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Departmental Recruitment

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether the policy of British jobs for British workers will affect her Department’s recruitment policy. [179886]

Jim Fitzpatrick: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my hon. Friend, the Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office, the hon. Member for West Bromwich, East (Mr. Watson) on 3 March 2008, Official Report, columns 2205-06W.

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Departmental Retirement

Stewart Hosie: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many staff in her Department retired on grounds of stress-related illness in each of the last three years. [187680]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The information requested can be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

The Department has a stress policy in place and also believes in early intervention by occupational health in response to reported stress absences. All staff have access to counselling services.

Departmental Temporary Employment

Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what average hourly rate her Department and its predecessors paid to employment agencies for agency staff in each year since 1999, broken down by employment agency. [187907]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The information requested can be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Fairtrade Initiative

Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will take steps to promote Fair Trade Fortnight 2008 amongst staff within her Department; and if she will make a statement. [189513]

Jim Fitzpatrick: Within our main London HQ building a number of Fairtrade products are already available in the staff restaurant. These, and other products that become available from our suppliers, will be promoted during Fairtrade fortnight.

Fairtrade fortnight is promoted at regional Department for Transport sites. Promotions reflect local building management arrangement but include the display of Fair Trade posters, leaflets and catalogues, free samples, products for purchase and awareness sessions.

Great Western Trains: Rolling Stock

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to her written ministerial statement of 26 February 2008, Official Report, columns 73-4WS, on First Great Western franchise, how many carriages First Great Western is running; how many the franchise requires them to run from April 2008; and how many they will run from April 2008. [190609]

Mr. Tom Harris [holding answer 29 February 2008]: I refer the hon. Gentleman to the written statement made by my hon. Friend the Secretary of State, on 26 February 2008. This statement confirmed that additional carriages will be added to trains operating the First Great Western Portsmouth to Cardiff route from this summer.

The franchise agreement will be changed specifically to commit First Great Western to implementing the passenger benefits package, including the additional carriages for the Cardiff to Portsmouth route. These will comprise 10 extra carriages.

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With regard to other rolling stock in its fleet, First Great Western has in the past increased the size of its fleet in response to operational needs, but details of the extra rolling stock are matters for First Great Western itself.

Heathrow Airport: Security

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will meet the British Airports Authority to discuss a review of security arrangements following the incident at Heathrow airport on 25 February. [190766]

Jim Fitzpatrick [holding answer 29 February 2008]: The airport operator is investigating the incident and keeping the Department informed. We will ensure prompt action is taken where necessary.

Housing: Infrastructure

Mr. Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on improvements to infrastructure in relation to large scale new housing development. [190769]

Ms Rosie Winterton [holding answer 29 February 2008]: The Department for Transport is a co-signatory of the Government’s PSA Target to “Increase Long Term Housing Supply and Affordability”. To support its delivery, the Department for Transport and the Department for Communities and Local Government have together developed a work programme that evaluates the need for infrastructure improvements to support housing growth. Progress on the work programme is reviewed by both Departments on a regular basis.

Intercity Express

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when she expects a prototype of the new Intercity Express to be available for testing on the network. [190558]

Mr. Tom Harris: Prototypes for the new trains are scheduled for on-track testing in 2012. The first of the trains will enter operational service in 2013.

Intercity Express: Consultants

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much her Department has spent to date on consultants on the specification for the new Intercity Express programme; and for what reason this matter was not deemed to be one for the rolling stock companies. [190557]

Mr. Tom Harris: The Department for Transport has spent £7.9 million on the project since 2005. The Department has taken the lead in developing the specification to ensure we achieve maximum benefits for passengers and value for money for taxpayers for what is expected to be one of the largest rolling stock orders ever placed in the UK.

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The procurement process for the new train was open to all interested parties within the industry, including rolling stock companies. Tenders are due to be returned in May.

M6: Lancashire

Geraldine Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether Government funding has been allocated for the Heysham/M6 link road. [192593]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Lancashire county council have informed the Department for Transport that the latest outturn total cost for the Heysham to M6 link scheme is now estimated to be £140 million. The next steps are for the North West region to confirm that it continues to support the scheme at the higher cost, and for DfT to conclude our assessment and appraisal of Lancashire's major scheme business case. This will allow DfT to take a decision on whether to grant programme entry.

Maritime and Coastguard Agency: Pay

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent representations she has received from (a) management, (b) trade unions and (c) others on pay levels for staff in the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. [188742]

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport on what occasions she has met representatives of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency to discuss the pay dispute in that organisation. [189747]

Jim Fitzpatrick: Ministers have regular meetings with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s chief executive to discuss a range of important issues, including levels of pay. I have also met trade unions to listen to their concerns about MCA pay levels and have corresponded with union representatives and Members of this House who have raised similar concerns on behalf of constituents.

Motor Vehicles: Excise Duties

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many cars were registered in each vehicle excise duty band in each region in England and Wales in each year since 1997. [190564]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The information requested has been placed in the Libraries of the House.

Oil: Prices

Graham Stringer: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what price of oil has been used by her Department when making forecasts of congestion on the road network; and if she will make a statement. [190456]

Mr. Tom Harris [holding answer 29 February 2008]: The Department for Transport uses oil price projections from the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) to produce a fuel price forecast. This is then used in the Department’s National Transport Model (NTM) for forecasting congestion on the road network. Their
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latest projections are for oil (in 2006 prices) to fall gradually to $50 by 2015 before then rising to $52.5 in 2020 (approximately $75 in nominal prices).

BERR also produce a high and low projection around this central price which we have also used in our forecasts. These are for prices of $25 and $80 (about $115 nominal) in 2020. The Department forecasts congestion in different scenarios including ones where high prices are assumed. This is to check the robustness of estimates were high oil prices, such as those observed currently in crude oil markets, to continue.

BERR are currently revising their oil price projections in light of a consultation on them that has recently ended. We will use this revised information to determine new traffic and congestion forecasts.

Parking Offences: Cameras

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport under what legislation CCTV cameras may be used to enforce parking restrictions; what guidance she has (a) issued and (b) plans to issue in the next 12 months to local authorities on the use of such cameras, with particular reference to the impact on (i) disabled drivers and (ii) drivers collecting passengers or unloading goods; what discussions she has had with motoring groups about the use of such cameras; and if she will make a statement. [190881]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The London Local Authorities Act 2000 empowers traffic authorities in London to use CCTV to enforce parking. The civil enforcement of parking provisions in part 6 of the Traffic Management Act 2004 will be applied from 31 March 2008, replacing the London legislation and giving all English traffic authorities the option of using CCTV to detect parking contraventions. The new legislation requires CCTV cameras and associated evidence recording equipment to be certified by the Secretary of State for Transport.

On 28 February this year, the Secretary of State published statutory guidance on civil parking enforcement in accordance with section 87 of the Traffic Management Act. That guidance makes it clear that CCTV should be considered only where enforcement is difficult or sensitive, and it should not be used where exemptions, such as those for loading and unloading and for ‘blue-badge’ holders, are not visible to the equipment. Guidance on the procedures for obtaining certification of CCTV equipment was also published on 28 February. Further and more detailed operational guidance will be published later in March.

The AA and the RAC were members of the working group that advised the Department on the regulations and guidance to implement part 6 of the Traffic Management Act 2004.

Public Transport: Concessions

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent assessment she has made of the (a) feasibility and (b) cost of giving people eligible for free bus passes free local travel on all modes of public transport available in their local area. [191387]

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Ms Rosie Winterton: While there are no plans at present to extend statutory concessionary travel, local authorities retain the ability to offer discretionary concessions. This includes concessionary travel on other modes of transport in their area, over and above the statutory minimum, at their own expense.

Our current focus is on the successful implementation of the new all-England bus concession from 1 April. However, although we have not conducted a detailed consideration of the feasibility or cost of further extensions, we have developed some outline cost estimates based on broad assumptions. These suggested that the annual cost of extending statutory concessionary travel nationally to rail could be at least £250 million; to trams and light rail systems about £15 million, and to demand responsive community transport services at least a further £25 million.

Given the large number of inquiries we receive about the cost of extensions we have recently commissioned some research to provide a more robust estimate of various costs. This will allow us to give more detailed response to similar inquiries in the future. We expect this work to be completed in the next few months.

Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation

Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when she expects her Department's review of the operation of the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation to report. [190222]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The Renewables Fuels Agency (RFA) will have a duty to report to Ministers on a quarterly basis on the implementation of the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO). These reports will cover matters such as the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that the policy has saved, the types of biofuel that different transport fuel suppliers have chosen to source, and the origin and sustainability impacts of those biofuels. The first of these reports is due to be submitted in September 2008, by which time the RFA will have gathered data from the first three months of the RTFO’S operation.

In addition, the Government have recently asked the RFA to lead a review of the indirect impacts of biofuel production. The terms of reference for this review are being finalised. Initial analysis is due to be provided to Ministers by the early summer.

Roads: Canvey Island

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will make a statement on the inquiry into an additional access road for Canvey Island; and what the (a) timetable and (b) cost of the inquiry is expected to be. [191160]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The question of an additional access road to Canvey Island is a matter for Essex county council as local highway authority. I understand that at present they have no proposals which are at or approaching the stage of a public inquiry.

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Roads: Finance

Mr. Holloway: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which road schemes in Gravesham have been paid for by funds raised from the Dartford River Crossing; and how much such funding was spent on these schemes in each of the last five years. [187077]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Transport Act 2000 requires that all net revenues from the charging scheme at Dartford-Thurrock River Crossing are spent on transport. Revenues therefore increase the funding available for investment by the Department of Transport. This has helped to ensure delivery, for example, of schemes benefiting users of the Crossing, such as major improvements to the A2.

Since 2003, when the charging scheme was introduced, the Department has made available £1 million per year to Kent county council, and between £0.75 million and £1 million per year to Thurrock council, to help deliver local transport projects. This is in recognition of the impact of the Crossing on local residents. This funding is in addition to the regular local transport block allocations for Kent county council (which in 2007-08 totalled £36.7 million) and support for local authority major schemes, such as Kent Fastrack.

Kent county council's financial returns to the Department do not include a full breakdown of its actual expenditure between district areas, so it is not possible to provide figures for Kent's actual expenditure on roads in Gravesham district.

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the latest ministerially-approved costs are of road schemes in the Highways Agency's Major Roads programme (a) in total and (b) broken down by individual scheme. [188495]

Mr. Tom Harris: The following table lists all schemes in the Highways Agency's programme of Major schemes which were not opened to traffic as of 21 February 2008.

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