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Departmental Vetting

Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether (a) UK citizens born in the UK, (b) UK citizens born abroad and (c) foreign nationals recruited into his Department and its agencies are subject to (i) UK and (ii) overseas criminal record checks; and if he will make a statement. [206473]

Bridget Prentice: In line with Government protocols, the Baseline Personnel Security Standard is applied as a minimum to everyone who makes an application to work in the Ministry of Justice. The Baseline Personnel Security Standard has been in effect from April 2007, where members of the public applying for employment within MOJ are asked to provide information and documentation to confirm their identity, employment or educational history, nationality and immigration status and criminal record (unspent convictions only).

However, some posts may require a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) disclosure at standard or enhanced level, dependant on the nature and sensitivity of the post. The CRB cannot currently access overseas criminal records or other relevant information as part of its disclosure service. Where a lack of UK residence makes it impossible to carry out meaningful checks in the UK, Departments are advised to require prospective employees to provide official and verifiable overseas police certificates obtained from the country or countries of residence (where these are available). A Steering Group, chaired by the Home Office, is taking forward work to improve access to overseas convictions.

Prisoners Release: Overdoses

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the answer of 19 May 2008, Official Report, columns 68-9W, on prisoners release: overdoses, what initiatives are in place to reduce the risk of drug-related deaths following release from prison; how the effectiveness of those initiatives is measured; for what reasons data showing the number of ex-offenders who die from a heroin overdose within a fortnight of leaving prison are not routinely collected; and if he will make it his policy to collect such data. [207703]

Mr. Hanson: Prisons have in place a comprehensive drug treatment framework, many elements of which are designed to reduce the risk of drug-related deaths on release from prison:

The CARAT service is subject to regular audit for effectiveness. A major research strategy is planned on the effectiveness of the integrated drug treatment system. The National Offender Management Service (NOMS) has also conducted research studies into drug-related death.

There is no single case tracking system that follows individuals across community-criminal justice system treatment boundaries nor linked to the National Programme on Substance Abuse Deaths (npSAD). There are also significant delays inherent in the process for recording causes of death. Instead, NOMS relies on research studies to produce trend data.

NOMS together with the National Treatment Agency is exploring the feasibility of introducing into prisons the National Drug Treatment Monitoring System. This offers the potential of obtaining a better picture of treatment outcomes but would not capture ex-offenders who died while not engaged in treatment.

Young Offender Institutions: Mental Health Services

Mrs. Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the answer of 8 May 2008, Official Report, column 1151W, on young offender institutions: mental health services, which young offender institutions do not provide child and adolescent mental health support (CAMHS) on site; and which institutions in England provide CAMHS treatment for inmates from young offender institutions in (a) England and (b) Wales. [207367]

Mr. Hanson: All young offender institutions (YOIs) in England have access to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) at Tiers 1 to 3,
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delivered on site, by a range of staff including primary health care staff, education staff, youth justice workers, psychologists, prison officers, child and adolescent psychiatrists, social workers, clinical psychologists.

Tier 4 CAMHS, the level of service for children and young people with serious problems who require highly specialised in-patient treatment, will usually be delivered off-site.

The Secure Forensic Mental Health Service for Young People oversees in-patient treatment and referrals to seven specialist NHS secure hospital units for under-18s throughout England. These are: Roycroft (Newcastle), Gardener (Manchester), Ardenleigh (Birmingham), Bill Yule (Beckenham, South London), Wells Unit (Middlesex), Malcolm Arnold Unit (Northampton) and Bluebird House (Southampton).

The commissioning of secondary/tertiary care health services to YOIs based in Wales is the responsibility of the Welsh Assembly Government/NHS Wales.


Climate Change

11. Phil Wilson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment she has made of the potential contribution that extending rail services can make to tackling climate change; and if she will make a statement. [207981]

Mr. Tom Harris: Rail generally performs well from a carbon perspective. The average carbon emissions from someone travelling by car are roughly double those of someone travelling by train.

Extending train services will result in an increase in rail carbon emissions from the longer or additional trains operated. However, because some of the passengers attracted to the new services would otherwise have driven a car for the trip, this increase will be partly offset by a reduction in carbon emissions from road traffic.

Rail Passenger Security

12. David Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps her Department is taking to improve the personal security of railway passengers. [207982]

Mr. Tom Harris: The railway is a low crime environment with around 120 offences per million passengers. The British Transport Police's crime statistics for 2007-08 show that for the fourth year running, crime is down 11 per cent. despite 1.2 billion passengers travelling on the network, the highest numbers since the war.

Concessionary Fares

13. Jon Trickett: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will consider the merits of providing carers and companions of disabled people with the same concessionary fares as those that they are caring for or accompanying are entitled to. [207983]

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Ms Rosie Winterton: There are no plans at present to extend statutory concessionary travel to include carers or companions of disabled people. Local authorities have an existing flexibility to offer enhancements such as this to their residents. The scheme in the hon. Member's constituency does this by offering a companion pass to its eligible disabled residents.

19. Martin Horwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether she has considered the merits of a national concessionary bus far scheme for young people. [207990]

Ms Rosie Winterton: At present, there are no proposals to make concessionary travel a statutory entitlement for young people. Any extensions to the scope of the statutory minimum would bring with them associated costs and would require careful consideration of the full impacts.


14. Christine Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps her Department is taking to improve the safety of cyclists on roads. [207984]

Jim Fitzpatrick: Measures to improve the safety of cyclists on roads include providing better infrastructure, funding cycle training, improved training and testing for motorists and encouraging cyclists to protect themselves, by making themselves conspicuous and by wearing a safety helmet.

Other initiatives such as anti-drink-drive and speeding campaigns and the provision of 20 mph zones can also contribute to cyclist safety. Earlier this year we announced an extra £140 million over the next three years to promote more cycling, some of which will be for cycle training and some for providing more safe routes to schools, as well as supporting more cycle demonstration towns.

Driving Education

15. Mrs. Humble To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions she has had with the Department for Children, Schools and Families on young people learning about driving in schools. [207985]

Jim Fitzpatrick: As part of developing our plans for a foundation certificate for safe road use contained in our Learning to Drive consultation, published on 7 May 2008, the Secretary of State for Transport met the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families on 5 November 2007 and her officials had discussions with officials in his Department.

St. Pancras

16. Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment she has made of the effect of the opening of the high speed rail service from St. Pancras on the proportion of passengers choosing to travel to cities on the continent of Europe by (a) rail and (b) air. [207986]

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25. Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment her Department has made of the effect of the opening of the high speed rail link to St. Pancras on the proportion of passengers choosing to use (a) rail and (b) air transport from the UK to destinations on the continent of Europe. [207996]

Mr. Tom Harris: The opening of the high speed rail service from St. Pancras has been a success. Eurostar report a 21.3 per cent. rise in passenger numbers in the first quarter of 2008 compared with the same quarter last year.

The Department has not made any formal assessment of the modal shift that this represents. It is nevertheless likely that some at least of the increase will be due to passengers switching from air to rail.

Community Transport Groups

17. Mr. Anthony Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans she has to help community transport groups extend the range of services they offer. [207988]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Local Transport Bill, currently awaiting Report stage, contains provisions that would give greater flexibility over the size of vehicle used by community transport groups, and remove the restriction on paying drivers of vehicles used to provide community bus services.

West Coast Main Line

18. Tony Lloyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent discussions she has had with Network Rail on the quality of service on the west coast main line. [207989]

Mr. Tom Harris: I continue to press Network Rail about performance across the network. Officials are investigating the performance issues and I will be seeking an update from Network Rail at the next Performance Delivery Group meeting on 18 June. The group is an industry-wide body that I chair which meets on a four weekly basis.

Rail Freight

20. Kelvin Hopkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will make an assessment of the merits of further spending on rail freight stock capacity; and if she will make a statement. [207991]

Mr. Tom Harris: We have no plans to make an assessment of the merits of further spending on rail freight rolling stock. The acquisition of such equipment is a commercial matter for the private sector train companies that operate rail freight services.

Driving Tuition

21. Ms Dari Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 7 May 2008, Official Report, columns 34-36WS, on learning to drive, what estimate her Department has
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made of the change in costs for learner drivers arising from the implementation of her proposals on driver training and testing. [207992]

Jim Fitzpatrick: Our aim is to develop more effective and efficient driver training and testing arrangements to improve road safety without increasing the average cost of learning to drive which we estimate currently to be some £1,500. Estimates of cost are included in the partial impact assessment published alongside the consultation document.


22. Sarah McCarthy-Fry: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what support her Department provides for employers who wish to encourage their workforce to cycle to work. [207993]

Ms Rosie Winterton: We encourage people to cycle to work through a range of initiatives aimed at creating a cycling culture. We have helped the cycle industry develop the ‘Cycle to Work’ scheme which takes advantage of a tax exemption to provide bikes for staff to cycle to work and offers a way to cut substantially the cost of bikes to employees. We have also published guidance for employers on how they can encourage cycling among their staff in our “Essential Guide to Travel Planning” and are promoting cycling to employers through our ‘National Business Travel Network’.

Nationally, we are supporting Cycling England with £140 million over three years to increase levels of cycling. These include our six cycling demonstration towns; a further 10 demonstration towns and one city which we hope to announce before the autumn; the new cycling training scheme ‘Bikeability’ to give the next generation the skills and confidence to ride their bikes on today’s roads; and providing guidance to local authorities on the design of cycling infrastructure.

Bus Services

23. Ms Angela C. Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when she expects proposals for new quality contracts for bus services to be implemented. [207994]

Ms Rosie Winterton: It is for local transport authorities to bring forward quality contracts schemes for bus services, either under existing legislation or under the provisions as amended by the Local Transport Bill, if enacted.

Rail Services

24. Jessica Morden: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps her Department is taking to encourage rail companies to improve the performance of connecting services. [207995]

Mr. Tom Harris: The franchise agreements with the train operators specify that they must co-operate with other operators when developing their timetables to enable passengers to make connections. Train operators make best endeavours to aid passengers with connecting services, with particular focus given to services operating infrequently and to the last train services each day.

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Airport Security

Alistair Burt: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent assessment she has made of levels of airport security; and if she will make a statement. [207975]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The measures in the National Aviation Security Programme exist to safeguard passengers from terrorism. They must be effective and proportionate to the evolving threat and minimise burdens on passengers and the industry. These measures are kept under constant review in close co-operation with the industry.

Aviation: Hampshire

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will publish the noise maps for each airfield in Hampshire; and when each (a) was last and (b) will next be updated. [207498]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The Secretary of State for Transport publishes annual aircraft noise contour maps for the three London airports (Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted) which are designated under section 80 for the purposes of section 78 of the Civil Aviation Act 1982 for noise control purposes. These follow the standard UK practice of producing aircraft noise contours for the average summer’s day (Leq 16 hour, 07.00-23.00) where ‘summer’ is the 92-day period from 16 June to 15 September.

The Secretary of State is not responsible for the production of noise contour maps at non-designated airports. The publication of aircraft noise contour maps is a matter for local decision. Individual airports will need to have regard to local circumstances, including requirements under planning conditions/agreements.

Under the European Environmental Noise Directive (END) 2002/49/EC, member states are required to produce strategic noise maps every five years for the main sources of environmental noise, including major airports with more than 50,000 movements (a movement being a take-off or landing) per year. The relevant UK airports including Southampton produced maps last year. The maps can be viewed on the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs website:

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