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8 Nov 2006 : Column 1562Wcontinued
Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport why the widening of the M1 motorway between junctions 8 and 10 is not being carried out on a 24-hour basis. 
Dr. Ladyman: On the M1 between J6a-10, working hours are generally from 07:00 to 19:00 hours Monday to Friday and Saturday mornings. Works requiring additional lane closures, such as changing traffic management layouts, lifting new bridge beams into place and demolishing old bridges are done at night while traffic flows are lower.
To fully operate on a 24-hour basis would significantly increase costs and adversely affect local residents. Health and safety is also a concern as certain operations cannot be undertaken in the dark.
Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what work is scheduled to take place on or near junction 4 on the north bound carriageway of the M18 motorway; how long it will take to complete; whether lane closures will be necessary; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Ladyman: The Highways Agency is carrying out repairs to the Waterton Accommodation Bridge on the M18 between junctions 4 and 5. Works began on 30 October for 10 weeks and involve re-aligning the bridge, replacing bearings and concrete repairs. The majority of the works will be carried out using lane 2 closures with lane 1 and hardshoulder open to traffic on both north and southbound carriageways. Traffic management measures involving single-lane running will also be in place during off-peak periods over the weekend and at night for the duration of the works.
Mr. Boris Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects to implement fully the Governments policy of providing a motorway service area every 30 minutes on the motorway network. 
Dr. Ladyman: Since 1992 it has been Government policy that it is for the private sector to bring forward proposals for new motorway service areas (MSAs) through the planning process. Current policy aims to encourage a network of MSAs at intervals of roughly 30 miles, giving motorists the opportunity to stop and rest approximately every half an hour at normal motorway speeds. This network is broadly complete though there is still a noticeable gap on the western sector of the M25
Following a public inquiry, planning permission has been granted for two MSAs at Cobham (M25 J9-10) and Burtley Wood (M40 J2) which will help to fill this gap.
I have recently asked the Highways Agency to undertake a review of policy on roadside facilities, including motorway service areas. As part of the review process we shall be carrying out a public consultation
exercise and policy on spacing will be amongst the issues considered. It is anticipated that this consultation will commence in mid November.
James Duddridge: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many road accidents in each of the last five years involved a driver from outside the UK who did not hold a British driving licence. 
Dr. Ladyman: The information requested is not available.
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the total construction cost was of each Design Build Finance and Operate road; what the expected total cost of each contract is to public funds; and by what year all such costs are expected to have been paid in each case. 
Dr. Ladyman: It has not been possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before Prorogation.
Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to ensure that new smartcard ticketing under the new West Midlands, East Midlands and Cross Country rail franchise contract agreement will allow passengers to cross franchise borders using the same smartcard ticket. 
Mr. Tom Harris: Each of the three new franchises will be required to implement smartcard ticketing conforming to the ITSO (Integrated Transport Smartcard Organisation) standard. ITSO is a national standard which has been sponsored by the Department for Transport to make sure that different smartcard schemes will be compatible and can therefore work across boundaries as more smartcard-enabled rail franchises come on stream.
Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the effect on the number of (a) injuries and (b) fatalities to heavy goods vehicle drivers of the compulsory introduction of speed limiting devices; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Ladyman: No specific assessment has been made. However, overall, the accident rate involving heavy goods vehicles decreased by 34 per cent. between 1991 (just before the fitment of speed limiters became mandatory) and 2002.
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which projects valued at more than £100 million are under consideration by his Department. 
Gillian Merron: It has not been possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before Prorogation.
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what (a) financial and (b) other support is given to encourage the establishment of waterborne sustainable transport within urban areas using inland waterways; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Ladyman: Since 1997, the Government have awarded grants of £54 million for water freight schemes, including schemes in urban areas. These will have saved over one billion road miles-worth of lorry journeys on our roads. Last year we introduced a new Waterborne Freight Grant scheme to assist both inland waterways and shipping companies with their operating costs.
Since 2002, we have implemented the recommendations of the Freight Study Group to increase freight traffic on the inland waterways of England and Wales, including those in urban areas. Measures included:
funding a water freight business directory (run by Sea and Water) to provide potential customers with all the information they need to make an informed choice about the services available for moving freight by water; and
publishing Planning for Freight on Inland Waterways, practical guidance for planning authorities.
Mr. David Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what arrangements are in place to avoid a repeat of the cuts made to bus services and the introduction of higher charges earlier this year to cover for the shortfall in implementing the concessionary fare scheme for elderly and disabled persons in the Tyne and Wear area. 
Mr. Woolas: It is for local authorities to develop and implement affordable schemes with local bus providers which deliver effective concessionary travel to meet their statutory responsibilities, and also achieve the aims of those additional concessions which local people wish to see run in their areas. The Government has provided an overall increase in Government grant of 2.7 billion or 4.5 per cent. in 2006-07 and has committed to an increase of £3 billion or 5 per cent. in 2007-08 for all local services including local authorities responsibilities for concessionary travel schemes, as part of the first two-year settlement for authorities. Decisions on whether or not to subsidise particular local bus services are at the discretion of the relevant local authority. There are no specific arrangements in place to safeguard particular services.
Responsibility for policy on bus services is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much her Department has spent on external media trainers in each year since 2002, broken down by supplier. 
Angela E. Smith: The information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which (a) public relations and (b) marketing firms have been hired by her Department and its predecessor since 2002; what the total expenditure was on each firm; and for what purpose each agency was hired. 
Angela E. Smith: Since 2002 the following public relations have been hired by the Department and its predecessors:
Amazon PR working on the registration of Houses of Multiple Occupancy expenditure spent to date of £90,000. The aim of the campaign is to encourage landlords to become registered and in the long term to improve the quality of properties in the rented sector.
Band and Brown working on the promotion of Home Information Packs with expenditure to date of £56,000. The aim of this activity is to raise awareness of the introduction of the packs in June 2007 among the public and industry.
Blue Rubicon working on the promotion of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme with expenditure to date of £46,000. The aim of the campaign is to raise awareness among tenants and landlords of their obligations under the Housing Act 2004.
The Central Office of Information (COI) working on Fire Safety with a total spend of £648,000. This ongoing campaign is helping to reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries caused by fires in the home.
Robson Brown was the only marketing firm hired by the then Office of the Deputy Prime Minister working on the Elected Regional Assemblies awareness campaign with a total spend of £205,000. All other public relations and marketing activity was carried out by the Department.
Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps have been taken to tackle deprivation in Norwich North. 
Mr. Woolas: It has not proved possible to respond to my hon. Friend in the time available before Prorogation.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether councils are allowed to use (a) the full electoral register and (b) council tax records to identify potential homes for empty dwelling management orders. 
Long-term empty dwellings cause serious problems for the community and we encourage local authorities to have strategies in place to bring such properties back into use. Local authorities can use
the best information available to them to identify the owners of empty properties so they can work with them or take further action to bring them back into use. This can include local surveys, logging empty properties reported by individuals, and reviewing records held by authority.
Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much her Department has spent on (a) administration, (b) legal fees, (c) special advisers, (d) the website and (e) other costs for the home information packs programme; what funding was originally allocated to the programme; and if she will make a statement. 
Yvette Cooper: The following table indicates how much the Department for Communities and Local Government has spent on administration, legal fees, special advisers, the website and other costs associated with the Home Information Pack Programme from April 2005 up to the end of September 2006. Consumers spend billions of pounds each year on the transaction costs they incur when buying and selling homes. HIPs are designed to cut waste from home buying and selling as well as providing important energy information to help cut carbon emissions. The money has been spent on developing and testing the home condition report and other components of the pack; putting in place a quality assurance framework to protect consumers and guarantee standards; developing the necessary systems and explaining the changes to the public and industry stakeholders.
|Administration spendincluding salaries of those working on HIPs policy and implementation|
|(1 )Expenditure as recorded in the Department's accounting system from April 2004 to September 2006 inclusive.|
The budget for the programme for the period 2005-06 to 2006-07 is £14 million.
Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much the Government has spent on preparing for home information packs. 
Yvette Cooper: Consumers spend many billions of pounds each year on the transaction costs involved in home buying and selling. Home information packs are designed to cut waste, speed up transactions and provide important energy efficiency information that could help cut carbon emissions from our homes.
Specific figure for expenditure on Home Information Packs only exist from 2000-01. Between then and the end of September this year a total of £10.03 million programme expenditure has been spent to prepare for home information packs which will bring about major changes to that process to the benefit of consumers and
the environment. This has been spent on developing and testing the home condition report and other components of the pack; putting in place a quality assurance framework to protect consumers and guarantee standards; developing the necessary systems and explaining the changes to the public and industry stakeholders.
Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) which consultants have been employed by her Department in relation to home information packs; and at what cost; 
(2) what the total cost of the Home Information Pack Scheme has been since 1997. 
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which consultants her Department has commissioned in relation to home information packs; and at what cost. 
Yvette Cooper: The home information pack programme is bringing about major changes to the multi-billion pound home buying and selling industry to the benefit of consumers and the environment. The work has included developing and testing the home condition report and the energy performance certificate; putting in place a quality assurance framework to protect consumers and guarantee standards; developing the necessary systems and explaining the changes to the public and industry stakeholders. This has required a wide range of technical and professional expertise to implement that the Department either does not have or does not have in sufficient quantity. The following firms have provided this expertise since 2004-05the year in which the Housing Act 2004 received Royal Assent.
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