including the use of hazardous materials in such attacks, in our ports and harbours.

Screening of cargo arriving in the UK through ports and harbours is undertaken by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs. Also a programme to screen cargo
 
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arriving in the UK for radioactive material that could be used in a terrorist attack, known as Project Cyclamen, has been mounted by the Home Office.

Train Services (Cardiff to Portsmouth)

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what factors underlay the decision to reduce the hourly service from Cardiff to Portsmouth by 70 seats per train. [59477]

Derek Twigg: Currently some trains that operate on this route are three-car some are two-car. The third vehicles were added to some trains to compensate for peak crowding around Bristol and between Bristol and Cardiff. Improvements in the December 2006 service specification around Bristol, by terminating fewer trains at Bristol Temple Meads station and increasing the number of calls at Filton Abbey Wood, should help to relieve this overcrowding.

The capacity of trains on a given route is for a train operator to specify. First Greater Western (FGW), who will operate the service from December 2006, recently consulted on this timetable. The results of the consultation are being analysed and FGW, in conjunction with DfT, will decide whether to amend the timetable or train capacity in response to the consultation.

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport for what reasons it is proposed to reduce the Cardiff to Portsmouth line service over the section between Westbury and Southampton by five trains a day in each direction from December 2006. [59484]

Derek Twigg: The primary service between Westbury and Southampton will remain hourly. Added into this pattern are a number of additional services; it is these which are proposed to be reduced on value for money grounds. First Greater Western (FGW), who will operate the service from December 2006, recently consulted on this timetable. The results of the consultation are being analysed and FGW, in conjunction with DfT, will decide whether to amend the timetable in response to the consultation.

The level of service provided between Southampton and Salisbury is also being reviewed as part of the new South Western Franchise. An option to offer a second train an hour between Southampton and Salisbury (via Chandlers Ford) is being considered.

Vehicle Imports

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much revenue has been collected in tariffs on (a) imports of (i) cars and (ii) lorries and (b) in total vehicle imports in each year since 1997. [54949]

Dawn Primarolo: I have been asked to reply.

The information is not available to this level of detail.

Vehicle Registrations

Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will introduce legislation to prevent the use of mail collection only postal addresses for the registration of motor vehicles; and if he will make a statement. [60269]


 
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Dr. Ladyman: There are no current plans to introduce legislation to prevent the use of mail collection postal addresses. To do so would have a detrimental effect on businesses such as fleet companies who register large volumes of vehicles with a PO Box address or other mail collection postal address.

Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many motor vehicles are registered at 25 Duke Street, Chelmsford; and if he will make a statement. [60270]

Dr. Ladyman: The number of vehicles registered at a specific address constitutes personal data and as such cannot be released to anyone not legally entitled to receive it.

Wildlife and Countryside Act

Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the impact of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 on the operation of railway services; and if he will make a statement. [59935]

Derek Twigg [holding answer 21 March 2006]: This is an operational matter for Network Rail, as the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 applies directly to the infrastructure provider, principally through its maintenance, enhancement and renewal activities and in its capacity as a major landowner. In general, the requirements of the Act do not impact upon the operation of trains.

Network Rail comply with the requirements in terms of protection to species and areas, for example by gaining consent as required, and work with English Nature to assist them meet their target of reinstating Sites of Special Scientific Interest to favourable status.

SOLICITOR-GENERAL

Case Timings

Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Solicitor-General what guidance he has issued to the Crown Prosecution Service on the length of time that should elapse before a case is brought against a suspect. [60651]

The Solicitor-General: There is no specific CPS guidance on the length of time that should elapse before a case is brought against a suspect. However, the Crown Prosecution Service works closely with the police and other agencies to ensure that cases are handled expediently and are brought before a court when all the available evidence is available to support the case.

The Crown Prosecution Service has specific guidelines on timeliness which apply to persistent young offenders whereby cases should be finalised at court within 71 days of arrest.

Additionally, cases which involve the custody of defendants are subject to time limits as specified in Section 22 of the Prosecution of Offenders Act 1985. This is to ensure that cases are progressed expeditiously through the court process and to avoid the need for defendants to remain in custody for excessive periods of time.
 
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TRADE AND INDUSTRY

Arms Exports (Iraq)

Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether any of the 20,878 semiautomatic pistols exported to Iraq referred to in the Second Quarterly Report on Strategic Export Controls 2004 had previously been subject to the refusal of an export licence application by an EU member state as defined by the EU Code of Conduct on Arms Exports. [59749]

Malcolm Wicks [holding answer 20 March 2006]: The Council of the European Union 'User's Guide to the EU Code of Conduct on Arms Exports' stipulates that information on the central Denial Notification database is classified 'Restricted' and will be treated as such by all Member States. I am therefore able neither to confirm nor deny whether an EU Member State had previously refused the export to Iraq of any of the 20,878 semi-automatic pistols referred to in the Second Quarterly Report on Strategic Export Controls 2004.

I would however make clear that the UK takes its commitments to the EU Code of Conduct very seriously.

Business Links

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps have been taken to ensure that agencies allocated contracts by regional development agencies for Business Links brokerage models conform to the terms of the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 in respect of their (a) recruitment, (b) subcontracting, (c) board membership and (d) customer service. [59502]

Alun Michael: Responsibility for such contracts now lie with the Regional Development Agency in each region and I have asked the chief executive each Agency to provide me with information about the steps taken to ensure that Business Links brokerage models conform to the terms of the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 in terms of recruitment, subcontracting, board membership and customer service. Once the information is to hand I shall write to my hon. Friend and place a copy of the letter in the Libraries of the House.


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