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25 May 2006 : Column 1947W—continued

Graham Stringer: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what research his Department has undertaken into the effects of above-inflation increases in bus fares on socially excluded communities. [68691]

Gillian Merron: No research has been undertaken by the Department specifically on the effect of high bus fares on socially excluded communities. However, we know from other social exclusion research that the affordability of public transport can be an issue for these communities. Relevant reports include:

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will consider the extension of the free transport concession for those over 60 years in the West Yorkshire metro district for bus travel to include rail travel. [68853]

Gillian Merron: The Department has no plans to extend the statutory entitlement to concessionary travel to include rail services.

Mr. Ian Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how the extension nationwide of the free bus travel scheme for older and disabled people will be funded. [70994]

Gillian Merron: The Chancellor announced that up to £250 million in additional government funding would be made available for providing a national concessionary travel scheme from April 2008. We are currently looking at the options for delivering the national scheme and will consult with stakeholders including local authorities and bus operators in due course.


Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what safety deficiencies were identified when the Calypso was inspected at Tilbury in May; and why the ship was not detained at the docks on grounds of safety. [73436]

Dr. Ladyman: The passenger ship the Calypso was inspected in Tilbury under Port State Control on 5 May 2006. The ship was attended by Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) surveyors, London Port Health and a radio inspector. A full inspection and satisfactory safety drill was carried out. A total of 13 deficiencies were found and the nature of these deficiencies was not considered serious enough to warrant detention of the ship.

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Departmental Bills (Amendments)

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list the occasions when an amendment has been moved by (a) a Labour back bencher, (b) Opposition back bencher and (c) Opposition front bench spokesman to a Bill sponsored by his Department which has been accepted by his Department during the 2005-06 Session; and if he will make a statement. [72474]

Gillian Merron: The Department for Transport has sponsored the following Bills during the current session: Crossrail (Hybrid) Bill, Merchant Shipping Pollution Act [ Lords], Road Safety Bill [ Lords] and the Civil Aviation Bill. Information on amendments moved and accepted during the committee and report stages on these Bills is published in the Official Report.

Departmental Budget

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much of the budget for his Department remained unspent in the 2005-06 financial year. [72868]

Gillian Merron: 2005-06 estimated outturn was published in the Department for Transport Annual Report 2006 (Cm 6817). Provisional outturn against final departmental expenditure limits will be published before the summer recess, in July.

Departmental Funding (Halifax)

Mrs. Riordan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what funding for which his Department is responsible has been allocated to the Halifax constituency in the past 12 months. [72313]

Gillian Merron: The Department allocates funding to support local transport to Calderdale borough council and West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Authority/Executive, which both cover the constituency. The local transport capital funding allocations that the Department announced in December 2004 for 2005-06 is set out in the following table.

£ million
Nature of funding Calderdale West Yorkshire PTA

Highways capital maintenance



Integrated transport improvements






West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive received in the past 12 months a Rural Bus Subsidy Grant of £1.019 million of which £139,518 has been spent on bus services in Calderdale.

With regards to funding for rail and trunk roads, it is not possible to allocate funding to a specific constituency.

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Departmental Staff

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many people in his Departmenthave been (a) disciplined and (b) dismissed for (i) inappropriate use of the internet while at work and (ii) using work telephones to access premium rate numbers in each of the last five years. [67989]

Gillian Merron: The Department for Transport was established in May 2002.

Number of people disciplined or dismissed for inappropriate use of the internet at work in the Department for Transport
Disciplined Dismissed
















For using work telephones to access premium rate numbers one member of staff was disciplined in 2003, one in 2004 and one in 2005.

Regular reminders are issued to staff about their responsibility to not misuse the telephone, e-mail and internet systems. In order to ensure that these are not abused, or that the Department's security is not compromised, telephone, e-mails and internet use may be monitored periodically.

The Department's Staff Handbook establishes that staff must not make inappropriate use of official time including use of telephones and computer-related services. Such inappropriate use may constitute a disciplinary offence. There is also a separate policy on the use of the internet.

Staff are encouraged to regularly review these items to ensure they are complying with their responsibilities.

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many (a) EU foreign nationals and (b) non-EU foreign nationals have been employed in his Department in each of the last five years; what vetting procedures are in place for each category of staff; and whether these include liaison with foreign law enforcement agencies. [68021]

Gillian Merron: The Department for Transport does not hold information on EU foreign nationals, and non-EU foreign nationals centrally.

The Department's procedures for security vetting comply with the policy set out to Parliament by the then Prime Minister on 15 December 1994, which came into force on 1 January 1995. All staff who require security clearance for their posts in the Department are subject to this policy, regardless of their nationality.

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many non-pensionable bonuses were awarded to members of his staff in each of the last three years; and what the total cost was. [73119]

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Gillian Merron: The number and cost of non-pensionable bonuses awarded to Department for Transport staff (including all of its agencies) for each of the last three years was as follows:

Number of bonuses Cost of bonuses (£000)










David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many staff from his Department attended the Civil Service Islamic Society Eid-UI-Adha event in London in 2005; and what the total cost was to his Department of their attendance. [73115]

Gillian Merron: My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster will write to the hon. Member with details of the Civil Service Islamic Society Eid-UI-Adha event. Copies of her letter will be placed in the Library.

Leased Land

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what (a) land and (b) property his Department and its predecessors (i) leases and (ii) leased in (A) Southend West constituency, (B) Essex, (C) Hertfordshire and (D) the metropolitan police area of London in (1) 1979, (2) 1983, (3) 1987, (4) 1992 and (5) 1997. [72473]

Gillian Merron: The Department leases 46 properties in the areas mentioned above and detailed information has been placed in the Library of the House. The Department does not lease land. The Department was formed in 2002 and information for the period prior to this date can be obtained only at disproportionate costs.

Maritime and Coastguard Agency

Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he next expects to review the effectiveness of safety inspections carried out by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency; and if he will make a statement. [73435]

Dr. Ladyman: The UK attaches the highest priority to maritime safety. We are committed to promoting safer shipping and to minimising the incidence of accidents at sea.

MCA surveyors carry out flag state inspections of UK ships, and Port State Control inspections of foreign flag ships calling at UK ports. They are respected and recognised internationally for their commitment to provide a professional and high quality service.

Standards on UK ships are maintained at a high level. The UK is near the top of the Paris MoU’s Port State Control white list and our vessels were less likely to be detained in Paris MOU Ports in the last three years than those of all but two other flags.

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The UK’s performance as port state was reviewed this year in an independent European Maritime Safety Agency Audit. The audit found that our Port State Control organisation (MCA) had good management, well developed structure and experienced and committed personnel. It also noted that we have developed

There is no need for a further review.

Ministerial Cars (Cleaning)

Mr. Hands: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what guidance he has issued on the cleaning of Ministers’ cars in circumstances of (a) a hosepipe ban and (b) a drought order in the Thames Water region. [73638]

Dr. Ladyman: The Government Car and Despatch Agency (GCDA) introduced restrictions on the cleaning of ministerial cars on 3 April 2006. If a hosepipe ban or drought order is introduced GCDA will comply fully with their conditions.

Nuclear Rail Freight

Lyn Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the (a) safety and (b) security of trains transporting nuclear material; and with whom responsibility lies for providing the risk assessment for such trains. [73317]

Dr. Ladyman: The information requested is as follows.

(a) The regulations for the safe transport of radioactive material require that periodic assessments of the radiological impact of the transport of radioactive material are carried out. This Department has carried out surveys which show that the radiation doses from the transport of radioactive material under both normal and abnormal conditions are low.

The latest reports that include rail transport are: Survey into the Radiological Impact of the Normal Transport of Radioactive Material in the UK byRoad and Rail (NRPB-W66) and Radiological Consequences Resulting from Accidents and Incidents Involving the Transport of Radioactive Materials in the UK 2004 Review (HPA-RPD-007). Copies of these reports have been placed in the House Library and are also available on the internet at the following websites:

(b) The security of nuclear transport is a matter for the Department of Trade and Industry. The transportation of spent nuclear fuel by rail is carried out in a secure manner and in accordance with stringent security regulations: the Nuclear Industries Security Regulations 2003. These regulations are administered and enforced by the Office for Civil Nuclear Security (OCNS), who regulate the security of such movements of spent nuclear fuel. The security of the transportation of civil nuclear material was thoroughly reviewed following the events
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of 11 September 2001, and is regularly reviewed in light of the prevailing threat. OCNS is satisfied that the measures in place to prevent theft or sabotage are adequately robust.

Under health and safety legislation it is the responsibility of the organisation carrying out any activity to carry out a risk assessment. In the specific case of activities involving radioactive material this is a requirement of the Ionising Radiations Regulations 1999 (1999 No. 3232).

Officials' Travel Costs

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discounts are available in relation to hotel accommodation used by (a) civil servants and (b) special advisers in his Department. [69083]

Gillian Merron: The Department for Transport, Highways Agency and Driving Standards Agency all use a centrally negotiated contract with Expotel, providing discounted rates for hotels throughout the UK. This is available to both civil servants and special advisers.

The Vehicle Certification Agency uses a centrally negotiated contract, and has a discount arrangement with a hotel in Detroit.

The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency has negotiated a preferential rate with Arnos Manor Hotel in Bristol, and MCA has similar arrangements with the Jury's Inn and Ibis West hotels in Southampton.

The Government Car and Despatch Agency and the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency currently have no discounted hotel rates in place.

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