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Richard Younger-Ross: To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission how late the new visitor centre is; what extension of time has been granted; and what the overspend will be. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: My right hon. Friend has regular discussions with industry, including the BAA, on a range of security issues. We have long recognised the need to balance security measures with the needs of the travelling public. However, the security of passengers must never be compromised.
Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps her Department has taken in response to the European Commission warning of possible court action against the UK for failing to implement European legislation on the recognition of seafarer certificates; and when her Department plans to implement the relevant legislation. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: The Department regrets the delay in transposing this Directive, which amends Directive 2001/25/EC on the minimum level of training for seafarers. We are however committed to transposing the Directive into UK legislation as quickly as possible.
The Directive will be transposed into UK legislation by a new statutory instrument. The drafting of this is at an advanced stage. A 12-week consultation on this draft will commence shortly prior to laying the final Regulations before Parliament. It is anticipated that this process will be completed and the legislation brought into force in spring 2008.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will make it her policy to require foreign nationals to demonstrate a years driving without offences in the UK before they are able to apply for a UK driving licence. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: When applying for a first British provisional licence, or exchanging an existing foreign licence for a British equivalent, all driving licence applicants are treated equally, irrespective of their nationality. There are no plans to change this policy.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent assessment she has made of train (a) punctuality and (b) overcrowding on the Weymouth to Bristol line; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Tom Harris: By early December, punctuality across the First Great Western (FGW) franchise stood at 82.5 per cent. We have impressed on FGW the need for this to improve. Joint action plans are in place between Network rail and FGW to help achieve this and are monitored monthly by the department.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions she had with Network Rail on rail network engineering projects over the Christmas period; what action she took following those discussions; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Tom Harris: The Secretary of State met Iain Coucher, chief executive of Network Rail, on 3 January. She emphasised to him that, while the department had no intention of intervening in Network Rails operations, the level of disruption caused to passengers over the Christmas period had been unacceptable.
On 8 January, the Office of Rail Regulation announced that it will be conducting an investigation into Network Rails handling of engineering works. This will focus in particular on the overruns that occurred over the Christmas period. The initial results are expected by the end of February.
Stephen Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps the Department has taken to ensure Network Rail is improving its safety procedures following the Waterloo derailments of 11 September and 24 October 2006. 
Mr. Tom Harris: The report into these incidents by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) was published on its website (www.raib.gov.uk) on 18 December 2007. RAIB made 14 recommendations, mostly directed at Network Rail. It is for the Office of Rail Regulation, the health and safety regulator for Britains railway, to consider the recommendations and Network Rails response to the incidents and to ensure that action is taken by Network Rail where appropriate.
Mrs. James: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment she has made of the steps being taken by train operating companies to reduce numbers of assaults on platform and train staff. 
Mr. Tom Harris: The rail industry is undertaking a range of initiatives to help reduce the numbers of assaults on its staff. This includes the setting up of the pan-industry Rail Personal Security Group to address the issue. The rail industry, though, cannot be expected to work alone in tackling staff assaults. The police, local authorities, crime and disorder reduction partnerships, and others need to play their part tooas do the public in respecting the transport environment.
Mr. Tom Harris: Punctuality is reported by Network Rail and is monitored on a daily basis by West Coast Trains, London Midland and East Midlands Trains. The results are reviewed by the Department against key performance benchmarks set for each franchise.
Officials at the Department also review timetables proposed by the train operators to ensure that they provide services compliant with their franchise commitments. It is the responsibility of train operators to manage their rolling stock resources in order to fulfil their franchise commitments and minimise crowding.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will pursue provisions requiring (a) an additional train coach to the current two car unit service operating hourly and (b) a half hourly three car unit service between Portsmouth and Cardiff in the next relevant franchise negotiations; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 7 January 2008, Official Report, column 9W, on railways: standards, how many passengers were given the opportunity by (a) South West Trains and (b) her Department to read an unabridged version of the ergonomic study. 
Mr. Tom Harris: Only a redacted version of the study has been made available by South West Trains to passengers. South West Trains have, however, made the full report available to Passenger Focus who have confirmed that the redacted version accurately reflects the reports findings.
Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will require all non-UK registered heavy goods vehicles using UK roads to be equipped to the standards required of UK registered vehicles, with particular reference to identical parameters for speed limiters. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: It is already a requirement under the provisions of directive 92/6/EEC as amended by directive 2002/85/EC for heavy goods vehicles (HGV) registered in any EU member state to be fitted with a speed limiter. This requires that the speed limit for an HGV should not exceed 90 kilometres per hour.
All vehicles have to comply with minimum standards of roadworthiness irrespective of the country in which they are registered. If they do not their drivers and operators can be prosecuted and fined. The vehicle can also be prohibited from moving until necessary repairs have been carried out.
There are a number of ways by which travel concession authorities could make such savings. Where appropriate they could move to county-wide administration of concessionary travel schemes (if they are currently managed at the district level) or could move to joint administration with other authorities. The administration of concessionary travel could also be streamlined by, for instance, issuing passes bi- or tri-annually instead of yearly, or by adopting streamlined procedures for monitoring and calculating reimbursement payments, in co-operation with bus operators.
The Department has been working with local authorities to find ways of improving the efficiency of concessionary fares administration. An eventual move to full smart-ticketing, subject to up-front investment, would significantly reduce the scope for passenger and operator fraud, improve the collection of data needed for calculating reimbursement, and reduce the need for separate passenger surveys. To assist this process the Government are paying a grant of £31 million to ensure that bus passes for the new national concession starting April 2008 are in ITSO smartcard form.
John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much her Department spent from its (a) running costs and (b) programme expenditure on consultants in (i) 2004-05, (ii) 2005-06 and (iii) 2006-07. 
For the 2006-07 financial year, expenditure on consultants for CLG was £72.742 million (of which £7.254 million was administration running costs, the remainder programme expenditure). Comparable figures for earlier financial years are not available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether personal data for which her Department is responsible is (a) stored and (b) processed overseas; and if she will make a statement. 
Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate she has made of the effect on payments made under the Fire Service Pension Scheme from the likely change in the number of retirements due to ill health in each of the next 10 years. 
Mr. Dhanda: In 2004, the Firefighters Pension Scheme 1992 was amended to provide that eligibility for an ill-health pension was restricted to those who were permanently disabled for the performance of the duties of their role as a firefighter, whether instead of, or in addition to, engaging in fire-fighting. This reflected changes in the duties of firefighters.
This is resulting in a reduction of about 100 ill-health retirements per annum for fire and rescue authorities in England, giving an estimated annual saving of £1.5 million for each year group, index linked. This will reduce future liabilities by up to £21.3 million per annum.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what representations her Department has received from organisations calling for energy performance certificates to be attached to valuations. 
Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what estimate her Department has made of the number of prospective home buyers who have made use of the home information pack. 
Yvette Cooper: Agents of the Homes and Communities Agency will have the power to enter land, but only for the purpose of surveying it, or estimating its value, in connection with either a proposal to acquire that land or any other land, or any claim for compensation in respect of any such acquisition. The agency must give at least 28 days notice of the intended entry.
These powers are the same as the existing powers of the Urban Regeneration Agency established by the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 which will be dissolved once the Homes and Communities Agency is established.
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