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28 Jun 2007 : Column 866W—continued

Grant Shapps: To ask the Solicitor-General what recent estimate has been made of the value of the Law Officers’ Departments’ property portfolio. [139367]

The Solicitor-General: The net book value recorded in HM Procurator General and Treasury Solicitor’s departmental resource accounts for 2005-06 for freehold and leasehold land and property is nil. (This includes the Attorney General’s Office and HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate.)

Neither the Serious Fraud Office nor the Revenue and Customs Prosecution Office has made any estimate (as noted in my earlier reply to the hon. Member [139328], neither owns any properties).

The most recent estimate (financial year 2006-07) that has been made for the three freehold sites in the Crown Prosecution Service’s property portfolio is £6,110,823 after accumulated depreciation calculation.

Terry Lloyd

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Solicitor-General pursuant to the answer of 13 June 2007, Official Report, column 1047W, on Terry Lloyd, by what date he expects the Crown Prosecution Service to make a decision on the prosecution of those responsible. [145946]

The Solicitor-General: The file submitted to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has been reviewed and as a result the CPS has requested further evidence
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from the United States. This has been done through a formal letter submitted under the United Kingdom—United States mutual legal assistance treaty and a response is awaited to the request.

Trade and Industry

Nuclear Power Stations: Sussex

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether his Department plans to carry out a consultation in Sussex on the feasibility of locating new nuclear power stations in the county. [142551]

Malcolm Wicks [holding answer 14 June 2007]: Any new nuclear power stations would be built by the private sector but no decisions would be taken on any potential location for a new nuclear power station pending the carrying out of a full strategic siting assessment (SSA). DTI is currently consulting on a proposed SSA process, which would be implemented if the Government confirm their preliminary view that it is in the public interest to allow energy companies the option of investing in new nuclear power stations. The proposed SSA process would include a public consultation on draft SSA criteria, and a further public consultation on a draft list of locations judged to have met this criteria.

In advance of such an SSA being carried out, and subject to the outcome of the Government's consultation on the future of nuclear power, DTI has no plans to consult on the feasibility of locating new nuclear power stations in any particular geographical area. However, any proposed locations for new nuclear power stations emerging from an SSA would be the subject of local consultation through the planning process.



Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the objectives are for the second stage of the EU/US aviation negotiations; and what plans he has in the eventuality of no agreement being concluded by November 2010. [146237]

Gillian Merron: European Transport Ministers have given the European Commission a mandate to secure a full transatlantic open aviation area. The UK wants to see, in particular, further liberalisation of market access, including US ownership and control rules, while further enhancing co-operation in areas such as environmental protection, security, consumer protection, and the elimination of state subsidies.

The stage 1 agreement sets out a clear timetable for the signature of a second stage deal. We hope that it will be possible to reach an acceptable agreement within this timescale. But the EU has already agreed, in its decision on the signature of the agreement, that in the event this timetable is not met, a process will automatically be set in hand to suspend traffic rights for US air carriers.

Aviation: Noise

Justine Greening: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which noise monitors in (a) Wandsworth, (b) South West London and (c) West London have provided data used in noise pollution modelling as part
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of the Project for the Sustainable Development of Heathrow; where those noise monitors were situated; and if he will make a statement. [146303]

Gillian Merron: Modelling to estimate future aircraft noise exposure at Heathrow is being carried out using the Civil Aviation Authority’s Aircraft Noise Contour Model (ANCON). The model is validated against information obtained from 10 fixed monitors under the departure tracks at Heathrow, supplemented by additional mobile noise monitors. Since 2000, monitoring has included data from mobile monitors in Fulham, Barnes, Richmond, Isleworth and Twickenham. The methodology is set out in ERCD Report 0307 and the location of fixed and mobile monitoring sites is shown in ERCD Report 0406, both of which are available on the CAA website

Bridges: Downton

Robert Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether the Tannery bridge replacement project at Downton, Wiltshire is funded by his Department under the EU bridge strengthening programme; and what (a) the original scheme cost estimate, (b) the tender price agreed with the contractor and (c) the current estimated out-turn cost of the project are. [146277]

Gillian Merron: The Department has not received a bid for funding to support the replacement of the Tannery bridge. This scheme is a matter for the local highway authority, Wiltshire county council.

Bus Services

Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the average age is of public service buses in service in England. [146293]

Gillian Merron: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 24 January 2007, Official Report, column 1765W.

Bus Services: Standards

Graham Stringer: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many staff are available to each of the Traffic Commissioners to monitor the reliability of bus services in each of the English regions. [146262]

Dr. Ladyman: The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) employs 10 staff based in England whose role includes the monitoring of bus service reliability. Their bases by traffic region are in the following table.


North Eastern and North Western




South Eastern




West Midlands


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Graham Stringer: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many and what proportion of the bus fleet received an unannounced inspection allocated on a random basis by the Traffic Commissioners in each of the last five years. [146263]

Dr. Ladyman: The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) conducts unannounced inspections on bus fleets. It does not record the proportion of these requested by the Traffic Commissioners as opposed to other enforcement work.

The results of spot checks by VOSA where operator based are published annually in its Effectiveness Report. This is available on-line at: or in the House of Commons Library, Business and Transport Section.

Graham Stringer: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many buses were inspected by VOSA officials in each of the last five years; and how many such buses were consequently subject to an (a) immediate and (b) delayed prohibition notice. [146265]

Dr. Ladyman: The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) publishes statistics on bus inspections, immediate and delayed prohibition notices annually in its Effectiveness Report. This is available on-line at or from the House of Commons Library, Business and Transport Section.

Graham Stringer: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent estimate he has made of the distribution of responsibility for delays to bus services between (a) congestion, (b) mechanical failures and (c) fleet management. [146266]

Gillian Merron: The Department does not hold data on the causes of delays to buses. However, it does collect data on the causes of scheduled mileage not run by buses. These are published in Section 2 of the quarterly bulletin “Bus and Light Rail Statistics GB”, copies of which are held in the House of Commons Library.

Cycling: Helmets

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions he has had with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents on the subject of cycle helmets. [144792]

Dr. Ladyman: None.

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he is taking to promote the wearing of cycle helmets by (a) children, (b) teenagers and (c) the general population. [144793]

Dr. Ladyman: For children the Department has set up the “Hedgehogs” website and publishes “Arrive Alive” (A Highway Code for young road users).

For teenagers the Department has set up the “Cycle Sense” safety campaign encouraging teenagers to wear helmets. The campaign consists of a series of posters, a website and a supporting TV
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filler film. At the end of February Think! launched a new teen road safety campaign with MTV. This will include an advertisement on cycling safety encouraging helmet wearing and will air on MTV channels week commencing 16 July.

For adults and the general cycling population the Driving Standards Agency publishes The Highway Code which encourages all cyclists to wear a helmet.

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the percentage of cyclists in the UK who wear protective headgear; and if he will make a statement. [144794]

Dr. Ladyman: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Carmichael) on 20 June 2007, Official Report, columns 1793-94W.

Departments: Freedom of Information

Graham Stringer: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whom he has designated as responsible for the management of inquiries under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 from (a) hon. Members and (b) other sources. [146264]

Gillian Merron: The Department has exactly the same arrangements and process for deciding what information is to be disclosed and what is exempt from disclosure under the FOI Act, whether the FOI request comes from an hon. Member or any other person.

Decisions on exemptions are made by officials, except in the case of exemptions under Section 36 where a Minister is the ‘qualified person’ as defined by the Act. This applies irrespective of who makes the request.

In the Department all requests for information under the FOI regime are handled by the area responsible for the subject matter.

The responses come from different people, depending on whether the request is from an hon. Member, the media, or someone else. Responses to requests from an hon. Member are made by a Minister. In other cases, the response is made by an appropriate official. For requests from the media, the response is sent by a press officer. Where the applicant is from the legal profession, it is sent by a legal adviser. In all cases, responses are approved by the responsible member of the Senior Civil Service in the department.

Motor Vehicles: Insurance

Mr. David Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent assessment he has made of the accuracy of the Motor Insurance Database. [146232]

Dr. Ladyman: The accuracy of the Motor Insurance Database (MID) is solely the responsibility of the Insurance industry.

The latest figures (mid June) indicate that 94.4 per cent. of all appropriate records are provided to the Motor Insurance Database (MID) within seven days. This is in line with expectations to meet the target of 95
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per cent. of all appropriate records provided to the Motor Insurance Bureau within seven days by 1 January 2008.

The police make extensive use of the MID to help identify vehicles being driven uninsured. They have had considerable success in removing uninsured vehicles from the road and although there have been occasional instances where a vehicle has been seized as a result of inaccurate data these are very rare and generally the MID is considered reliable for current enforcement purpose.

Public Transport: Gosport

Peter Viggers: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans there are for improvements in access to the Gosport peninsula. [146284]

Gillian Merron: Improvements to the local transport network are the responsibility of Hampshire county council.

Access to and within the Gosport peninsula has been considered by the council in its second Local Transport Plan. This sets out the county's transport strategy until 2011, and allocates some £4 million towards schemes to address congestion and access issues on the Gosport peninsula. These include a series of junction improvements on the A32 and B3385 corridor, as well as improvements to public transport.

In addition the local authorities in the Solent area are working together developing transport strategies to improve access to Southampton, Portsmouth, and the wider area. With the help of Government funding they are starting work on three studies, one of which, entitled Access to South East Hampshire, sets out to identify appropriate interventions to address key bottlenecks on transport networks in and around the Gosport peninsula.


Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many locomotives in use on the rail network are older than 10 years old. [146290]

Mr. Tom Harris: The following table gives details of the locomotives used by UK franchised passenger train operators, broken down by train operating company and class. Not included are vehicles operated by Scotrail (for which Transport Scotland is responsible) and non-franchised operators such as Network Rail, open access and charter operators. Information on the number of freight vehicles used on the network is not held by the Department.

This information is based on latest available data but variations in the figures can be expected due to short-term vehicle hiring, introduction of new fleets and withdrawal of older vehicles and cascades.

The locomotives shown in Table 1 were all manufactured more than 10 years ago but most have been substantially modified or re-engined since that time.

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Table 1: Locomotives
Train operating company Class More than 10 years old? Number of vehicles

First Great Western




First Great Western




Gatwick Express




















Midland Mainline




Virgin West Coast




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