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Mr. Mark Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much his Department spent on improving access to the transport system for people with (a) learning and (b) physical disabilities in the most recent year for which information is available. 
Gillian Merron: Under the Disability Discrimination Act 2005, it is a legal requirement that all new buses, coaches and rail vehicles comply with relevant accessibility regulations. Access to transport infrastructure is also covered by the Act.
The Government have made a commitment that access for disabled people will be a condition of new public investment in transport. It is not possible to disaggregate spending which improves access as all departmental expenditure invested in these transport systems will benefit disabled people.
The Department has a specific programme, Access for All, to improve access to railway stations for disabled passengers. The Department spent £24.3 million in financial year 2006-07 on the programme and this funding will provide benefits for people with all types of disability.
Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many pensioners claimed concessionary travel passes in Warrington in each of the last five years; and how many claimed (a) bus passes and (b) rail passes. 
Gillian Merron: There is no statutory bus travel concession for students. Local authorities can offer such concessions on a discretionary based on their assessment of local need and their overall financial priorities. Details on local discretionary concessions are not held centrally and should be obtained from the relevant local authority.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which operators are in discussions with his Department on local authority re-imbursement of concessionary fares; what the (a) amount involved and (b) local authority is in each case; when he expects to issue further guidance on the matter; and if he will make a statement. 
Gillian Merron: Bus operators who consider the level of local authority reimbursement for concessionary fares as inadequate may appeal to the Secretary of State. To date, 88 appeals have been lodged for the 2007-08 financial year.
A list of the schemes appealed against, and the applicants for each, are listed in the table which has been placed in the Libraries of the House. It would not be appropriate to give further details of the appeals whilst they are being determined.
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many cetaceans he estimates died in (a) UK waters, (b) EU waters and (c) worldwide because of (i) ship strikes, (ii) bycatch and (iii) pollution in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Bradshaw: For nearly 15 years the Government have funded studies by the Natural History Museum Institute of Zoology (IoZ) on trends in cetacean strandings and causes of death around the UK coastline. Post-mortems are carried out on a selected number of the stranded carcasses each year. The following estimates regarding likely causes of cetacean deaths are drawn from these studies.
|Number examined in UK||( i) Number boat strike||( ii) Number bycatch|
Estimates of how many cetaceans die as a direct result of pollution are not available since it is difficult to clearly establish a cause and effect relationship between pollution and the deaths investigated in the above studies.
Anonymous, 2002. Incidental Catches of Small Cetaceans. Report of the Second Meeting of the Subgroup on Fishery and Environment (SGFEN) of the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF), Brussels 11-14 June 2002. Commission Staff Working Paper. SEC(2002):1134.
Few other countries outside Europe, the USA and Australasia have published estimates regarding cetacean deaths. However the report, Bycatch of Marine Mammals in U.S. and Global Fisheries, published in Conservation Biology, Volume 20, No. 1, February 2006, which relies heavily on extrapolations from data in the USA, provides some estimates. I have arranged for copies to be placed in the Library of the House. The authors recognise any efforts to provide
estimates are hindered by the fact that very few countries have reporting systems in place to provide accurate data. The UK is one of the few countries that have established such systems.
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the cost of leasing buildings and office space for (a) his Department and (b) its agencies was in each of the last five years. 
Barry Gardiner: From the DEFRA resource accounts the property holding cost for the Department for the last four years are declared as £19.28 million (2002-03), £21.43 million (2003-04), £22.69 million (2004-05) and £22.14 million (2005-06). The declared holding costs for the executive agencies for the same period were £5.3 million (2002-03), £5.76 million (2003-04), £6.06 million (2004-05) and £6.76 million (2005-06).
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many times his Department was found to have been in breach of the Data Protection Act 1998 in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. 
Barry Gardiner: The definition of found to have been in breach can be broad. Depending on their nature, breaches of the Data Protection Act 1998 by Government Departments can be dealt with by the Information Commissioner, the Courts or Departments at an informal, local level. The information requested is not held centrally and can be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many staff funded by the public purse in the Veterinary Laboratories Agency are classified as people without posts. 
The gross sales receipts contained within the Departments financial records indicate that sales of property raised £7.35 million (2002-03), £16.03
million (2003-04), £1.32 million (2004-05), £7.2 million (2005-06) and £12.63 million (2006-07) for each of the years in question.
Barry Gardiner: The Department's accounting records identify the following rental receipts for the five years in question; £25.85 million (2002-03), £44.42 million (2003-04), £49.45 million (2004-05), £54 million (2005-06) and £54.24 million (2006-07). The figures provided include all recoverable accommodation cost recorded as received from Crown bodies, sponsored bodies and third party tenants.
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