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This area has a dynamic coastline, most of which has been progressively retreating over past centuries. There are many stretches of the coastline which will be defendable in the future, however there may be a few areas where for good reasons (such as considerable cost in relation to benefits, or that the actual defence structure is not technically feasible) that this is not possible. That is why DEFRA is looking at ways to help communities to adapt to increasing risks of flooding and erosion. For example, we recently launched a consultation on ways to increase the uptake of property-level resilience and resistance measures. This is a key way for individual property owners to receive better protection against flooding. We welcome the participation of the North Norfolk District Council in work looking at ways to adapt to erosion risk, and will continue to engage closely with them.

Home Department

Immigration (John and Stella Park)

The Petition of residents of Teesside and others,

Declares the Petitioners' serious concerns about the possible deportation of John and Stella Park (Home Office Reference Number K2218457) to the Republic of Korea with their mother.

The Petitioners' further declare that John and Stella (aged 14 and 16 years) are two brilliantly talented young musicians. They are in the process of completing their education at Yarm School.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Secretary of State for the Home Department to use her powers to prevent John and Stella's removal from the UK taking place, at least until they have been able to finish their school education.

And the Petitioners remain, etc. —[Presented by Ms Dari Taylor , Official Report, 7 July 2008; Vol. 478, c. 1255 .] [P000229]

Observations from the Secretary of State for the Home Department, received 24 September 2008:

To maintain effective immigration control, the United Kingdom Border Agency must remove from the country foreign nationals whose leave to remain here has expired. Should they wish to stay in the United Kingdom to study, such persons ought to apply for entry clearance from abroad to enter the country properly under the Immigration Rules. To grant leave to remain to such people before they have applied for entry clearance provides them with an advantage over those who comply with the law.

Foreign nationals who have been refused leave to remain on the basis of their studies may appeal to an immigration judge. When considering an appeal, a judge has regard to the appellant’s rights, and that of their dependents, to private life (including education) in the United Kingdom enshrined in Article 8 of the Human Rights Act 1998. In doing so, a judge will determine whether the interference, caused by the appellant’s removal, with the appellant’s private life is proportionate to the aim of achieving immigration control.

The child of a student would be expected to leave with the parent on completion of the parent’s studies. Discretion can be given for a short period only, and leave granted outside the rules to enable a child to sit exams or complete the school year rather than be required to leave shortly before an important examination.

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The United Kingdom Border Agency, and immigration judges, when deciding whether or not a person’s rights under Article 8 will be breached by their removal, will have regard to the relevant circumstances to which he or she will be returned. Furthermore, their opportunity to apply for entry clearance to enter this country to resume their private life here is also considered.

To protect the privacy of the individuals, the Government is unable to comment on the details of the case.

Perry Family (Citizenship)

The Humble Petition of Marcus, Cain-Dean and Joshua Perry and others undersigned hereon,


That they are against any law that discriminates against long standing and successful marriages of over 20 years, where a British citizen is forced to be apart from their chosen spouse.

Wherefore your Petitioners pray that your Honourable House urges the Government to reflect over the case of the Perry family and allow Karen Perry to enjoy legal status within the United Kingdom and enjoy family rights as should her sons and husband.

And your Petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray, &c. —[Presented by Frank Cook , Official Report, 31 March 2008; Vol. 474, c. 599 .] [P000161]

Observations from the Secretary of State for the Home Department, received 8 September 2008:

The Government does not discriminate against long standing successful marriages. They are subject to the same immigration requirements as all applications for marriage.

As has been made clear to the petitioner, the onus is on individuals to establish what the requirements of entry are before they travel to the United Kingdom.

For those seeking to settle in the UK as spouses, it is important that we have provisions to enable us to differentiate between a genuine marriage and a failed or sham relationship.

This Government has introduced a number of legislative and policy changes to tackle abuse of the Rules relating to marriage. The “no switching” provision is one such measure, introduced in April 2003 for anyone who had leave to enter for six months or less in category other than fiancé(e).

To protect the privacy of the individual, the Government is unable to comment on the individual case.


Sentencing (Dangerous Driving)

The Petition of those concerned about the length of sentences given to people convicted of dangerous driving.

Declares that Amanda Coulton was killed by Daniel Storey. He was charged with causing death by dangerous driving with excess alcohol and under the influence of cocaine, driving with no licence and no insurance. The car he was driving did not belong to him. Mr Storey was sentenced to 8 years in prison after pleading guilty. The petitioners believe that he should have recieved the maximum sentence of 14 years for these crimes.

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The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Home Secretary to reveiw the sentence given in the case of Daniel Storey, and to review sentencing policy in respect of dangerous driving.

And the Petitioners remain, etc. —[Presented by Chris Ruane , Official Report, 21 July 2008; Vol. 479, c. 624 .] [P000254]

Observations from the Secretary of State for Justice, received 6 October 2008:

The Government strongly supports the need for stiff penalties for dangerous drivers and we have the following observations to make.

Review of sentence

The Attorney-General, with the leave of the Court of Appeal, has powers under sections 35 and 36 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988, to refer to the Court sentences which appear to the Attorney-General to be unduly lenient. This must be done within 28 days of the sentence being imposed. The time limit is mandatory and cannot be extended. These powers are limited to sentences for indictable only offences and a limited number of triable 'either way offences’ that have been specified by statutory order. Causing death by dangerous driving is indictable only and falls within the scheme. The Attorney-General did not make a reference in this case and the time limit expired on 7 July 2008.

Current sentencing policy for dangerous driving

The Government increased the penalty for causing death by dangerous driving from 10 to 14 years in the Criminal Justice Act 2003 and we have no plans for a further review at this stage.

In July 2008, the Sentencing Guidelines Council issued guidelines on causing death by driving. The guideline followed the usual process of full public consultation. The guideline makes it clear that an offence will be considered more serious where there is evidence of driving impairment attributable to the consumption of alcohol or drugs, where the presence of alcohol or drugs does not form part of the offence.

There was an extensive review and consultation exercise of road traffic offences involving bad driving in 2005 following which two new offences were included in the Road Safety At 2006: causing death by careless driving which has a maximum penalty of five years' imprisonment; and causing death by driving when unlicensed, disqualified or uninsured which has a maximum penalty of two years' imprisonment. Prior to the introduction of these new offences the maximum sentence for careless, uninsured or unlicensed drivers who caused death on the roads was a fine. These offences complement the existing offences of causing death by dangerous driving and causing death by careless driving when under the influence of alcohol or drugs (maximum penalty of 14 years' imprisonment) and provide an effective framework for bad drivers.


Driving Test Centre (Spalding)

The Petition of the people of South Holland and the Deepings and others,

Declares that due to the closure of Spalding Driving test Centre the cost of learning to drive will increase for the residents of South Holland, as they will be forced to
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travel to Peterborough. This will further increase the CO2 emissions and the carbon footprint as a result of the extra miles travelled.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Secretary of State for Transport to reverse the closure of Spalding Driving Test Centre.

And the Petitioners remain, etc. —[Presented by Mr. John Hayes , Official Report, 22 July 2008; Vol. 479, c. 25P .] [P000259]

Observations from the Secretary of State for Transport, received 9 September 2008:

The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) has a statutory responsibility for setting standards for theory and practical driving tests and assessing the standard of driving at the practical driving test.

DSA is a self-financing organisation, reliant upon test fee income for the provision of its services. This means the Agency needs to ensure it can deliver a cost-effective service to avoid unnecessary costs, which would have to be recovered from its customers via the driving test fee.

Consequently, when the opportunity arises the location, size and number of driving test centres (DTC) are closely scrutinised, taking into account:

The acquisition of the Peterborough MPTC presented the Agency with the opportunity to review its service provision in the Spalding area. DSA has a service standard that most practical test customers should not have to travel more than our travel distance criteria of 7, 20 or 30 miles depending on the population density of the area. The criterion appropriate to the Spalding area is 30 miles. Peterborough MPTC is about 20 miles from Spalding.

In addition to Peterborough, alternative local test centres are located at:

The closure of the Spalding DTC will maximise the utilisation of these facilities and will ensure there is no wasteful over-provision of facilities in the area. These centres will be suitably resourced so that waiting time targets for car and motorcycle tests will not be compromised.

It should not be necessary for learner drivers to travel from Spalding to test centre locations for every driving lesson unless it is for pre-test familiarisation. This should minimise any additional costs, the environmental impact of those journeys and reduce the time spent in traffic. Experience should be gained on a variety of roads as part of the lesson plan whilst candidates are accompanied by an experienced instructor, rather than as an unaccompanied novice driver.

In a further move to cut carbon emissions from driving, the practical driving test will feature advice on Eco-Safe Driving from September 2008. Eco-safe driving
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is a recognised and proven style of driving that contributes to road safety whilst reducing fuel consumption and emissions.

Electric and Hybrid Cars

The Petition of Andreas Sowa and Sam Lumley of Year 9 Castle View School, Canvey Island, residents of Castle Point and others,

Declares that the use of gas guzzling petrol and diesel vehicles is helping to damage our environment, and that society should switch to electric and hybrid cars since these are less polluting, cause fewer accidents, with less serious consequences of those accidents because of the generally lower speeds of these cars, might encourage people to walk more, therefore reducing the amount of obesity and are more sustainable since oil is a depleting asset.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to adopt policies to promote the development, production and use of electric and hybrid cars in order to help to protect our environment and for connected matters, particularly given the importance of this issue to the wider community.

And the Petitioners remain, etc. —[Presented by Bob Spink , Official Report, 14 July 2008; Vol. 479, c. 110 .] [P000236]

Observations from the Secretary of State for Transport, received 9 September 2008:

The Government recognises the potential environmental benefits of moving to greater electrification of vehicles for both public and private transportation, particularly as our electricity generating system move to increasingly lower carbon power sources.

Currently, there are only very limited options available for those wishing to drive an electric vehicle. No major manufacturer offers electric vehicle options in the UK. For private motorists; there are a limited number of small city cars available on the market—not all of which meet modern crash safety standards. Wider market penetration of electric vehicles has been hindered by the high costs of batteries, the limited range and performance achieved by the vehicles and the need for a more widespread re-charging infrastructure.

Advances in battery technology have the potential to improve the performance of electric vehicles and much research is taking place in the UK and globally. Higher oil prices, if sustained over long periods, would also improve the relative economics of electric vehicles over conventional options—and thus also provide a commercial environment in which a more widespread re-charging infrastructure for electric vehicles could be developed.

The Government has a number of measures to help increase use of electric vehicles. These include advantageous treatment within the UK taxation system - they are exempt from annual vehicle excise duty and use of electricity is taxed at a significantly lower rate than petrol or diesel. In addition the Government is providing grants to support the rollout of recharging infrastructure.

In the light of recent technology advances and high oil prices, we have commissioned further work to examining the potential for electric vehicles to contribute to our long term carbon reduction and renewable energy targets as well as potential interactions with the UK power system.

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