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27 Oct 2008 : Column 603Wcontinued
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) when he plans to publish the results of his consultation on Blue Badge reform; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) when he plans to publish the Blue Badge Reform Strategy; and if he will make a statement. 
Paul Clark [holding answer 21 October 2008]: The results of the consultation were published on 20 October at the same time as our comprehensive £55 million Blue Badge Reform Strategy, which will address issues of fraudulent use and abuse of the scheme, extend eligibility and improve the consistency of application approval.
Copies of the results to the consultation and strategy can be found on the Department for Transports website at:
Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the original estimate was for the cost of the engineering work and platform upgrade at Milton Keynes Central station. 
Paul Clark [holding answer 23 October 2008]: The engineering work and platform upgrade was estimated at £120 million and is expected to be delivered both on budget and on time.
Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what representations he has received on the exclusion of cats from the terms of section 170 of the Road Traffic Act 1988. 
Jim Fitzpatrick [holding answer 23 October 2008]: Since 2001 we have received 18 letters on this subject.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which companies have been used by his Department for providing temporary staff in each of the last five years; and what the value of contracts with each such company was in each of those years. 
Mr. Hoon: A table showing the information requested has been placed in the Libraries of the House. It provides actual expenditure on temporary staff by company by year.
The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency could provide the expenditure information only at disproportionate cost.
Graham Stringer: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when stage two of the tram trains trials will commence. 
Paul Clark [holding answer 23 October 2008]: The trial will occur in two phases. The first phase will test the application on the conventional rail network (Penistone line) and will start in 2010. It will take two years to test the technical and operational feasibility of tram trains.
There is an option for a second phase to test how the tram train operates between the conventional rail network and a street tram system. This is the subject of more detailed business case work by Network Rail.
Graham Stringer: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects the decision on the operation of tram trains in England to be made. 
Paul Clark [holding answer 23 October 2008]: On 18 March, the then Secretary of State announced the trial of tram-train technology on the Huddersfield-Penistone-Sheffield route (Penistone line). On 29 September, Northern Rail issued an invitation to tender (ITT) for the procurement of trial vehicles for use on the Penistone line. Network Rail is currently undertaking detailed design work for the amendment to the infrastructure.
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 16 October 2008, Official Report, columns 52-4WS, on the EU Transport Council, what proposals on the greening of transport were included in the draft
conclusions tabled by the French presidency; and what his policy is on each. 
Mr. Hoon: The draft conclusions covered policies in the Commission's greening of transport package. The Government have submitted four explanatory memoranda to the Scrutiny Committees describing our position on the package and these are available in the Libraries of both Houses.
Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much (a) wheat, (b) barley, (c) fresh vegetables, (d) potatoes, (e) fresh fruit, (f) beef and veal, (g) pork, (h) bacon and ham, (i) mutton and lamb, (j) poultry meat, (k) eggs and (l) liquid milk was produced by volume in England in each year since 1997. 
Jane Kennedy: The figures are shown in the following table.
|Volume of UK production|
Agriculture in the United Kingdom 2007, DEFRA
Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the likely effect of implementation of his Department's proposal to require arable farmers to set aside up to 5 per cent. of their land on food security in the UK; and if he will make a statement. 
Jane Kennedy [holding answer 23 October 2008]: The impact on food productionand therefore food securityof the proposal for arable farmers to set aside a small percentage (as yet undefined) of their land for environmental purposes is expected to be very small, given that such land is likely to be located on farmers' least productive land.
The Government support the abolition of set-aside but the Secretary of State recognised the potential environmental impacts by commissioning additional environmental monitoring and asking Sir Don Curry to bring together key stakeholders to oversee this work and investigate mitigation options.
Sir Don Curry's High Level Set-Aside Group reported in July 2008 and the Secretary of State agreed that measures were needed as soon as practicable to mitigate the environmental impact of set-aside loss. The Secretary of State issued a statement on the next steps on 25 July,
which included commissioning the Rural Payments Agency and Natural England to work up, by the end of the year, how the preferred option could be delivered in practice.
Final decisions on the overall approach, and the detailed arrangements which will determine the impacts, for example, on farming or the environment, will need to be taken in the context of the eventual outcome of the Common Agricultural Policy Health Check. The House will be kept informed of progress.
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