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26 Feb 2008 : Column 1342W—continued


Departmental Internet

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many Wikipedia entries have been (a) created and (b) amended (i) by (A) special advisers, (B) Ministers and (C) communications officials and (ii) from IP addresses of (1) special advisers, (2) Ministers and (3) communications officials in his Department since August 2005. [185532]

David Cairns: The Scotland Office has no record of such activities.

Departmental Property

Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what property has been lost or stolen from his Department since 1997; and at what cost to the public purse. [187471]

David Cairns: The Scotland Office was established on 1 July 1999.

Since that date, the following have been reported as lost or stolen.

Item Lost Stolen Value at date reported lost/stolen (£)








Mobile Phone






Multi Media Projector







Mobile Phone






2007 (to date)

It is not possible to determine the value of the mobile phone handsets.

Departmental Retirement

Stewart Hosie: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many staff in his Department retired on grounds of stress-related illness in each of the last three years. [187498]

David Cairns: The staff in the Scotland Office are seconded from other Departments and the Office does not maintain personnel records of staff.

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Departmental Sick Leave

Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what percentage of working days lost by his Department’s staff was attributed to stress-related conditions in the most recent year for which figures are available. [187871]

David Cairns: The staff in the Scotland Office are seconded from other Departments and the Office does not maintain personnel records of staff.

Departmental Temporary Employment

Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what average hourly rate his Department paid to employment agencies for agency staff in each year since 1999, broken down by employment agency. [187913]

David Cairns: The Scotland Office does not record the information in the form requested.

Prime Minister

Efficiency in Public Services Review: Written Questions

Chris Huhne: To ask the Prime Minister if he will take steps to investigate the reasons why (a) the Home Department and (b) the Ministry of Defence have been unable to provide answers to parliamentary questions, save at disproportionate cost, on redundancies and related costs arising from the conclusions of the Gershon review; and if he will take steps to bring the practice of these Departments on answering such questions into line with the other Departments. [189419]

The Prime Minister: Practice and procedures are set out in the February 2005 Cabinet Office guidance to Departments entitled Guidance to Officials on Drafting Answers to Parliamentary Questions. Copies of the guidance are available in the Libraries of the House.



Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport for what reason the A57 at Snake Pass has been closed during January 2008; when she expects the road to re-open; and if she will make a statement. [188669]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The A57 Snake Pass is the responsibility of the Derbyshire county council as local highways authority.

I understand that the road was closed in the interest of road safety for a period of three weeks following a land slip which affected the road surface.

Following a period of stabilisation the road has been reopened with a 10 mph speed limit. Derbyshire county council is continuing to monitor the situation and, if no further movement occurs, will carry out resurfacing of the road in late spring.

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Aviation: Fuels

Mr. Scott: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions she has had with her foreign counterparts on the quality of fuel supplies at airports servicing British registered aircraft flying to the UK; and if she will make a statement. [187552]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The Secretary of State has not had discussions with the authorities of other states regarding the quality of fuel at airports used by aircraft flying to the UK.

UK airlines are required to use fuel which meets the detailed specifications contained in the flight manuals of their aircraft. The quality of fuel used, including that supplied by through sub-contractors, is monitored through the airlines quality system.


Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent assessment she has made of the potential role of biomethane as a transport fuel. [186492]

Jim Fitzpatrick: During 2006, the Department part-funded a research project to assess the potential role of biomethane as a renewable transport fuel, as well as commissioning a more detailed analysis of the potential benefits of including biogas in the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation (RTFO). Copies of these reports have been made available in the House Libraries. The Government are also contributing funds to an International Energy Agency working group (IEA Task 37) which is considering the issues raised by biogas.

In recognition of the environmental benefits that it offers, biomethane already qualifies for a fuel duty incentive equivalent to around 40 pence per kilogramme. From April 2008, it will also be eligible for Renewable Transport Fuel Certificates under the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation.

Bridges: River Thames

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will make a statement on the possible construction of a lower Thames crossing. [188211]

Mr. Tom Harris: The Department for Transport has started the first phase of a study into longer-term crossing capacity in the Lower Thames.

As part of an earlier consultation on a revised charging regime for the existing Dartford Crossing, we announced our intention to commence a study to look at options for addressing rising demand in the longer-term. The start of this study fulfils that commitment.

This initial phase of the study will advise on the future need for additional crossing capacity and identify possible options. It will also update the transport models to better understand the impacts of current and future demand, and review previous work on what can be done to improve traffic flow through the existing crossing in the short to medium term.

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This phase is planned to be completed around the end of this year and will ensure that we have the latest information and forecasts of demand to be able to make an assessment of potentially viable future options.

Bus Services: Concessions

Ann Coffey: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many people over 60-years-old in Stockport will be eligible for the extended free bus travel scheme to be introduced on 1 April 2008. [189047]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The number of residents in the borough of Stockport aged 60 and over who, from 1 April 2008 will be entitled to free off-peak bus travel in any part of England, is around 64,000. In the parliamentary constituency of Stockport approximately 14,000 people will be eligible.

Cycling: Accidents

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps she is taking to improve the procedures for the collection of data on cycle safety to tackle the underreporting of the number of accidents. [188586]

Jim Fitzpatrick: National and local government and police forces work closely to achieve a high reporting standard for road accident data. Very few, if any, fatal accidents do not become known to the police. However, research conducted on behalf of the Department has shown that an appreciable proportion of non-fatal injury accidents are not reported to the police. There is no legal duty in Great Britain to report personal injury road accidents to the police, provided the participants exchange details at the scene.

Research has also shown that pedal cycle casualties are underrepresented in the road accident data (STATS19). In particular, accidents in which the pedal cyclist is the only participant are not likely to be reported to the Police. Recent research using Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) shows that many accidents not recorded in the police data are the result of a person (often a child) falling from a bicycle with no other vehicle involved.

This research was published by the Department in an article in Road Casualties Great Britain: 2006 annual report (pages 60-72). A copy of the report has been deposited in the Libraries of the House or can be found at the following address:

Cycling: Safety Measures

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will bring forward legislative proposals to require all pedal bicycles to have a bell or other audible warning device fitted when being used. [188634]

Jim Fitzpatrick: Rule 66 of the Highway Code recommends the fitting and use of cycle bells. The 2003 Pedal Bicycles (Safety) Regulations introduced various requirements relating to the supply and sale of cycles,
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including the obligation for a bell to be fitted at point of sale. While the regulations do not compel cyclists to keep a bell fitted to the bicycle after the machine has been purchased, it seems likely that many will retain it.

In view of the results of a previous public consultation exercise (2001-02), we consider that there is insufficient justification to make retrospective fitting of a bell obligatory on cycles already in use. Neither do we believe there is a strong enough case to require compulsory use of bells, as this would be impractical and difficult to enforce.

Departmental Advertising

Mr. Jeremy Browne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what percentage of her Department’s expenditure was on advertising in each year since establishment. [182984]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The requested figures are as follows. The majority of advertising investment by the Department and agencies is in support of the THINK! Road Safety, Act on CO2 and Continuous Registration (vehicle taxation) campaigns.

Total public expenditure (£ million) Advertising expenditure (£ million) Percentage





















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