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Lembit Öpik: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his estimate is of (a) the minimum number of riding licence test sites which will be required to meet demand for riding tests under the new riding test rules to be implemented in 2008 and (b) the number of such sites which will be operational at that time. 
Dr. Ladyman: The Driving Standards Agency has planned that 26 off-road motorcycle test facilities will be required to meet peak motorcycle test demand. A minimum of 46 such off-road motorcycle test facilities will be operational by the implementation date in October 2008.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the status is of the proposal to redouble the line between Kemble and Swindon currently with Network Rail; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Tom Harris: I understand that Network Rail has consulted rail industry parties on possible changes to the Cotswold line to improve performance. However, this is an operational matter for Network Rail, as the owner and operator of the national rail network. My hon. Friend should contact Network Rails Chief Executive at the following address for a response to his question.
40 Melton Street
London NW1 2EE
Mr. Tom Harris: The Government recognise that light rail can help to reduce congestion by delivering quicker, more reliable journeys, thereby attracting people out of cars. The effects in any particular city depend on such factors as design of the light rail system, and traffic levels. The benefits of reduced congestion are taken into account in the assessment which is undertaken by the promoters for any light rail proposal.
Scheme promoters also monitor the performance of their schemes. It is now a mandatory requirement that all schemes receiving Government funding are subject to an evaluation after opening. This will provide future information on the impact of light rail schemes on congestion levels.
Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many local authorities in England and Wales were sued in 2006 for compensation for failure to properly maintain roads and highways by (a) organisations, (b) companies and (c) individuals. 
Gillian Merron: The Department does not collect this information. However, the report Highway Risk and Liability Claims, produced in 2005 by the Roads and Highways Liability Claims Task Group, provides much relevant information. The report can be accessed on the UK Roads Liaison Group website at
John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what rolling stock leasing charges were in (a) 2004, (b) 2005 and (c) 2006 for high speed trains in (i) Class 180 Adelante, (ii) Class 166, (iii) Class 165, (iv) Class 158, (v) Class 150, (vi) Class 153 and (vii) Class 143 vehicles. 
Mrs. Dorries: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what guidance his Department issues to police authorities on the running of local casualty reduction partnerships; and if he will make a statement. 
The Department has issued no specific guidance to the police on these matters. However, the current rules governing the National Safety Camera Programme and safety camera partnerships are
contained in the Departments Handbook Of Rules And Guidance For The National Safety Camera Programme For England And Wales 2006-07. On 31 January the Department issued, under cover of a letter signed jointly by myself and the Under-Secretary of State for Policing, Security and Community Safety, new guidance to local authorities, the Highways Agency and the police on the deployment of safety cameras from 1 April 2007. The guidance, which supersedes the handbook from 1 April, provides greater freedom and flexibility on the deployment of cameras as part of new arrangements, encouraging the establishment of wider road safety partnerships. The guidance does not stipulate how these wider partnerships should be structured. We believe this is best determined locally among partners.
Mrs. Dorries: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of the Bedfordshire and Luton Casualty Reduction Partnership; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Ladyman: The four-year independent evaluation report of the National Safety Camera Programme, published in December 2005, found that there had been a 48 per cent. reduction in personal injury collisions and a 72 per cent. reduction in those killed and seriously injured at safety camera sites in the Bedfordshire Partnership area. In addition there was a 23 per cent. reduction in the number of vehicles exceeding the speed limit at new camera sites.
Dr. Ladyman: The Department for Transport, the Home Office and the Association of Chief Police Officers published a joint statement on 11 January 2005 about roads policing. The police make a vitally important contribution to improving road safety and are encouraged to work closely with local authorities and other partners, to identify the priorities for improving road safety in the local partnership area, including enforcement activity. The Departments guidelines on the future deployment of safety cameras after 1 April 2007, published on 31 January 2007, encourages local partners to agree a joint strategy and their respective roles within that strategy.
Mrs. Dorries: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what representations his Department has received regarding changes in staffing levels within the Bedfordshire and Luton Casualty Reduction Partnership; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Ladyman: Speed cameras do not produce revenue. Drivers who break the law pay penalties, as other lawbreakers do. The Department does not hold records in respect to offences detected solely by speed cameras. The audit certificates for the Lancashire Safety Camera Partnership for the financial years outlined in the following table show the fines from conditional offer of fixed penalties for offences detected by speed and red light cameras operating under the National Safety Camera Programme for the last five years. The Lancashire Safety Camera Partnership joined the national programme in October 2001.
Mr. Douglas Alexander: Lessons learned from the London congestion charge have, and will continue to, form an important part of the Departments developing road pricing policy. In particular the fundamental role that improved public transport has played in the success of Londons scheme.
We are working with a number of areas outside London as they consider whether they want to bring forward local pilot schemes to address local congestion. My Department has established the Road Pricing Local Liaison Group which brings together TfL and those other authorities considering local road pricing pilots.
Joan Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what progress his Department has made in achieving gender equality in public appointments to bodies which fall within his Department's responsibility since 1997. 
Jim Fitzpatrick [holding answer 5 March 2007]: The Government remain committed to improving diversity on the boards of public bodies and the principle of equal representation of women and men in public appointments. The annual Cabinet Office publication Public Bodies contains details of the number of women appointed to public bodies each year by Department. For 1997- 2006 copies of these documents are available in the Libraries of the House for the reference of Members. From 1998 copies are also available on the internet at:
Mr. Touhig: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps his Department is taking to ensure that all agency workers receive the statutory sick pay to which they are entitled; and which categories of agency workers are not entitled to statutory sick pay. 
The Government's intention is for all agency workers to have equal access to statutory sick pay in line with other workers. The Government are therefore appealing a recent High Court decision which excludes agency workers with contracts of three months or less from entitlement to statutory sick pay.
Miss Begg: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps his Department has taken to raise awareness of the Age Discrimination Regulations among (a) employers and (b) employees. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: ACAS good practice guidance for employers and employees, and DTI guidance on the occupational pensions aspects of the regulations were published in April 2006. The DTI website contains additional guidance, including the explanatory notes on regulations. The Directgov and BusinessLink sites also provide information and an interactive tool for individuals and employers. The Department for Work and Pensions' Be Ready campaign has provided 1.4 million employers with practical information about age good practice and the legislation, and there has been substantial demand for further in depth information.
DTI's £l million capacity building programme provided funds for activities aimed at raising individuals and employees awareness of their new rights, and for up-skilling advice providers in the field of age discrimination. DTI has also committed a further £100,000 for a media campaign to increase levels of individual awareness of the age discrimination legislation.
Miss Begg: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate he has made of the number of employer redundancy schemes that could be unlawful under the age discrimination regulations. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: The Government do not hold details of employers' individual redundancy schemes. Any such schemes that do not come within the exemption provided in the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006 would still be lawful if they can be objectively justified.
Employment and unemployment levels for young workers are already significantly less favourable than those for older workers and our concern is that we might exacerbate this position if we moved young workers onto the adult rate.
Evidence suggests that the application of the adult rate to younger people would have adverse employment consequences, given the distinctive features of the labour market for young people.
Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry which post code districts will be exempt from the proposed access criterion that 95 per cent. of the population should live within six miles of a post office; in which (a) local government area and (b) county each district is located; what the size in (i) square miles and (ii) square kilometres is of each; what the estimated population is of each; what the location is of existing post offices in each district which will be exempt; and what the location was of post offices in each district which have closed since 1997. 
Jim Fitzpatrick [holding answer 6 February 2007]: POL does not maintain information on the location of post offices in each district which have closed since 1997 or relating to the local government areas. Population numbers are estimated using established methodologies for calculating accessibility.
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