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UK Commission for Employment and Skills

Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many places on the UK Commission for Employment and Skills will be guaranteed for commissioners from Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland respectively. [157313]

Caroline Flint: Commissioner recruitment is currently under way, working with officials across the four countries. It has been agreed that a place on the Commission will be guaranteed for a commissioner from each of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.



Mr. Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the average time was for a person arriving at (a) Heathrow, (b) Gatwick and (c) Stansted to clear airport procedures in (i) the last year for which figures are available and (ii) each of the previous five years. [157310]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The information requested is not held by this Department.

Aviation: Exhaust Emissions

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent research she has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the amount of emissions from each type of aircraft using UK airports; what plans she has (i) to incentivise and (ii) to penalise the worst offending operating companies; and if she will make a statement. [157262]

Jim Fitzpatrick: Individual aircraft are internationally certified according to their noise level, emissions of oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and emissions of particulates during landing and take-off. The Department uses the noise data of individual aircraft in models that build up a map of the total noise at designated airports. These are then published.

The project for the sustainable development of Heathrow is collating the total emissions inventory for different scenarios. The basic aircraft emissions data are derived from the publicly available certification data for each type of aircraft. We will be consulting on this shortly.

The Civil Aviation Act 2006 provides powers for all airports to introduce charges that reflect the noise and NOx generated by each aircraft type. In addition to these charges penalties can be imposed for exceedences of noise levels specified in the noise control schemes.

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Channel Tunnel Railway Line

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the cost was of constructing the high speed rail link from Folkestone to St. Pancras. [157582]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The final construction cost has not been established as some contracts have still to be completed. However, the anticipated final outturn cost is currently £5.8 billion.

Crossrail Line: Contracts

Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when a decision will be taken on letting a construction contract for Crossrail. [158497]

Jim Fitzpatrick: Assuming that the Crossrail Bill gains Royal Assent in summer 2008, Cross-London Rail Links Ltd. expects to commence the procurement process in the first quarter of 2009 and let construction contracts in the first quarter of 2010.

Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps need to be completed before a construction contract can be let for work on Crossrail. [158498]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The Crossrail Bill needs to be given Royal Assent; the Department for Transport and Transport for London need to conclude a suite of agreements on project funding and governance arrangements; the relevant property needs to be acquired; and Cross-London Rail Links Ltd needs to complete project design and contract development work, and issue invitations to tender and assess the resulting bids.

Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport in what circumstances the partners in the Crossrail project would not proceed with a construction contract. [158491]

Jim Fitzpatrick: My right hon. Friend is confident that the construction of Crossrail will proceed as planned and can foresee no likely obstacles to that. She will of course keep progress under review to ensure that the project offers best value for money in its construction and implementation.

Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when the design work on Crossrail will be complete. [158496]

Jim Fitzpatrick: Design is a continuous process. Cross-London Rail Links Ltd. expects to complete design work for the purpose of tendering construction contracts by the first quarter of 2009.

Cycleways: Finance

Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what funding the Government has provided to local authorities in (a) England and (b) Wirral South for the establishment or maintenance of cycle tracks in the last five years. [158015]

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Ms Rosie Winterton: Government funding for integrated transport improvements, including the establishment of cycle tracks, is provided in the annual local transport capital settlements, published on the Department for Transport website at: It is for local authorities to decide exactly how to spend this funding in accordance with their local policies and priorities.

Government funding for routine highways maintenance, including the maintenance of cycle tracks, is included in the formula grant settlement administered by the Department for Communities and Local Government. Details of this are published at:

In addition the Government are providing specific funding for national standard cycle training, including £250,000 in 2007-08 for the Merseyside local authorities.

Cycling: Finance

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what resources have been allocated under the Comprehensive Spending Review for the Cycle City scheme. [157980]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The funding for cycling will be finalised in the context of the Department's Comprehensive Spending Review 2007 settlement announced on 9 October. We will publish a breakdown of the Department's spending plans in the Department's Annual Report.

Departments: Internet

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many hits the (a) most and (b) least popular website run by her Department has received since 1 January 2007. [157922]

Jim Fitzpatrick: A variety of methods is used across the Department for Transport and Executive agency websites to gather such metrics for ‘hits’. To determine which sites are the most and least popular based on ‘hits’ requires consideration of both unique visitor and actual visit figures to all sites. These data are not available for all sites and as such it is not possible to provide the information requested.

Departments: Secondment

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many staff are seconded to her Department from outside Government; from which outside body each has been seconded; and what the length is of each secondment. [157920]

Jim Fitzpatrick: Appointments on inward secondment to the central Department for Transport and its Agencies are outlined in the following table:

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Organisation Number of secondees Duration of secondment

First Group Plc


3 years

French Transport Ministry


3 years



2 years



2 years

Energy Saving Trust


4 months



1 year



6 months



1 year

Swedish Transport Ministry


1 month

Civil Aviation Authority


3 years



3 to 6 months

Kent Fire Brigade


4 years

Strathclyde Fire Brigade


3 years

Dutch Department for Roads and Waterways


1 year

Driving Tests: Foreigners

David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assistance the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency makes available for people taking a driving test whose first language is not English. [158305]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The Driving Standards Agency offers assistance for non-English speaking candidates taking the theory and practical test.

The theory test is offered in 20 languages in addition to English. The non-English learner uses headphones to listen to an interpretation of the on-screen instructions.

On the practical element of the driving test, interpreters are allowed to accompany learners. Driving examiners are trained to identify any inappropriate assistance given by interpreters to a candidate.

The interpreter is only allowed to repeat the examiner’s instructions e.g. “take the next road on the right”. Therefore, the translation is short and it would be obvious if more was being said as the instructions are very repetitive. The candidate is not allowed to speak directly to the interpreter during the test.

Should an examiner suspect that the interpreter is interfering with the conduct of the test, he will ask the interpreter to only repeat what he has said. If the examiner feels that the interpreter has ignored the request he will terminate the test. This system works well and we have no evidence to suggest that it is being abused.

Lorries: Publications

Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the Truckstop Guide provided by the Highways Agency; [157986]

(2) when her Department last assessed the (a) availability and (b) range of services provided at truckstops in England. [157987]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Truckstop Guide was a trial publication produced by the Highways Agency during 2006. Research indicates that the guide has been effective in raising awareness of designated freight parking facilities and promoting driver safety and
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journey planning information to both UK and continental drivers. Options for its future development are currently being considered.

Since 1992, it has been Government policy that the responsibility for identifying and acquiring appropriate motorway and trunk road service area sites lies with the private sector. The most recent assessment of truckstop availability and services was conducted early in 2007 as part of an update to the information originally gathered to inform the Truckstop Guide.

M40: Accidents

Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport why both carriageways of the M40 motorway were closed on 12 and 13 August when the incident being investigated by police occurred only on the southbound carriageway; and if she will make a statement. [158157]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The M40 was closed on 12 and 13 August as a result of a major investigation by Warwickshire police into a fatal shooting that occurred on the southbound carriageway, between Junctions 12 and 13. The northbound carriageway was closed at the request of the police as their investigations proceeded. It is entirely for the police to decide the extent of closures required during such investigations.

Maritime and Coastguard Agency: Finance

Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what funding increases in real terms are proposed for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency for each of the next five years. [158160]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The funding for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency for the next three years will be finalised in the context of the Department for Transport’s Comprehensive Spending Review 07 settlement announced on 9 October; no decisions on internal allocations have been made yet. We will publish a breakdown of the Department’s spending plans in the Department’s annual report.

Maritime and Coastguard Agency: Industrial Disputes

Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will make a statement on the industrial action taking place affecting the Maritime and Coastguard Agency; what contingency arrangements are in place should the dispute escalate; and what steps she is taking to settle the dispute. [158159]

Jim Fitzpatrick: Industrial action short of a strike has been taking place within the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) since the end of May this year. This action while regrettable, has not affected emergency response and search and rescue work.

The MCA are meeting regularly with union representatives with a view to bringing the dispute to a conclusion as soon as possible. I have also met the unions and listened to their concerns on this issue.

The MCA has detailed contingency plans in place to cover emergency situations should the dispute escalate.


Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many motorcyclists there were in the UK in each year from 1997. [158670]

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Jim Fitzpatrick: Data regarding the number of motorcyclists in the United Kingdom are not available.

However, the numbers of licensed motorcycles, including scooters and mopeds, registered to keepers residing in Great Britain are available within table 1.1 of “Vehicle Licensing Statistics 2006”. A copy of the report, published on 28 June 2007, was placed in the House of Commons Library and it is also available at:

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