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15 Sep 2008 : Column 2058W—continued

Official Cars: Exhaust Emissions

Jo Swinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps have been taken to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the Government’s fleet of ministerial cars; and what steps she plans to take in the future. [223492]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The Government Car and Despatch Agency is responsible for providing ministerial cars. Each year since 2005-06, the Agency have been set a target to reduce the average tailpipe emissions of CO2 from its fleet. In April 2005, the ministerial fleet average was 204.92 grams per kilometre (g/km). In March 2008, the fleet average was 145.2 g/km, a reduction of over 29 per cent. The Agency is exploring ways of getting the whole of the ministerial fleet to an average of 130 g/km in line with the Government’s target for the whole Government fleet of 130 g/km by 2012.

Official Cars: Taxation

Jo Swinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether the ministerial car fleet is subject to the standard road tax regime. [223491]

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Jim Fitzpatrick: In line with all other Crown vehicles, the entire fleet of vehicles operated by the Government Car and Despatch Agency is exempt from paying vehicle and excise duty.

Public Transport: Access

Jon Trickett: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment she has made of the accessibility of public transport to people with macular degeneration; what steps her Department is taking to improve such accessibility; and if she will make a statement. [223552]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 1995 contains provisions which allow for regulations to be made setting out how the accessibility needs of disabled people must be met. This includes the needs of visually impaired people, such as those with macular degeneration.

The Public Service Vehicles Accessibility Regulations 2000 were introduced under powers granted to Government under part 5 of the DDA 1995. From 31 December 2000, the regulations have required that new full size buses used on scheduled or local services be accessible to disabled people. The regulations include facilities such as visual contrast on step edges for the visually impaired.

The Rail Vehicle Accessibility Regulations came into force on 1 November 1998 and applied to all new rail vehicles entering service after 31 December 1998. The regulations specify features including audible destination announcements, audible door closure warnings and control buttons identifiable by touch.

Railways: Contracts

Sir John Stanley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will place in the Library a copy of the response by Passenger Focus to her Department’s South Central Franchise Consultation document of May 2008. [223610]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Copies of the Passenger Focus response to the South Central Franchise Consultation document have been placed in the Libraries of the House.

Railways: Electrification

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate she has made of the cost of electrifying one mile of railway. [223649]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The cost of electrifying the railway network is currently estimated at around £800,000 per single track mile (£500,000 per single track kilometre) dependent on the complexity and constraints of the particular line.


Mr. Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment her Department has made of the likely effects of using lane space for (a) hard shoulder running, (b) car share lanes and (c) tolled lanes. [223497]

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Ms Rosie Winterton: In March, a report was made to the Secretary of State on the feasibility, costs and benefits of extending advanced signalling and traffic management techniques more widely across the motorway network. This looked at hard shoulder running and also considered the potential that a more managed motorway environment would offer for other traffic management approaches, for example car share lanes and tolled lanes. Car share and tolled lanes have worked well in other countries and we are exploring how well they could work on our motorways.

The Feasibility Study can be found on the Department for Transport's website at:

Following that the Secretary of State commissioned a more detailed study to appraise the various options for managing our motorways more effectively in locations identified across the network. This work is due to be complete by the end of the year.

Roads: Litter

Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much was spent by the Highways Agency on litter collection from land for which it is the responsible authority in each of the last 10 years. [223665]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Section 89 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 places a duty on the Highways Agency to remove litter from motorways in England. Responsibility for removing litter from the all purpose trunk road network, with the exception of DBFO managed roads, lies with local authorities.

Litter collection on motorways is one of the numerous duties carried out as part of the Highway's Agency's routine maintenance function and costs for individual activities are not recorded separately. It is therefore not possible to provide costs for litter collection.

Roads: Tolls

Mr. Crausby: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what representations she has received on the proposed congestion charge in the Greater Manchester area from organisations and residents (a) in Bolton, (b) in Greater Manchester and (c) elsewhere. [223378]

Ms Rosie Winterton [holding answer 10 September 2008]: Greater Manchester’s Transport Innovation Fund bid has been discussed in a number of meetings at which Ministers and officials of the Department for Transport have been present. We have also received correspondence on the subject from individuals and organisations within and outside Greater Manchester.

Speed Limits: Cameras

Mr. Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent discussions her Department has had with the Derbyshire Road Safety Partnership on proposals to introduce unmarked speed cameras. [223498]

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Jim Fitzpatrick: The Department understands that Derbyshire Road Safety Partnership has recently used an unmarked vehicle to deploy mobile speed camera enforcement to target speeding motorcyclists. The county has suffered from a high number of motorcyclists being killed and seriously injured, currently accounting for 30 per cent. of all people killed and seriously injured on the roads. The unmarked vehicle is used on some of Derbyshire’s most dangerous roads and is one of the many tools the partnership use to try to reduce motorcycle casualties. Initial feedback suggests that there has been a considerable reduction in speeding as a result of this covert enforcement.

Since 1 April 2007, the deployment of safety cameras has been the responsibility of individual local partnerships. The Department’s guidance provides best practice advice on the deployment of speed cameras and recommends highly visible enforcement. However, the guidance explicitly states that it does not restrict or fetter the police’s discretion to enforce the speed limit covertly anywhere, at any time. A similar statement was previously included in the Handbook of Rules and Guidance for the National Safety Camera Programme for England and Wales.

Stations: Greater London

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if her Department will make an assessment of the effects on (a) the local community and (b) regeneration in the King's Cross area of Network Rail's plans to close permanently pedestrian access routes to King's Cross and St Pancras rail stations from the north-east of the station complex; and if she will make a statement. [223472]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Network Rail applied for and received planning consent from the local planning authority (London borough of Camden) for the redevelopment of King's Cross station. Consultation was undertaken as part of this process, which resulted in Network Rail commissioning a study to consider ways to maintain access to the station from York Way. Network Rail has advised me that the study concluded that from an operational safety perspective the access to York Way in this location could not be maintained.

Trains: York

Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many times trains have been forced to wait for platform availability at York station in each of the last 52 weeks; what steps she is taking to provide more platform capacity at York station; and what steps she is taking to provide more car parking capacity at York station. [223599]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Platform availability is an operational matter for Network Rail as the owner and operator of the national rail network. The right hon. Member should contact Network Rail's chief executive at the following address for a response to his question:

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The Government and the rail industry are committed to improving the performance of the railways and have developed the concept of the Route Utilisation Strategy (RUS) to examine the appropriateness of train services and railway infrastructure to meet current and forecast demand. RUSs seek to balance capacity (including station capacity), passenger and freight demand, operational performance and cost, to address the requirements of funders and stakeholders. The East Coast Main Line RUS, published by Network Rail in February 2008, examined capacity at York station. It identified the need for improvements to the track layout at the southern end of the station. This proposal is being taken into account by the Office of Rail Regulation in its consideration of Network Rail's funding for the period 2009-14.

National Express East Coast is working with the Department for Transport to fulfil its obligation to provide additional car parking spaces at York station.

Transport: Exhaust Emissions

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate she has made of the volume of carbon dioxide emissions from (a) road transport and (b) domestic aviation in each year since 1997. [223650]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory (NAEI) compiles estimates of emissions to the atmosphere from UK sources. The most recent NAEI data published by DEFRA can be found at:

The following table contains the estimates of carbon dioxide emissions from road transport and domestic aviation for each year from 1997 until 2006 which is the latest year for which official figures have been published.

Mt C O 2

Road transport Domestic aviation































Children, Schools and Families

Carbon Emissions

Dan Rogerson: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what steps his Department plans to take to (a) measure and (b) offset the carbon dioxide emissions caused by producing departmental documents. [223596]

Kevin Brennan: The Department does not currently measure or offset the carbon dioxide emissions caused by producing departmental documents across the Department, although it does offset carbon dioxide
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emissions from air travel. Some contracts have their own arrangements for carbon offsetting, e.g. documents produced in relation to the sustainable schools strategy.

The Department has always encouraged adoption of sustainable practices through its print and publications supply chains, for example using recycled paper and, where possible, environmentally friendly alternative products. However, the Department's new, broader, Publication, Production, Management and Delivery tender includes requirements to be measured against the Department's Sustainable Development Action Plan (SDAP) in its specification. This will rate suppliers' impacts against the SDAP, and provide measurements against it, specifically by encouraging greater use of e channels; encouraging supply chains to implement low carbon emission printing equipment; and minimising unnecessary transportation of materials through the supply chain. The tender will be completed next year and operational around early summer 2009.

Children in Care: Health

Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families in what ways he expects revised statutory guidance on looked-after children to affect the provision of healthcare assessments and reviews. [223098]

Beverley Hughes [holding answer 10 September 2008]: The existing guidance on promoting the health of looked- after children published in 2002 sets out what health assessments should cover and the nature of the services which should be provided to meet the child’s physical, emotional and mental health needs. The guidance is statutory for local authorities but not on health bodies. Revised guidance will be on a statutory footing for primary care trusts, strategic health authorities, NHS trusts, and NHS foundation trusts as well as local authorities. This will ensure the importance of the active co-operation of health services in the health assessments of looked-after children under the general duty in section 10 of the Children Act 2004, which requires primary care trusts and strategic health authorities to co-operate with local authorities and other agencies to improve the well-being of children in their area.

Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what assessment he has made of the likely effects of new joint strategic needs assessments on the health and well-being of looked-after children; and what steps his Department plans to take to monitor those effects. [223100]

Beverley Hughes [holding answer 10 September 2008]: All local authorities, from 1 April 2008, are required to produce a Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA). This is the means by which primary care trusts (PCTs) and local authorities identify future health and well-being needs of local populations, including looked-after children, to inform the priorities and targets of Local Area Agreements and local commissioning priorities.

Improvements in the health of looked-after children will be monitored through existing data collections, in particular, the new indicator on the emotional health of looked-after children and through the Ofsted led programme of inspection of services and outcomes for looked-after children.

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