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Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the latest ministerially-approved costs are of the (a) M25 widening schemes and (b) M1 widening schemes; and what the original estimated cost was of these schemes. 
Mr. Tom Harris:
The following table provides the information requested for the schemes on the M1 and M25 motorways, forming part of the Highways Agency's programme of major schemes, which were designated widening schemes at programme entry. Following the Nichols report on the Highways Agency, revised cost estimates for a number of the schemes listed are currently in preparation. In addition,
following publication on 4 March of the Advanced Motorway Signalling and Traffic Management Feasibility Study a number of these schemes will be considered for their suitability for active traffic management (ATM), including hard shoulder running, as an alternative to conventional widening. Where ATM is selected as the preferred option the scheme cost will be re-estimated.
|Scheme name||Programme entry estimate||Latest ministerial approved estimates|
|(1) Scheme complete.|
(2) In addition, £12 million of work has been transferred to the A2/A282 scheme
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress has been made on negotiations between the Highways Agency, Birmingham International airport and the management of the Blue Boar Inn on the proposed motorway service area at Junction 6 on the M42. 
Mr. Tom Harris: The proposed motorway service area is on the mainline between Junction 5 and Junction 6 of the M42. This site was formerly being promoted by Blue Boar Motorways Ltd. and is now being promoted by Swayfields.
The Highways Agency is not negotiating with Birmingham International airport and the management of Swayfields with regard to the proposed motorway service area. As part of the planning process, the Highways Agency has a duty to co-operate and act reasonably in
considering proposals coming forward. Our conclusions on the acceptability of the proposals have been set out in our Proof of Evidence submitted to the ongoing Public Inquiry.
The Highways Agency has worked with Birmingham International Airport Limited and the National Exhibition Centre on options for, improving motorway access from the M42 to their developments. A Joint Statement produced by the Highways Agency, Birmingham International Airport Limited and the National Exhibition Centre regarding options for improving motorway access from the M42 was read out and given to the Inspector at the Pre-Inquiry Meeting on 19 March 2007.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when she expects the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport to reply to the letter sent to him by Campaign for Better Transport, Liftshare.com, Sustrans, Friends of the Earth and the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England on 18 October on the proposed high occupancy vehicle lane on the M1 between junctions 7 and 10. 
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 15 January 2008, Official Report, column 1088W, on Metronet, what the size of the loan from TfL to Metronet is. 
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many former Ministers, other than the former Prime Minister, are supplied with a car from the Government Car and Despatch Agency; and how many former Ministers were in receipt of such cars on 1 January 2005. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: Currently the Government Car and Despatch Agency (GCDA) provides cars and drivers for 6 former Ministers and former Prime Ministers. On 1 January 2005 GCDA provided cars and drivers to 11 former Ministers and Prime Ministers.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will take steps to quantify the down-time of drivers employed to drive ministerial cars supplied by the Government Car and Despatch Agency. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: The Government Car and Despatch Agency provides allocated cars and drivers to Departments for use by Ministers and senior officials. The day to day allocation of work for these drivers is the responsibility of each Department.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport in which Government Departments permanent secretaries have chosen not to make use of an allocated vehicle supplied by the Government Car and Despatch Agency. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: The Government Car and Despatch Agency does not provide allocated cars and drivers to the permanent secretaries of the Department for Communities and Local Government, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the Ministry of Defence, the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Ministry of Justice or the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent assessment she has made of the merits of providing a pool of cars per Government Department rather than allocating cars to individual Ministers and permanent secretaries; and if she will make a statement. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: The Government Car and Despatch Agency is responsible for providing official cars and drivers to Ministers and senior officials. There has been no formal review or assessment of the merits of introducing departmental driver pools since GCDA became part of the Department for Transport.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what criteria are used in determining the entitlement of former Ministers to vehicles supplied by the Government Car and Despatch Agency; and what the process is for deciding when such use should cease. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: The use of an official car after a Ministers departure from office will be on the advice of the security authorities. In line with successive Administrations, the Government do not comment on security issues.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport in respect of how many former (a) Ministers, (b) permanent secretaries and (c) other categories, other than serving Ministers and permanent secretaries, requests have been received for the provision of vehicles by the Government Car and Despatch Agency. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: The Government Car and Despatch Agency provides official cars and drivers for Ministers and senior officials. GCDA does not accept requests to provide official cars and drivers directly from former Ministers or former officials. All requests for the provision of official cars and drivers are routed through the Cabinet Office. This information is not readily available and could be obtained only at a disproportionate cost.
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when she plans to publish her recommendations following the review of class (a) two and (b) three powered wheelchairs and powered scooters. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: The Department for Transport published research into class two and three powered wheelchairs and mobility Scooters in 2006. The research included a series of recommendations to Government on areas such as fitness to drive and insurance requirements.
Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many Vehicle and Operator Services Agency staff will be employed to issue fixed penalty notices to vehicles where offences are detected. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) employs 590 traffic and vehicle examiners, all of whom may be required to issue fixed penalty notices. There are plans to employ a further 127 enforcement staff in the coming year as a result of reinvesting Gershon VFM post savings and new funding from DFT for additional enforcement activity. All these additional staff will be trained to issue fixed penalty notices.
Jim Fitzpatrick: The Department is currently considering the status of the Powering Future Vehicles Strategy review, in light of the recent publication of the final report from the King Review of low-carbon cars. As announced in Budget 2008, a detailed Government response to the King Review will be published in the summer.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Cabinet Ministers may choose either a diesel powered Jaguar XJ or a Toyota Prius hybrid. Other Ministers may also choose from a Toyota Prius, a Honda Civic hybrid or any other suitable car with a CO2 emission of 185 g/km or less.
Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many garages in the UK are licensed by the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) to conduct private vehicle and motorcycle MOT tests; how often these garages are inspected by VOSA to ensure standards are being upheld; and how many inspectors VOSA employs to check on standards in these garages. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) has 19,064 garages authorised to conduct MOT testing in Great Britain on private vehicles and motorcycles. In the financial year 2007-08, every active MOT garage received a VOSA site assessment in addition to any demand-led or targeted visits. This fully achieved a demanding Secretary of State key target last year. VOSA employs 330 vehicle examiners who spend around one third of their time on MOT garage supervision.
Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many non-UK registered vehicles were inspected by Vehicle and Operator Services Agency inspectors during the south-east pilot exercise in the 2007-08 financial year; and how many prohibition notes were issued. 
Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans she has for future charges for (a) private vehicle and motorcycle MOT tests, (b) heavy goods vehicle tests and (c) public service vehicle tests. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: A consultation on proposals to raise HGV and PSV test fees by approximately 5 per cent. for 2008-09 closed on 10 March. A further consultation on MOT fees is due to close on the 30 of April. The results of these consultations are being/will be analysed. The Secretary of State (SoS) will announce her decision on future fees, having duly considered the response to these consultations in due course.
The SoS announced in 2006 her intention to abolish certain HGV and PSV operator licence fees and increase HGV and PSV test fees to recover the income lost. This rationalisation is planned to occur in April 2009 to coincide with the normal annual fee review cycle.
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