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2. maintain a watching brief on issues directly or indirectly affecting the board in the Isle of Man by monitoring activities at Tynwald and the Manx Government; and
3. monitor all UK National and Scottish and Manx newspapers and the Edinburgh Gazette.
The contract payment arrangement is for a flat rate monthly fee. Total payments over the last five years, including payments to Strategy in Scotland who were taken over by Grayling Political Strategy, were as follows:
Rob Marris: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether (a) her Department and (b) her Departments non-departmental public bodies provide (i) tax-free benefits and (ii) other allowances for their staff to purchase bicycles under the Cycle to Work scheme; and if she will make a statement. 
The Department also offers interest free loans up to £1,000 for the purchase of bikes to cycle to work, which is akin to the interest free loans for train season tickets. In addition, a commuter centre is available to staff to encourage greener commuting. The same tax rules apply to benefits in kind provided to employees of Government Departments as to any other employee.
The Civil Aviation Authority, which is a public corporation sponsored by the Department also offers the scheme to its employees. However, none of the Departments non-departmental public bodies offer a cycle to work scheme to its employees. It is for each organisation to determine its own policy with regard to offering the scheme and encouraging greener travel.
Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps her Department has taken to reduce its energy consumption in the last 12 months; and what her Departments expenditure on energy was in (a) the most recent 12 month period for which figures are available and (b) the immediately preceding 12 months. 
The Department for Transport engaged the Carbon Trust to conduct a Carbon Management Programme on the high impact areas of our estate. This was published in December 2007 and identifies a wide
range of measures that can be undertaken to reduce energy consumption. The department is currently developing programmes to implement these recommendations in addition to a number of local initiatives that are already in place.
David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many days it took on average to answer written parliamentary questions tabled by each hon. Member for answer by her in the last six months. 
|Total questions due for answer||Percentage answered within agreed deadlines||Total questions due for answer||Percentage answered on due date|
Jim Fitzpatrick [holding answer 29 April 2008]: The table has been placed in the Libraries of the House which shows the number of practical tests of all types taken at each DSA test centre in England from 1 April 2007 to 31 March 2008. These figures identify the number of tests taken, not the number of candidates. This will include individuals who have taken the test on multiple occasions at the same or different test centres.
Jim Fitzpatrick [holding answer 29 April 2008]: The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) forecasts demand for tests nationally for three years ahead. These figures are published in the agencys business plan for 2008-09. DSA does not make forecasts of test demand for each driving test centre. Candidates are free to choose at which centre they prefer to take their test.
Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what her definition is of most customers as used in the Driving Standards Agency Code of Practice on Driving Consultations, Annex B, paragraph 3. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: The European Regulation on drivers hours (Regulation (EC) No 561/2006) provides a number of automatic exemptions and national derogations. The national derogations granted in Great Britain (GB) are set out in the Community Drivers Hours and Recording Equipment Regulations 2007 (SI 2007/1819).
European Directive 2002/15/EC on the working time of mobile workers (drivers, crew and other travelling staff) operating on vehicles subject to the European Regulation on drivers hours was implemented in GB by the Road Transport (Working Time) Regulations 2005 (SI 2005/639). The Regulations do not apply to mobile workers who only occasionally work in-scope of the rules and self-employed drivers (as defined in the Regulations).
Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether mechanisms are in place to monitor the extent to which her Department's (a) internal and (b) external (i) correspondence and (ii) distribution of publications is carried out electronically. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: We monitor items such as Freedom of Information requests; parliamentary questions; letters from MPs and the public addressed to Ministers; and emails received in email addresses on the Department's website. We do not however carry out systematic quantitative monitoring of general electronic communication from individual email addresses in the department.
Our general aim in correspondence and publishing, both internally and externally, is to reduce paper consumption and to communicate electronically whenever it is both possible and appropriate. The volume of items we publish electronically on the Department's website has grown significantly in recent years.
Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps she is taking to ensure that riders of motorcycles with an engine capacity of under 50cc have undertaken compulsory basic training. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: A motorcycle with an engine capacity of under 50cc is classed as a moped. Learner moped riders must undertake a compulsory basic training course before they can ride on the road. This is a legal requirement specified in the Road Traffic Acts. Once a course has been successfully completed, a rider is issued with a certificate. The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency will update the rear of the persons photocard licence on successful completion of the course to show code 122. Any persons riding on the road who ignore this training requirement are committing an offence and are liable to prosecution.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment she has made of the effect of the introduction of the nationwide concessionary fare scheme on (a) the level of eligibility set by local authorities and (b) the level of access by disabled people. 
The Transport Act 2000 (or for those resident in London, the Greater London Authority Act 1999) makes provision for 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:
any person who:
is blind or partially sighted;
is profoundly or severely deaf;
is without speech;
has a disability, or has suffered an injury, which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his/her ability to walk;
does not have arms or has long-term loss of the use of both arms;
has a learning disability, that is, a state of arrested or incomplete development of mind which includes significant impairment of intelligence and social functioning or;
would, if he/she applied for a grant of a licence to drive a motor vehicle under Part III of the Road Traffic Act 1988, have his/her application refused pursuant to section 92 of the Act (physical fitness) otherwise than on the ground of persistent misuse of drugs or alcohol.
Travel concession authorities (TCAs) continue to be responsible for administering concessionary travel schemes for their residents, assessing eligibility and issuing passes. They remain able to offer travel concessions on a more generous basis than that specified as the statutory minimum.
As the England-wide statutory minimum was introduced on 1 April it is too soon to assess the effect of its introduction, but as part of our monitoring of concessionary travel the Department intends to carry out a survey of TCAs during summer 2008. This may include details of which authorities choose to offer more generous concessions and is due to report in the autumn.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Responsibility for recommending routes via satellite navigation systems lies with system providers. However, the Department for Transport is supporting a Network Management Board sub-group that aims to bring together a wide range of stakeholders to consider how best to address the issue of inappropriate routeing. The Department has also conducted initial public consultation as part of a review of route guidance system issues.
Stephen Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether the new carriages for Thameslink announced on 9th April 2008 are in addition to the new carriages announced in July in the White Paper, Delivering a Sustainable Railway. 
Mr. Tom Harris [holding answer 28 April 2008]: Some of the new vehicles for Thameslink are a component of the 1,300 new vehicles announced in July 2007 in the White Paper Delivering a Sustainable Railway which committed a high level output statement (HLOS) for the railways. However, Thameslink and the HLOS have overlapping timescales. The HLOS vehicles are required to be delivered by March 2014. The final complete fleet of new Thameslink vehicles are required to be in service by December 2015.
By December 2015, the full 1,100 vehicles will be in use on Thameslink routes. This represents a net increase in the number of vehicles on the network, over and above HLOS commitments. The precise number of net, additional vehicles resulting from the Thameslink programme will depend on the contracted delivery profile of the new Thameslink vehicles.
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