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EU Law

Mr. Francois: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many officials in her Department are wholly or mainly tasked with the negotiation, implementation or the administration of European Union legislation and consequent policies. [222280]

Jim Fitzpatrick: This Government are firmly committed to the importance of the EU in delivering on 21st century challenges. The EU is of central importance to the work of HM Government across all Departments. It is relevant to a wide range of policy areas, and to the work of many Government officials.

Four members of the Department for Transport's EU co-ordination team are mainly tasked with various aspects of the Department's work on European legislation, including preparation of transport councils, UK parliamentary scrutiny, and co-ordination of briefing for UK Members of the European Parliament.

Heathrow Airport: Noise

Martin Linton: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) when she plans to publish the 54 decibel noise exposure contour maps for (a) easterly and westerly preference and (b) landings on the northern and southern runways at Heathrow; [221855]

(2) when she plans to publish estimates of the number of people resident within the 54 decibel noise exposure contour for (a) landings on the northern and southern runways and (b) easterly and westerly preference at Heathrow; [221856]

(3) when she will publish an estimate of the number of people who would be resident within the 54 decibel noise exposure contour at Heathrow if the westerly preference were abandoned. [221857]

Jim Fitzpatrick: It is standard practice in the UK to produce aircraft noise contours between 57 dBA Leq and 72 dBA Leq. Based on past research, the 57 dBA Leq noise level has been used as marking the approximate onset of community annoyance. However the November 2007 Attitudes to Noise from Aviation Sources in England (ANASE) study which had been commissioned to update Government research found that people were more annoyed by all levels of aircraft noise than they were in 1985, when the last major study in this field was carried out. However the study reported that there was no identifiable threshold at which noise became a serious problem. Accordingly we believe it is right to retain the 57 dBA level as a safeguard for those most affected by aircraft noise.

The consultation ‘Adding Capacity at Heathrow Airport’ addressed the issue of whether westerly preference operations should be retained at Heathrow. In particular, the supporting Civil Aviation Policy report ERCD 0705 ‘Revised Future Aircraft Noise Exposure Estimates for Heathrow Airport’ reviews, in detail, the noise impacts of changing between westerly and easterly preferences in terms of area, population and households affected.

Modelling aircraft noise below 57 dBA Leq 16 hrs becomes increasingly uncertain as the noise level decreases, primarily because of difficulties in obtaining aircraft noise measurements that are not contaminated with other sources of noise. Aircraft noise modelling at such levels is less likely to generate accurate and reliable results. Secondly, noise levels much below 57 dBA Leq correspond to generally low disturbance to most people. It is for these reasons that noise exposure contours are not routinely produced below 57 dBA Leq and only for specific purposes at 54 dBA Leq, e.g. usually as sensitivity test in relation to an assessment of airport expansion.

As regards to the production of separate maps for the number of people resident within the 54 dBA contour for landings on the northern and southern runways, it is considered that such maps would raise issues of interpretation for local residents between the runways who are exposed to noise from either runway. Accordingly it is not proposed to produce such maps.

The report also considered the option of the airport abandoning the westerly preference and operating on a no preference scenario. However the ERCD 0705 report concluded that operating such an arrangement potentially
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raised issues about how runway direction changes would be managed (with the possibility a greater number of changes). Accordingly the assessment was not taken forward.

HM Coastguard: North West

Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which HM Coastguard units, including air assets, are tasked to cover the North Lancashire and Cumbria coastline during a typical 24 hour period. [223702]

Jim Fitzpatrick: Search and rescue needs across the UK are met by a number of providers including those from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

The response to maritime emergencies in the Lancashire and Cumbria coastal areas is normally coordinated from the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre at Crosby (MRCC Liverpool). This is an all hours centre. Its functions may be taken over, for resilience purposes, by MRCC Holyhead.

The other HM Coastguard units in this area are the 12 volunteer Coastguard rescue teams who are on call 24 hours a day, providing between them search, mud and cliff rescue responses along the coast.

There are no Coastguard helicopters in this area but helicopter coverage is provided by Ministry of Defence assets based at RAF Valley (Anglesey), RAF Boulmer (Northumberland) and RNAS Prestwick.

Others providing services are the RNLI and other independent responders in the maritime sector. The police and fire and rescue services and others may also be called upon if an incident involves land based rescue.

HM Coastguard: Standards

Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what guidelines her Department issues on response times by HM Coastguard vessels to incidents. [223701]

Jim Fitzpatrick: There is no guidance on response times specifically for HM Coastguard vessels. Instead, the Maritime and Coastguards Agency service standards require the agency to decide upon the appropriate search and rescue response and initiate action with five minutes of being alerted. In addition, the Department's contract with Klyne Tugs (Lowestoft) Ltd, specifies that the four emergency towing vessels (strategically located around the UK to provide support to vessels in need of assistance) are maintained at a constant 30 minutes state of readiness.

London Underground: Public Private Partnership

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 10 June 2008, Official Report, columns 163-4W, on London Underground: Public Private Partnership, what response she has received to her request to London Underground that KPMG's Final Assessment of Public Private Partnerships be placed in the Library. [222657]

Jim Fitzpatrick: I have now placed a copy of the report that consists of two letters from KPMG to London Underground Limited dated 8 February and 17 December 2002 in the House Libraries.

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Morning Star

James Duddridge: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer to the right hon. Member for Horsham of 7 July 2008, Official Report, column 1191W, on the Morning Star, which division of her Department receives the copy of the Morning Star. [222225]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The Press Office in the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency receives a copy of the Morning Star on a daily basis (Monday to Saturday).

Motor Vehicles: Licensing

Mr. Denis Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) how many people have (a) contested and (b) contested successfully a late licensing penalty received from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) (i) in the county court and (ii) directly with the DVLA in each of the last five years; [223774]

(2) how many people were issued with a late licensing penalty by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency in each of the last five years. [223775]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The agency began issuing late licensing penalties (LLP) with the introduction of continuous registration (CR) in 2004. The volumes of LLP's issued each financial year since the commencement of CR are as follows:










When an LLP remains unpaid, the agency may issue a county court claim pack to the registered keeper, potentially leading to a county court judgement (CCJ). On receiving a county court claim pack, the registered keeper must make a formal response to the court if they wish to defend the claim.

The agency does not hold statistics to readily identify the number of county court cases which have been contested. This information could only be provided at disproportionate cost. The number of county court claims successfully contested by the registered keeper are as follows:










The agency does not hold statistics to readily identify the number of appeals received in cases for which an LLP has been issued. This information could be provided only at disproportionate cost. The number of cases closed due either to dispute or mitigating circumstances are as follows:

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These figures do not include those cases in which other factors have prompted closure, for example the Agency was unable to trace the registered keeper.

Motor Vehicles: Registration

Mr. Goodwill: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many fines have been levied by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency for failure to notify a change of ownership of a vehicle in the last 12 months; and in how many of these cases the fine has been waived subsequently. [224531]

Jim Fitzpatrick: During the calendar year September 2007 to August 2008 the agency created 45,339 cases for failure to notify a change of ownership of a vehicle. During the same period a total of 26,927 cases were closed due to mitigating circumstances.

Motorcycles: Accidents

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what steps the Government plan to take to reduce deaths and injuries of motorcyclists; [224305]

(2) what recent steps the Government have taken to reduce deaths and injuries of motorcyclists. [224306]

Jim Fitzpatrick: In February 2005, the Department for Transport published the Government’s Motorcycle Strategy, which was developed with the full involvement of motorcycling industry and user groups.

The theme for the strategy is to facilitate motorcycling as a choice of travel within a safe and sustainable transport framework and it sets out a range of actions to improve safety, for central or local government, manufacturers, retailers, trainers and user groups.

On 23 July 2008, we published a revised action plan which updated the actions in the 2005 strategy.

Key achievements include:

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The overall motorcycle casualty rate per 100,000 vehicle kilometres is at the lowest level for many years. By 2007, the number of fatal and serious motorcycle casualties was 4 per cent. above the baseline of the 1994-98 average, but motorcycle traffic increased by 44 per cent. over this period, so the rate of fatal and serious casualties has fallen by 28 per cent.

We will continue with our efforts to reduce these casualty figures further.

Olympic Games 2012

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many full-time equivalent members of staff in (a) her Department and (b) its associated public bodies are working on projects relating to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games; how many of them are working on (i) project management, (ii) legacy planning, (iii) project oversight and (iv) financial oversight; and what plans she has for future staffing levels. [221876]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The Department for Transport has 6.5 full-time equivalent members of staff whose work relates wholly to the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games. Many other members of staff in the Department and its agencies are also contributing to delivery of the Government's objectives for the 2012 Games.

Parking: Stoke-On-Trent

Joan Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what funding is available to Stoke-on-Trent city council to expand its car-sharing and lorry parking scheme over the next five years. [223877]

Jim Fitzpatrick: We have allocated local transport capital funding of £15.3 million to Stoke-on-Trent city council in the three years to 2010-11. No decisions have been taken on the level of funding in later years. It is for the local authority to determine what priority and resources should be allocated to widening its car sharing and lorry parking scheme.

Pedestrian Areas: Safety

Mr. Morley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will make an assessment of the potential impact of introducing audible automatic and manual warning signals for electric scooters and similar vehicles that commonly use pedestrian areas. [224162]

Jim Fitzpatrick: Only those mobility scooters that can use the road (Class 3 scooters) are legally required to be fitted with an audible warning instrument.

Research was undertaken by the Department for Transport in 2006 on the use of Class 2 and Class 3 scooters. The research found that users of Class 2 scooters (which can be used in the pedestrian environment) were in favour of the introduction of audible warning instruments and lights for these vehicles. The Department is now looking at the future requirements for these vehicles and will take the results of this research into consideration.

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