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Railway Stations

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which (a) local authority areas and (b) constituencies do not have a railway station operating passenger services. [197524]

Mr. Tom Harris: The following council areas in England and Wales do not have a railway station on the national rail network operating passenger services:

This information is not available on a constituency basis.


Mrs. Riordan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps she is taking to encourage rail operators to provide direct rail services to London from more towns in Great Britain. [199372]

Mr. Tom Harris: New franchise agreements specify a minimum service level that takes account of demand and network capacity. Bidders can propose more services, where this is operationally practicable. There are also provisions to deal with the need for extra trains during the life of a franchise.

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Railways: Overcrowding

Helen Southworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will hold discussions with East Midlands Trains on overcrowding at peak times on train services from Warrington station. [199460]

Mr. Tom Harris: I am aware that East Midlands Trains had problems at the start of the franchise with rolling stock availability for the Liverpool-Norwich route. It has put in place measures to ensure that as much rolling stock as possible is now available for use on the route.

East Midlands Trains is carrying out passenger counts to evaluate the overcrowding and to formulate plans to improve capacity. The refurbishment programme for Class 158 vehicles commences this summer and will provide a 13 per cent. increase in seating capacity.

Roads: Accidents

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate she has made of the percentage of drivers (a) who had one or more accidents, (b) who had one or more accidents in their first year of driving and (c) aged 17 years who had one or more accidents in the last year for which figures are available. [199426]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The information requested is not available. However, the Department is shortly due to publish a research report on the experiences and attitudes of learner and new drivers, including their involvement in accidents. The research, in which “cohorts” of candidates taking the practical driving test completed a postal survey after their test, and if they passed, at 6, 12, 24 and 36 months subsequently, found that the highest accident rates occurred in the first six months after passing the practical test.

This rate was estimated to be equivalent to 0.44 accidents per year. The accident rate then dropped in the next six months to an equivalent of 0.24 accidents per year. The accident rates given include accidents involving low speed manoeuvring, for example in car parks and drives.

Roads: South Yorkshire

Jeff Ennis: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many miles of road there are in (a) Barnsley and (b) Doncaster for which her Department is responsible. [199465]

Mr. Tom Harris: The Secretary of State for Transport is only responsible for roads maintained by the Highways Agency. The current length of these roads in (a) Barnsley metropolitan borough council is 23.9 miles; and (b) Doncaster metropolitan borough council is 40.2 miles.

Speed Limits

Mrs. Riordan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport with reference to the answer of 23 October 2007 to the hon. Member for Cheadle, Official Report, columns 235-6W, on speed limits, if she will take steps
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to establish how many (a) roads have a 20 miles per hour speed limit and (b) schools have 20 miles per hour zones outside them. [198818]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The Department for Transport has recently commissioned a new research project on local road safety policy and practice, and some information about the implementation of 20 mph zones will be collected from local authorities as part of this study.

Speed Limits: Radar

Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans she has to restrict (a) the sale and (b) the use of devices to detect road-side police enforcement radar sites. [198478]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The Road Safety Act 2006 gives the Secretary of State the power to prohibit by regulations a vehicle being fitted with, or a person using a vehicle carrying, speed assessment equipment detection devices. The Government have always made clear that they do not intend to prohibit the use of purely GPS based devices which identify the location of cameras through publicly available information. It does however wish to prevent the carriage and use of devices which detect or interfere with the operation of speed measuring equipment through other means. The actual devices to be covered by the ban will be the subject of full public consultation before the associated secondary legislation is laid before Parliament.

Transport: Fuels

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what (a) evidence she has evaluated and (b) research she has commissioned, on the whole life carbon emission consequences of the replacement of fossil fuels by biofuels for transportation purposes; and if she will make a statement. [199413]

Jim Fitzpatrick: In 2005 the Government undertook a detailed feasibility study into the practicality of introducing an obligation for renewable transport fuel. As part of this study, the Government took into account a wide range of scientific evidence on the costs and benefits of biofuels including Government-funded studies by Sheffield Hallam university and the Central Science Laboratory considering the lifecycle benefits and impacts of biofuels. Research published by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre in association with the European Council for Automotive Research and Development (EUCAR) and the Oil Companies' European Organisation for Environment, Health and Safety (CONCAWE) on biofuels and other potential future transport fuels was also taken into account.

In 2006, the Government commissioned the development of a carbon calculation methodology for biofuels to underpin the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO). This included proposed default carbon saving assumptions for a variety of biofuels, taking account of evidence from a wide range of scientific studies.

In 2007, Defra commissioned AEA Technology to undertake a review of work on the greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and environmental sustainability of
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international biofuels production and use. Their report is due to be published shortly.

The Renewable Fuels Agency (RFA) is also currently leading a review of evidence of the wider environmental and economic effects of biofuels. Part of this review will include a study examining the evidence concerning the GHG emissions arising from land-change, cultivation of biofuels, agricultural practices and advanced biofuel technologies. An initial report from the RFA is expected by 27 June including recommendations for further work.

The Government will continue to take into account new scientific evidence on the impacts of biofuels as it becomes available, and will continue to tailor their biofuel policies accordingly.

West Coast Railway Line

Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport at what times unused network capacity is available on the West Coast Main Line for non-stop services between Milton Keynes and Euston and between Euston and Milton Keynes during (a) morning and (b) evening peak periods. [199543]

Mr. Tom Harris: The December 2008 timetable optimises the use of network capacity on the west coast main line and uses all of this capacity at peak times between London and Milton Keynes on the fast lines.

Zurich Financial Services

David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much her Department and its predecessors paid to Zurich Financial Services in each year since 1997; and what the purpose of the payment was in each case. [199598]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The Department was formed in May 2002. Since this date the Department has made payments totalling £92,981 to Zurich Financial Services as follows:

Amount (£)


Rent and service charges for a property in Carlisle



Rent and service charges for a property in Carlisle



Rent and service charges for a property in Carlisle



Rent and service charges for a property in Carlisle


Home Department

Binge Drinking

14. Ms Keeble: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment she has made of the effects of the availability of alcohol on levels of binge drinking. [199735]

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Mr. Coaker: The Home Office's review of the alcohol industry's social responsibility standards document and the Department of Health's review of the links between alcohol pricing, promotion and harm will report later in the year and will form the basis of further action to tackle binge drinking and alcohol-related harms.

In addition, as announced in the publication of the first review of the Licensing Act 2003 in March, we will undertake further comprehensive research into post-midnight drinking patterns and their impact on crime and order, and will not hesitate to take the necessary action through new legislation and enforcement measures to tackle this.

Policing: Stop and Search

15. David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps she is taking to enable the police to carry out stop and searches more effectively. [199736]

Mr. McNulty: The Flanagan Review of Policing looked carefully at Stop and Search (and Stop and Account) effectiveness. In line with its views, the Review of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) will propose that, where effective hand-held IT is in use, the lengthy written record at point of contact will no longer be required.

This has the potential to save around 285,000 hours of officers' time per annum, better support intelligence-led policing and speed the process for the public. We are firstly piloting this approach in Stop and Account, with a view to rolling it out nationally later this year. We are also reviewing the guidance on the use of the Stop and Search powers under section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000.

To boost effectiveness, and responding to crime recording management recommendations in the Flanagan Review of Policing, we are looking to combine work on Stop and Account and crime recording to determine how best to consider and use the information collected, and assess its impact on community engagement and confidence. Records obtained from stops should be used to enhance local intelligence.

Crime: York

16. Hugh Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what change there has been in the number of crimes committed in York over the last three years. [199738]

Mr. McNulty: In the last three years total recorded crime in the York Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership area fell from 23,080 to 20,935 offences. This represents a decrease of 9 per cent.

Illegal Immigrants

17. Mr. Evennett: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent estimate she has made of the number of illegal immigrants in the UK. [199740]

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Mr. Byrne: Since the phasing out of embarkation controls in 1994, no government has ever been able to produce an accurate figure for the number of people who are in the country illegally.

By Christmas, our Border Information Systems will count in and out the majority of foreign nationals.

This, together with the fingerprinting of all visa applicants and the issuing of ID cards to foreign nationals creates a far more effective set of controls.

Policing: Information

18. Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans she has to improve the availability of information on local policing resources and performance to local communities. [199741]

Mr. McNulty: Since 2006 police authorities have had a statutory responsibility to produce an annual Local Policing Summary.

In addition, the publication of the Police Performance Assessments for 2007-08, will include assessments of local priorities and resources and efficiency.

The Government are committed to making consistent, monthly local information on crime available which will include data on crime and community safety issues and what local agencies are doing to tackle priorities.

Furthermore, from April 2008 every household across the country now has a dedicated police team to solve local problems. As we move into the next phase of neighbourhood policing, we will be consulting on a new Policing Pledge. Introduced everywhere later this year, it will set out a national standard on what people can expect from the police, underpinned in each area by a set of local priorities, agreed by people in each neighbourhood.

Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000

19. Anne Moffat: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what reports she has received on the progress of police investigations into alleged breaches of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000. [199742]

Mr. McNulty: We have received no reports from the police on the progress of investigations into alleged breaches of the 2000 Act. The regulation of electoral administration, party funding and campaign expenditure law are matters for the independent Electoral Commission working as appropriate with the police and others.

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