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Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what considerations underlay the decisions to introduce permits under the Traffic Management Act 2004; what baseline data she plans to collect in respect of these permits; and whether she plans to review the operation of these permits. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: The Government wanted to provide local authorities with additional tools for managing works on their road network and minimising unnecessary disruption to road users. Permit schemes can accomplish this by enabling traffic managers to positively control all works activities carried out on their network by both utility companies and highway authorities, in the interests of road users.
The Department is committed to reviewing permit schemes and we will do this after the first full year of scheme operation. This review will provide evidence to determine whether permit schemes are delivering the expected benefits and whether permit fee levels are appropriate.
The data required to establish the baseline in respect to permit schemes will be taken from the noticing information exchanged between highway authorities and statutory undertakers, together with additional information recorded on highway authorities' local registers.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what specific matters her Departments Environment Directorate is examining in pursuance of their sub-objective to tackle the climate change impacts of transport through putting a price on carbon. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: The functions of the Environment and International Directorate of the Department for Transport include the management of the Departments programme on climate change and the delivery of certain, but not all, individual policy elements of that programme. Some specific matters which bear upon the price of carbon in relation to transport are:
fiscal measures such as fuel duty, vehicle excise duty, and company car tax (taxation policy is a matter for the Chancellor);
mandatory European targets for new car CO2 emissions, the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation, European biofuel regulations;
inclusion of transport in emissions trading schemes at both global and regional levels e.g. through the International Maritime Organisation, the International Civil Aviation Organisation, the European Union;
taking account of the shadow price of carbon in transport appraisal and decision making.
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to the answer of 28 March 2006, Official Report, columns 920-21W, on council tax, whether she (a) has made and
(b) plans to make changes to the operation of student council tax exemption for grant calculation purposes. 
John Healey: I announced the 2008-09 and provisional 2009-10 and 2010-11 settlements on the 24 January 2008. The taxbase projections used in the calculation of these settlements reflect a change to use the average of student council tax exemption numbers from counts as at 31 May 2007 and 8 October 2007, rather than use a count solely as at 8 October 2007. The full calculation is shown in the Local Government Finance Report (England) 2008-09 (HC262) approved by the House on 4 February 2008.
Rob Marris: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government 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. 
Mr. Dhanda: The Department for Communities and Local Government does not currently offer a Cycle to Work scheme to its employees. Nor does it offer any other tax-free benefits in kind to encourage green commuting. The same tax rules apply to benefits in kind provided to employees of Government Departments as to any other employee.
John Healey: The DigiTV Project began in 2002 as part of the then ODPM's Local eGovernment Programme. Although this programme and the Department's involvement ended in April 2006, DigiTV continues under the ownership of Kirklees council. It is currently being used to deliver local services via digital television and mobile phones to citizens in 74 local authority areas.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what plans the Valuation Office Agency has to use data from energy performance certificates on non-domestic dwellings to inform non-domestic rates valuations. 
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will place in the Library copies of the original datasets used to calculate the geographical barriers sub-domain in the English Indices of Deprivation 2000, including data for
each electoral ward of (a) road distance to a general practitioner surgery, (b) road distance to a general store or supermarket, (c) road distance to a primary school and (d) road distance to a post office or sub post office. 
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the average dwelling size of new homes was (a) in the latest period for which figures are available and (b) in each previous year for which figures are available; and whether such figures are broken down by (i) social and (ii) private sector dwellings. 
Mr. Iain Wright: We do not have information on dwelling size but do have data on numbers of bedrooms. The following table shows the proportions of new build completions in England by number of bedrooms for private dwellings and registered social landlord dwellings. The information is presented as proportions not absolute numbers because number of bedrooms has been collected centrally for only about half of the new build activity since 2001-02.
|Proportion of dwellings by tenure and number of bedrooms|
|Percentage of all dwellings|
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