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Joan Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what discussions he has had with colleagues in the Department for Communities and Local Government on funding streams for charitable organisations providing accessible vehicles for elderly and disabled people; 
Gillian Merron: The Department has regular discussions with colleagues in Communities and Local Government (CLG) on many issues including on the important role which local authorities play in acting as an essential conduit for Central Government funding.
The Government are committed to an accessible transport system in which disabled and older people have the same opportunities to travel as other members of society. Its overall transport strategy, as set out in the Transport White Paper The Future of Transport, recognised the vital role that extending mobility plays in meeting the wider objectives for the economy and an inclusive society.
Transport provision is largely funded via local authorities who are best placed to deliver the solutions that best meet the needs of local people. For example, to assist these aims the West Midlands region were provided with over £155 million capital funding for both integrated transport and maintenance for 2007-08.
We have already achieved a great deal to make mainstream public transport more accessible (for example, all new trains, buses and coaches must be accessible to disabled people, including wheelchair users) but the Governments wider strategy is to devolve decision making responsibility about local service provision closer to where services are delivered, and to encourage the removal of ring fenced funding so that local decisions can increasingly be informed by local context, priorities and need.
The decision to wind down the Home Office Vehicle Crime Reduction Team was taken as part of the Home Office Reform Programme and in the context of developing a new strategic approach to crime reduction.
We do not believe the decision to wind down the Home Office team will have an adverse impact on the theft rates of motorcycles or motorcycle parts. Frontline practitioners are experienced in implementing initiatives to deal with vehicle crime, including thefts of motorcycles. This includes providing relevant crime prevention advice and making use of the Motor Salvage (Operators) Regulations 2002 to drive criminals out of the motor salvage industry to prevent vehicles, including motorcycles, being stolen for their parts.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects to publish guidance under the Traffic Management Act 2004 on enforcement over parking on grass verges; and if he will make a statement. 
Gillian Merron: All local authorities outside London already have the power to make Traffic Regulation Orders which can, among other things, ban parking on grass verges. It is for the local authority to put a ban in place where they consider it appropriate. Pavement parking (which includes parking on grass verges) is banned in London apart from where signs indicate otherwise.
Gillian Merron: There is a wide range of parking controls that a local authority can provide near schools. The Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions (TSRGD) 2002 gives local authorities powers to implement yellow zig-zag and keep clear road markings. These markings indicate where vehicles should not stop outside a school entrance. The local authority can determine whether the markings are advisory or made mandatory with an appropriate traffic regulation order. There are no plans to change these controls.
Mr. Tom Harris:
I have met a number of hon. Members to discuss the issue, which has also been the subject of two Adjournment debates in the last eight months. In addition, I have received a small number of
letters from hon. Members, and around another 30 letters from members of the public, local authorities and others.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the reasons for the time taken to implement the provisions of the Traffic Management Act 2004 in respect of permits for works in the highway. 
Gillian Merron: Part 3 of the Traffic Management Act 2004, permit schemes, is dependant upon part 4 of the Act, the notices, directions and restrictions regulations. As such the permit regulations cannot be laid prior to part 4.
I would refer the hon. Member to the written statement made to the House on 7 June 2007, Official Report, columns 30-31WS, which set out the reasons for the time taken to implement Traffic Management Act regulations. All these reasons apply to part 4.
Gillian Merron: The promoters of the scheme, East Sussex county council, have reported that the total cost of the scheme is now estimated to be £89.3 million. It is for the South East region to decide whether it still wishes to prioritise funding for this scheme at its higher cost within its regional funding allocation for major transport schemes. Should the region formally advise that it continues to be a funding priority, the scheme will then be subject to a re-appraisal and value for money assessment in accordance with the Departments guidance before a final decision on whether to provide additional funding to the scheme is taken. The environmental impact of the Link Road was assessed in accordance with our appraisal methodology, when the scheme was originally approved in December 2004.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what statistics are collected by the Government on user satisfaction in relation to the condition of local authority-maintained highways. 
Gillian Merron: The Department for Transport collects statistics from local authority surveys of road conditions which are collated and published annually in the National Road Maintenance Condition Survey. The latest of these reports relates to 2006 and a copy of the report, published on 10 May 2007, was placed in the House of Commons Library and it is also available at:
Gillian Merron: The two most recent National Road Maintenance Condition Surveys (NRMCS), published in April 2005 and April 2006, both showed that the deterioration in the condition of local authority highways during the 1990s had been halted, and that there had been a significant improvement in local road conditions since 2000.
Gillian Merron: The Department for Transport issued advice to taxi licensing authorities on 9 September 2002 which included factors they should consider in relation to improving access for disabled people. In November 2006, the Department also issued Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Licensing: Best Practice Guidance which contains a section on improving accessibility of taxis. Further announcements will be made in due course.
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what provision his Department is making to ensure that disabled people are involved in an evaluation of options regarding his Departments policy on the provision of taxis that are accessible to disabled people. 
Gillian Merron: The Department has received a number of representations from organisations representing disabled people, individuals, licensing authorities and vehicle manufacturers which will help to inform the development of the policy on improving access to taxis. In addition the Department has regular discussions with the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee. Formal consultations will take place once options have been firmed up.
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when the Government expect to introduce regulations on accessible taxis under the provisions of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. 
Dr. Ladyman: The Department does not have data in this form. Work to explore the potential of road pricing to address traffic congestion, most notably the 2003-04 Road Pricing Feasibility Study, was undertaken within overall departmental headcount and budgets.
Dr. Ladyman: The demonstration into Time-Distance-Place charging announced by the Secretary of State on 23 May is presently in the procurement stage, therefore it is not possible to state how much the project will cost until we have received proposals from bidders and evaluated them.
Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he plans to take to offer redress to businesses within the catchment areas of local authority pricing schemes who are able to demonstrate a loss of profit arising from the implementation of a scheme. 
Dr. Ladyman: There are 22 members of departmental staff working primarily on the exploration of road pricing, and, in particular, work needed to make a success of schemes being developed by local authorities (e.g. on the provisions contained in the draft Local Transport Bill published for consultation on 22 May). This work also draws on expertise in other areas of the Department from time to time, for example, on legal, economic and scientific issues as necessary.
A consultancy framework has recently been put in place to secure external expert input for road pricing and there are currently 24 individual consultants engaged full or part-time, this number varying dependent on the expertise required.
Mr. Tom Harris: Bidders for the franchises that are out to tender currently (East Midlands, West Midlands, New Cross Country and Intercity East Coast) require bidders to consider bike-rail integration and facilities at stations in their bid submissions. The Governments aspiration is to see 95 per cent. of journeys originating from stations with adequate cycle parking facilities.
Last year, the Government asked Cycling England, our advisory group on cycling, to look into how we might better encourage bike and rail journeys. They have accepted this remit and are now looking to see where progress can best be made further to improve bike and rail integration. Officials here will assist them and we have written to all train operating companies who will be facilitating its work. I look forward to receiving the report from Cycling England.
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he has received a request for a meeting from the Chairman of the Disabled Person's Transport Advisory Committee and the Disability Rights Commission. 
Gillian Merron: A request for a meeting was sent to the Secretary of State on 4 April 2007 in a joint letter from the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee and the Disability Rights Commission. A reply was sent on 10 May 2007.
12. Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what procedures are in place to ensure that additional costs associated with holding events at No. 11 Downing street are met by the organisers of those events. 
16. Philip Davies: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what procedures are in place to ensure that additional costs associated with holding events at No. 11 Downing street are met by the organisers of those events. 
Treasury Ministers and officials have meetings with a wide variety of organisations in the public and private sectors as part of the process of
policy development and delivery. As was the case with previous administrations, it is not the Governments practice to provide details of all such meetings.
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