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Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport on what dates since 1 January 2007 (a) Ministers and (b) officials from her Department met representatives from (i) Stagecoach, (ii) First Group, (iii) Go-Ahead and (iv) Arriva on departmental premises to discuss bus-related matters. 
Ms Rosie Winterton [holding answer 1 May 2008]: Ministers and officials have met representatives from these companies on many occasions on departmental premises since 1 January 2007 to discuss bus-related matters. In addition, the Bus Partnership Forum, which includes Ministers and representatives of these companies, has met on 19 March 2007, 10 July 2007, 15 November 2007 and 16 May 2008. On 19 March 2008, the Secretary of State and the Minister of State held a meeting which included representatives of these companies.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) how many full-time equivalent officials are working on matters related to the determination of operator appeals connected with the national concessionary bus fare scheme; and what the average length of time has been between submission of appeal and determination; 
(3) what percentage of appeals have been decided (a) fully and (b) partly in favour of bus operators in respect of the 2007 national concessionary bus fare scheme; and how much has been awarded to bus operators to date; 
Ms Rosie Winterton
[holding answer 19 May 2008]: There are the equivalent of around four full-time officials working on matters relating to the determination of bus operator appeals, including legal and economic specialists. There were also two independent decision makers appointed
on behalf of the Secretary of State for Transport for the 2007-08 appeals although neither works full time. The average length of time between appeal submission and issue of a determination was 10 months. The issues are complex and it is imperative that each appeal is considered fairly, and this takes time.
The Secretary of State has not made any assessment of the consistency of the appeal decisions. Determinations of appeals are made by independent decision makers appointed on her behalf. They consider each case on the basis of the evidence submitted by each applicant and the relevant travel concession authority (TCA), with professional economic and legal advice from officials in the Department.
Appeals determinations in the year 2007-08 were either upheld, in which case the decision makers directed the TCA to modify their schemes to award additional reimbursement to the operator, or they were dismissed. To date, for 2007-08 appeals, 33 were upheld and 34 were dismissed. The decision makers are appointed to determine whether or not the arrangements in a TCAs concessionary travel scheme are appropriate with respect to reimbursement for the services provided by the applicant operator. Based on estimates of outturn data, around £6.5 million additional reimbursement was directed to be paid, in total, to operators whose appeals were successful in 2007-08.
There were 102 appeals by bus operators regarding reimbursement arrangements in 2007-08, of which, 25 were withdrawn and three were not valid. Of the remaining 74, to date, 67 have been determined. The following is a list of operators who lodged appeals. Some operators had lodged appeals in more than one TCA. Two appeals have so far been lodged against 2008-09 schemes.
Anglian Bus and Coach Ltd.
Arriva North East Ltd.
Bournemouth Transport Ltd.
Bowers Coaches Ltd.
Brighton and Hove Transport
Brylaine Travel Ltd.
Burtons Coaches Ltd.
Castleways (Winchcombe) Ltd.
Compass Travel (Sussex) Ltd.
D and G Coach and Bus Ltd.
East Kent Road Car Ltd. (Stagecoach in East Kent)
East Midland Motor Services Ltd.
Eastbourne Buses Ltd.
Excel Passenger Logistics Ltd.
F. Hunt (Coach Hire) Ltd.
First Devon and Cornwall Ltd., jointly with First Hampshire and Dorset Ltd. and First Somerset and Avon Ltd.
First Hampshire and Dorset Ltd.
First PMT Ltd.
First South Yorkshire Ltd.
Go West Midlands Ltd.
Hants and Dorset Bus (Damory Coaches)
Hodson Coaches Ltd.
Konect Bus Ltd.
Leicester City Bus (First Leicester)
Lincolnshire Road Car (Stagecoach in Lincolnshire)
MAS Special Engineering Ltd.
Midland Red South Ltd. (Stagecoach in Warwickshire)
Norfolk Green (Go West)
North Shropshire Community Transport Ltd.
Northampton Transport Ltd. (First Northampton)
Nu-Venture Coaches Ltd.
Oxford Bus Co.
P. C. Coaches of Lincoln Ltd.
Plymouth City Transport
Powells Bus Ltd.
Pulham and Sons (Coaches) Ltd.
Red and White Services Ltd. (Stagecoach in South Wales)
Sleafordian Taxi Co. Ltd.
Solent Blue Line
Stagecoach East Midlands
Stagecoach in Cambridgeshire (Cambus)
Stagecoach in Lincolnshire
Stagecoach in Oxfordshire
Stagecoach in Yorkshire
Stagecoach North West
Stephensons of Essex Ltd.
T. M. Travel Ltd.
Thames Travel (Wallingford) Ltd.
Trent Barton Buses
United Counties Omnibus Co. Ltd. (Stagecoach East)
W. H. Nelson Coaches (Wickford) Ltd.
West Midlands Travel Ltd.
Wilfreda Luxury Coaches Ltd.
Wilts and Dorset Bus
Stewart Hosie: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what consultants have been contracted by her Department to conduct public participation activities in the last three years; and how much expenditure her Department has incurred on each such contract to date. 
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the criteria are for determining driving test centre (a) location, (b) relocation and (c) closure; what (i) primary and (ii) secondary legislation governs such considerations; what changes have been made to each enactment; what recent representations she has received on the location of driving test centres; and if she will make a statement. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: When considering the location, relocation or closure of a driving test centre, the Driving Standards Agency follows the Code of Practice on Written ConsultationsDriving Test Centres. This is a ministerially agreed document which is available from the DSA website. The current service levels for travelling distance to a practical car driving test centre are:
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There is no legislation that governs the location, relocation or closure of driving test centres. These are administrative matters for DSA. The Agency takes account of the views of Ministers when formulating policy on driving test centre location and closures. Since May 2007 DSA has received the following representations on the location of driving test centres:
Two adjournment debates regarding the closures of Trowbridge and Minehead driving test centres.
10 parliamentary questions on driving test centre location since November 2007.
317 letters regarding the future or closure of a driving test centre.
Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what comparative assessment her Department has made of the effects on driving ability of consumption of (a) cannabis and (b) alcohol; and if she will make a statement; 
Jim Fitzpatrick: The Department has investigated the combined effects of cannabis and low amounts of alcohol. The report The influence of cannabis and alcohol on driving was published in 2002 by TRL Ltd (formerly the Transport Research Laboratory) and is available free on-line as report TRL 547 at:
Mr. Fallon: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much has been allocated to the Highways Agency for noise reduction measures in each of the three financial years from 2008-09; and what proportion of the Highways Agency's budget this represents in each year. 
Mr. Tom Harris: The Highways Agency's budget includes an annual £5 million ring-fenced allocation for noise mitigation measures in the most serious and pressing cases, where practical and cost-effective measures can be provided. These measures are applied to the entire strategic road network. This annual allocation for noise mitigation is scheduled to continue until the end of the current spending review period i.e. 2010-11.
Noise mitigation measures are also included in the agency's improvement schemes, where warranted, as it is more cost-effective to do this work concurrently with other scheme works. The cost of these works is subsumed within the overall cost of the individual schemes making it difficult to extract the exact figure allocated to noise mitigation without a disproportionate commitment of resources.
Additionally low noise surfacing materials are used as a matter of course when major maintenance is required on the strategic road network. As the noise reduction results are a secondary benefit it would be inappropriate to assign costs from resurfacing to noise reduction alone.
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent discussions she has held with the Civil Aviation Authority on publication of the Western Airspace Extension review for Luton Airport. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: Following the introduction of revised airspace arrangements at London Luton Airport in May 2006, the CAA conducted a post-implementation (operational) review in accordance with the requirements of the Airspace Charter and Airspace Change Process (Stage 7). The post-implementation review was published on 31 January 2008. There is no requirement within the Airspace Charter or Airspace Change Process for the CAA to engage with the Secretary of State for Transport in respect of operational reviews and no such discussions took place.
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether any Highways Agency road
building contracts are the subject of investigation by the Office of Fair Trading. 
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