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12 Nov 2008 : Column 1166W—continued

Bus Services: Concessions

Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee has consulted people with enduring mental health problems on access to free bus travel concessions. [234775]

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Paul Clark: The Disabled Persons’ Transport Advisory Committee did not undertake formal consultation. However, the Committee is aware of the particular concerns of people with mental illness with regard to eligibility for concessionary travel and has been in correspondence with the Mental Health Action Group on this issue.


Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much he allocated to Cycling England for cycling programmes for (a) 2007-08 and (b) 2008-09. [234302]

Paul Clark: We announced an award of £140 million to Cycling England in January this year to support local authorities and others to improve cycle provision. This raised Cycling England's budget from £10 million in 2007-08 to £20 million in 2008-09 and £60 million for each of the next two years.

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what information (a) English local authorities outside London and (b) Transport for London have provided to his Department about their expenditure on cycle facilities in (i) 2006-07, (ii) 2007-08 and (iii) 2008-09. [234303]

Paul Clark: This information is no longer requested of local authorities by the Department. In 2006-07, the last year for which we can supply any information, local authorities’ (outside of London) best estimate of expenditure on cycling was around £36 million. Spending on cycling in London for the same period was, I understand, around £25 million.

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what lessons have been learned from the six cycling demonstration towns. [234304]

Paul Clark: The first six towns have demonstrated that while the level of investment is important, political leadership is equally vital in ensuring delivery of the right package of measures to enable cycling to take its place as a real option for many journeys. Effective links with wider policies such as the health agenda and integration with planning so that cycling is designed in from the start are also important. In just over two years cycling has increased in the towns by 25 per cent. on average.

Departmental Older Workers

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many people recruited by his Department in 2007-08 were aged over (a) 55 years and (b) 60 years; and what percentage this represented of the number of new recruits in each case. [235241]

Mr. Hoon: I refer the hon. Member to my answer of 3 November 2008, Official Report, column 42W.

Heathrow Airport: Carbon Emissions

Mr. Randall: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the additional average annual emissions arising from use of the third runway at Heathrow over the period 2020 to 2050. [234152]

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Jim Fitzpatrick: Given present arrangements, the average additional annual carbon dioxide emissions arising from the use of additional capacity at Heathrow for the 60-year period 2020 to 2080 was set out in Annex B of the Adding Capacity at Heathrow Airport: Consultation Document, page 178. This was estimated at 3.0 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (MtCO2) per year.

This would mean that for the 30-year period 2020 to 2050, the average additional annual carbon dioxide emissions arising from the use of a third runway at Heathrow is 3.4 MtCO2, assuming no other changes.

The Government are, however, strongly committed to achieving reductions in carbon dioxide emissions and aims to do so in the most effective way. This is why we have led the debate within Europe to include all flights arriving at and departing from EU airports in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme from 2012 onwards.

Newcastle International Airport Company

Mr. Atkinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what reports he has received on the liabilities incurred by each of the seven local authorities participating in Newcastle International Airport Company in respect of payments to former members of its management board; and if he will make a statement. [234212]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The Department for Transport has received no such reports. These are matters for the local authorities concerned.

Official Cars

Greg Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what role Ministers in his Department had in shortlisting companies bidding to provide electric and low carbon vehicles to public bodies under the Low Carbon Vehicles Innovation Platform. [234719]

Jim Fitzpatrick: Ministers were not involved in decisions on the shortlisting of companies bidding to provide lower carbon and all-electric vans to the public sector under the Low Carbon Vehicle Public Procurement Programme.

Olympic Games: Road Closures

Mr. Malins: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his estimate is of the (a) number of roads which will have to be closed and (b) periods for which such a closure would take place during shooting events held at Woolwich Army base during the London 2012 Olympics. [233747]

Jim Fitzpatrick: Any measures required on the roads around Olympic venues during the Games will be designed, consulted on and delivered by the Olympic Delivery Authority following the designation next year of the Olympic Route Network (ORN): a network of roads that will connect competition and key non-competition venues and will be used to transport athletes, officials, accredited media and other key Olympic partners to and from venues. The Department for Transport will be consulting on the roads we propose to designate as part of the Olympic Route Network later this year.

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Private Roads

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the Government’s policy is on unadopted roads. [234995]

Paul Clark: Under the Highways Act 1980, local highway authorities may adopt roads that they are not currently responsible for maintaining; this is a matter for local decision. Adoption of highways brings with it liability for future maintenance including the provision of surface water drainage or street lighting, as well as claims arising from the condition of the street.

The owners of properties on an unadopted road are responsible for its maintenance and the cost of bringing it up to standards suitable for adoption.

Railway Network: Greater London

Mr. Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many passengers travelled into each central London overground passenger rail terminal in each year since 1997. [235676]

Paul Clark: The Department for Transport does not publish information on passengers travelling into London stations. The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) does, however, publish station usage statistics. These are available on the ORR website:

Taxis: Disabled

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what requirements there are on licensing authorities in England outside London to change hackney carriage bylaws to require the provision of wheelchair-accessible taxis; and what guidance his Department has issued on the (a) timing of and (b) transition through these changes. [234994]

Paul Clark: The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 gave the Government the power to introduce accessibility regulations for several land-based modes of transport. Regulations have been introduced for trains and trams and for buses and coaches. However, no regulations have yet been developed and put in place for licensed taxis. Accessible taxi policies are currently a matter for individual local licensing authorities in line with general advice that the Department for Transport has issued to licensing authorities in 2002, 2004 and 2006.

However, there remains a need to improve access to taxis for disabled people and we are committed to resolving this matter in a way that delivers the outcomes that disabled people, local authorities and the taxi industry would like to see. The Department will be publishing a consultation package very shortly that will look closely at the issues involved and will seek views on the way forward.

Tolls: Greater Manchester

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions his Department and its agencies have had with the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities on its proposals to introduce congestion charging; and whether Transport Innovation Fund funding is linked to the implementation proposal. [235007]

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Paul Clark: On 9 June 2008 my predecessor awarded Programme Entry for the Greater Manchester Transport Innovation Fund proposals for a £2.78 billion package of public transport investment and a twin-cordon congestion charging scheme. In this context departmental officials have regular ongoing contact with representatives of the Greater Manchester authorities.

Walking to School Initiatives

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what proportion of the Walking to Schools initiative’s budget was spent in 2007-08. [233607]

Paul Clark: Nearly 3,300 state-funded primary schools in England applied for a Walking to School Initiatives grant and 3,249 were successful. They were awarded a total of £2.58 million, which represented 51.6 per cent. of the Walking to School Initiatives budget in 2007-08.


Armed Forces: Alcoholic Drinks

Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the current levels of alcohol consumption by serving members of the (a) Army, (b) Navy and (c) Royal Air Force; and what assessment he has made of the need to reduce alcohol consumption in the armed forces. [231245]

Mr. Kevan Jones: Studies indicate that 67 per cent. of men and 49 per cent. of women in the armed forces are consuming alcohol at levels deemed hazardous to health. For both sexes, hazardous drinking was most associated with being young, single and of lower rank. All three services are well aware of the potentially harmful effects that alcohol can have and have comprehensive programmes to promote the message of sensible drinking as part of a healthy lifestyle.

Armed Forces: Deployment

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) regular and (b) Territorial Army (i) officers and (ii) personnel of other ranks have been mobilised for service overseas within six months of completing their basic training in each year since 2003. [227876]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Officials are collating the information requested. I will write to the hon. Member when the work is complete and place a copy of my letter in the Library of the House.

Substantive answer from Bob Ainsworth to Liam Fox:

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Armed Forces: Health Services

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what evidence he has evaluated on the efficacy of decompression in the prevention of post-traumatic stress disorder; [233043]

(2) what feedback he has gathered from participants in decompression on its merits. [233044]

Mr. Kevan Jones: The decompression process is designed to be a brief ‘wind-down’ period for troops returning from operational theatres, and is aimed at facilitating the adjustment from the operational to the UK environment. It is not intended that it should play a major role in the prevention of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which is a chronic disabling illness distinct to the more short-term adjustment issues that we can expect individuals to encounter in making the change from the operational to the home/family/non-operational environment.

However, if during the process an individual demonstrates any indicators of possible mental health problems, then appropriate follow-up action will be taken.

The King’s Centre for Military Health Research is currently undertaking research into the merits of decompression, the results of which will be published on completion.

Armed Forces: Housing

Willie Rennie: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which of his Department’s housing sites with no medium-term requirement have been made available to the public on short-term leases. [234136]

Mr. Kevan Jones [holding answer 10 November 2008]: Schemes are currently in place at Innsworth and Woodbridge to rent out, on the commercial market, vacant accommodation for which there is a long-term but no medium-term requirement.

Armed Forces: Injuries

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what arrangements there are for recording and classifying traumatic brain injuries to military personnel in the course of their duties; how many such injuries there were, broken down by degree of severity in each of the last five calendar years; what arrangements are made to facilitate ongoing treatment by civilian health and social services after post-traumatic rehabilitation; and if he will make a statement. [227028]

Mr. Kevan Jones: I refer the hon. Member to the written ministerial statements made in the House by my predecessor, the hon. Member for Halton (Derek Twigg), on 15 January 2008, Official Report, columns 23-24WS, and 1 July 2008, Official Report, columns 48-49WS.

Armed Forces: Insurance

Mr. Swire: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent representations he has received on the provision of insurance for members of the armed forces; from whom such representations have been received; and what response he has made in each case. [234392]

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Mr. Kevan Jones: In the last two months, Ministers have received two parliamentary questions and three letters from right hon. and hon. Members about the provision of insurance for members of the armed forces.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 5 November 2008, Official Report, column 477W, to the hon. Member for North Devon (Nick Harvey) and the answer my noble Friend for International Defence and Security gave in another place on 21 October 2008, Official Report, House of Lords, columns WA89-90.

Two letters asked for details of the insurance cover available to service personnel on operations and whether they are charged higher insurance premiums than those not deployed. The responses explained that personal insurance is optional and additional to the benefits MOD provides under the Armed Forces Pension and Compensation schemes, which have recently been increased; however, MOD facilitates through commercial providers the PAX and service life insurance schemes which cover war risks and do not increase premiums for personnel on operations. In addition, MOD’s Service Risks Insurance Premium Refunds Scheme contributes towards the inflated life insurance premiums which some insurers charge personnel serving on operations.

The third letter expressed concern that young members of the armed forces pay higher vehicle insurance premiums than civilians of the same age. The response explained that some brokers have special arrangements with insurers for providing motor insurance for service personnel. In particular, the Services’ Insurance and Investment Advisory Panel, who are a panel of independent insurance and investment advisers specialising in advising service personnel, can arrange motor insurance cover without premium loading and offer rates that are competitive with the rates available to civilians and in many cases are cheaper. They also provide some benefits that are not normally found in policies sold to civilians.

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