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23 Jan 2007 : Column 1715Wcontinued
Proposed legislation has not yet been introduced and therefore implications of such cannot be fully determined at this time. However, a provisional high level cost estimate developed within Water Service in 2005, determined a cost of approximately £16 million per annum. The greater proportion of the costs, 94 per cent., is attributable to engineering costs towards the requirement for full/half carriageway reinstatement and lane rental. The remainder of the costs included an allowance for permits, direction making powers, programme overrun penalties and administration.
I trust you find this satisfactory.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many parliamentary questions were tabled to his Department in 2006, broken down by (a) ordinary written and (b) named day; what percentage of ordinary written questions were answered within 10 working days; and what percentage of named day questions were answered by the specified date. 
Mr. Hain: The information requested is not readily available as it would require a trawl of manual records to provide it.
The Northern Ireland Office received 5,031 parliamentary questions in 2006. From 1 January until the beginning of the summer recess my Department answered approximately 60 per cent. on time. My Department endeavours to answer ordinary written questions within a working week of tabling, named day questions on the date specified and House of Lords written questions within 14 days.
This month, however, a number of improvements have been made to my Departments procedures for handling parliamentary questions. This includes improvements to the existing electronic system for tracking parliamentary questions which should allow for the provision of statistical data in due course.
Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will revise Planning Policy Statement 14 in Northern Ireland to allow limited planning development. 
While draft PPS 14 seeks to bring under control a growing trend for single dwellings in the open countryside it does also contain policies that
allow development in certain circumstances. These include policies for dwellings for retiring farmers, small groups of social housing, dwellings for farm workers when a need has been identified, replacement dwellings, agricultural and forestry development and farm diversification.
Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many racially motivated assaults (a) were reported and (b) resulted in a case being brought before the courts in each parliamentary constituency in Northern Ireland in the last 12 months. 
Paul Goggins: I have been advised by the PSNI that the information requested is not collated by parliamentary constituency but is available by district command unit as outlined.
|District command unit||Recorded||Charged/summons||Cautions (adult and juvenile)|
1. Please note that these figures are provisional and may be subject to revision.
2. Assault includes assault occasioning actual bodily harm, grievous bodily harm, wounding, grievous bodily harm with intent, wounding with intent, aggravated assault, common assault and assault on police.
Central Statistics Unit, PSNI
Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much his Department spent using Royal Mail in each of the last five years. 
Mr. Hain: The following table contains the amounts paid to the Royal Mail by the Northern Ireland Office, excluding its Agencies and NDPBs, in each of the last five years.
|Amounts paid to Royal Mail (£)|
This is due to the introduction of the Electoral Fraud (Northern Ireland) Act, which came into effect in 2002. The introduction of the Act has resulted in the Electoral Office for Northern Ireland (EONI) having to register individual voters on a yearly basis. This has led to a subsequent increase in freepost charges for the Department as the EONI is treated as part of NIO Core for accounting purposes.
Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the total cost was to public funds of the public launch of the St. Columbs Park Masterplan on 4 October 2006 in Londonderry. 
Mr. Hanson: On 5 October 2006 a joint launch was held for 3 Regeneration Master Plans prepared by the Department for Social Development (DSD) for Clooney, Ilex for Ebrington and Derry city council for St. Columbs Park respectively. The costs for the public launch event were £16,281.51. These were shared equally by DSD, Ilex and Derry city council. Some additional costs were incurred in the printing and distribution of the consultation document. These were also shared equally.
Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what progress is being made in treating patients in Northern Ireland with syringomyelia. 
Paul Goggins: Patients with syringomyelia in Northern Ireland are treated at the neurosurgical unit in the Royal Victoria hospital. Treatment may include a surgical decompression procedure and/or drainage with a shunt. Research is continuing into the causes of the condition and possible means of preventing its occurrence.
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what percentage of pensioners in each Northern Ireland constituency are not registered to vote; and what research has been undertaken by his
Department on the effect of access to national insurance numbers on registration levels. 
Mr. Hanson: The following table shows the number of over 65s registered to vote in 2006. We are unable to translate these figures into percentages as up to date population figures for 2006 are not available for this age group.
|Constituency||Number of over 65s registered (2006)|
The Government have not carried out any specific research into the effect of access to national insurance numbers on registration levels. However, the Electoral Commission completed a detailed assessment of the implementation and impact of individual registration in Northern Ireland in December 2003. The report was entitled The Electoral Fraud Act (Northern Ireland) 2002. The Commission also monitors the impact of the Act on electoral registration and regularly publishes updates on various aspects of the registration process.
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