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to strike a fair balance between the protection of local communities from excessive aircraft noise levels at night and the provision of air services at night where they are of benefit of the national regional or local economy.
The Government consider the term to be self explanatory. As part of the recent court action brought by the London boroughs of Wandsworth and Richmond, the claimants argued that the 2006 night restrictions regime did not bear down on noise. The judge found against this argument.
Outside the three London designated airports where the Secretary of State has direct responsibility for noise abatement measures, the Government consider that local issues such as any noise impacts of a regional airport's operations are best discussed locally. This recognises the wide variation in operational circumstances at individual UK airports. Accordingly airport operators are expected to consult locally to help achieve a reasonable balance between the local environmental impacts, the limits of social acceptability and the economic benefits of the flights.
Justine Greening: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the Government's policy is on reducing aircraft noise from (a) day and (b) night and early morning flights to and from Heathrow airport. 
Jim Fitzpatrick [holding answer 19 November 2008]: The 2003 The Future of Air Transport White Paper set out the Government's basic aim to limit and, where possible, reduce the number of people in the UK significantly affected by aircraft noise.
Heathrow airport is designated under section 80 for the purposes of section 78 of the 1982 Civil Aviation Act. This means that the Secretary of State has direct responsibility for noise abatement measures at the airport. Current measures include noise limits, noise preferential routes, monitoring of aircraft noise and track keeping, and powers for the airport to charge by reference to noise. The airport also operates a number of operational procedures to mitigate against aircraft noise such as runway alternation.
As regards night flights, the Government recognise that noise from aircraft operations at night is widely regarded as the least acceptable aspect of aircraft operations and gave a commitment to bear down on night noise accordingly. However the White Paper stated that a fair balance needed to be struck between local disturbance, the limits of social acceptability and the economic benefits of night flights. This should be done on a case-by-case basis.
Accordingly there have been restrictions on the operation of night flights at Heathrow for many years. The current restrictions, which took effect from October 2006, recognise both a night period, (2300-0700 hours), and a night quota period, (2330-0600) hours. During the whole of the night period, the noisiest types of aircraft (classified as QC/8 or QC/16) may not be scheduled to land or to take off and they are effectively banned from doing so (other than in the most exceptional circumstances) in the night quota period. The next noisiest types (QC/4) may also no longer be scheduled to operate in the night quota period. In addition, during the night quota period movements by most other types of aircraft (including the new QC/0.25 category) will be restricted by a movements limit and a noise quota, which are set for each season. The seasons change with the clocks.
The current restrictions take account of environmental objectives and specific noise abatement objectives for Heathrow. These objectives were set out in the Night Flying Restrictions at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted decision document of 6 June 2006 which announced the night noise arrangements for Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports from October 2006 to October 2012.
Paul Clark: At present the Department for Transport has not conducted any research into the effect of the national concession on community rail partnerships. Local authorities have the discretion to offer concessionary travel enhancements to other modes, including community rail, based on their assessment of local needs and circumstances, and many choose to do so. The Department has no immediate plans to extend the coverage of statutory concessions to community rail.
Paul Rowen: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much revenue the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency has received from the use of revenue sharing phone numbers in each of the last five years. 
Jim Fitzpatrick [holding answer 17 November 2008]: The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency has received the following amounts from its use of revenue sharing phone numbers for each of the last five years.
DVLA are committed to following OFCOM advice on moving from 0870 numbers to 0300 numbers. This process is already under way but cannot be completed until OFCOM publishes its new guidance on the issue.
Mr. Holloway: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) if he will estimate the additional average cost to learner drivers from Gravesham if the Gravesend Driving Test Centre is closed and they are subsequently required to travel to the location of an alternative test centre to practise and to take the test; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) on what basis current and forecasted (a) population density, (b) traffic congestion and (c) journey time statistics were used to assess the viability of the Gravesend Driving Test Centre and alternative centres for learner drivers from Gravesham. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: When considering relocating driving test centres DSA has regard to the resulting travelling distances, rather than traffic congestion or journey times. DSAs service distance criteria for practical car test candidates are:
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The distance appropriate to the Gravesend area is 20 miles. The nearest alternatives are at Erith and Gillingham. These centres are within the 20 miles standard and have the capacity to absorb the extra demand without compromising the waiting time service target.
The closure of Gravesend Driving Test Centre should not significantly increase costs to learner drivers. Learner drivers need to practise on a variety of different roads, and should not focus on driving test routes at their chosen centre.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment his Department has made of the effect of a third runway at Heathrow Airport on the UKs ability to meet EU nitrogen oxide targets. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: Our assessment of the nitrogen dioxide (NO2) impacts of adding a third runway was set out in the Adding Capacity at Heathrow Airport consultation last November and the supporting technical reports published at the same time.
Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will publish targets he has agreed with BAA for increasing the proportion of passengers arriving at and departing from Heathrow via public transport. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: It is our policy, as stated in the 2003 Air Transport White Paper, that airport operators should share our objective to increase the proportion of air passengers accessing airports by public transport; and that airport surface access strategies should include targets to this end. They do not require Department for Transport approval.
Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will undertake research to evaluate the merits of mandatory fitting of Fresnel lens mirrors on (a) British and (b) foreign heavy goods vehicles. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: We are already carrying out research to identify what more can usefully be done to improve vision for drivers of heavy goods vehicles. Once this work is completed we will be making detailed proposals for further improvements. However, we cannot take action unilaterally for British or foreign heavy goods vehicles because mandatory vehicle safety standards are drawn up and agreed at international level.
Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) if he will discuss with Ministerial colleagues the merits of amending the National Contingency Plan to incorporate cargo-related incidents; 
I do not envisage introducing further legislative measures to address the recovery of cargo involved in shipping incidents in UK waters, because the merchant shipping legislation already contains a very broad range of provisions covering maritime safety and prevention of pollution. However, the practical aspects of dealing with cargo from a casualty could indeed be considered in the course of the next review of
the National Contingency Plan. Indeed, Recommendation R.3 of the recent report from this Departments Maritime and Coastguard Agency entitled MSC Napoli Incident: The Maritime and Coastguard Agencys Response already includes text which proposes that, during the next review of the National Contingency Plan, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency
could also cover mechanisms for dealing with beached material other than oil and chemicals.
Hywel Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions he has had with First Great Western Trains and Virgin Trains on the use of the Welsh language in respect of (a) rail services provided in Wales and (b) cross-border rail services. 
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what financial contribution his Department plans to make to the Thames Gateway road crossing in (a) 2010-11, (b) 2011-12, (c) 2012-13, (d) 2013-14 and (e) 2014-15. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: The Transport for London Business Plan confirmed that the Mayor has now decided not to pursue the Thames Gateway Bridge project in the form submitted to the recent public inquiry. On that basis, the Department for Transport is expecting formal notification that the £350 million of PFI credits, offered by the Government to support the scheme, will not now be required. A decision on funding any alternative will, of course, be subject to the Mayors decision as to what, if anything, should take the schemes place.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the proportion of depositors in Kaupthing Singer and Friedlander (Isle of Man) who were unable to bank in the UK because of overseas residence. 
Mr. Oaten: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 29 October 2008, Official Report, columns 1094-5W, on bank services, if he will put in place arrangements to support charities not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. 
Ian Pearson: If a charity is eligible to claim compensation from the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, it will be entitled to benefit from these arrangements. Charities which are ineligible for FSCS compensation will be creditors of the failed banks in the normal way. Tailored guidance for charities is available on the Charity Commission's website at:
Mr. David Hamilton: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 17 July 2008, Official Report, columns 37-38WS, on free cash machines (low-income areas), how many sites for the 600 proposed free automatic teller machines have now been identified. 
Ian Pearson: As stated by the former Economic Secretary to the Treasury on 17 July 2008, the Government will issue a final statement on progress towards meeting the recommendations of the ATM Working Group, including the number of agreed sites, in December 2008.
Alun Michael: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the Child Trust Fund take-up rates were for (a) each constituency in Wales and (b) each ward in the Cardiff South and Penarth constituency in the latest period for which figures are available. 
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