Ms Rosie Winterton: Local and central Government are now providing £2.5 billion annually to support local bus services, double the level of support of 10 years ago. In addition, proposals in the Local Transport Bill will give local authorities increased flexibility and powers to work with bus operators to improve local bus services.
Mr. Tom Harris: Crossrail will carry nearly 200 million passengers a year, increasing peak east-west capacity by 40 per cent. The project will relieve overcrowding and congestion on the existing National Rail and London Underground lines, helping to meet expected growth in demand for public transport and improving accessibility. Many east-west journey times will be significantly improved.
Mr. Tom Harris: Existing and future demand for rail travel was assessed in preparing the rail White Paper. It was that assessment, and the associated need to tackle existing and potential overcrowding, that led to the capacity enhancements specified in the White Paper.
Jim Fitzpatrick: My right hon. Friend announced the launch of the Governments consultation Adding Capacity at Heathrow Airport in her statement of 22 November. The consultation will run until 27 February. We expect to make final policy decisions later in 2008, taking account of all the available evidence, including the responses to the consultation.
Jim Fitzpatrick: We have received representations from a wide range of interests including environmental and business groups, local councillors and local residents associations and expect to receive many more in response to the Adding Capacity at Heathrow Airport consultation launched by my right hon. Friend on 22 November.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Road Casualties Great Britain 2006 shows a 33 per cent. reduction in the number of people killed and seriously injured in built-up areas from the 1994-98 baseline average. The Governments road safety strategy contains a range of initiatives to further reduce the number of accidents in both urban and rural areas.
Mr. Tom Harris: The Government provide grant funding for modal shift from road to rail and water through the Sustainable Distribution Fund. In addition: the rail White Paper announced £200 million of Network Rail investment until 2014 to assist in the creation of a Strategic Freight Network; and the Department is providing over £150 million of funding for specific rail freight projects through the Transport Innovation Fund.
Ms Rosie Winterton: The Department has made regulations for Permit Schemes under the Traffic Management Act 2004 and revised those for Registers, Notices, Directions and Designations. These come into force on 1 April 2008. Associated codes of practice have also been issued. A Good Practice Guide to Managing Works in the Street was launched in May 2007.
21. Martin Linton: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress her Department has made in improving the accessibility of the rail network for passengers with disabilities and those with reduced mobility. 
Mr. Tom Harris: Under the Railways for All Programme we have so far announced 100 stations at which we expect Network Rail to provide a step-free route. We expect 25 of these to be substantially complete by 31 March 2008. Further stations will be included in the programme shortly.
Access improvements at more than 500 other stations have also been approved up to March 2008 under the Access for All Small Schemes programme with the results of the latest round of bids to be announced early next year.
Ms Rosie Winterton: From April next year around 11 million older and eligible disabled people resident in England will be entitled to at least free off-peak bus travel anywhere in England. In calculating the extra funding of £212 million we assumed an 85 per cent. uptake of passes, which we believe is a generous assumption.
Jim Fitzpatrick: The Secretary of State will consider on its merits any application to impose a public service obligation on the Durham Tees Valley to Heathrow route. The Governments guidance on the protection of regional air access to London published in December 2005 sets out how we will interpret the criteria for imposing PSOs set out in European Regulations. It is for regional bodies in the north-east to apply for and make the economic case for a PSO.
Mr. Tom Harris: The Thameslink Programme has already started on site and is scheduled to deliver substantial benefits to rail passengers by the end of 2015. In addition, some services will benefit from longer trains from the end of 2011.
Assuming Royal Assent to the Crossrail Bill in summer 2008, enabling works for Crossrail are scheduled to commence in 2009, with main construction works commencing in 2010. Operational trials will begin towards the end of 2016, in time for services to commence in 2017.
Mr. Tom Harris: The Highways Agency is working with other parts of Government to secure the delivery of a substantial amount of housing in Northamptonshire in general and Kettering in particular. The A14 running just to the south of Kettering serves both long distance and local traffic and is currently operating under considerable stress.
A major improvement scheme is under consideration, but this will take time to deliver. In the meantime, the Highways Agency is looking into measures that could allow the new housing to get under way while maintaining the functionality of the important A14 route. This includes the prospect of ramp metering which is a technique where the amount of traffic joining the A14 is managed through the use of signals, accompanied by sensors, to regulate the system and prevent the build-up of traffic on the adjacent local road network.
The Highways Agency will continue to work closely with partners, in particular Northamptonshire county council, to develop proposals which balance the needs of the strategic and local highway network. However the overall strategy is not simply about concrete infrastructure. There are many measures, including those designed to secure modal shift that could be put in place to reduce to a minimum the amount of traffic generated by the new development. Northamptonshire county councils Transport Strategy for Growth provides a strong guide to what can be achieved.
Mr. Prisk: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether it is Government policy that development of a second runway at Stansted Airport should precede the development of a third runway at Heathrow Airport. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: The 2003 Future of Air Transport White Paper supported two new runways in the South East by 2030, the first at Stansted. The Governments current consultation Adding Capacity at Heathrow Airport is consistent with that policy. Stansted Airport Limited expects to be in a position to submit a planning application around the turn of the year.
Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport for what reason the services adjacent to junction 22 of the M1 motorway are not signposted on the motorway; and if she will arrange for signage to be erected. 
Mr. Tom Harris: All signing on motorways is carefully controlled. The Highways Agency does not generally provide signs for a service development less than 15 miles from an established motorway service area (MSA). There is a long-established, purpose built MSA at Leicester Forest East seven miles to the south, where access is directly from the motorway.
Mr. Tom Harris: The Highways Agency (HA) has recently published a number of new drainage standards aimed at reducing the risk of flooding of the strategic road network. This includes the provision of better control measures for road runoff in order to minimise the impact on receiving waters. The HA has also implemented a programme of work in partnership with the Environment Agency to meet the more stringent quality requirements of the Water Framework Directive 2000/60/EC by 2015. Research is ongoing in these areas and further additional guidance is anticipated in the future.
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Prime Minister (1) what reviews have been undertaken of No. 10 Downing streets rules on data protection in the last two years; if he will place in the Library a copy of the report of the last review of No. 10 Downing streets compliance with data protection laws; and if he will undertake a review of No. 10 Downing streets compliance with data protection laws; 
(2) how many employees of each grade in his Office (a) have access to confidential or sensitive data and (b) are authorised to download such data to disk; how many of his Offices employees have undergone data protection training in the last 12 months; what the average length of time is that each employee of his Office has spent on data protection training; how many investigations of employees of his Office for improperly accessing confidential information have taken place in the last 12 months; how many such investigations resulted in cases of disciplinary action; and what the circumstances of each of those cases was; 
(3) on how many occasions in his Office confidential data have been downloaded on to compact discs (a) without and (b) with encryption in the last 12 month period for which figures are available; how many of those discs have been posted without using recorded or registered delivery; what procedures his Office has in place for the (i) transport, (ii) exchange and (iii) delivery of confidential or sensitive data; what records are kept of information held by his Office being sent outside his Office; what changes have been made to his Offices rules and procedures on data protection in the last two years; on how many occasions his Offices procedures and rules on data protection have been breached in the last five years; what those breaches were; what procedures his Office has in place on downloading confidential data on to computer discs before its transfer; what technical protections there are in his Offices computer systems to prevent access to information held on those systems which is not in accordance with his Offices procedures; and if he will place in the Library a copy of each of his Offices rules and procedures on the protection of confidential data on individuals, businesses and other organisations. 
Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many secondments of staff were made (a) to and (b) from his Department in each year since 1997; which organisations staff were seconded (i) to and (ii) from; how many staff were seconded in each year; for how long each secondment lasted; and what the cost was of each secondment in each year. 
Mr. Woodward: The following tables detail the number of secondments of staff (a) to and (b) from the Northern Ireland Office in each year since 1997; which organisations staff were seconded (i) to and (ii) from. The cost of each secondment is not collated and the cost of gathering this information would be disproportionate.
|NIO staff currently on secondment|
|Date from||Seconded to||Number|
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