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Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will place in the Library a copy of the concordat governing the relationship between his Department and the Northern Ireland Administration. 
Gillian Merron: The Department does not currently have a Concordat with the Northern Ireland Executive but will work with colleagues in the Devolved Administration in Northern Ireland to develop one. A copy will be laid in the House when this has been done.
The principles set out in the Memorandum of Understanding and Supplementary Agreements between the UK Government, Scottish Ministers, the Cabinet of the National Assembly for Wales and the Northern Ireland Executive, published in 2001, continue to underpin our working relationship with the Northern Ireland Executive.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many people aged (a) over 55 years of age and (b) over 60 years of age have been recruited by his Department in each of the last three years; and what percentage in each case this is of the number of new recruits in each year. 
|Number over 55||Percentage new recruits||Number over 60||Percentage new recruits||Total new recruits|
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the value is of the unitary payments of each private finance initiative scheme overseen by his Department over the lifetime of the contract expressed in 2007-08 prices and discounted to present value. 
The unitary payments represent repayments for the capital value (sum of the capital spend) of the project and will also frequently include inflation, service provision, capital repayments and major refurbishments.
Paul Rowen: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what steps he (a) has taken and (b) plans to take to encourage young drivers who are driving without insurance to take out an insurance policy; 
Dr. Ladyman: The requirements for motor insurance are given in the Highway Code and all new and young drivers should be aware of this. Separately the Department has a section on the Direct.Gov website detailing among other things the motor insurance requirements and the consequences of uninsured driving.
At the end of 2005 the police were given new powers to seize vehicles being driven uninsured. Additionally the Road Safety Act 2006 provides for the introduction of a new scheme of continuous insurance enforcement which is planned for 2008.
The Department is planning a publicity and awareness campaign to ensure that all drivers, including young drivers, are fully aware of the requirements, the risks and the consequences of driving uninsured, and are encouraged to take out a policy of motor insurance. It is intended that this campaign will commence shortly before the proposed scheme of continuous insurance enforcement is commenced so that programme can include details of this scheme.
The range of penalties open to magistrates when dealing with uninsured driving offences are already extensive, ranging from a fine at up to £5,000 and an obligatory requirement for 6 to 8 points on an offenders driving licence. In addition the police now have powers to seize and dispose of any vehicles being found driven uninsured. Separately the Road Safety Act 2006 provided for a scheme of continuous insurance enforcement with significant penalties, including seizure of vehicles being
used uninsured. The Department is currently preparing detailed implementation plans for this scheme. Once this scheme is operational we will be reviewing the full range of penalties and sanctions available to tackle uninsured driving, and to see what further actions might be needed.
Paul Rowen: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he has taken to address the issue of uninsured driving by eliminating abuse of the current practice of allowing a 14 day grace period for renewal of car insurance policy after the policy lapses. 
Dr. Ladyman: All motorists have at all times had to have a current policy of motor insurance covering their use of a motor vehicle. The practice of allowing a 14 day grace period to renew a lapsed motor insurance policy was an insurance industry practice. The Department has been assured that industry has taken steps to ensure that this practice is discontinued.
Dr. Ladyman: A publicity and awareness campaign is being planned to ensure that all drivers, including young drivers, are fully aware of the requirements, the risks and the consequences of driving uninsured, and are encouraged to take out a policy of motor insurance. It is our intention that this campaign will commence shortly before the scheme of continuous insurance enforcement, powers for which were granted in the Road Safety Act 2006, is commenced so that the campaign can include details of this scheme. We will be considering all opportunities and channels, including school based programmes, to ensure a fully effective campaign.
Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what assessment he has made of the likely effect on the number of drivers per year convicted for drink-driving of the introduction of a statutory blood alcohol limit of 50 milligrammes per 100 millilitres of blood; 
Any limit is aimed primarily at persuading people not to drink and drive in the first place, rather than at a target for convictions, and so no specific assessment has been made of the effect of a 50mg legal limit on drink driving convictions. A change
in the legal limit would require public consultation and the making of a statutory instrument subject to negative resolution procedure.
Such a statutory instrument would require an impact assessment, which would include an assessment of the likely cost impact of a lower limit. An assessment of the estimated effect on road traffic casualties of lowering the legal alcohol limit was made in the Department's consultation paper Combating Drink Driving: Next Steps (February 1998), a copy of which is in the Library of the House.
|Vehicle excise duty ba nd||Number in GCDA fleet||Percentage of GCDA fleet|
Mr. Arbuthnot: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the increase in expected wear rate of an (a) A class road and (b) motorway is for an additional traffic volume per day of (i) 400, (ii) 600, (iii) 800, and (iv) 1,000 heavy goods vehicle movements. 
Dr. Ladyman: The increases in heavy vehicle flow referred to are unlikely to have significant effects on structural or surface wear rates for A class roads and motorways designed in accordance with the Highways Agency's standards.
Mr. Arbuthnot: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will estimate the change in noise level adjacent to an (a) A class road and (b) motorway arising from an additional traffic volume per day of (i) 400, (ii) 600, (iii) 800 and (iv) 1,000 heavy goods vehicle movements. 
Dr. Ladyman: The method used in the UK for calculating road traffic noise requires a baseline volume of traffic. The change in road traffic noise, including from heavy goods vehicles (HGVs), is calculated from the change in the baseline traffic level. A change in traffic noise level cannot be calculated with only absolute increases in traffic volumes.
David Mundell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether the Government have the power under merchant shipping legislation to block ship-to-ship oil transfers; and what the Governments response is to the environmental and public concern raised on the proposal for ship-to-ship oil transfer in the Firth of Forth. 
However, Forth Ports, as the statutory harbour authority for the Firth of Forth has public duties to which it must have regard when exercising its functions. These include Forth Ports role as a competent authority under the European Communitys Habitats Directive in relation to decisions on whether or not to authorise the proposed ship-to-ship transfers in the Firth of Forth.
Nevertheless, it is understood that the Scottish Executive is intending to introduce a new control on harbour authorities in Scotland and that this control would be achieved through a Scotland-only amendment to Part IV of the Habitats Regulations. The introduction of this control is intended to address local concerns about the situation in the Firth of Forth.
The UK Government are considering making regulations under section 130 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1995 to regulate ship-to-ship transfer of oil carried as cargo in those areas within the 12 nautical mile limit of the UKs territorial sea where there is a higher risk because there is not an appropriate oil spill contingency plan prepared under the Merchant Shipping (Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Co-operation Convention) Regulations 1998.
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