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Written Answers to Questions

Thursday 26 April 2007

Leader of the House

EC Law: Parliamentary Scrutiny

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Leader of the House what plans he has to improve scrutiny of EU legislation. [133850]

Mr. Straw: This remains under consideration. I have recently discussed the matter with the chairman of the European Scrutiny Committee.

House of Commons Commission

Waste Disposal

Norman Baker: To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission what percentage of waste from the House of Commons Estate for (a) recycling and (b) incineration was exported for processing in each of the past three years. [120731]

Nick Harvey: The House’s waste contractor has reported the following:

(a) R ecycling:

( b) I ncineration:


Departments: Paper

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what percentage of paper used (a) for photocopying and (b) in printed publications by his Office was from recycled sources in each of the last three years. [134050]

Mr. Hain: In the last three years the Wales Office has used 100 per cent. recycled paper for photocopying and printing, and the paper used in our publications for the last three years has been at least 75 per cent. recycled.

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Official Visits

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many days he spent in Wales on official business in each of the last 12 months; and on how many occasions he stayed overnight. [133620]

Mr. Hain: In the last 12 months I have spent 67 days in Wales in my capacity as Secretary of State for Wales.

In addition to the time spent in Wales, the Under-Secretary of State and I undertake Wales business in Parliament and in the Wales Office at Gwydyr House in London.


Aviation: Nepal

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what discussions he has had with (a) Virgin Airlines, (b) British Airways and (c) other carriers on the possibility of direct flights from the UK to Nepal; [133565]

(2) what representations he has received on the desirability of direct flights between the UK and Nepal. [133564]

Gillian Merron: Ministers and officials meet regularly with UK airlines to discuss their future plans for all parts of the world. No specific representations relating to air services to Nepal have been made in any recent discussions with airlines or other bodies. It is a matter for airlines to decide which destinations they wish to serve.

Crossrail Line

Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his timetable is for making a decision on the Crossrail project in London. [126866]

Mr. Tom Harris: Crossrail funding and financing issues will be considered further in the context of Sir Michael Lyons’ recommendations and wider spending pressures and priorities. However, the affordability challenge represented by the scheme remains significant.

Highways Agency: Vehicles

Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport for what reason the Highways Agency uses four wheel drive vehicles for motorway patrols. [133885]

Dr. Ladyman: The Traffic Officer Service is a 24 hour- 365 day operation covering all the motorways in England and certain key interlinking trunk roads. Given the nature of the service it is essential that the vehicles which are provided for patrol activities are able to safely operate in adverse weather conditions such as snow and slippery surfaces, hence four wheel drive is considered to be essential. This drive provision also enables the vehicles to be used for certain carriageway clearance operations. There is also a further requirement for a high payload in order to carry the crew, essential kit
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and, where appropriate, passengers, which means that only vehicles of a particular size can safely be used.


Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will take steps to reduce congestion on the southbound carriageway of the M1 motorway caused by queuing vehicles seeking to exit at junction 19; if he will consider widening the road at this point to create an extra lane; and if he will make a statement. [133932]

Dr. Ladyman: The Highways Agency is aware of queuing on the M1 southbound approach to junction 19. A major improvement scheme is programmed which will increase capacity and improve flow at this junction. One of the anticipated benefits will be to eliminate the queuing problem. Preparatory work is in progress and, subject to statutory processes being completed, work on site is expected to begin in February 2009.

As an interim measure advance warning signs have been installed for safety reasons. There are no plans to widen this section of the M1.

Motor Vehicles: Registration

Mr. Hands: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many prosecutions were brought against the keepers of foreign registered vehicles for failing to re-register their vehicle details with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency after six months in each of the last five years. [132948]

Dr. Ladyman: There is no current legislation available to the Agency, which allows for the prosecution of keepers of foreign vehicles who have failed to register their vehicles within the required timescales.

However, if the Agency receives a report recording the sighting of an unlicensed vehicle on the road, the Agency is able to prosecute under the legislation provided by Section 29 VERA. There are practical difficulties with this and unless a name and address of the keeper of the foreign vehicle is provided the Agency is unable to pursue these cases. The Agency is able to utilise other enforcement action such as the wheel clamping and impounding of a vehicle. Vehicle keepers are required to provide evidence of registration in the UK and licensing before the release of the vehicle. The number of prosecutions of foreign vehicles under this legislation in each of the last five years is not collated.

Motorcycles: Licensing

Lembit Öpik: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 6 March 2007, Official Report, column 1853W, on motorcycles: licensing, what the location will be of each of the off-road motorcycle test facilities that will be available for use at the date of the implementation of the off-road manoeuvre aspects of the European Second Driving Licence Directive; and if he will make a statement. [133882]

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Dr. Ladyman: The following lists the 67 search areas identified by the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) for possible locations of off-road motorcycle test facilities (ORMTF). The list also indicates the 20 acquired before the end of March 2007.

It is not possible to confirm which of the remaining 47 sites will be operational by October 2008. This is because acquisition and construction are subject to market availability, planning consent, brownfield remediation, and other factors outside DSA’s control.

We are confident that, by the implementation date of October 2008, most customers will be able to reach an MPTC within 45 minutes, travelling no more than 20 miles. DSA will also reach the current target of 40 per cent. of customers being within 20 miles or 45 minutes of an ORMTF by March 2008.

Search locations:

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Search location for which a property has been acquired:

Work and Pensions


Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many children were in working and non-working households (a) below 60 per cent. of median income, (b) in the bottom 20 per cent. of the income distribution and (c) the bottom 30 per cent. of the income distribution in each year since 1994-95. [133943]

Mr. Plaskitt: The available information is in the following tables.

At present, we are unable to provide data for 2005-06 as the Households Below Average Income 2005-06 release is currently being revised. The new release will be available from mid-May.

The Secretary of State made a written statement to Parliament on 23 April 2007, Official Report, column 20WS on why the statistics are being revised.

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(a) Number of children (millions) living in households below 60 per cent. of median income: by working/non-working households: before housing costs
Working households Non-working households


































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