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Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress has been made in implementing the recommendations of the independent review of the safety of UK facilities handling the foot and mouth disease virus; and if he will make a statement. 
Jonathan Shaw [holding answer 25 February 2008]: Professor Brian Spratts Independent Review of the safety of UK facilities handling foot and mouth disease (FMD) virus made 14 recommendations, all of which the Government accepted, agreed to or agreed to in principle.
The recommendations in relation to immediate action on containment have all been addressed. Progress in implementing them is kept under close review through regular inspections by DEFRA and the Health and Safety Executive. In relation to the recommendations on further action on biosecurity and biosafety, the chief veterinary officer recently wrote to Merial and the Institute for Animal Health (IAH) to remind them of the importance of clarity of roles, responsibilities and effective communications. Once we received assurances that sufficient mechanisms were in place, and following progress in relation to the immediate actions on containment, Merials licence to handle specified animal pathogens was restored on 25 February 2008. DEFRA officials continue to work closely with the Veterinary Medicines Directorate about inspections at Merial.
In relation to the recommendations on funding, design and governance, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council established the Beringer Review to seek to improve the funding, risk management and governance of the IAH. I understand that the review is expected to report in April. At present, we do not believe that further work on identifying the source of the virus would add to our understanding of the measures that need to be put in place, but we will keep that assessment under review.
In relation to the recommendation on the regulatory and inspection framework, Sir Bill Callaghan was requested to lead a review examining ways of simplifying and strengthening the regulatory framework for animal pathogens. The review reported on 13 December. In the statement made by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State to the House in December, he accepted all the recommendations in this review and progress is being made in implementing these.
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to his written ministerial statement of 11 March 2008, Official Report, column 8WS, on local authorities fees and charges 2008-09, what revenue was raised from fees and charges by local authorities for local air pollution prevention and control and local authority-integrated pollution and control in (a) 2005-06 and (b) 2006-07; and what estimate he has made of revenues for (i) 2007-08 and (ii) 2008-09. 
Future revenue will be dependent on any changes to the level of fees and charges, the number of regulated installations, and the number of permit applications made. DEFRA will continue to review the charging levels annually in consultation with key stakeholders, and those for 2008-09 have just been published on the Department's website at:
We are currently working on a better regulation review of certain sectors; a possible outcome is that some sectors could be removed from regulation or subject to lighter-touch regulation with lower charges.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many rights of way have been restored by local authorities under Discovering Lost Ways since the scheme's inception. 
Graham Stringer: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate she has made of the maximum number of train services able to call at Birmingham New Street Station per day (a) at present and (b) on completion of its redevelopment. 
Mr. Tom Harris [holding answer 17 March 2008]: The redevelopment of New Street station will improve passenger handling capacity and facilities within the station itself. Growth will be achieved primarily via longer trains, as set out in the Rail White Paper published in July 2007. After the station project is completed, the station will not constrain such passenger growth over the West Midlands network.
Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will set the funding allocation to local authorities for concessionary bus passes based on a calculation of the number of pensioners that are eligible for it in each local authority. 
Ms Rosie Winterton [holding answer 14 March 2008]: The funding will be distributed by a special grant, in line with the wishes of local government, using a formula to direct funding to areas likely to experience increased costs such as urban and tourist centres and coastal towns. The formula used is based on the most popular option with local authorities from our recent consultation on the issue. The formula takes into account the eligible population in each area, bus patronage, overnight visitors and retail space. We are confident that sufficient funding in total will be distributed to cover the additional cost of the new England-wide concession.
Ms Rosie Winterton: The Government paid a grant of £31 million in total to travel concession authorities (TCAs) in England outside London in this financial year (2007-08) to cover the cost of issuing a new concessionary travel pass to every eligible person who applied for one. The passes grant is based on £4 for each pass in circulation at October 2007, uplifted by 20 per cent. to recognise that the new England-wide concession is likely to be more attractive than the existing one. £31 million is not an annual cost as passes can remain in use for up to five years. As TCAs may choose to replace them at more frequent intervals, it is not possible to calculate the exact annual cost.
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate she has made of the likely take-up of the national concessionary bus fare scheme by individuals in the Peterborough city council area from 1st April 2008; and if she will make a statement. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: Funding for the England-wide statutory minimum will be distributed by a special grant, in line with the wishes of local government, using a formula to direct funding to areas likely to experience increased costs such as urban and tourist centres. The formula used is based on the most popular option with local authorities from our recent consultation on the issue.
Local authorities are responsible for forecasting likely future take-up in their area based on local knowledge. In estimating the likely cost impact of the new concession, an assumption of 85 per cent. pass take-up across England was used. In October 2007, Peterborough city council had 20,500 pass holders who were entitled to free local concessionary bus travel.
Approximately 30,000 older people resident in Peterborough will be eligible, from 1 April, for the new England-wide concession.
John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent meetings she has held with the recognised unions to discuss equality matters in her Department; and when she next plans to meet them. 
Jim Fitzpatrick [holding answer 28 February 2008]: The Secretary of State for Transport takes an active interest in equality and diversity matters in her department. However, she has not met with the recognised unions to discuss these as Ministers would not normally be involved in discussions about staffing, this would be a matter for the Permanent Secretary.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what percentage of Freedom of Information requests received by her Department have given rise to responses that have been published by her Department. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: Information released under the FOI Act and the Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) has been published in almost 37 per cent. of cases. Of the 1,362 entries in the DfT disclosure log, some indicate that information released may only be viewed physically due to the format or volume of the material.
Mr. Hands: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate she has made of the number of licensed drivers with sleep apnoea; what steps she plans to take to take account of this issue in proposals on road safety; and if she will make a statement. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: No statistics are available on the precise number of licence holders with obstructive sleep apnoea. The condition must be notified to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency so fitness to drive can be assessed. In 2006, the Agency processed approximately 7,000 cases. At present there is no evidence for additional measures.
Mrs. Villiers: 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 often she will assess First Great Westerns Remedial Plan once it is agreed. 
Mr. Tom Harris: The Department for Transport will assess progress on the First Great Western Remedial Plan every four weeks. Material non-compliance with the Remedial Agreement would be a default of the franchise agreement, which could lead to the Government terminating First Great Westerns franchise.
Arundel and South Downs
Brentford and Isleworth
Carmarthen, East and Dinefwr
Carmarthen, West and South Pembrokeshire
Cities of London and Westminster
Ealing, Acton and Shepherds Bush
Falmouth and Camborne
Hayes and Harlington
New Forest, East
Oxford, West and Abingdon
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