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Written Answers to Questions

Thursday 27 April 2006


Disabled People

Tom Levitt: To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission if he will make a statement on the Commission's progress in fulfilling its statutory obligation to promote the rights of disabled people. [66020]

Nick Harvey: A number of specific actions are in hand to address disability issues. For example:

European Scrutiny Committee Reports

Michael Gove: To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission how many copies of European Scrutiny Committee reports have been sold in each of the last five years. [66131]

Nick Harvey: The number of copies of European Scrutiny Committee publications (reports, special reports and minutes of evidence volumes) sold in each of the last five financial years is as follows:

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Concessionary Travel

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what reasons underlay the Government's decision not to include community transport schemes within the definition of bus services eligible for the purposes of statutory concessionary travel schemes under the Travel Concessions (Eligible Services) Order 2002; and if he will make a statement. [66055]

Dr. Ladyman: The Travel Concessions (Eligible Services) Order 2002 was made under the Transport Act 2000 and reflects the policy that the statutory entitlement to concessionary fares applies to local bus travel. Concessions on community transport services can be provided at the discretion of individual local authorities along with other help towards costs.

Highway Maintenance (Peterborough)

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will instruct his officials to review the Local Transport Plan highway maintenance allocation to Peterborough city council for 2006–07, with particular reference to the impact of the formulaic approach to capital allocation; and if he will make a statement. [66751]

Dr. Ladyman: In December 2004 Peterborough was given indicative allocations for highway maintenance in the Local Transport Plan settlement of £2.409 million for 2005–06 and £2.209 million for 2006–07.

These sums were calculated by formula and included specific amounts for strengthening structures on the primary route network. The formula had a dampening mechanism that prevented maintenance allocations varying by more than 25 per cent. from the previous year, and in the case of Peterborough the sums given to them for primary route work had the effect of depressing the amount available to them for other maintenance work.

A consultation on the LTP maintenance formula took place in 2005, and it was decided that from 2007–08 primary route network allocations will not be included when applying the 25 per cent. year on year dampening mechanism. This will rectify the problem experienced by Peterborough.

Ministerial Cars (Fuel Costs)

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the fuel costs were for ministerial cars used by his Department in each of the last five years. [67005]

Dr. Ladyman: Ministerial cars are provided by the Government Car Service (GCS) in accordance with the Prime Minister's guidance 'Travel by Ministers'. A breakdown of the figures in the format requested is not readily available and could be obtained only at a disproportionate cost.


Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) when the Government last published guidelines to local authorities on parking enforcement and what the title of the publication was; [66288]
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(2) what plans the Government has to issue revised guidelines to local authorities on parking enforcement. [66289]

Dr. Ladyman: The Government published Local Authority Circular 1/95 (Welsh Office Circular 26/95), "Guidance on Decriminalised Parking Enforcement outside London" in 1995. The Department is producing regulations and statutory guidance on civil parking enforcement under Part 6 of the Traffic Management Act 2004; in addition the Department is revising Local Authority Circular 1/95. Public consultation will take place later this year with implementation in 2007.

Mr. Burrowes: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport with what requirements private parking enforcement companies have to comply to gain access to personal information from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency in the process of enforcing penalties for parking offences. [66647]

Dr. Ladyman: Regulation 27(1)(e) of the Road Vehicles (Registration and Licensing) Regulations 2002 requires DVLA to release information held on its vehicle record to anyone who can demonstrate 'reasonable cause' to have that information.

Companies that make regular requests for information are required to provide a full résumé of their business practices, detailing how they meet 'reasonable cause' and outline how they will use any information they receive. Information is then released on the basis that it will be used only for that purpose. Applicants are reminded that use of the information for any other purpose is an offence under the Data Protection Act 1998.

Companies that request and receive information electronically are visited by DVLA staff prior to any link being established. These links are operated in the context of clear terms of agreement, which outlines when information may be requested, how it can be used and how it should be stored. The DVLA has the right to carry out ad hoc audits on companies to ensure that all inquires are appropriate. Any suspected abuses will be investigated and, when appropriate, referred to the Information Commissioner for prosecution.


John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on proposals for a high speed rail link between Scotland and England. [66371]

Derek Twigg: The Government have a manifesto commitment to look at the feasibility and affordability of a new North-South high-speed link. The merits of a high speed line need to be rigorously examined before we will be in a position to make an announcement.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport announced on 15 March that the Department will publish a long term strategy for the railways along side the High Level Output Specification. The Department will take forward consideration of high speed lines as part of this work.

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when (a) he and (b) one of his agencies last carried out a national survey of railway station usage. [62464]

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Derek Twigg: The Department for Transport has been collecting usage data from stations across Great Britain over 2004 and 2005 to complete the National Rail Travel Survey. Results from this survey should be available towards the end of 2006.

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