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Transport

Exhaust Emissions: EU Action

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps she is taking to ensure that technologies aimed at enabling vehicles to meet European standards for nitrogen oxides and particulate matter emissions are installed and maintained in optimum ways, with particular reference to selective catalytic reduction. [151144]

Jim Fitzpatrick: As I mentioned in my answer of 9 July 2007, Official Report, columns 1193-94W, from November 2007 new HGV and bus engines will be required to monitor their emission control systems and to limit engine power in the event of those emission control systems failing to operate. These provisions are essential to encourage operators to keep the emission control systems properly maintained and working, and so ensure that the intended reductions in emissions of Oxides of Nitrogen (NOX) from current and future standards are actually delivered in operation.

The provisions apply equally to all HGV and bus engines, whether they are using exhaust gas recirculation or selective catalytic reduction, but may be of particular relevance where selective catalytic reduction is being used and the effectiveness of the system could be compromised by a simple omission, on the part of the vehicle operator or driver, to top up the AdBlue reagent.

In the case of engines using selective catalytic reduction (SCR), a level indicator for the AdBlue reagent, incorporating a low level warning, will be required to be displayed on the dashboard near the fuel gauge, and the On Board Diagnostic system will be required to monitor the quality, as well as the presence, of the reagent. On Board Diagnostic systems are also required to monitor for failures which could lead to increased particulate emissions.

Using an SCR equipped vehicle with an empty AdBlue tank would be an offence under regulation 61 a of the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986, as amended, in that it will lead to excess emissions which could have been avoided by routine maintenance.

Public Transport: Finance

Graham Stringer: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what estimate she has made of the abstraction of rail revenue to the intercity coach network when the National Concessionary Fare Scheme is implemented in April 2008; [149651]

(2) whether free concessionary travel will be available to older and disabled passengers on intercity express coach services registered as local bus services under the proposed national scheme due to come into force in April 2008. [149652]

Ms Rosie Winterton [holding answer 16 July 2007]: An eligible pass holder will be able to travel for free at off-peak times on any registered local bus service anywhere in England from April next year. Eligible services are defined in the Travel Concessions (Eligible Services) Order 2002—a number of criteria have to be
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met in order for a service to be obliged to offer the statutory concession. An intercity coach service will be obliged to provide the national bus concession on any parts of their route that provides a local service and fulfils the criteria set out in the legislation.

It is likely that many long intercity coach services will not be covered by the national bus concession in their entirety as they will not be eligible services under the 2002 Order.

No assessment has been made of the abstraction of rail revenue to the intercity coach network following the introduction of national bus concession.

It will be for operators and local authorities to assess which services are covered in accordance with the criteria set out.

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

Railways

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many (a) Voyager, (b) Super Voyager and (c) InterCity 125 high speed trains are in use on the national rail network; and if she will make a statement on the fuel efficiency of each of these models. [150708]

Mr. Tom Harris: We do not hold the information regarding fuel efficiency in the Department.

Railways: EU Action

Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment she has made of the financial implications for the UK rail industry of the implementation of the EU proposal 2004/0048 (COD) for a European Parliament and Council directive on the certification of train drivers operating locomotives and trains on the Community’s rail network. [151033]

Mr. Tom Harris: Following publication of the proposals for the Third Rail Package, the Government undertook a statutory public consultation to take into account the views of stakeholders which were integral to formulating the UK negotiating line. In accordance with Cabinet Office guidelines the Government produced an initial Regulatory Impact Assessment at the time of consultation in 2004 to assess the likely effects of the directive on the UK industry and users. This was continually updated to account for changes made to the proposal by the Council and European Parliament. A partial Regulatory Impact Assessment was submitted to the Scrutiny Committee of both Houses on 14 January 2005.

The Regulatory Impact Assessment identified considerable cost to the UK industry of implementation of the licensing requirements to domestic train drivers in the UK. Negotiation of a derogation into the final text of the directive for domestic drivers means that those costs originally identified are now likely to be substantially reduced.

Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment her Department has made of the likelihood of the EU proposal 2004/0048 (COD)
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for a European Parliament and Council directive on the certification of train drivers operating locomotives and trains on the Community’s rail network being extended to include all train crews. [151034]

Mr. Tom Harris: The final text of the proposed directive on the certification of train drivers operating locomotives and trains on the railway system in the Community, agreed during the conciliation process, contains provisions to limit application to a limited number of non-driving staff, which member states will be able to define. Although this has to be formally adopted by both the European Parliament and the Council, there is a strong expectation both will vote to accept. During negotiations between the Parliament and Council, the UK along with the majority of other member states was not in favour of the directive being extended to encompass all on-board safety related crew.

Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will publish the UK’s proposed derogation from the EU proposal 2004/0048 (COD) for a European Parliament and Council directive on the certification of train drivers operating locomotives and trains on the Community’s rail network. [151080]

Mr. Tom Harris: The final text of the proposed directive on the certification of train drivers operating locomotives and trains on the railway system in the Community, agreed during the conciliation process, has not yet been formally adopted by either the European Parliament or the Council. The derogation will require member states wishing to use it to provide the Commission with a cost/benefit analysis to show why the costs of application to domestic drivers is disproportionate.

Once the final text of the directive has been adopted by the Parliament and Council, the Government in transposing the directive for the UK, will consult stakeholders, and produce and publish guidance, which will include details on how the UK intends to apply and use the derogation for domestic drivers.

Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions she has had in the Council of Ministers about the UK’s proposed derogation from the EU proposal 2004/0048 (COD) for a European Parliament and Council directive on the certification of train drivers operating locomotives and trains on the Community’s rail network. [151081]

Mr. Tom Harris: The derogation allowing member states to disapply on a time-limited basis provisions in the proposed Directive on the certification of train drivers operating locomotives and trains on the railway system in the Community was discussed and agreed by the Council and by the European Parliament during negotiations that began in 2005 and are now almost complete following the successful outcome of the conciliation process. UK Ministers and officials were among a majority of member states supporting this proposed derogation, which gives greater flexibility to member states in implementing the directive and ensures that the full costs and benefits can be taken into account.


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Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions her officials have had with the UK Permanent Representation to the EU on the UK’s proposed derogation from EU proposal 2004/0048 (COD) for a European Parliament and Council directive on the certification of train drivers operating locomotives and trains on the Community’s rail network. [R] [151082]

Mr. Tom Harris: Throughout negotiations of the proposed directive on the certification of train drivers operating locomotives and trains on the railway system in the Community officials from the Department of Transport have had and continue to have regular discussions and meetings with members of the UK Permanent Representation primarily to agree negotiating lines and the strategic handling of negotiations.

Railways: Offensive Weapons

Mr. Syms: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many passengers were found carrying offensive weapons on trains between Poole and London in each of the last five years. [151574]

Mr. Tom Harris: This information is not held by the Department for Transport but by the British Transport Police who can be contacted at:

Rapid Transit Systems: Hampshire

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans she has to review the proposals for the South Hampshire Rapid Transit System; and if she will make a statement. [150534]

Mr. Tom Harris: The South Hampshire Rapid Transit scheme (SHRT) had its funding approval revoked in July 2004 due to excessive cost increases. In November 2005, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, announced that he could not support revised proposals to reinstate the scheme as the costs were still substantially higher than originally approved. Hampshire county council subsequently took the decision formally to abandon the project and the statutory powers needed to construct the scheme expired in July 2006.

Therefore the SHRT scheme does not exist in the form last submitted to the Department. It is for Hampshire county council to consider how best to meet the future transport needs for their area and bring forward proposals accordingly.

Rolling Stock

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 28 November 2006, Official Report, column 522W, to the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Carmichael) on
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rolling stock, what the age range is of the rolling stock of the franchises run by (a) Arriva Trains (Wales), (b) Virgin Cross Country, (c) First Great Western and (d) GNER; and how much of each company’s stock is (i) older than the average supplied and (ii) over 20 years old. [150622]

Mr. Tom Harris: This is a matter for the train operators. We do not hold this information.

Transport: Air Pollution

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on measures to reduce the environmental impact of transport. [150815]

Jim Fitzpatrick: Department for Transport Ministers regularly meet with ministerial colleagues in the course of performing their ministerial duties. There is regular discussion at official level between this Department and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs regarding environment issues of mutual interest.

Transport: Tickets

Stephen Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what assessment her Department has made of the likely effect of a multi-modal integrated ticketing system on demand management through differential pricing on congested parts of the transport infrastructure; [148995]

(2) what assessment her Department has made of the likely effect of a multi-modal integrated ticketing system on provision of information for transport operators on journeys and timings nationally; [148996]

(3) what steps the Government are taking to ensure that the national multi-modal integrated ticketing system operates consistently across different rail franchises. [148997]

Ms Rosie Winterton: We have not made a detailed assessment of the likely effect of a multi-modal integrated ticketing system on demand management or on the provision of information for transport operators.

However simple fares structures and easy access to tickets help to attract passengers to the public transport network. The Government believe that the introduction of ITSO smartcards on the railway will make it easier for passengers to buy their tickets at a time and place to suit them. It also opens up the opportunities to better integrate ticketing between transport modes.

Data from an ITSO ticketing system are expected to provide additional information on the number of passenger journeys and time of travel. This will enable operators to plan services better and allow them to introduce new deals that are better tailored to passengers' needs.

Train operators are required to comply with their passenger licences and franchise agreements which ensure that the railway set, retails and distributes fares as a single national network. These requirements are consistent across train operators.


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Stephen Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport for what reasons the Government only mandate smartcards at franchise renewal with the Integrated Transport Smartcard Organisation specification. [149001]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The introduction of ITSO smart media has been made compulsory by Government at rail franchise renewal as a first step in achieving a network wide application. This will encourage other operators to introduce ITSO.

The Government specify ITSO as it has been specifically designed to cope with complex ticketing structures, beyond those suitable for metropolitan areas. Secondly it is an open specification and will prevent the monopoly supply of proprietary systems. The Government believe that this will deliver the best value and service for passengers and tax payers alike.

Stephen Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when she expects smartcard ticketing to be available throughout the transport network. [149002]

Ms Rosie Winterton: In developing the ITSO specification, the Department has sought to introduce a framework that will enable interoperability between schemes. The technology is now being implemented but there are currently no plans for metering throughout the transport network.

Treasury

Average Earnings

Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the answer of 10 July 2007, Official Report, column 1413W, on average earnings, whether the data refer to gross hourly earnings of full-time employees. [150762]

Angela Eagle: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician, who has been asked to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated 19 July 2007:

Bingo

Mr. Pelling: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what (a) consultations he has undertaken and (b) (i) financial reports and (ii) economic forecasts he has commissioned on the state of the bingo industry. [149994]

Angela Eagle: The state of the bingo industry was incorporated into the forecast of total gambling receipts, which includes bingo duty receipts, and was published in the “Financial Statement and Budget Report”.


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