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Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether her Department has abandoned the principles of (a) double devolution, (b) neighbourhood governance and (c) earned autonomy. 
Mr. Woolas: When Comprehensive Performance Assessment (CPA) was introduced, earned autonomy was seen as a driver to improve performance. Now that over 70 per cent. of local authorities have achieved a 3 or 4* CPA rating, we can move onto presumed autonomy. The Local Government White Paper proposals devolve more power to local authorities and lift centrally imposed burdens on them. As the White Paper makes clear, Government have not changed their policies in regard to double devolution or neighbourhood governance.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the (a) destination and (b) total costs were of each occasion when special advisers in the former Office of the Deputy Prime Minister travelled abroad in an official capacity since 2002. 
Angela E. Smith:
All travel is undertaken in accordance with the Ministerial Code and the Civil
Service Management Code. The information requested could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what legislative changes her Department has initiated which were designed to affect trade unions directly in the last three years. 
Angela E. Smith: Neither Communities and Local Government nor the former Office of the Deputy Prime Minister have initiated any legislative changes in the past three years which have been designed to directly affect trade unions.
The A21 Flimwell to Robertsbridge Improvement has not been included by the South East region as a priority for funding within its Regional Funding Allocation for major transport schemes in the period up to 2016.
Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which properties he expects to be purchased under compulsory purchase orders in each area along the route of the proposed A21 upgrade in East Sussex. 
Dr. Ladyman: It is too early to say at this time how many properties will be included in any future draft Compulsory Purchase Orders for the proposed A21 upgrade in East Sussex. Potential land and property requirements can only be identified once detailed design has been completed.
|Accidents involving a bus in Staffordshire: 2001-05|
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Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport on what occasions (a) he and (b) departmental Ministers have been requested to appear before committees of (i) devolved institutions and (ii) the European Parliament since 2004; on what topic in each case; how many and what proportion of such requests were accepted; and if he will make a statement. 
Gillian Merron: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, his predecessors and other departmental Ministers have not appeared before the specified committees since 2004. It is not possible to provide the more detailed information requested without incurring disproportionate cost.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what resources his Department (a) has provided in the last two years and (b) intends to provide in the next two years for the creation of a bicycle-friendly road network. 
Mr. Tom Harris:
The Department provides funding for cycling through the integrated block of the Local Transport Plan (LTP) settlement. English local highway authorities outside London have informed the Department that their investment in cycle-friendly infrastructure on or around the road network for each of the last two years is £39 million in 2004-05 and £34.1 million in 2005-06. The Department does not require local authorities to provide an estimate of future spend on cycling so no data are yet available for 2006-07 and
2007-08. The integrated block element of the LTP settlement was worth £547 million in 2006-07.
The Mayor of London receives funding from the Department via a total transport grant through Transport for London (TfL) and received £2.2 billion in both 2004-05 and 2005-06. TfL estimate they have invested £8.49 million in 2004-05 and £12.1 million in 2005-06 on cycle schemes on or around the road network with the majority of expenditure coming from this source. TfL forecast spend will be £15.4 million in 2006-07 and 20.5 million in 2008-09.
In addition, the Department set up Cycling England in 2005 with a budget of £5 million for 2005-06 to fund their work to encourage more cycling of which £3.1 million was invested in cycle-friendly infrastructure. The Secretary of State has since doubled Cycling Englands budget to £10 million a year of which £5.7 million has been allocated in 2006-07 on cycle infrastructure and forecast that in 2007-08 will spend a further £3.5 million. The Department also made a one-off investment of £10 million to extend the National Cycle Network to 305 schools in 2004-05.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps his Department has taken to include information on the dangers of using a mobile phone while driving in its safer driving campaign; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport where his Department publishes information about Government auctions (a) which it arranges and (b) to which it contributes in (i) Blackpool, (ii) Lancashire and (iii) the North West; and when the next such auction will take place in each area. 
Gillian Merron: The Driver Vehicle and Licensing Agency and the Highways Agencyboth Executive Agencies of the Department for Transport, undertake auctions. These are publicised via various means including, but not limited to, the National Press, selected motoring press, auction catalogues and via direct marketing to customers who have asked to receive them. There is no specific regional promotional activity undertaken.
Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 15 January 2007, Official Report, column 752W, on the Government Car and Despatch Agency, what charge was made by the Government Car and Despatch Agency to (a) HM Treasury and (b) the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister in 2005-06 to recover its costs for ministerial transport; and what the estimated charge is for 2006-07. 
Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps the Maritime and Coastguard Agency takes to evaluate the communication levels among mixed nationality crews on UK ships. 
Dr. Ladyman: Under the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers 1978 as amended in 1995 (STCW), foreign officers working on UK ships must obtain a Certificate of Equivalent Competency (CEC) from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA). One of the criteria for issuing a UK CEC is that the applicant must demonstrate their command of the English language.
In addition the MCA audits all UK registered ships for compliance with the International Safety Management Code. As part of this audit process the MCA Marine Surveyor requires the ships crew to conduct physical operational drills to demonstrate their familiarity with equipment and their ability to communicate and cooperate with each other.
Vehicle Excise Duty, which is graduated according to a cars CO2 emissions;
Company Car Tax, which is also geared to CO2 emissions; and
the cost of fuel duty.
These incentives relate to running costs rather than purchase cost but they have a direct effect as considerations when purchasing a vehicle. The introduction last year of more informative labelling in car showrooms reinforces this message.
Mr. Hunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 14 December 2006, Official Report, column 1269W, on the Office for Disability Issues, on what dates the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State has attended meetings of the Office for Disability Issues since its establishment. 
Gillian Merron: Since I became responsible for the ODI agenda in my Department, there have been four meetings of the Life Chances Ministerial Group, of which I have attended three. Senior officials from DfT are always present. Information relating to internal discussion is not normally made public, as it could undermine the effectiveness of policy discussion and advice.
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will issue guidance to relevant authorities on the placing of signs setting out the hours of single yellow line parking restrictions. 
Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many local authorities in (a) England and (b) Greater Manchester have decriminalised parking offences within their boundaries; and if he will make a statement. 
Gillian Merron: In England at present 160 local authorities (including those in Greater Manchester) and (excluding those in London) have Decriminalised Parking Enforcement (DPE) powers. In Greater Manchester nine local authorities have DPE. The Government encourage authorities to consider adopting such powers, and believes authorities are best placed to determine whether they should do so or not.
Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport at what stage the application for Government funding to build a parkway station at Elmbridge Court, Gloucestershire, between Gloucester and Cheltenham is; and if he will make a statement. 
Gillian Merron [holding answer 30 January 2007]: The scheme is currently being assessed by the Department, but we are awaiting further information from the local authority before we can take any decision.
Dr. Ladyman: The following table provides details of motorway and trunk road schemes scheduled for widening in the next five years, subject to the satisfactory completion of statutory processes and availability of funding.
|Project name||Start of works||Length of scheme (miles)|
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