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16 Oct 2007 : Column 945Wcontinued
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many hours of service and maintenance were needed to support one hour of flying for the Sea King helicopter fleet in each year from 1990-91 to 2006-07; what his estimate is of the equivalent figure for 2007-08; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The number of maintenance hours needed to support one hour of flying for the Sea King helicopter fleet are shown in the following table:
|(1) The 2007-08 hours are those recorded to date (i.e. up to 10 October 2007).|
The hours prior to 1998-99 are not available from a central source and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 3 September 2007, Official Report, column 1800W, on fisheries: protection, what factors were taken into account in deciding to reduce the number of
patrol days per year; and what the basis was for the assessment that the operational needs could be delivered through fewer days. 
Jonathan Shaw: The key factors that were taken into account were the cost of the provision of the service to the Marine and Fisheries Agency, the available budget and future operational needs. The 700 patrol days for 2008-09 will be delivered by the River Class Patrol Vessels. These vessels are purpose built and more effective and efficient for the equivalent time at sea than the Hunt Class vessels, which provide some of the current patrol time.
Paul Holmes: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when the Government expects flood defences to be put in place for the river (a) Whitting, (b) Hipper and (c) Rother. 
Mr. Woolas: The Environment Agencys Flood Risk Management Strategy on the Don Catchment will take approximately 18 to 24 months to complete. A decision about flood risk measures will be made following its completion.
Bob Spink: To ask the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, representing the Church Commissioners what guidance the Commissioners follow on the maximum time taken to respond to hon. Members correspondence; and what performance against that target was in the most recent period for which figures are available. 
Sir Stuart Bell: The Commissioners do not have a formal target for responding to such correspondence but they do aim to respond in the shortest time reasonably possible. I believe that hon. Members receive from the Commissioners sufficiently swift responses or holding replies where the matter requires more detailed research.
Bob Spink: To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission what guidance the Commission follows on the maximum time taken to respond to hon. Members correspondence; and what performance against that target was in the most recent period for which figures are available. 
The Commission receives relatively little correspondence from hon. Members but answers some 300 parliamentary questions a year. Parliamentary questions
are answered whenever possible within the normal targets and other correspondence is dealt with as expeditiously as possible.
Jo Swinson: To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission how many people work on the Commons part of the Parliamentary Estate. 
Nick Harvey: About 4,700 people work in the nine buildings of the House of Commons part of the Parliamentary Estate. Apart from 646 Members, there are about 1,200 MPs' staff, 1,700 staff of the House and up to 1,200 contractors' staff (many of whom work for both Houses).
Norman Baker: To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission if he will place in the Library a copy of the Commissions policy on whistleblowing. 
Nick Harvey: The House is not within the scope of the relevant sections of the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998. However, the staff handbook, which is available on the parliamentary intranet, does contain sections on safeguarding official information (section 5.18), crises of conscience (section 5.28) and grievance (section 6). These are supported by a core values statement on integrity, in serving the House of Commons, its Committees and Members, and the public with honesty, probity and political impartiality. The statement can be found in House of Commons corporate business plan 2007 which is also available on the intranet.
Norman Baker: To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission what the original life expectancy was of the escalators installed to access Portcullis House; how long elapsed before they were replaced; how much the recent works to install new escalators at this location have cost; and for what reason the motion sensitivity feature is not being deployed. 
Nick Harvey: Escalators of this type would be expected to have a life expectancy of about 10 yearsthose in Portcullis House were installed in 1999 and replaced after eight years in 2007. The tender cost was £327,000 and the project was completed on budget. The motion sensitivity feature is not currently operational as a precautionary measure due to a component in similar escalator being found to be faulty. It is anticipated that the motion facility will be re-instated for Monday 12 November 2007.
Jo Swinson: To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission what training and advice staff in the Refreshment Department receive on food allergies. 
Nick Harvey: Food handlers working in the House of Commons Refreshment Department receive training on food allergy risks and control procedures as part of their food hygiene training. Over 250 staff have attended foundation or basic level training, and more than 10 per cent. of staff are further trained to intermediate or advanced level. Specific allergy awareness training was delivered to approximately 40 staff in November to December 2006. In consultation with an external specialist, the Department is currently in the process of designing and coordinating a tailored programme of food allergy training, to be delivered to all food handlers over the next six months.
Procedures for managing the risks and control of food allergens are set out in the Department's Food Safety Manual, which is regularly reviewed, updated and promulgated to staff. Further guidance is set out in the publication "Allergy Catering Manual", a copy of which is provided to food procurement and food stores staff as well as being available in each kitchen.
Jo Swinson: To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission when the Refreshment Department last reviewed its policies and procedures on food allergies. 
Nick Harvey: The Refreshment Department last reviewed its policies and procedures on food allergies in January 2007. This was carried out in consultation with the Department's retained food hygiene adviser, Hygiene Audit Systems, who have to date provided food allergy training to 800 environmental health practitioners under a contract awarded by the Food Standards Agency.
The Department's Food Safety Policy and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) Manual, which sets out procedures for food handlers in respect of the control of food allergens, was last reviewed by Westminster city council's Environmental Health Officer as part of their regular inspection of the House of Commons catering premises in March 2007.
Lynne Jones: To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission what the efficiency rating is of refrigerators installed in hon. Members offices in Portcullis House; and what advice is issued to hon. Members about maximising the efficiency of those refrigerators. 
Nick Harvey: The efficiency rating of the fridges installed in hon. Members offices in Portcullis House is A. Improving the efficiency by fitting energy saving controls and removing the doors to the cupboards containing the fridges is being considered at present. Written advice on maximising the efficiency of the fridges is to be issued shortly to hon. Members.
Mr. Doran: To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission if he will make a statement on the refurbishment of the press gallery. 
Nick Harvey: The refurbishment of the Press Gallery has been a project to modernise accommodation used by the journalists and political correspondents based in the Palace of Westminster for the purposes of reporting on the business of Parliament. The press have had a recognised presence in the House of Commons since 1803, when Speaker Abbott ruled that they should have privileged access to the Gallery.
The Press Gallery is one of the last areas of the Palace to be modernised. Over the 2006 summer recess, the House of Commons began the first phase of the project to bring the offices in line with workplace health and safety and disability discrimination regulations. The second and final phase of works was completed over the 2007 summer recess, during which the entire Press Gallery was decanted. The project also involved refitting and updating the catering facilities in that area of the Palace in order to make more efficient use of the space. The final handover of office accommodation and the new catering facilities took place on 15 October.
The project was completed at a total cost of £7.71 million to the House. As well as modern office accommodation, the improved facilities include a new kitchen and a multi-purpose restaurant and cafe/bar, to be called Moncrieffs. The refurbished Press Gallery will be launched by Mr. Speaker on 20 November.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many fixed penalty tickets were incurred by vehicles within the purview of his Department in the last year for which figures are available; and what the total cost was. 
Mr. Sutcliffe: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has not incurred any fixed penalty tickets, within its purview, in the last year.
Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what effect he expects the establishment of a sporting village to have on the local community. 
Mr. Sutcliffe: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given to him by my right hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Central (Mr. Caborn) on 11 June 2007, Official Report, column 743W.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many diving pits there are in England; and where each is located. 
Mr. Sutcliffe: The Active Places database lists 64 diving pools which can be defined as diving pits using the following criteriaan indoor pool specifically for diving which is usually square in shape and deeper than the main pool.
I refer the hon. Member to my answer of 8 October 2007, Official Report , columns 335-36W, for the location of these 64 diving facilities.
In addition and since my reply of 8 October 2007, a new diving pool/pit has opened in Leeds. This facility will be included on the Active Places database in due course.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport pursuant to the answer of 8 October 2007, Official Report, columns 334-6W, on swimming pools, (1) how many diving pools have (a) closed and (b) opened in England since 1997; and how many of the diving pools are open to the public; 
(2) how many of these diving pools are open to the general public. 
Mr. Sutcliffe: Information on diving pool closures across England was not collected centrally prior to 2004, when the Active Places sports facilities database was established. We are aware that two diving pools have closed permanently since that time (William Thompson Recreation Centre, Burnley and Edmonton Leisure Centre).
64 diving pools listed on Active Places are usually accessible to the public. However, one (Crystal Palace Sports Centre) is temporarily closed for refurbishment. Six of these diving pools have been newly built since 1997 and a further 15 refurbished over the same period.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport pursuant to the answer of 8 October 2007, Official Report, columns 334-6W, on swimming pools, how many of the diving pools referred to provide a 10 metre high diving board. 
Mr. Sutcliffe: We are aware of six diving pools listed on the Active Places database which provide 10 metre high diving boards. They are located in: Leeds; London; Manchester; Plymouth; Sheffield; and Southampton. Five of these facilities are currently available for use and one (London) is closed temporarily for refurbishment.
Jo Swinson: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality what representations she has received on proposals for a combined equality duty. 
Barbara Follett: We have received around 1,000 responses on the Governments proposals for a single equality duty from a variety of stakeholders including public authorities, equality stakeholders and individuals. We are currently considering these responses and will publish a formal Government response to the consultation in due course.
Jo Swinson: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality what plans she has to protect transgender people from discrimination, beyond those who have had, or seek, gender reassignment; and if she will make a statement. 
Barbara Follett: The Sex Discrimination Act 1975 provides protection from discrimination to people who intend to undergo, are undergoing or have undergone gender reassignment in the area of employment and vocational training. Our recent consultation A Framework for Fairness set out our proposals for implementing the EU Gender Directive and for a single Equality Bill, including proposals to extend the current protection on grounds of gender reassignment to the area of goods, facilities, services, premises and public functions. We have received a wealth of representations on the issue of widening the group of people protected under these provisions and are continuing to consider carefully peoples views and the range of evidence that has been provided.
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