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Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer from the Parliamentary Secretary in the Cabinet Office to the hon. Member for Blackpool South of 4 December 2006, Official Report, columns 189-90W, on the retirement age, what her Departments policy is for the setting of retirement ages for staff below the senior civil service under the Civil Service (Management Functions) Act 1992. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: We have not held discussions with Chemie Grunenthal, the original developer of thalidomide. Distillers Biochemicals Limited was the original United Kingdom licensee of the product and the company and its successors have made payments to people affected by thalidomide through the Thalidomide Trust, established in 1973.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether Crossrail plans to install new machines that will (a) accept Oyster cards and (b) have Oyster card readers at all of its stations. 
Mr. Tom Harris: I have no specific information about Oyster cards at present. However, Crossrail is required to provide a fare collection system which uses stored value cards and pre-paid tickets and is consistent with the systems used by the National Railway and Transport for London. The fare collection system will also be fully integrated into the Network Rail and TfL Travelcard programme.
Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate his Department has made of (a) the amount (i) weight and (ii) value of freight entering the country in ports south of Birmingham with eventual destinations in the north of England and (b) the number of lorry miles transporting such freight. 
Dr. Ladyman: In 2005, 109 million tonnes of goods on foreign routes entered ports in the south of England between Boston and Sharpness. Information is not available on the value of these goods, their destination, or the number of lorry miles travelled.
Port freight statistics collected by DfT
Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what budget provision his Department has made for the (a) hardware and (b) software needs of local authorities in relation to the introduction of new parking regimes. 
Gillian Merron: The Department's draft regulatory impact assessment, as amended following consultation in July this year, makes clear that there may be some up front costs for the transition from decriminalised parking enforcement to civil parking enforcement. These costs include training and IT costs. Under CPE, as with DPE, local authorities will be able to cover the costs of their enforcement activity through income from parking charges and any parking penalty charges. Any deficits in the financial year can be covered from the general fund and repaid in subsequent years.
The majority of support for local bus services is provided by local authorities using the Government's revenue support grant. It is for each authority to decide how much of their RSG allocation to devote to bus support.
|Bus( 1 ) (£ million)|
|(1) The Department's bus grant schemes are Rural Bus Subsidy Grant, Rural and Urban Bus Challenge and Kickstart.|
Local authorities also receive funding from the Department under the local transport plan system for capital expenditure on local transport, a significant proportion of which spending assists the provision of bus services.
The Department provides funding both to Network Rail and to train operating companies. Such funding in either category that would relate specifically to Essex is not readily distinguishable. The following TOCs currently provide or have historically provided passenger services to destinations in Essex:
Information concerning the subsidies paid to/premia payments received from all TOCs is included in the national rail trends publication from the Office of Rail Regulation. It should be noted again that this does not, however, separately allocate funding to specific counties within each TOC.
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will publish (a) the cost benefit analysis and (b) the appraisal summary table taking account of the five objectives outlined in the new approach to appraisal prepared by his Department prior to (i) the award of the Greater Western franchise, (ii) the award of the South Western Trains franchise, (iii) the specification for the new cross country franchise and (iv) recent announcements by the Association of Train Operating Companies of fare increases. 
Mr. Tom Harris: The Department for Transport addresses the five objectives outlined in the new approach to transport appraisal in preparing the specification included in the invitation to tender for franchise replacements. The specification is the basis upon which bids are assessed, and the submission of the successful bidder needs to demonstrate that it represents value for money.
The business case analysis that supports the development of the franchise specifications is not published, although the rationale behind changes is communicated through stakeholder meetings and stakeholder briefing documents.
The decision has been taken to maintain the status quo in relation to fares policy with an average increase of RPI+1 per cent. for regulated fares. It is for
individual train operators to set regulated fares within the constraints imposed by regulation, while unregulated fares may be set on a commercial basis. The Department does not appraise the decisions that individual train operators make.
Mr. Tom Harris: The Department for Transport routinely applies recognised appraisal methods in the specifying and awarding of rail franchises that are consistent with the new approach to transport appraisal.
Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of (a) the reasons for the change in the numbers of public accidental fatalities on the railways since 2004 and (b) the projected figures for future years produced by the Office of the Railway Regulator. 
Mr. Tom Harris: Numbers of fatalities and the causes for 2004 and 2005 are given in the annual reports on rail safety published by the Health and Safety Executive for 2004 and the Office of Rail Regulation for 2005. Copies are in the House Library. The annual report for 2006 will be published by ORR in the spring of 2007.
Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the (a) location, (b) value and (c) purchaser of land are of buildings that (i) Network Rail and (ii) Railtrack has sold since May 1997. 
Mr. Tom Harris: The disposal of Network Rails land and property is an operational matter for Network Rail, in accordance with the licence condition introduced by the rail regulator in November 2001. The hon. Member should contact Network Rails chief Executive at the following address for a response to his question.
40 Melton Street
London NW1 2EE
Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to his Answer of 30 November 2006, Official Report, column 10W, on railways, if he will bring forward plans to run 24-hour train services (a) on lines that serve major cities and (b) on other lines. 
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will assess the merits of installing stair lifts to give access to (a) Leominster station and (b) other stations; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Tom Harris: Passenger stair lifts can provide an alternative means of access to railway platforms for people with reduced mobility unable to manage stairs. They must be staff operated and can only be used when they do not pose a safety risk.
While such solutions can be appropriate in some public buildings such as libraries, stair lifts are not generally suitable for a station environment where the flows of people are likely to be significant. They are also open to misuse and vandalism.
However, the Department may exceptionally grant a dispensation from Train and Station Services for Disabled Passengers: A Code of Practice where a station operator can demonstrate that it would be appropriate in the particular circumstances to provide a stair lift. Some of the factors that would be considered are the flows of passengers and availability of appropriately trained staff to operate the lift. If such a dispensation request is submitted for Leominster station, or any other station, it will be considered on its merits.
Mr. Nicholas Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions have taken place between his Department and the Department for Communities and Local Government on the spending against budget of the Tyne and Wear passenger transport authority and its concessionary travel schemes. 
Gillian Merron: The Department has had a number of discussions with the Department for Communities and Local Government concerning the distribution of funding for the statutory minimum concessionary travel scheme and its impact on local authorities, including those in Tyne and Wear. This includes both the additional funding for the recent improvement in the statutory minimum from 1 April 2006 and the new funding earmarked for the new bus concession which will be implemented from April 2008.
Helen Southworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will take steps to ensure that Warrington Bank Quay station has adequate (a) car parking facilities, (b) disabled parking facilities, (c) bus stops and (d) taxi stops for it to fulfill its strategic position as a major main line station. 
Mr. Tom Harris [holding answer 8 January 2007]: The Department is currently working with Network Rail and Virgin Trains to develop plans for the expansion of car parking at Warrington Bank Quay Station, commensurate with the introduction of service improvements in December 2008.
Virgin Trains also has plans to improve the station forecourt to improve vehicle circulation, provide parking for disabled passengers and create passenger set down facilities. Other improvements to the ticket office area and subway are also proposed and these schemes are currently subject to a funding application.
Mrs. May: To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission how many written parliamentary questions to the House of Commons Commission in the 2005-06 session were not answered wholly or in part on grounds of disproportionate cost. 
Mrs. May: To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission how many written parliamentary questions to the House of Commons Commission in the 2005-06 session were answered with a reply that it had not been possible to reply before prorogation, or similar wording. 
Nick Harvey: No written parliamentary questions to the House of Commons Commission in the 2005-06 session were answered with a reply that it had not been possible to reply before prorogation, or similar wording.
Mr. Fraser: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many churches have applied to his Department for bat licences in the last five years; and how many were successfully granted a licence. 
Barry Gardiner: The number of bat licences applied for by churches and issued under Regulation 44(2)(e) of the Conservation (Natural Habitats) Regulations 1994 in the last five years is shown in the table as follows.
|Number of applications||Number of licences issued|
|(1 )Four applications pending decision.|
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