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25 Apr 2008 : Column 2292Wcontinued
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment she has made of the effects of imports of subsidised biodiesel on domestic production. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: The Government are aware that imports of subsidised biodiesel from the United States are having a negative impact on the competitiveness of the UK biofuel industry. The Government cannot, however, act unilaterally to resolve the problem. We have urged the European Commission to find a solution, and have lobbied the US authorities to make the necessary legislative changes so that US biofuel subsidies are limited to US domestic sales. The Commission has said that it will consider initiating a countervailing duty investigation on receipt of a properly documented complaint from the European biodiesel industry, and is expecting to receive such a complaint imminently.
Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what criminal offences have been created by primary legislation sponsored by her Department since July 2007. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: No new offences have been created by primary legislation sponsored by the Department for Transport since July 2007 and which has been enacted, although the Department is currently sponsoring primary legislation including the Local Road Transport Bill, the current version of which does propose new criminal offences.
Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what criminal offences have been abolished by primary legislation sponsored by her Department and its predecessors since May 1997. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: The following information is that readily available without incurring disproportionate cost.
Merchant Shipping Act offences
Under the Railways and Transport Safety Act 2003 offences under section 117 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1995 were abolished.
Under the Marine Safety Act 2003, offences under section 100D and 139 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1995 were abolished.
S95(5) of the Railways Act 1993 created an offence of failing to comply with a direction given by the Secretary of State to provide information in connection with a transfer scheme. This section was prospectively repealed by s274 of and Schedule 31 to the Transport Act 2000 (although no date has yet been appointed for this repeal to come into force).
Road t ransport related offences
Passenger Vehicles Act 1981 (c . 14)
Section 24(3)(failure to produce a licence within a reasonable time for the purpose of endorsement)
Section 996(11 )(b)(failure to surrender counterpart of Community licence)
Section 66(6)(removal or interference with penalty charge notice)
Section 69(6)(removal or interference with immobilisation notice)
Section 69(7)removal or interference with immobilisation device
Section 70(2)avoidance of immobilisation by wrongful use of disabled person's badge
Section 71(10)false declaration to parking adjudicator
Section 73(14)failure to attend hearing of parking adjudicator
Schedule 6 paragraph 9false representations to parking adjudicator
London Local Authorities Act 2000
Section 14(2)false representations relating to unpaid charges
London Local Authorities and Transport for London Act 2003 (c.3)
Section 5(2)failure to comply with requirements of operator's notice
Section 5(3)false declarations in response to requirements of operator's notice
Schedule 1false representations in relation to penalty charges for road traffic contraventions.
Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many full-time posts were filled on a temporary basis for a period in excess of six months in her Department in each of the last three years. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: The information requested could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what guidance she has given to Network Rail on the priority to be given to track infrastructure improvements to facilitate faster train speeds on the Midland Main Line. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: The Government specified and funded in last year's Rail White Paper the high level improvements in capacity, safety and reliability required by 2014. Network Rail responded with an industry strategic business plan (SBP) to deliver these, which includes an optional enhancement to deliver journey time enhancements through Midland Main Line line-speed improvements.
The independent Office of Rail Regulation is currently reviewing Network Rail's revised SBP, published on 4 April, ahead of the publication of its draft conclusions in June 2008.
Anne Milton: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many vehicles re-licensing applications were not processed by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency within two months of expiry of the last licence in each of the last five years; and how many late licensing penalty notices were issued in respect of the unlicensed vehicles. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: Relicensing applications received electronically are updated on the vehicles database within three days. Manual relicensing applications are processed and the database updated within seven days.
There are no figures for the number of relicensing applications not processed within two months of the expiry of the last licence.
It is therefore not possible to provide the number of late licensing penalty notices that have been issued as a direct result of this. Figures are available for the total number of late licensing penalty notices issued since 2004 to date.
|Late licensing penalty notices issued|
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether the UK will be required to implement the provisions of European legislation requiring vehicles to have their lights on throughout daylight. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: The Government have been successful in preventing the introduction of Europe-wide requirements for drivers of all existing vehicles to use dipped headlamps during the day.
However, from early 2011 new types of passenger car and light van will have to be fitted with low-wattage dedicated daytime running lights (DRLs), in addition to standard vehicle lighting. By summer 2012 new types of buses and large/heavy vehicles will also have to be so fitted. Only new types of vehicle are affected, not those already in use or new vehicles built under existing type approvals.
The requirements arise from revisions to a United Nations-Economic Commission for Europe Regulation. The EU Lighting Directive, by which the UK will be obliged to abide, is imminently expected to be updated to mirror these revisions.
Mr. Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether emissions from shipping will be included in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: The Government would prefer to see the development of a global emissions trading scheme, under the auspices of the International Maritime Organization (IMO). However, until a truly global solution can be found, or if progress within IMO proves too slow, the UK will continue to look at other options to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from ships, including the EU Emissions Trading Scheme.
Because of the world-wide nature of the shipping industry, the Government believe that regional (EU) action should be seen as a stepping stone to future global agreements on international shipping emissions.
Lembit Öpik: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will put in place a procedure by which right hon. and hon. Members would be able to find out the names and addresses of service personnel from their constituencies who have been injured in Iraq or Afghanistan since January 2001; and if he will make a statement. 
Derek Twigg: The paramount aim of MOD policy is the welfare of wounded personnel and their family.
Service personnel and their families may of course contact their MP on any matter and at any time, and the MOD accordingly takes the view that the initiative over contact with the MP should remain with the wounded individual and their family.
Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent assessment he has made of the security situation in Afghanistan. 
The security situation in Afghanistan is stable if fragile in places. The Afghan National Army and troops from the 40-nation International Security Assistance Force have achieved significant tactical success against the Taliban in 2007; this has restricted geographically the ability of the insurgents to conduct
sustained activity. NATO figures show that 91 per cent of insurgent activities have been reported in only eight per cent of the districts during 2008.
Mr. Carswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what procurement process will be used to determine which contractors will be awarded the contract to build the new aircraft carriers; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: As announced by the then Secretary of State for Defence on 14 December 2005, Official Report, column 149WS, the new aircraft carriers will be manufactured in super blocks to be allocated to BAE Systems yards at Govan and Barrow, to VT in Portsmouth and to Babcock in Rosyth, with final assembly of both carriers at Rosyth. The majority of the structure above the hangar deck will be open to competition.
Mr. Mates: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will ask the Armed Forces Pay Review Body to examine (a) entitlements to and (b) payment of service pensions; and if he will make a statement. 
Derek Twigg: The Armed Forces Pay Review Body (AFPRB) periodically value armed forces pensions relative to civilian pensions as part of its remit to have regard for the need for military pay to be broadly comparable with pay levels in civilian life.
In addition, as part of the parliamentary passage of the 2004 Armed Forces Bill, it was agreed that the AFPRB would review the new Armed Forces Pension Scheme 2005being introduced as part of that legislationafter its initial five years of operation in 2010.
These are the only two forms of engagement that are planned between the AFPRB and the Armed Forces Pension Scheme. It would not be appropriate for the AFPRB to undertake the type of detailed examination of the service pension schemes described in the question. The schemes are subject to annual scrutiny by the National Audit Office in terms of overall payment of entitlements and to internal MOD audit procedures in terms of the accuracy of individual pension payments.
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on what date his officials first discussed with Essex local authority schooling for the children of Colchester Garrison; on what subsequent dates discussions have been held; which (a) officials from his Department and (b) officials from Essex local authority attended; which (i) Ministers and (ii) Essex County Councillors were present at these meetings; what the location was of each meeting; and what the subject heading was of each item discussed. 
Derek Twigg: I have agreed to meet with the hon. Member to discuss this issue and will write to him after the meeting.
Substantive answer from Derek Twigg to Bob Russell:
I know you have continued to express your very close interest in the future of Alderman Blaxill School, a local authority school in your constituency, on a number of occasions. I am writing to follow up our meeting on 5 February, and to confirm what was discussedincluding the specific information you requested in your Parliamentary Question of 28 January 2008 (Official Report, column 32W) I am sorry that I have not been able to write soonerand what has happened since. First may I say that I was grateful for your very positive comments about your visit to Afghanistan on the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme and your acknowledgement that, regardless of some media coverage, morale was exceptionally high and the atmosphere among our troops wholly positive.
I hope you found the meeting a good opportunity to pass on your views on the future of Alderman Blaxill School. I reiterate that the best possible education for all children in this country is at the heart of this Government's plans. I made the point to you that the MOD does not lead on education in the UK, although we are responsible for Service schools for children from Service families who are living overseas. For Alderman Blaxill School, it is the local authority that leads but with a responsibility to consult all those with an interest. This includes the local Service community, both through direct consultation and through their representatives in an Armed Forces context, the local chain of command. For that reason I was pleased that Colonel Tony Phillips, the Deputy Garrison Commander in Colchester, and Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) Ray Housley, the Army Welfare Service lead for these matters in Colchester, were able to join us for the meeting. It was clear that there is close contact between you and Colonel Phillips on a range of local issues. This is the right basis of Ministry of Defence (MOD) involvement in an issue like planning for local schools; it is the local chain of command who understand the local conditions and can, on a daily basis, look out for the best interests of their people.
In turn you made some good points about the importance of pastoral support in schools, not least for Service children. I agree with you; that support will need to be strong whatever the shape of education is in Colchester in the future. We may have some good practice to offer here from our experience with Service schools overseas within our Service Children's Education (SCE) Agency. This is being considered by the Service Children In State Schools (SCISS) forum, which is run by and for head teachers from schools in England with a significant population of children from Service families. They are developing a booklet that will offer a range of advice and best practice to schools, so that they can offer the best possible support to Service children. The forum has the support and involvement of both MOD and Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) officials. The guidance will be made widely available, for example through teachernet, the key DCSF online resource for all teaching professionals in England.
At our meeting you heard that Colonel Phillips was fully satisfied with the approach of the local authority on plans for Alderman Blaxill School, in relation to the engagement that had occurred and the consultation that had been planned and undertaken. He felt that Service families had had every opportunity to understand what was being proposed and to comment on it. The MOD cannot, of course, take a central view on all proposals for the future of individual schools in UK. But we do expect there to be good local interaction, so that Service families affected can be confident that their voices can and will be heard. I am confident that this has happened in this case, and I hope you were reassured on that point by Colonel Phillips.
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