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Technology: Research

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps he (a) has taken and (b) plans to take to stimulate research and development in low carbon technologies. [131738]

Malcolm Wicks: The DTI is supporting a wide range of measures to stimulate research and development in low carbon technologies throughout the R and D energy innovation chain.

(a) Existing steps taken include:

Expenditure by the Research Councils (which are funded from the DTI science budget) on energy related basic, strategic and applied research and related postgraduate training will rise to over £70 million per annum by 2007-08. Research Council investments cover the full range of energy from renewables, fusion, improving networks and conventional generation, through to research to keep the nuclear option open. Energy research remains a cross-Council priority for future allocations.

Industrial collaborative research and development is funded through the DTI’s Technology programme. The Technology programme is designed to stimulate innovation in the UK economy through higher levels of research and development and knowledge transfer. Funding is focussed on projects in strategically important technology areas. The DTI spends around £20 million per annum on low carbon energy technologies as part of this programme.

The UK is also an active participant in the Framework programme, which is Europe’s main funding vehicle for research and development. The Government actively encourages UK participation in
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the Framework programme, and provides help and support to applicants through a dedicated helpline and structured workshops.

In Framework programme 6, which ran from 2002-06, the Energy element was worth €880 million of which the UK was successful in obtaining around €100 million of funding. The “Energy Thematic” within Framework programme 7 is worth €2.3 billion and runs from 2007-2013. The first call is currently underway.

(b) Future steps planned include:

In September 2006 the Secretary of State published a prospectus for a new Energy Technologies Institute, and confirmed that the Government would commit up to £500 million over ten years to this 50:50 public-private partnership. It will provide a focus for industrial collaboration and substantially increase the level of investment in the R and D necessary to identify the most promising energy technologies, and to accelerate their deployment.

Further support is provided by other Government Departments and organisations. (An example is the Carbon Trust, which—among other activities—provides support for innovation into low carbon energy activities.

Transport

Blue Badge Scheme

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on changes in enforcement activity for the Blue Badge Scheme since the introduction of changes in regulations in September 2006. [131599]

Gillian Merron: It is too early to make an assessment at this stage, as the powers of enforcement have only been available to local authorities since September. However, the Department for Transport is working with local agencies to improve data collection and promote good practice in this area.

The Department is committed to tackling all Blue Badge misuse as signalled by a three-month strategic review of the scheme, which will report in September 2007. This will culminate in the production of a comprehensive Blue Badge Reform Strategy by April 2008.

Departments: Golden Arrow

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many meetings the Minister of State, the hon. Member for South Thanet (Dr. Ladyman) has attended with representatives of (a) Golden Arrow and (b) Sovereign Strategy since taking office; and if he will make a statement. [131069]

Dr. Ladyman: As part of the consultations on the Department for Transport’s review of ports policy, I attended with DfT officials, a lunch on 18 July 2006, organised by Golden Arrow Communications, to hear the views of ports and shipping interests. As Minister of State, I have attended no other meetings organised by Golden Arrow or Sovereign Strategy.


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I have attended conferences, receptions and other such events not organised by Golden Arrow Communications or Sovereign Strategy but at which individuals employed by them may have been present. No record is kept of such encounters.

Driving: Licensing

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many people had their driving licences taken away in (a) 2005 and (b) 2006. [132024]

Dr. Ladyman: The information is not readily available from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Milton Keynes Railway Station

Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the adequacy of toilet provision within plans for the new platform upgrade at Milton Keynes railway station. [132045]

Mr. Tom Harris: The design and specification of facilities at Milton Keynes Central station is the responsibility of Network Rail.

The hon. Member should contact Network Rail’s Chief Executive at the following address for a response to his question.

Milton Keynes Station: Repairs and Maintenance

Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when the platform upgrade of Milton Keynes station is due to be completed. [132329]

Mr. Tom Harris: The modifications to Milton Keynes Central station are due to be completed and commissioned in time for the introduction of the revised timetables for the West Coast Main Line in late 2008 to January 2009.

Motor Vehicles: Safety Measures

Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to require all vehicles on UK roads to be fitted with wing mirrors on both sides. [132051]

Dr. Ladyman: All vehicles greater than 3,500kg total mass are already required to have a rear view mirror on each side.

Passenger cars and small goods vehicles are currently required to have an exterior rear view mirror fitted on the offside and either one interior mirror or an exterior mirror on the nearside. From January 2010 all cars and small goods vehicles will be required to have two external mirrors. However, in practice, most
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manufacturers have been fitting mirrors to both sides of their vehicles for some years.

Mopeds are required to have one mirror and motorcycles and motor tricycles are required to have two mirrors. We are currently working with user groups to get their views on whether these requirements need amending in the context of the Government's motorcycling strategy.

New heavy vehicles from January 2007 have been fitted with enhanced mirrors that improve driver vision. Similar requirements are being considered for existing vehicles as part of a package of measures being proposed by the European Commission. We are currently conducting a public consultation on the policy options for these proposals and this consultation closes on 4 May 2007. Copies of the consultation have been placed in the Libraries of the House and can also be found at:

Pedestrian Crossings

Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the estimated completion date is for the non-motorised user crossings programme. [131199]

Dr. Ladyman: Delivery of new, and improvements to existing, non-motorised user crossings is ongoing. The Highways Agency is making good progress; 188 of the sites listed in 2003 having been investigated and works completed where appropriate. Future delivery is subject to the availability of funding and the Agency will continue to deliver improvements where this can be done cost-effectively. Therefore, it is not possible to provide an estimate of the completion date.

Railway Stations

Mr. Arbuthnot: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the announcement that 1,000 new carriages are planned to be added to the rail network by 2014, what assessment he has made of the capacity of non-suburban station platforms to accommodate longer trains. [132306]

Mr. Tom Harris: The Secretary of State will publish a High Level Output Specification (HLOS) in the summer which will specify, inter alia, the additional rail capacity the Government wish to purchase. The rail industry will respond to the HLOS in October 2007 with proposals for delivering this extra capacity, including platform lengthening and other infrastructural investment, where appropriate.

Roads: Accidents

Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to collate information on the number of foreign vehicles involved in road traffic accidents in the UK. [132052]

Dr. Ladyman: Since January 2005 the Department has collected information on whether vehicles involved in reported personal injury accidents in Great Britain are foreign registered. This information is published on
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the Department’s website in the annual publication “Road Casualties Great Britain: 2005 annual report” at the following link:

Copies of the report are also available in the Libraries of the House.

Rolling Stock

Mrs. James: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what consideration he has given to (a) the replacement of the British Rail Class 43 rolling stock and (b) a new generation high speed train. [132215]

Mr. Tom Harris: The Department is currently seeking Expressions of Interest for the development and eventual delivery of a new fleet of Intercity Express trains suitable to replace the present high speed trains.

Speed Limits: Cameras

Mark Hunter: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress has been made in approving time over distance cameras. [131803]

Dr. Ladyman: Average speed cameras were approved at 16 core sites within the National Safety Camera Programme. The National Safety Camera Programme ceased on 31 March 2007. In accordance with DfT Circular 01/2007, highway authorities now have the freedom to deploy type-approved average speed cameras without the Department’s approval. The type approval of speed enforcement devices is a matter for the Home Office.

Mark Hunter: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when the first time over distance cameras are expected to be available for use. [131804]

Dr. Ladyman: The first average speed camera site within the National Safety Camera Programme was established in July 2000.

Mark Hunter: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the likely effectiveness of time over distance cameras in reducing the levels of (a) fatal, (b) major and (c) minor road injuries. [131805]

Dr. Ladyman: No specific assessment has been made of the effectiveness of time-over-distance cameras. However the independent 4-year evaluation report of the National Safety Camera Programme covered any time-over-distance cameras operating between April 2000 and March 2004. The independent academics concluded that they were equally as effective in reducing collisions and casualties as other fixed and red-light cameras. They also concluded that time-over-distance cameras have been particularly effective at reducing excessive speeds, which are defined as 15mph over the speed limit.

Tractors: Safety

Dr. Blackman-Woods: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what measures are taken to regulate the safety and roadworthiness of farm tractors. [131820]


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Dr. Ladyman: The primary responsibility for ensuring the safety and roadworthiness of a farm tractor rests with the person who operates and uses it—exactly in the same way as it does with any type of vehicle. However, the condition of farm tractors is none the less subject to compliance checks by both the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency, and by the Health and Safety Executive during routine farm visits.

Treasury

Carbon Monoxide: Poisoning

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many deaths there were from carbon monoxide poisoning in each London borough in each of the last five years. [132148]

John Healey: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician who has been asked to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated 18 April 2007:


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Table 1: Number of deaths with a cause of carbon monoxide poisoning,( 1) London boroughs, 2001-05( 2,3)
Deaths (persons)
2001 2002 2003 2004 2005

Greater London

36

28

27

37

23

Inner London

6

8

14

10

5

Camden

0

0

0

0

0

City of London

0

0

0

1

0

Hackney

1

1

2

0

0

Hammersmith and Fulham

0

2

0

1

0

Haringey

1

1

1

1

1

Islington

0

0

0

3

0

Kensington and Chelsea

0

0

2

0

0

Lambeth

0

1

2

0

0

Lewisham

1

0

1

0

2

Newham

0

1

3

0

0

Southwark

1

0

3

3

1

Tower Hamlets

0

1

0

0

0

Wandsworth

2

1

0

0

1

Westminster

0

0

0

1

0

Outer London

30

20

13

27

18

Barking and Dagenham

0

2

0

0

0

Barnet

2

1

1

0

1

Bexley

4

1

0

3

0

Brent

0

3

1

2

1

Bromley

2

2

1

1

3

Croydon

1

1

1

0

2

Ealing

2

3

1

2

0

Enfield

1

3

1

0

0

Greenwich

2

0

0

3

1

Harrow

2

0

1

3

0

Havering

3

1

0

2

0

Hillingdon

2

1

0

1

3

Hounslow

1

0

0

1

1

Kingston upon Thames

0

0

0

1

0

Merton

1

0

0

0

1

Redbridge

2

1

2

2

0

Richmond upon Thames

3

0

1

1

0

Sutton

2

0

2

0

2

Waltham Forest

0

1

1

5

3

(1) Cause of death was defined using the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10) code T58.
(2) Based on local authority boundaries as of 2007.
(3) Figures are for deaths registered in each calendar year.

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