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Written Answers to Questions

Monday 16 July 2007


Air Passenger Duty: Repayments

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will take steps to end the practice of budget airlines (a) not to refund air passenger duty to their customers who do not use their flights and (b) levying handling charges to make refunds of air passenger duty to customers who do not use their flights unviable; and if she will make a statement. [149289]

Jim Fitzpatrick: Air passenger duty (APD) is a statutory duty levied on aircraft operators and liability is determined based on the number of passengers they carry from UK airports. It is for aircraft operators to decide whether to absorb this levy or pass it on to their customers and whether a refund is made of air passenger duty, or any other portion of the ticket price if the passenger does not travel.

Many airlines, not just low cost airlines, specify on their on-line terms and conditions before booking that charges are applicable for refunds including APD.

The imposition of a reasonable service fee was approved by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) and further recognised in the 2007 OFT reference to the Competition Commission. Passengers are always advised to check the terms and conditions of a ticket before booking.

Bicycles: Helmets

Mr. Bone: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate she has made of the proportion of (a) adult and (b) child cyclists who wear helmets; and what estimate she has made of those numbers (i) five and (ii) 10 years ago. [149618]

Jim Fitzpatrick: Surveys of cycle helmet wearing rates have been carried out for the Department in 1994, 1996, 1999, 2002, 2004 and 2006. The findings from surveys from 1994 to 2004 are shown in the following table. This shows that in 2004 cycle helmets were worn by:

The 2006 survey of cycle helmet wearing rates will be published in the autumn.

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1994 1996 1999 2002 2004


Under 16






16 years and over







Under 16






16 years and over







Under 16






16 years and over






Mr. Bone: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when she expects the Government's evaluation of cycle helmet effectiveness to be completed. [149619]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The Department is planning to commission a new research project on cyclists' road safety in the autumn. This will include a new review of cycle helmet effectiveness. The research project as a whole is likely to take three years, but we are aiming to complete the review of cycle helmet effectiveness within two years, so by autumn 2009.

Bus Services: Gravesham

Mr. Holloway: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much subsidy was paid to bus service operators in Gravesham in each year since 1997. [149309]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG) is the only grant paid by the Department direct to operators of local bus services. It is based on the amount of fuel used on providing services and is essentially a reimbursement of about 80 per cent. of the fuel duty incurred.

The Department holds national figures on BSOG spend which is anticipated to be £413 million in financial year 2007-08. We estimate that BSOG payments to operators in the South East region now total around £40 million annually.

Eligible operators based in the Gravesham area may not necessarily run their services in the area. Conversely, operators based outside of Gravesham may well run services within the area.

Buses: Registration

Graham Stringer: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate she has made of the cost of the re-registration of excursion services as local bus services using coaches when the Concessionary Bus Travel Scheme is implemented in April 2008. [149653]

Ms Rosie Winterton: None. A service will be eligible to offer the statutory concessions only if it meets the criteria set out in the Travel Concessions (Eligible Services) Order 2002.

The Department expects that the majority of ‘excursion’ services will not meet all the eligibility criteria and so will not have to offer the national bus concession. It will
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be for operators and local authorities to assess which services are covered in accordance with the criteria set out in existing legislation.

The Department is keeping the issue of ‘eligible’ services under review. The definition can be changed by secondary legislation.

Cycling: Accidents

Mr. Bone: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the reasons were for the decision to change the way in which child pedal cycle injuries are recorded in the road casualty statistics published on 28 June 2007; and how many such injuries there were in the period covered. [150000]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The way the statistics on child pedal cycle casualties are published has not changed. Child pedal cyclist casualties (aged 0 to 15) are given in Table 2 of “Road Casualties Great Britain: Main results 2006”. This was published on 28 June 2007 and copies of this publication have been deposited in the Libraries of the House. There were 3,795 child pedal cyclists injured in reported personal injury road accidents in 2006.

Departments: Public Transport

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what incentives she has considered to encourage staff in her Department to use public transport. [148803]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The Department has for several years made available for full and part-time permanent staff, who have been Civil Servants for a full three months, season ticket advances to assist in the cost of their journey to work by public transport. All such loans are interest free and provided they do not exceed £5,000 do not attract income tax on “interest free loans” under the Inland Revenue's “benefits in kind” rules. All season ticket loans are repaid from deductions from salary within the term of the loan, normally 12 months.

DVLA provides a shuttle bus service between its two HQ sites to reduce excessive vehicle use and provides in-house bus services to a number of local areas.

VCA successfully campaigned for bus stops outside their Bristol offices, to encourage staff to use the local services.

Departments: Publicity

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment she has made of the cost effectiveness of advertising commissioned by her Department in the last 12 months. [148507]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The major campaign activity undertaken by the Department in the 2006-07 fiscal year was in support of the THINK! road safety; Act on CO2 (launched in March 07); aviation security informing travellers about new security rules; and the continuous registration campaign (car tax evasion).

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We measure the effectiveness of our campaigns through regular independent pre and post-advertising tracking research which explored:

For the THINK! campaign we also conduct an annual THINK! survey to track long-term shifts in driver and public beliefs and behaviours towards road safety, details of which are available at www.thinkroadsafety.gov.uk. Ultimately, for THINK! we are judged by the number of people killed or seriously injured and we are on course to meet our demanding road safety targets.

On the continuous registration campaign, we demonstrate the effectiveness of our advertising, in addition to tracking research, in terms of the impact on volumes of licensing/statutory off-road notification (SORN) transactions processed and volumes of late licensing penalties issued to those who delay renewing their licence for two months post licence expiry. We also take into account evasion levels as reported in the annual roadside survey.

Finally, we also measure how effectively we buy advertising space compared to other advertisers and can demonstrate that we are achieving highly competitive prices for the taxpayer.

Driving: Licensing

James Brokenshire: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps she is taking to ensure that information obtained from driving licences using scanning equipment at commercial venues is not misused and that data protection requirements are met. [149267]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The purpose of the driving licence is to confirm an individual's entitlement to drive. It is not an identity document and is not intended to be used as such. If a licence holder volunteers information to a commercial entity, it is the responsibility of that organisation to comply with the requirements of the Data Protection Act. It is the responsibility of the Information Commissioner to enforce compliance with the Data Protection Act. DVLA does not have any legal power to monitor data protection compliance of commercial organisation in such circumstances.

M1: Closures

Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport for what reason the M1 motorway northbound was closed on 5 July 2007; upon whose authority the motorway was closed; and what investigation or inquiry will be held into the circumstances of this closure operation and the reason for it. [149648]

Mr. Tom Harris: A road traffic collision involving four large goods vehicles occurred on the northbound carriageway of M1 adjacent to the J20 northbound entry slip at 2.50 am on 5 July. Leicestershire police led the incident and directed that the motorway should be closed in order to deal with the casualties and recover
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the vehicles involved. This was a serious incident involving one death and life-threatening injuries to a second driver who had to be released from his vehicle by the emergency services.

The police handed over the scene to the Highways Agency at 2.51 pm, following the removal of the last vehicle, to prepare the road for reopening. A large amount of diesel and spilled loads had to be cleared and temporary repairs to be made to the carriageway surface before the carriageway could be reopened, which was achieved at 4.44 pm. A permanent repair was left until it could be carried out overnight when there would be less disruption to the travelling public.

Leicestershire police are carrying out their own investigation of the circumstances of the incident and the matter has been voluntarily referred by the police to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) who will oversee the result of the police investigation. All of the Highways Agency staff involved in the incident (both in the East Midlands control room and on-road Traffic Officers) were de-briefed on the day of the incident in order to identify and learn any lessons from the Agency’s handling of the incident.

Members: Correspondence

Sir Gerald Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when she will answer the letter to her predecessor of 24 May from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton with regard to Mr. J. Woolley. [150468]

Jim Fitzpatrick: A reply was sent on the 26 June 2007 by the then Secretary of State for Transport.

Motor Vehicles: Insurance

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will negotiate amendments to the Motor Insurers Bureau Untraced Drivers Agreement following the judgment in Byrne v MIB; and if she will make a statement. [149272]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The recent judgment on the preliminary issues in the matter of Ben Byrne v (1) the Motor Insurance Bureau and (2) the Secretary of State for Transport is presently the subject of an appeal. In those circumstances it would not be appropriate to make any further comments on the case. Once the case has been finally determined we will carefully consider the decision and any steps that may need to be taken.

Motorcycles: Training

Justine Greening: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many motorcyclists were issued with a Certificate of Completion DL196 in each of the last five years, broken down by local authority area; and if she will make a statement. [149462]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The Driving Standards Agency does not record how many motorcyclists were issued with form DL196 broken down by local authority area.

The following table shows how many DL196 certificates were sold to Approved Training Bodies in each of the last five financial years:

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Year sold DL196 certificates











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