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IPPR: Finance

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality what funding the Commission for Equality and Human Rights has provided to (a) the IPPR and (b) IPPR Ltd., in relation to community cohesion, in the last 24 months, and for what projects. [171611]

Barbara Follett: The Equality and Human Rights Commission (the Commission) has awarded one contract to IPPR for the supply of a series of stakeholder events in London, Manchester and Edinburgh. These events were held on 20 July 2007, 23 July 2007 and 11 September 2007. This contract amounted to £25,549.06. No funding has been provided to IPPR Ltd in relation to community cohesion.

The roundtable events were planned to enable the Commission to explore with stakeholders their views on a range of equalities and human rights public policy issues. Because of the Commission’s remit and mandate, community cohesion will have been discussed at these events, along with other equality and human rights areas.


Aviation: Noise

Mr. Randall: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what information her Department holds on aircraft noise (a) at Heathrow airport and (b) in the surrounding London boroughs in each year since 1997. [169973]

Jim Fitzpatrick: Noise exposure contours at Heathrow are prepared for the Department by the Civil Aviation Authority’s (CAA) noise modelling experts and are reported annually, together with maps indicating the noise impacts on the surrounding area. The CAA has also produced a report, 'Revised Future Aircraft Noise Exposure Estimates for Heathrow Airport', as part of our current consultation ‘Adding Capacity at Heathrow Airport'. These documents are all available on the Department’s website ( along with information on aircraft noise at night, which informed consultation last year on night flying restrictions at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted.

Cycling: Accidents

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many accidents there were involving cyclists in (a) Ribble Valley constituency and (b) Lancashire in each year since 2000. [173397]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The number of reported personal injury road accidents involving at least one pedal cycle in (a) Ribble Valley constituency and (b) Lancashire in each year since 2000 is shown in the table.

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Number of accidents
Ribble Valley constituency( 1) Lancashire county council






















(1) Based on 2004 parliamentary constituency boundaries.

Departmental Official Visits

Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many (a) short and (b) long haul flights were taken by Ministers and officials in her Department in each of the last five years. [170717]

Jim Fitzpatrick: This information can be provided only at disproportionate cost. Since 1999, the Government have published on an annual basis a list of all overseas visits by Cabinet Ministers costing in excess of £500, as well as the total cost of all ministerial travel overseas. Copies of the lists are available in the Libraries of the House. All travel is undertaken in accordance with the “Civil Service Management Code”, the “Ministerial Code” and “Travel by Ministers”.

London City Airport

Derek Conway: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what discussions her Department has had with the London Borough of Bexley planning authority on the impact of an increase in the number of aircraft arriving at and departing from London City Airport on the vector path over that borough; [172243]

(2) what discussions her Department has had with the relevant planning authorities on increasing the number of aircraft arriving at and departing from London City Airport; [172244]

(3) if she will place in the Library copies of exchanges between her Department and the London Borough of Newham on proposals to increase the number of aircraft arriving at and departing from London City Airport. [172245]

Mr. Tom Harris: No such discussions have taken place. The 2003 White Paper “The Future of Air Transport” recognised that the airport served a niche business market and was likely to demonstrate steady growth. In principle, the Government support its development, subject to relevant environmental considerations.

The White Paper does not itself authorise or preclude any particular development, but sets out a policy framework that will guide decisions on future planning applications. Ultimately, it is for airport owners and operators to bring forward proposals for airport development in the normal way, through the statutory land-use planning system.

Furthermore, Ministers have a quasi-judicial role in the planning process with regard to transport-related applications raised on appeal. It would, therefore, be prejudicial for Ministers to comment on, or discuss, matters that are subject to a planning application and may come before a planning inquiry.

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Network Rail

Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps her Department is taking to benchmark the performance of Network Rail. [170743]

Mr. Tom Harris: The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR), as the independent regulator, undertakes extensive benchmarking of Network Rail’s performance. It has recently benchmarked Network Rail’s asset management against a range of international comparators and is in the process of benchmarking Network Rail’s costs against international railways. Network Rail also carries out internal benchmarking.

Railways: Finance

Graham Stringer: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the total funding commitment from the public purse is for (a) Crossrail, (b) the Manchester Rail Hub and (c) the improvement to the trans-Pennine crossrail links in each of the next five years. [165992]

Mr. Tom Harris [holding answer 19 November 2007]: The public funding commitment in each of the next five years for Crossrail, from the Department for Transport and Transport for London, is set out in the following table.

£ million











The Government have set out in broad terms in the High Level Output Specification (HLOS), published in July this year, the additional passenger capacity it intends should be provided for the cities of Manchester and Leeds, and for trans-Pennine links. The Department for Transport is in discussion with Network Rail and the train operating companies about how best to add the improvements to the local and regional Manchester train services on to the committed December 2008 West Coast service enhancements for Manchester. In addition, a number of Manchester station improvements are being developed.

Network Rail are about to undertake a feasibility study to identify how best to address future rail capacity issues through Manchester. This is in response to the priority attached by the three Northern regions to providing additional passenger and freight capacity through Manchester to support economic growth across the north as a whole.

The Department is also actively considering the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities’ bid for the Transport Innovation Fund.

It is too early at this stage to forecast the likely costs of the Manchester Rail Hub and the trans-Pennine rail links.

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Rolling Stock

Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much her Department has spent on the Competition Commission’s investigation into rail rolling stock companies. [170737]

Mr. Tom Harris: The Department has spent £1,675,287.63 on external advice relating to the Competition Commission’s investigation into rail rolling stock companies, between 2005-06 and 2007-08.

Rolling Stock: Procurement

Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether she plans to use double decker trains on the rail network. [170756]

Mr. Tom Harris: The Department considered with industry the use of double decker trains as an option for increasing capacity in preparation for issuing the recent White Paper “Delivering a Sustainable Railway”. The conclusions are presented in a report “Preliminary Evaluation of Double Deck and Extra Long Train Operations” prepared by Network Rail and published on the Department’s website. They suggest that the constraints of the UK network make double decker trains less cost-effective than other options and that this is likely to remain the case for the foreseeable future.

Southeastern Railway Company: Franchises

Derek Conway: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will place in the Library the correspondence between her Department and the Southeastern Railway Company that resulted in the Department’s derogation from the operating franchise agreement enabling the company to increase fares from Sidcup and Albany Park stations in excess of the Retail Price Index plus 3 per cent. formula previously in place. [172590]

Mr. Tom Harris: I have arranged for the relevant documents to be placed in the Library.

Speed Limits: Cameras

Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will assess the merits of erecting speed limit signs alongside signs indicating the presence of speed cameras in terms of road safety; and if she will make a statement. [172803]

Jim Fitzpatrick: We want speed camera enforcement to be highly visible and drivers to be made fully aware of the presence of cameras and the speed limit on the road. The Department’s guidance on the use of speed cameras therefore already encourages that speed limit and camera warning signs should be co-located where permitted and practicable. Furthermore for fixed cameras the guidance encourages the speed limit sign and camera sign to be visible to the driver in the same view as the camera.

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Mr. Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much has been spent on consultation on the Stonehenge by-pass. [173091]

Mr. Tom Harris [h olding answer 11 December 2007] : The Highways Agency is currently collating this information and will place it in the House Libraries when the House returns from Christmas recess in January.

Northern Ireland

Community Support Officers

Mr. McGrady: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what progress has been made in assessing the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s business case for police community support officers; and what the expected timeframe is for this process. [164388]

Paul Goggins: The Police Service of Northern Ireland’s business case for police community support officers has been approved.

The timing of the introduction of PCSOs depends on wider financial and operational considerations and is a matter for the Chief Constable and the Policing Board to determine.

International Development

ACP Countries: EU External Trade

Mr. Sharma: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the policy of the Government is on the end of the EU-African, Caribbean and Pacific countries sugar protocol; and what steps the Government plans to take to ensure that producers in developing countries do not experience hardship from the end to the Protocol. [172989]

Mr. Thomas: The ending of the sugar protocol (SP) must be seen in the wider context of the ‘Everything but Arms’ agreement with the least developed countries, the economic partnership agreements (EPAs) with the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries and the common agricultural policy (CAP) sugar reforms in the EC. The EPA offers all ACP countries the opportunity to export, in the medium term, sugar duty free and quota free to the EC. For the UK, improving access to the EC market for all ACP countries is an important requirement to ensure that EPAs live up to their potential to be tools for development.

We recognise that the CAP sugar reforms and the end of the SP will present challenges for many of the 18 ACP countries that are signatory to the SP. We have always been clear that such countries require transitional assistance in order to adapt their economies to face the challenges. As a result of our lobbying, the European Commission has made
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available €1.284 billion over the period of 2006-13 directly from its budget. The 18 signatory countries will all benefit from this transitional assistance and they will have to draw up a national action plan to show how they will spend their allocation. DFID provided financial support totalling £200,000 to the six Caribbean countries that are part of the ACP-SP to help them draw up their national action plans.

Afghanistan: Reconstruction

Mr. Holloway: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many times on average individual members of his Department's staff based in the provincial reconstruction team in Lashkar Gah left the team’s compound other than by air in each of the last six months. [172129]

Mr. Thomas: DFID has one member of staff, a development adviser, based in the provincial reconstruction team. Over the last six months, the development adviser has left the provincial reconstruction team compound an average of 12-15 times per month by road for meetings and visits within Lashkar Gah.

Bangladesh: Overseas Aid

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps the Government has taken to work with authorities in Bangladesh to minimise the impact of future natural disasters. [170977]

Mr. Thomas: The UK has been working in Bangladesh on Disaster Risk Reduction for a number of years. After the devastating cyclone that struck Bangladesh in 1991, killing 140,000 people, the UK supported the building of cyclone shelters and shelter houses. We have committed £6 million to the Government of Bangladesh’s (GoB) Comprehensive Disaster Management Programme (CDMP)—which includes work on practical ways to help people cope with more frequent and severe disasters. This is a five year programme (2004-09) focused on improving disaster management—shifting from conventional responses and relief to a more comprehensive risk reduction culture.

The UK is also developing a new climate change programme to continue to build GoB’s capacity to mainstream climate change in its developmental planning, and effectively engage both domestically and internationally on climate change issues. The programme will take forward the second phase of the successful Comprehensive Disaster Management Programme, as well as addressing other gaps—such as national research and modelling, and adaptation planning within vulnerable sectors (eg water resources, agriculture).

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