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3 May 2006 : Column 1585W—continued


Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether a cost analysis has been carried out for the use of the Old Oak Common Depot and the Ilford Depot as part of the Crossrail project. [67080]

Derek Twigg: Such cost analyses form part of the further study being undertaken regarding the depot strategy for Crossrail. The results will be made available before petitioners objecting to the proposed depot at Romford are due to be heard by the Select Committee.

Oyster Cards

Mr. Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to give train operating companies who are not at the end of a franchise incentives to incorporate pre-pay Oyster cards. [64469]

Derek Twigg: The South Western franchise will require the successful bidder to accept Oyster, including pre-pay, in Zones 1–6 and to retail and enable an ITSO (Integrated Transport Smartcard Organisation) based smartcard throughout the franchise. We have made it clear that we will adopt this approach with each of the London train operating companies upon franchise renewal. This decision on technology has given a firm foundation from which train operators and suppliers can move forward.

We do not believe that it should be necessary to wait for a full round of franchise renewals before Oyster pre-pay is generally accepted by Train Operator Companies in London. We believe that this clear policy will allow
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train operators to adopt Oyster pre-pay sooner rather than later and have asked the industry for their further proposals.

Press Offices

Stephen Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much has been spent by (a) his Department and (b) its agencies on press offices in each year since 1997. [63982]

Derek Twigg: Records of costs from 1997–98 until 2001–02 are not readily available due to departmental and Agency re-organisations and the information could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Figures for 2005–06 are provisional outturn figures subject to audit.

(a) The cost of DfT Central's press office (including pay and non-pay costs) for the years 2002–03 to 2005–06 is in the following table.
£ million

DfT(C) Pay0.850.700.700.77
DfT(C) Non-pay0.810.800.830.76

(b) Press office activities in most agencies are not carried out by staff or units solely dedicated to this purpose. Full records of costs are therefore not readily available for press office functions alone. However, agency press office function pay costs have been estimated for the years 2002–03 to 2005–06 in the following table.
DfT agencies (£ millions)


Road Construction

Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he will make announcements on (a) the regional funding allocations and (b) new major schemes. [68100]

Dr. Ladyman: The Government are now considering the advice provided by the regions and will set out in due course how it will be utilised and developed upon in the comprehensive Spending Review. Decisions on new major schemes will be made as soon as possible within the context of the Government's overall response.

Road Pricing

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the costs have been of testing pay-as-you-go road pricing schemes. [67090]

Dr. Ladyman: The Department's DIRECTS (Demonstration of Interoperable Road-user End-to-end Charging and Telematics System) Project, which has just completed its 1-year trial in Leeds, has a current project value of £22.9 million. Within the project, three
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out of seven different On-Board Unit designs contained example pay-as-you-go solutions. The costs of this component of testing cannot be separated out from the total.


Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what consultations his Department undertook between (a) 1976 and 1979 and (b) 1980 and 1986 on seatbelt wearing; if he will place in the Library the results of such consultations; and if he will make a statement. [66866]

Dr. Ladyman: Information is not readily available on consultations during these periods.

Severn River Crossings plc.

Jessica Morden: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress has been made in discussions with Severn River Crossings plc. on allowing credit card payments for Severn crossing tolls. [66887]

Dr. Ladyman: Discussions are continuing with Severn River Crossings plc. and financial institutions about the legislative, technical, operational and financial issues involved.

Utility Companies

Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what research his Department has undertaken into the scope for use of trenchless technology to reduce delays caused by utilities digging up roads. [65827]

Dr. Ladyman: The Department undertook some preliminary research into the use of trenchless technology in 2002, but no particular conclusions were reached and work has been halted.

Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what research his Department has undertaken to identify best practice among utility companies in the use of trenchless technology. [65828]

Dr. Ladyman: The Department for Transport did some preliminary work in 2002 to identify best practice on the use of trenchless technology, but no further work has been done.

Vandalism (Railways)

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many incidents of vandalism there have been in each year since 1997 on (a) trains, (b) stations, (c) railway tracks and (d) railway depots, broken down by police authority area. [62630]

Derek Twigg: This information requested has been placed in the Libraries of the House.


Mr. Bone: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will bring forward plans to increase capacity on the Wellingborough to London railway line. [67033]

Derek Twigg: The Midland Main Line & East Midlands Route Utilisation Strategy (RUS) was published March 2004. Taking into account the proposed housing growth in the area, the Strategy's
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recommendations include running additional peak trains between London St. Pancras to Kettering as a better way of serving the North Northamptonshire to London market. The Department is developing the specification for the East Midlands franchise which will take account of the RUS's recommendations. A public consultation on the specification will be held this summer.


Traditionally Male Careers

Jim Sheridan: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality what discussions she has had with business organisations on encouraging school girls to consider careers in sectors which have until recently been seen as traditionally male. [68059]

Meg Munn: I have regular meetings with business organisations and use these opportunities to encourage them to work with their members to ensure that they do what they can to encourage girls to consider careers in non-traditional sectors.

The recent Women and Work Commission report, Shaping a Fairer Future", identified the necessity of ensuring that girls and boys are not influenced by stereotypical ideas about occupations when considering their subject and career options. They recommend action to ensure that teacher training emphasises the need to challenge gender stereotypes, guidance to pre-school teachers about how to avoid gender stereotypes, and better careers guidance and work experience programmes which would enable girls to get a true picture of the rewards and challenges associated with different careers.

The Commission will reconvene in early 2007 to consider the Government's response to their report.

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