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Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether a taxi operating as a bus service under the Transport Act 1985 and licensed as a restricted PSV operator under Part II of the Public Passenger Act 1981 is able to offer concessionary fares under the national concessionary fare scheme; and whether this applies to those with (a) eight seats or more on a timetable and (b) fewer than eight seats or not on a timetable. [201388]

Ms Rosie Winterton: A licensed taxi has to be a vehicle with fewer than nine passenger seats.

To operate as a taxi-bus the licensed taxi's owner has to acquire from the Traffic Commissioner a Special Restricted Public Service Vehicle operator licence (under section 12 of the Transport Act 1985). This enables the vehicle to run a registered bus service (as a taxi-bus) at certain times of the day and be used for conventional taxi work at other times.

The Local Services (Operation by Taxis) Regulations 1986 requires the display of a "bus" sign and prohibits the use of an illuminated taxi sign during the vehicle's use as a taxi-bus.

The Travel Concessions (Eligible Services) Order 2002 describes circumstances where a taxi-bus could be considered an eligible service for concessionary travel. It is for the local Travel Concession Authority to determine whether a taxi-bus service meets the requirements which include:

Departmental Public Participation

Stewart Hosie: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many public consultations were held by her Department in each of the last three years; and how many respondents took part in each consultation. [198634]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The Department undertook the following number of consultations in each of the last three years:








The number of respondents to these consultations varies greatly, from two in the case of our consultation on the “Report on Channel Tunnel Order 2007 to transpose Railway Safety Directive for the UK” to about 70,000 on the “Adding capacity at Heathrow airport—Consultation document” and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Government responses to each consultation, including how many respondents took part in each one, are available on the Department's website at:

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Health Services

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether her Department provides health or social care services out of public funds, with reference to the statement by the Minister of State, Department of Health, in the Health and Social Care Bill Committee, of 17 January 2008, Official Report, column 327. [200227]

Jim Fitzpatrick: Across the Department for Transport there are employee assistance providers who provide support to employees. The service, funded by the Department, provides professional advice, guidance and in some cases counselling sessions for staff who could be facing a variety of personal problems.

The Department also has access to qualified occupational health advisers who provide medical and health related advice that includes advice on sick absence cases, pre-employment health checks, work station assessments and medical check-ups in specific work areas.

Exceptionally, the Department may pay towards the cost of physiotherapy or cognitive behavioural therapy both to assist in the employee's return to work and as a preventative measure. It would need to be clearly demonstrated that the therapy would result in an earlier return to work than would otherwise be the case. In these cases we would work with our occupational health advisers to agree the best course of action.

These professional services and support mechanisms support the Department in its drive to promote employee well-being, reduce sickness absence and facilitate a return to work as soon as possible.


Emily Thornberry: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what estimate she has made of the number of lorries which will be required to comply with European legislation on the retro-fitting of safety mirrors; and how many lorries will be exempt because they were registered before 2000; [201820]

(2) for what reasons the Government do not plan to require older lorries with suitable cabs to have additional safety mirrors fitted; [201821]

(3) what the Government's timetable is to implement European legislation on retro-fitting of safety mirrors to lorries registered in the UK before 2000 in order to meet the deadline of March 2009 stipulated in the relevant Directive. [201822]

Jim Fitzpatrick: There are approximately 419,000 currently registered goods vehicles and 161,000 of these are exempt from the retro-fit requirement because the cab-height is too low for the mirrors to be installed. Around 157,000 vehicles will be upgraded by the retro-fit requirement and the remaining 100,000 are exempt because they were registered prior to 2000.

The Council of Ministers considered an earlier introduction date than 1 January 2000 for the new requirements but concluded that the cost of converting older vehicles would be disproportionate to their remaining life. The Government are therefore implementing the European directive for vehicles registered from this date.

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We are in the process of transposing, the retro-fit directive for existing heavy goods vehicles. This will be enforced from 31 March 2009.

Lorries: Accidents

Mr. Hepburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many accidents involving (a) British and (b) foreign-registered lorries on roads in the UK resulted in (i) fatalities and (ii) injuries in each year since 1997. [202137]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The numbers of reported personal injury road accidents involving (a) British Heavy Goods Vehicles and (b) foreign registered Heavy Goods Vehicles in Great Britain resulting in fatalities and injuries are:

Number of accidents
British HGV( 1) Foreign registered HGV( 1)
Fatalities Injuries( 2) Fatalities Injuries( 2)











(1) HGV = Heavy Goods Vehicle over 3.5 tonnes maximum permissible weight gross vehicle weight (gvw). (2) Injury = serious and slight injury. Note: Where there are accidents involving both British and foreign registered vehicles, they will appear in each of their categories.

Prior to 2005, it was not possible to identify foreign registered Heavy Goods Vehicles separately.


Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport for what reason the M180 was closed on 31 March 2008; on whose authority the closure took place; and what guidance she issues on the appropriate action to be taken in closing motorways following an incident. [201289]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The M180 was closed on 31 March 2008 between junctions 2 and 1 both westbound and eastbound from 9.20 am to 4.36 pm following a fatal accident involving five vehicles.

The M180 was closed by South Yorkshire Police to enable them to manage the incident safely and to facilitate their investigation into the incident.

The Highways Agency's Traffic Officer Service works closely with local police forces when dealing with these incidents, applying the principles set out in the national guidance framework document that was signed by both the Highways Agency and the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) when the Traffic Officer Service was established. The decision as to whether a motorway should be closed is, however, a local one, taking into account factors such as the particular circumstances of the incident, traffic conditions, the safety of the travelling public and the safety of the emergency service personnel involved in dealing with the incident.

Public Transport: Concessions

Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will take steps to provide free local travel to those with long-term mental health conditions. [200673]

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Ms Rosie Winterton: The Transport Act 2000 (or for those resident in London, the Greater London Authority Act 1999) makes provision for statutory concessionary travel to a wide range of disabled people. Categories of disability were drawn up following representation from local government and support from the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee. The people eligible are as follows:

Local authorities are free to offer their residents discretionary concessions over and above the statutory minimum at their own expense. This can include offering concessionary travel to other categories of people, such as those with mental health problems.

We have no plans at present to change the eligibility criteria for statutory concessionary bus travel to include people with long-term mental health conditions.

Radio: Highways Agency

Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much the Highways Agency will spend on radio broadcasting in 2008-09; for what reason such allocations have been made; and if she will make a statement. [201291]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The Traffic Radio project value for 2008-09 is £2.945 million.

The Highways Agency broadcast service, Traffic Radio, has been delivered in line with ministerial commitments and Highways Agency business targets to supply information services to the public.

Alongside its other information services, the aim of Traffic Radio is to supply high quality information to the public, before they travel. This allows them to make an informed decision on when or if to travel and to further consider mode of transport or route. Alerting road users to potential delays or incidents before they set out will help them to avoid those delays, thereby reducing the impact of that delay for all road users.

Traffic Radio is delivered on Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) and the internet to the public in a constant loop allowing listeners to obtain the information, at a time convenient to them. This allows them to make a considered journey choice before setting out.

The business case for the service predicted a positive benefit to the public through reduced congestion. Further benefits are expected with the expansion of DAB and internet radio both at the home and in car.

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Roads: Accidents

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many people aged (a) under 16, (b) between 16 and 25 and (c) over 25 years died in road
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accidents in (i) Lancashire and (ii) England in each of the last five years. [202232]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The information requested is given in the following table:

Number of fatalities by age group resulting from personal injury road accidents in Lancashire and England : 2002-06
Casualty age
Lancashire excl . Blackburn and Blackpool England
0 to 15 16 to 25 26 + Total( 1) 0 to 15 16 to 25 26 + Total( 1)














































(1) Includes missing ages.

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