Previous Section Index Home Page

23 Apr 2007 : Column 869W—continued

Motor Vehicles: Registration

Mr. Hands: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many keepers of foreign registered vehicles re-registered their vehicle details with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency in each of the last 10 years. [132946]

Dr. Ladyman: The following are volumes of used imported vehicles since 2001 We do not have figures for the last 10 years.

Number

2006

94,730

2005

112,908

2004

130,558

2003

133,999

2002

107,267

2001

106,105


Mr. Hands: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the crackdown on overseas registered vehicles announced in August 2006. [132947]

Dr. Ladyman: Checks by the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) on drivers and vehicles on international journeys in the South East of England increased from 14,100 in 2005-06 to 34,500 in 2006-07. 47 per cent. of the vehicles checked for roadworthiness were found to have defects which could result in prohibition, 20 per cent. of the checks on drivers’ hours showed offences and 26 per cent. of vehicles weighed were overloaded.

This increased level of activity has been effective in the number of dangerous vehicles and drivers been
23 Apr 2007 : Column 870W
prevented from continuing their journeys on the UK road network. It is too early to say whether there has been any deterrent effect.

Mr. Hands: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate his Department has made of the change in numbers of foreign registered vehicles on UK roads over the last 15 years. [132949]

Dr. Ladyman: We do not collect data on the number of foreign registered vehicles on UK roads.

Rescue Services: Compensation

Mr. Crabb: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what steps he is taking to ensure a quick resolution of the dispute between the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and coastguard rescue officers over injury cover; [133517]

(2) what discussions he has had with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency on the dispute with coastguard rescue officers over insurance cover; and if he will make a statement. [133520]

Dr. Ladyman: The Maritime and Coastguard Agency has kept me fully informed of developments with the withdrawal of front-line services by some Coastguard Rescue Teams. Full-time staff within the MCA and the volunteer members of its Coastguard Rescue Service are covered for injuries sustained while on duty and consequential loss of earnings by the Civil Service Injury Benefits Scheme (CSIBS) details of which can be found at:

Discussions within the MCA have resulted in agreement on interim arrangements and a full search and rescue service has resumed. A MCA working group is being set up to consider compensation arrangements for the future.

Mr. Crabb: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what steps he is taking to ensure that volunteer coastguard rescue officers injured on duty receive prompt and adequate compensation; [133518]

(2) what assessment he has made of the adequacy of injury cover for volunteer coastguard rescue officers. [133519]

Dr. Ladyman: In the event of an injury on duty, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency has in place the following procedures:

The MCA is actively considering future arrangements and is discussing concerns with coastguard rescue officers.

Road Traffic Offences: Foreign Registered Vehicles

Mr. Hands: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate his Department has made of the cost of traffic penalty evasion by foreign registered vehicles in the UK. [132941]


23 Apr 2007 : Column 871W

Dr. Ladyman: We have made no quantified assessment. However we have recognised this is an important enforcement issue which we intend to address through the deposit scheme and which will require an immediate payment from those who cannot provide a satisfactory UK address.

Mr. Hands: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency has powers to receive up-to-date foreign vehicle keeper data from foreign vehicle licensing agencies for the purposes of assisting UK local authorities in carrying out their civil enforcement responsibilities. [132942]

Dr. Ladyman: Currently there is no European or international law providing a legal framework for data exchange specifically for these purposes. Therefore each case would need to be considered on its merits and the specific legal duties arising, including data protection and privacy issues.

Mr. Hands: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether any foreign registered vehicles have been stopped and made to pay an immediate deposit for a traffic penalty since the passage of the Road Safety Act 2006. [132943]

Dr. Ladyman: No. The graduated fixed penalty and financial penalty deposit provisions for roadworthiness and traffic offences in the Road Safety Act 2006 have not yet been implemented.

Mr. Hands: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps the Government plan to take to improve enforcement of traffic penalties against the owners of foreign registered vehicles; and if he will make a statement. [132945]

Dr. Ladyman: We intend to introduce regulations under the provisions of the Road Safety Act 2006 that will allow police officers—and also enforcement officers from the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency—to issue fixed penalties to offenders in non-GB-registered vehicles and to offenders without a satisfactory address in the UK.

A deposit will be taken from the offender at the time the fixed penalty notice is issued. Enforcers will also be able to immobilise a vehicle in any case where there is any risk that an offender may refuse to pay a deposit. It will also be possible for enforcers to immobilise a vehicle where it appears an offender to drive away in contravention of any prohibition which has been issued, either in respect the driver, or in cases where the vehicle has been deemed unfit to continue with the journey.

West Coast Mainline: Railway Stations

Mr. Jamie Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment has been made of the ability of platforms on the West Coast Mainline to facilitate longer trains. [133480]

Mr. Tom Harris: Platforms at stations on the West Coast Main Line already have the capability of accommodating longer trains or proposals exist to extend them this as necessary.


23 Apr 2007 : Column 872W

Deputy Prime Minister

Ports: Thames Estuary

Bob Spink: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what assessment he has made of the impact of the operation in the Thames estuary of the proposed liquefied natural gas importation plant on Canvey Island on the operation of the proposed container terminal at Shell Haven; and if he will make a statement. [132135]

Dr. Ladyman: I have been asked to reply.

The application for planning permission for a liquefied natural gas importation facility on Canvey Island is currently the subject of an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate, following refusal of the application by the Local Planning Authority in September 2006. It would be inappropriate to prejudge the outcome of the appeal process.

The application for a Harbour Empowerment Order for a container terminal at Shell Haven is currently under consideration by the Secretary of State, further to his minded view of 8 August 2006.

The regulation of navigation in the Thames estuary is the responsibility of the Port of London Authority as the conservancy authority and statutory harbour authority. It is for the Port of London Authority to assess any operational traffic impacts and make proper provision for the safe regulation of river traffic to and from any relevant port developments which may be implemented in the estuary.

House of Commons Commission

Press Gallery

22. Mr. Hollobone: To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission what assessment has been made of utilising part of the Press Gallery above the Commons Chamber for visitor access. [132699]

Nick Harvey: Only security-screened pass holders or Members’ guests can sit in front of the security screen and visitors are restricted to the area behind the security screen. This is based on security advice and a result of a number of incidents of which the Member will be aware. However, Mr. Speaker is keen to welcome visitors to the House and has asked that officers look into this proposal.

Services Survey

25. Bob Spink: To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission when he expects to report the results of the recent survey of services. [132702]

Nick Harvey: The report of the Survey of Services is currently being drafted by FDS, the independent market research company contracted to undertake the survey. The report will be considered by the House of Commons Commission in May and will be made available to Members and their staff.


23 Apr 2007 : Column 873W

Parliament: Parking

Norman Baker: To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission how much he estimates would be raised each year by the introduction of a £10 flat fee charge to use car parking facilities on the parliamentary estate, assuming a continuation of the present level of usage. [132472]

Nick Harvey: There are no plans to introduce charges for use of car parking facilities on the parliamentary estate.

Portcullis House: Escalators

Norman Baker: To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission if he will ensure that the opportunity afforded by the works due to be undertaken to the Portcullis House escalator is used to reintroduce motion-sensitive operation. [132470]

Nick Harvey: The new escalators will incorporate motion sensitive operation with an energy-efficient control system.

Norman Baker: To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission how long the Portcullis House escalator has been in use; how much has been spent on (a) repairs and (b) maintenance since its introduction; and what the estimated cost is of the works planned for autumn 2007. [132471]

Nick Harvey: The escalators have been in use since Portcullis House opened in September 2000. The following has been spent on:

The estimated cost of the escalator works for this summer is £327,000.

Prime Minister

Departments: Official Hospitality

David Simpson: To ask the Prime Minister how much was spent on hospitality by his Office in the financial year 2006-07. [133265]

The Prime Minister: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave the hon. Member for South Holland and The Deepings (Mr. Hayes) and the hon. Member for Southend, West (Mr. Amess) on 11 October 2006, Official Report, column 788W.

Departments: Pressure Groups

Norman Baker: To ask the Prime Minister if he will list his meetings with outside interest groups which took place between 1 January and 31 March. [132436]

The Prime Minister: My officials and I have meetings with a wide range of organisations and individuals on a
23 Apr 2007 : Column 874W
range of subjects. Information relating to internal meetings, discussion and advice is not disclosed as to do so could harm the frankness and candour of internal discussion.

EU Action

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Prime Minister on which occasions in the last 12 months he has met representatives of campaign bodies and think tanks advocating closer EU integration. [133093]

The Prime Minister: My officials and I have meetings with a wide range of organisations and individuals on a range of subjects. Information relating to internal meetings, discussion and advice is not disclosed as to do so could harm the frankness and candour of internal discussion.

Duchy of Lancaster

Charities: Regulation

Mr. David Hamilton: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what steps she has taken to ensure that the work of the Charity Commission and the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator are fully compatible in respect of charities which work across the UK. [132932]

Edward Miliband: The Government are keen to promote compatible regulation for charities that operate throughout the UK, while recognising that charity law and regulation is a devolved matter in Scotland and Northern Ireland. There is a UK and Ireland Charity Regulators' Forum, to advance a consistent regulatory approach and to share information and best practice. The first meeting of regulators in England and Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic took place in October 2006. The Charity Commission and the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) have developed and published a Memorandum of Understanding, and specific guidance for charities that operate in both jurisdictions. The Commission and OSCR are also working together on the Statement of Recommended Practice for Charity Accounting and jointly sponsor the Committee which is reviewing this. They also hold regular bilateral meetings as appropriate to discuss other matters of mutual interest.

Departments: Official Hospitality

David Simpson: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how much was spent on hospitality by her Department in the last 12 months. [133235]

Hilary Armstrong: Costs incurred on Official Hospitality in 2006-07, which covers the last 12 months, will be available only when the Department's resource accounts are fully audited and laid before Parliament. This is expected to be before the 2007 summer recess.

All Cabinet Office expenditure on official hospitality is made in accordance with published departmental guidance on financial procedures and propriety, based on principles set out in Government Accounting and the Treasury handbook on Regularity and Propriety.


Next Section Index Home Page