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4 Jun 2007 : Column 100W—continued


Tourism: Peterborough

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport which 10 tourist attractions in the Peterborough city council area attracted the largest number of visitors in each year since 1997. [139243]

Mr. Woodward: VisitBritain holds data on tourist attractions which participate in its surveys. Visitor number figures are available for the following attractions in the vicinity of Peterborough since 2000:


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4 Jun 2007 : Column 102W
2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005

Nene Valley Railway

N/A

64,606

52,571

51,813

55,642

57,506

Activity World and Animal World

N/A

50,000

52,874

51,780

74,165

N/A

Peterborough Cathedral

48,700

46,706

48,291

54,153

60,563

59,412E

Railworld

3,405

3,260

3,466

3,130

N/A

N/A

Peterborough Museum/Art Gallery

34,000

32,041

33,183

31,003

31,088

38,784

Flag Fen Bronze Age Centre

14,924

13,929

15,490

17,800

65,780

66,266

Thorney Abbey Church

N/A

600

800

1,000

1,500

N/A

Thorney Heritage Museum

578

948

743

649

672

597


VisitBritain

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport on how many occasions she has met the current Chairman of VisitBritain; what the agenda was for each meeting; and if she will make a statement. [138844]

Mr. Woodward: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State met the chairman of VisitBritain on 22 January and on 24 April 2007. I met VisitBritain's chairman on 19 February 2007. Among other matters discussed on each occasion were VisitBritain's role in maximising the opportunities for tourism from the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games, and the refocusing of VisitBritain's activities in preparation for these.

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment she has made of the adequacy of VisitBritain's funding against its objectives. [138845]

Mr. Woodward: VisitBritain's objectives are set out in its Funding Agreement with the Department, a copy of which is lodged in the Library of the House. These objectives were agreed to ensure the best possible support for the British tourism industry.

VisitBritain's future funding levels are presently being considered as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review.

Anne Milton: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what plans and resources VisitBritain has to change the scope of its operation in countries that have acceded to the European Union since 1997; what assessment she has made of the potential for growth in such markets; and if she will make a statement. [138985]

Mr. Woodward: VisitBritain has monitored and analysed the opportunities in the expanding market represented by the 12 countries that have acceded to the European Union since 1997.

Following this analysis, VisitBritain is active in Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, where the evidence suggests the return on investment can currently be maximised. VisitBritain opened a new office in Budapest in early 2007, with Hungary and the Czech Republic falling under its remit. VisitBritain's work in Poland, which was previously the responsibility of its Berlin office, is being integrated into the Budapest office. The number of staff employed in marketing work in these countries has not been affected by the re-structuring proposals which VisitBritain announced recently.

Global Insight has forecast that the total world market from these countries will increase, in terms of outbound overnight visits between 2005 and 2010, as follows:

Visits (millions)
2005 2010 Percentage increase

Czech Republic

3.2

4.4

37.5

Hungary

2.4

3.2

33.3

Poland

5.8

7.7

32.7


A market profile for each of these countries is available on VisitBritain's industry website

Anne Milton: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many of the recent job reductions announced by VisitBritain are of posts located in (a) the UK, (b) other European Union member states, (c) North America and (d) other countries; and if she will make a statement. [138986]

Mr. Woodward: VisitBritain is currently consulting on its proposals for re-structuring its overseas marketing operations. The changes are designed to focus VisitBritain's activities on developing markets, and to meet the challenges posed by emerging market trends such as the move away from printed consumer literature, and towards online marketing. The UK consultation process will end on 31 May.

The number of posts, by location, which VisitBritain proposes to reduce as part of its present re-structuring process is as follows:

In the UK, VisitBritain proposes to discontinue 45 vacant posts, to make 20 posts redundant, and to create 10 new posts. VisitBritain proposes to increase staffing levels in the Asia Pacific region.

Anne Milton: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many of the recent job reductions announced by VisitBritain will be in tourism research and statistics; and if she will make a statement. [138987]

Mr. Woodward: VisitBritain is currently consulting on proposals to achieve economies of scale by means of a net reduction of two domestic and international research posts in research and statistics.


4 Jun 2007 : Column 103W

VisitBritain: Finance

Anne Milton: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what resources will be made available to VisitBritain for promoting overseas visits to the UK during and following the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games; and if she will make a statement. [138988]

Mr. Woodward: VisitBritain is contributing fully to the tourism strategy for 2012 Olympic games and Paralympic games, which my Department expects to publish shortly. Should the strategy have implications for the levels of grant-in-aid funding allocated to VisitBritain's overseas marketing activities, these will be considered in the context of the present comprehensive spending review. That review is due to be completed in the autumn.

World Heritage Sites: Greater London

Robert Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what response she has made to UNESCO's proposal to remove Westminster and the Tower of London from the list of world heritage sites; and if she will make a statement. [139258]

Mr. Woodward: UNESCO has not proposed to remove either the Tower of London or Westminster from the list of World Heritage Sites. The World Heritage Committee has raised concerns about the potential impact of tall building developments in the environs of both sites. My Department invited a UNESCO/ICOMOS mission to London to discuss these concerns and we will respond to the World Heritage Committee on the findings of the mission in time for the Committee's 31st session in June.

Transport

A14: Lorries

Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what factors he took into account in implementing a ban on allowing HGV vehicles to overtake on the A14; what criteria were used to select the A14; if he will implement such a ban on parts of the M18; and if he will make a statement. [139876]

Dr. Ladyman: The A14 between M1 junction 19 at Catthorpe and junction 2 at Kelmarsh has particularly long uphill gradients. This section of road was included in a study carried out in 2002 which analysed long uphill gradients along the A14 trunk road. The study identified problems with congestion caused by overtaking HGVs at this particular location.

The two sections of the A14 between Catthorpe and Cold Ashby eastbound and between Kelmarsh and Cold Ashby westbound, are clear of junctions and it was for this reason that this particular section of the A14 was selected for the trial project.

The Highways Agency aims to reduce traffic congestion and improve safety. Through this trial, which restricts HGVs from overtaking along this busy section of the A14, it is expected that journey times will improve and the traffic will flow more smoothly.

Traffic behaviour on the A14 was monitored prior to the trial and will continue to be monitored, during and
4 Jun 2007 : Column 104W
after its 18-month duration. Depending on the findings, the Agency will decide whether or not to make the restriction permanent.

There are no current plans to restrict heavy goods vehicles from overtaking on the M18.

Aviation: Radioactive Wastes

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many flights have taken place in which (a) spent nuclear fuel and (b) nuclear waste was carried within United Kingdom airspace since 2001; what the (i) place of origin and (ii) destination was of each flight; and what volume of material was carried on each. [139663]

Dr. Ladyman: The Department does not hold information in the form requested.

Central Trains: Manpower

Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions he has held with Central Trains on staffing levels on services between Shropshire, Wales and Birmingham New Street station. [139030]

Mr. Tom Harris: The responsibility for staffing levels on any specific train service is a matter for the train operating company concerned.

Driving Instruction: Manpower

Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many qualified driving (a) instructors and (b) examiners there were in England in each year since 1997. [139681]

Dr. Ladyman: The number of driving instructors and examiners recorded by the Driving Standards Agency as qualified is shown in the following table. Due to a change in IT systems, the number of DSA examiners is not known prior to 2005.

Approved driving instructors DSA examiners

1997

32,497

n/k

1998

30,500

n/k

1999

29,185

n/k

2000

29,103

n/k

2001

29,626

n/k

2002

29,962

n/k

2003

31,786

n/k

2004

33,306

n/k

2005

36,252

1,875

2006

39,001

1,946

2007

41,507

1,847

n/k = not known

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