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Written Answers to Questions

Friday 20 October 2006

House of Commons Commission

Roof Terrace

Chris Ruane: To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission if he will designate the Roof Terrace a drink-free area. [94577]

Nick Harvey: The Commission has not considered this and will await the assessment of remedial action required before the Terrace is re-opened.

Staff Salaries

Mr. Spellar: To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission how many employees of the House earned more than £59,000 in the last 12 months. [94574]

Nick Harvey: The House's payroll records show that, at the end of September 2006, 92 House of Commons employees had earned more than £59,000 over the previous 12 months. This includes overtime and allowances for evening work. The number of staff whose basic rate of salary exceeds £59,000 is 86.

Education and Skills

Draft Building Bulletin 100

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills when he will put into the public domain the responses to the public consultation on draft Building Bulletin 100, Designing and Managing Against Risk of Fire in Schools; if he will summarise the responses, indicating those which called for local authorities to be instructed either to install or evaluate the benefits of installing sprinkler systems in any new school buildings or within the plans for refurbishment of existing school buildings; when he will publish his response to the consultation; when he will publish the work commissioned by his Department from the Building Research Establishment on sprinklers in schools; and if he will make a statement. [95536]

Jim Knight: There were 66 responses to the 12 questions asked in the public consultation on the draft of Building Bulletin 100 (BB 100) and a summary of these will be placed on the Department’s website early in November. 74 per cent. of respondents agreed with the proposal that sprinkler systems should be installed in a new school if the need for them was indicated by a risk assessment. However, 58 per cent. thought that there needed to be more guidance on sprinklers than was contained in the draft.

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This finding reinforced the need for the cost benefit analysis study of sprinklers that we had already commissioned form the Building Research Establishment (BRE).

However, we have since asked BRE to carry our further work on developing a risk assessment tool. We also commissioned consultants to carry out a study to establish reliable figures for the costs of installing sprinklers in schools. Their survey covers a minimum of 20 primary and secondary schools, and is analysing both installation costs and maintenance costs.

Both these pieces of work commenced in July and should be complete by the end of October. Data from all of these studies, and substantive responses from the public consultation, will be incorporated into the final draft of BB 100. We expect to publish this early next year.

Higher Education Finance

Mrs. Ellman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the timetable is for the review of fees and capping in higher education; what the terms of reference of the review are; and if he will make a statement. [95609]

Bill Rammell: The then Secretary of State for Education and Skills my right hon. Friend, the Member for Norwich South, (Mr. Clarke) said in a written answer on 26 January 2004 that the independent review will look at all aspects of the new fee arrangements based on the first three years’ operation of the policy. Details of the timetable and arrangements for the Commission will be announced in due course.

The January 2004 statement proposed terms of the reference for the review which involved looking at three main areas. These are:

Physical Restraint

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) which local authorities have guidance policies on the use of physical restraint in accordance with circular 10/98; [95913]

(2) how many schools in each local authority have a policy on physical restraint; [95914]

(3) how many mainstream schools have received training in the use of physical restraint in each local authority according to (a) circular 10/98 and (b) DfES Guidance LEA/0242/2002, Guidance on the Use of Restrictive Physical Interventions for Staff Working with Children and Adults who Display Extreme Behaviour in Association with Learning Disability and/or Autistic Spectrum Disorders. [95920]

Jim Knight: The information requested in these three questions is not collected centrally.

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Pupils (Language)

Mr. Hurd: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what proportion of each year of secondary school pupils have English as a second language in (a) Ruislip-Northwood constituency, (b) each London borough and (c) England. [92817]

Jim Knight: The information requested has been placed in the House Libraries.

Sports Coaching

Hugh Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what funding is allocated through the Learning and Skills Council to support the training and accreditation of sports coaches with the UK Coaching Certificate Programme and the National Qualifications Framework; and if he will make a statement. [95500]

Bill Rammell: We have increased investment in further education by 48 per cent. in real terms between 1997 and 2005 and our investment in both young people and adults will increase by 7 per cent. in 2007-08 compared to 2006-07. Learning and Skills Council funding is not allocated to support specific qualifications although the qualifications being developed in line with the UK Coaching Certificate will be eligible for LSC funding once they are approved. ‘SkillsActive’ the Sector Skills Council (SSC) has conducted a thorough analysis of coaching needs, including for the 2012 Olympics, which will help develop their Sector Skills Agreement (SSA). My officials have arranged for this element of the SSA to be published in advance of the rest of the document, in order to enable the LSC to prioritise this area of funding at a national level. At the regional level SkillsActive are working closely with the LSC and Regional Skills Partnerships to identify these skills needs as priorities and support the use of funding by providers at local level.

Prime Minister

Political Memoirs

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Prime Minister what advice and guidance is given to former senior civil servants who wish to challenge publicly the veracity of memoirs written by former Ministers with whom they served. [95477]

The Prime Minister: The requirements placed on former civil servants are set out in the Civil Service Code and the Civil Service Management Code.

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Prime Minister pursuant to the answer of 12 October 2006, Official Report, column 862W, on political memoirs, whether amendments were sought to the manuscript of the Blunkett Tapes. [95690]

The Prime Minister: I have nothing further to add to the answer I gave my hon. Friend on 12 October 2006, Official Report, column 862W.

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Airline Luggage Restrictions

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many representations he has received from professional musicians, orchestras and bands who have lost engagements due to recent airline luggage restrictions; and what estimate he has made of lost revenue in such cases. [92977]

Gillian Merron: The Department has had a number of representations from musicians and musicians organisations concerning the carriage of musical instruments in the aircraft cabin following the enhanced security measures introduced in August. Several have referred to cancelled engagements, although specific details have not been given. No estimate is therefore possible.

Driving Licences

Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what proportion of driving licence holders are under the age of 25 years. [95506]

Dr. Ladyman: At January 2006, 10.87 per cent. of all licence holders were under 25 years of age.

Mr. Rob Wilson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many endorsements were issued by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency to holders of foreign driving licences in each year from 2000 to 2006, broken down by the country of origin of the licence holder. [94918]

Dr. Ladyman: This information is not available from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency.

Flooding (Railways)

Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will take steps to insert a rock armoured toe at Dawlish Warren to reduce the impact of high water and flooding on the main Penzance to Paddington line. [95599]

Mr. Tom Harris: This is an operational matter for Network Rail, as the owner and operator of the national rail network. The hon. Member should contact Network Rail's chief executive at the address below for a response to his question.

Melbourne Marine Service

Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions he has had with (a) the Scottish Executive Environment and Rural Affairs Department and (b) the Scottish Executive Enterprise, Transport and Lifelong Learning Department on the ship-to-ship oil transfer planning application by Melbourne Marine Service in the Firth of Forth. [95377]

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Dr. Ladyman: The information is as follows.

Metropolitan Passenger Transport Authorities

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on his proposals to elect directly the six metropolitan passenger transport authorities. [94663]

Gillian Merron: We have no such proposals.

MOT Computerisation Project

Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the (a) venue, (b) meal, (c) entertainment, (d) travel and subsistence and (e) other costs were of the launch celebrations of the MOT Computerisation project held on the SS Great Britain in Bristol; and from where the costs were provided. [94547]

Dr. Ladyman: The MOT Computerisation launch held at the SS Great Britain was hosted by Siemens Business Services. We do not, therefore, hold records in relation to the cost of the venue, meal, entertainment or other costs.

The travel and subsistence data held by the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency indicate that claims of approximately £680.00 were submitted which mention the SS Great Britain event. These costs may not solely be attributed to the event, however, as staff may have needed travel or accommodation to attend other work related events at the time.

Rail Services

Mrs. Ellman: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what representations he has received concerning the proposed franchises for rail services in Liverpool. [95498]

Mr. Tom Harris: 13 respondents to the New Cross Country franchise consultation mentioned Liverpool services in their replies out of a total of 302. Views expressed included support for improved Liverpool-Manchester services, improved links to Liverpool John Lennon Airport from Crewe and the re-instatement of Cross Country services to Liverpool.

34 respondents to the East Midlands franchise consultation mentioned Liverpool services in their replies out of a total of 1,305. Views expressed included support for the continued through operation of Liverpool-Norwich services, opposition to the continuation of these services from Liverpool beyond Nottingham and for services to call at Liverpool South Parkway station.

12 respondents to the West Midlands franchise consultation mentioned Liverpool services in their replies out of a total of 218. Views expressed included
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support for improved Birmingham-Liverpool services, calls in services at Liverpool South Parkway and support for the extension to Liverpool of the proposed hourly London-Crewe semi-fast services.

Road Asphalt Heat Generation

Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether his Department has assessed the effectiveness of projects utilising road asphalt heat generation. [95173]

Dr. Ladyman: The Highways Agency commissioned TRL to undertake a full scale trial of the feasibility of recovering solar heat from asphalt road surfaces in December 2004. A prototype system was installed on an access road adjacent to the M1 Motorway Services at Toddington and became operational at the end of August 2005.

A fluid-filled pipe array below the road surface recovers solar heat from the road surface in the summer and circulates it to an insulated heat store comprising a pipe array at shallow depth in the ground. This heat remains stored in the ground ready for its recovery in the winter to warm the road to prevent ice and snow formation.

Early indications showed that during last winter the road surface temperature was maintained above freezing on all but a few occasions. The findings during this coming winter, after a full summer of heat recovery, will enable the potential of the technique to be more rigorously assessed in terms of both performance and whole life costs.

Road Noise

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will instruct the Highways Agency to implement the installation of whisper-quiet surfacing adjacent to residential areas on the A47 trunk road in Peterborough constituency; and if he will make a statement. [95370]

Dr. Ladyman: It has been the Highways Agency’s policy since 1999 to use low-noise surfacing materials for new roads and for existing trunk roads requiring maintenance, to restore their surfaces to a safe condition. At present, the A47 in Peterborough does not need resurfacing. Regular inspections will identify if there is a need for resurfacing for safety reasons. Any carriageway found to be in need of replacement will be added to the programme of maintenance works and would receive low noise resurfacing as a matter of course.

Ministers have agreed that the resurfacing of roads ahead of maintenance need, for noise alleviation, would no longer be allocated funding. This is the position up to and including financial year 2007-08.

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