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Jim Fitzpatrick: Measures introduced in the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 gave the police improved access to the motor insurance database. This enabled them to have data on uninsured vehicles for use with their automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) equipment. The police were also given powers to seize, and in appropriate cases destroy, vehicles being driven uninsured. In 2007 around 150,000 vehicles were seized.
The Road Safety Act 2006 introduced a new offence of being a registered keeper of a vehicle for which there is no valid motor insurance. Further regulations are required to bring the provisions into force. We are consulting on these and the details of the proposed scheme for Continuous Insurance Enforcement.
Rather than relying on the police to spot vehicles in use, Continuous Insurance Enforcement would identify uninsured drivers by frequent comparison of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agencys vehicle register and the insurance industrys database. Those that ignore warning reminders that their insurance has expired and take no action would be sent a fixed penalty notice and fine of £100, and may be liable to court prosecution, the vehicle clamped, impounded and disposed of.
Jim Fitzpatrick: We have received a number of representations for and against reducing the prescribed alcohol limit for driving. On 20 November 2008, we published a paper, Road Safety Compliance Consultation, inviting views on the matter, and expect a range of responses by the deadline of 27 February. An analysis of the responses we receive will be published in due course.
Jim Fitzpatrick: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport, has regular meetings with the Mayor of London. These cover a broad range of London transport issues. It is likely that this could include the development of Heathrow airport.
Paul Clark [h olding answer 3 February 2009]:We are supporting the provision of rural bus services by means of Rural Bus Subsidy Grant (RBSG), which is now paid to local authorities as part of their area-based funding. Since its introduction in 1998, over £500 million has been made available for the support of rural bus services in this way; £57 million has been allocated this year.
In addition, a total of £110 million has been awarded to authorities successful under the Rural Bus Challenge (RBC) programme from 1998 to 2003. This scheme has encouraged the development of innovative solutions to meeting rural transport needs. Many of the 300 projects initially supported by RBC funding are now continuing with mainstream funding from local authorities and other sources.
The rules for the route registration of local bus services have been amended. This has enabled the introduction of flexibly routed, demand-responsive bus services. We also extended to these services eligibility to receive Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG) from the Department for Transport. BSOG eligibility has also been extended to include community transport operators, with over 1,000 operators, many in rural areas, now claiming BSOG.
more effective partnerships with bus operators
making the introduction of quality contracts (i.e. franchising as in London) a more realistic option
a new regime to deliver improved punctuality
measures to support development of the community transport sector and to extend to the Private Hire Vehicle sector the ability to provide taxibuses
The Department has implemented the community rail policy on many rural routes, particularly branch lines. This policy aims to bring together the efforts of the train operating company, Network Rail (NR), the local authority and also local communities to put local or rural services on a steady footing by working together to promote and support local rail operations, increase patronage and awareness of the service. In each individual case, the route is assessed and designated as a Community Rail route, supported by a Community Rail Partnership.
Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many (a) injuries and (b) deaths have occurred in accidents on railway crossings in (i) Lancashire and (ii) the UK in each year since 1998. 
Paul Clark: The data below are based on incidents reported to the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR), under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR 95). Figures for 2008 are provisional and may change with the receipt of coroners findings for inquests that are currently outstanding.
|Table: 1 Fatalities and injuries at level crossings 1998-2008( 1) (excluding trespassers and suicides) Great Britain|
|Fatalities||Lancashire figures||Injuries||Lancashire figures||Total||Lancashire figures|
|(1) Provisional figures|
|Table : 2 Fatalities and injuries to trespassers and suicid es at level crossings 1998-200 8( 1) Great Britain|
|Year||Fatalities||Lancashire figures||Injuries||Lancashire figures||Total||Lancashire figures|
|(1) Provisional figures|
Paul Clark [holding answer 3 February 2009]: Only one rail replacement bus service is funded by the Department for Transport. This is the service between Ealing Broadway and Wandsworth Road. Estimate of cost for this service since the start of operation in December 2008 is £1,410 in December 2008 and £1,880 in January 2009.
The rules for the route registration of local bus services have been amended. This has enabled the introduction of flexibly routed, demand-responsive bus services. We also extended to these services eligibility to receive bus service operators grant (BSOG) from the Department for Transport. BSOG eligibility has also been extended to include community transport operators, with over 1,000 operators, many in rural areas, now claiming BSOG.
more effective partnerships with bus operators;
making the introduction of quality contracts (i.e. franchising as in London) a more realistic option;
a new regime to deliver improved punctuality; and
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