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‘Housing properties at current value' denotes properties valued on a five-yearly basis with a review at year three. Valuations in the other years should be done where there is likely to be a material change in valuation. Re-valuation is an expensive exercise and only a minority of associations hold their assets at valuation. In most cases this is the value on a discounted cash flow basis using net rental income over a specified period. This can also undervalue properties compared to open market sales values.

RSLs have a choice between valuing their properties or stating them at historic cost. RSLs in preparing their accounts comply with the Statement of Recommended Practice (SORP) issued by the three national housing federations (England, Wales and Scotland) and franked by the Accounting Standards Board. The SORP authorises that associations can use either method of stating the value of their houses and is neutral as to which they should use.

Information for 1999-2000 to 2003-04 can be obtained from the Global Accounts of Housing Associations which are available on the Housing Corporation's website:

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what her definition of an affordable home in London is; and what the definition was in each of the last five years. [208827]

Mr. Iain Wright: A new definition of affordable housing appears in Planning Policy Statement 3—Housing which was published in November 2006. The definition states that:

Local planning authorities are required to use this definition when preparing plan policies and determining planning applications for housing .

This excludes ‘low cost market’ housing—for example, homes which do not remain affordable on resale.

The new definition was adopted because Government wished to ensure that developer contributions are used to help provide genuinely affordable housing for households in need over the long term.

The London Plan definition (consolidated with alterations since 2004) published in February 2008 is consistent with national policy in Planning Policy Statement 3.

Housing: Regeneration

Jim Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether she has advised housing market renewal pathfinders to accept the guidance on consultation on renewal or regeneration areas in the recent National Audit Office report on pathfinders. [209749]

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Mr. Iain Wright: The Government are awaiting the publication of the report on the Housing Market Renewal programme by the Public Accounts Committee, following its hearing on 19 November 2007. Once they have reviewed the PAC recommendations, the Government will consider what advice they will issue to pathfinders.

Public Places: Smoking

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Health on limitations on where people can smoke in open public spaces, with particular reference to the gardens of public houses. [208997]

Mr. Dhanda: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has had no such discussions.

Wind Power: Housing Market

Lembit Öpik: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment she has made of the effect of the siting of wind turbines on the market price of houses within sight of the turbines; and if she will make a statement. [209589]

Mr. Iain Wright: Communities and Local Government has not made an assessment of the effect the siting of wind turbines has had on the price of houses within sight of the turbines.


Bournemouth Airport: Noise

Mr. Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent noise assessments have been made of Bournemouth International Airport; and how she expects noise levels to change when the airport expands. [208776]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The Secretary of State 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.

The Secretary of State is not responsible for the production of noise contour maps at non-designated airports such as Bournemouth International Airport. The publication of aircraft noise contour maps is a matter for local decision.

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 Bournemouth International Airport produced maps last year. The maps can be viewed on DEFRA's website (

The next stage of implementation of the directive requires airports to produce noise action plans during the course of this year. Under the terms of the directive,
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the airport is required to consult the local community in the preparation of the plan. It is expected that this will primarily be through engagement with the local airport consultative committee.

Departmental Pay

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many and what proportion of employees in her Department who received a performance-related bonus at their last appraisal were (a) male, (b) female, (c) from an ethnic minority, (d) disabled and (e) not heterosexual; and if she will make a statement. [208372]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The Department for Transport are currently in the process of conducting performance management reviews and allocating any applicable bonuses. This process is likely to come to a conclusion in late July 2008.


Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what her most recent estimate is of the percentage of the rail network that has been electrified. [209328]

Mr. Tom Harris: 39 per cent. of the network is electrified.


Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much food waste her Department generated in each of the last five years; and if she will make a statement. [208145]

Jim Fitzpatrick: Within the Department, on-site catering services are available only at the Department's main HQ in London, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) sites in Swansea, the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) residential training facility in Bedfordshire and at the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) HQ in Bristol.

The requested information is not recorded at our London HQ nor is it recorded at the VOSA HQ in Bristol.

The DVLA estimates that total food purchases in 2008-09 will generate 0.7 per cent. of waste. This figure accounts only for wastage during the food preparation and service; it does not include any customer generated wastage.

The DSA estimates that the residential training centre in Bedfordshire produces 1200kg of food wastage on an annual basis.


Mr. Morley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what percentage of domestic heavy-goods vehicle trade was accounted for by non-UK registered and operated vehicles in the last 12 months. [208350]

Jim Fitzpatrick: Data for the last 12 months are not available. The latest available data, published by
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Eurostat for 2006, show that 1.1 per cent. of domestic road freight activity was transported by non-UK registered vehicles.

M25: Repairs and Maintenance

Mr. Blunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will take steps to ensure the maintenance scheme on the drainage system on the M25 between junctions 8 and 9 close to Walton on the Hill includes provision to replace the concrete surface with a quieter surface. [209513]

Mr. Tom Harris: Generally, the concrete carriageway on the M25 between junctions 8 and 9 close to Walton on the Hill is in good condition and will not require resurfacing for maintenance needs within the period of the Highways Agency’s current five-year forward programme.

The proposed drainage scheme on this section of the M25 is in the Highways Agency’s current five-year forward programme. The timing of the scheme will be reviewed against competing priorities for funding as part of the Highways Agency’s value management process.

Therefore the drainage scheme will not include provision to replace the concrete surface with a quieter surface. However, when the carriageway does need to be resurfaced, a quieter surfacing will be used as a matter of course.

Motor Vehicles: Excise Duties

Sir Michael Spicer: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many cars in Worcestershire have been registered in bands F and G since (a) 1 March 2001 and (b) 23 March 2006. [209519]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The numbers of licensed cars registered in Worcestershire at the end of 2007 with carbon dioxide emissions equivalent to the present Band F (186 to 225 g/km) and Band G (over 225 g/km) were as follows:

186 to 225 g/km Over 225 g/km

Registered between 1 March 2001 and 31 December 2007



Registered between 23 March 2006 and 31 December 2007



Cars with carbon dioxide emissions greater than 225 g/km are taxed in Band F if they were first registered between 1 March 2001 and 23 March 2006.

Motor Vehicles: Safety

Mr. Martlew: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans she has to introduce legislative proposals to make daytime running lamps compulsory for all motor vehicles; and if she will make a statement. [209352]

Jim Fitzpatrick: A directive requiring daytime running lamps on new types of vehicle from early 2011 was recently adopted by European member states.

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The directive will require that from early 2011 new types of passenger car/light van are fitted with low-wattage dedicated daylight running lamps (DRL). These will automatically activate when the engine is started. By summer 2012, buses and large/heavy vehicles will also have to be fitted. This will apply to new vehicle types, not to existing vehicles or new vehicles built under existing approvals.

The Government have no plans to introduce additional legislation on this matter.

Public Transport

Dr. Palmer: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport with reference to the Answer from Lord Bassam of Brighton on 2 June 2008, Official Report, column 26-8WA, on transport: tram trains, where and when the second phase of the trial will be held. [209852]

Mr. Tom Harris: The first phase of the tram train trial will start in 2010 and it will take two years to test the technical and operational feasibility of tram train and gather the necessary data to understand the costs and benefits. Subject to successful completion of the first phase there is an option for a second phase to use the Sheffield Supertram network to see what additional benefits the vehicles can deliver when extended onto city centre tram lines.

Railways: Fares

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the cost of a standard rail fare was from Cardiff to Bangor in each of the last 12 years. [209846]

Mr. Tom Harris: The Department for Transport does not hold information for every year of the last 12. The Office of Rail Regulation publishes a summary of key fares data in its National Rail Trends publication, available from the ORR website:

However, within the manuals and systems to which we have access we can say that the saver return from Cardiff to Bangor (without restriction on time of travel) was £63.10 in 1996, and £68 in 2008. This is a considerable saving in real terms.

Mrs. Ellman: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) on how many occasions she has (a) held discussions with a train operating company in respect of the operation of their penalty fare scheme and (b) withdrawn permission for a train operating company penalty fare scheme; [209879]

(2) what arrangements she has made for monitoring the operation of penalty fare schemes. [209880]

Mr. Tom Harris: Any operator with an Approved Penalty Fares Scheme is obliged to supply the Secretary of State with

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The Department for Transport has regular contacts with all the train operators who have Approved Penalty Fares Schemes, and with the Approved Penalty Appeals Services providers.

It has not been necessary to use the powers provided for in line with section 130 of the 1993 Railways Act, and regulation 11 of the Railways (Penalty Fare) Regulations 1994, Section 10 of the 2002 Penalty Fares Rules to formally prevent any scheme operator either partially or fully from charging penalty fares.

Railways: Franchises

Stephen Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what mechanisms her Department uses to determine the duration of rail franchises; [208314]

(2) what recent representations she has received from the rail industry on the optimum duration of franchises; [208318]

(3) what estimate she has made of the optimum duration of rail franchises; and what the evidential basis of this estimate is. [208319]

Mr. Tom Harris: The Department for Transport makes a judgment about the appropriate length of each franchise while the specification is being developed. The key factors will usually be milestones in the wider franchising programme, and the impact of any major rail projects. The new South Central franchise is planned as a five-year, 10-month franchise, ending in July 2015, with a further possible two-year extension at the department's discretion. This gives maximum flexibility to the Department to align the end dates of the Thameslink Greater Northern and South Central franchises with the completion of major infrastructure work on the Thameslink Programme, and any major franchise remapping that may result.

The Department consulted franchise owning-groups on the length of the South Central franchise. Responses were mixed, with some preferring a short franchise with relatively high levels of certainty about the outputs, and others preferring a longer franchise, where the impact of the Thameslink Programme on the business would be dealt with as the franchise progressed.

Franchise length is decided on a case-by-case basis. However recent franchises have generally been around seven to 10 years in length, with the last part of the franchise dependent on achieving performance targets. This is a balance: it provides operators with an incentive to plan in the medium term, but allows the Department to return regularly to the market to seek value for the taxpayer and further improvements for passengers.

Stephen Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment her Department has made of the effect of the length of franchises on (a) the performance of train-operating companies and (b) the ability of train-operating companies to undertake expenditure to improve services. [208316]

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