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John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether (a) he, (b) Ministers in his Department and (c) senior managers in his Department (i) gave permission to the Highways Agency to offer and (ii) were informed by the Highways Agency of its intention to offer more favourable terms to its staff at grades 6 and 7 if they opted out of collective bargaining arrangements. 
Mr. Hoon: The Department for Transport was aware that the Highways Agency reward strategy involved changes for Grades 6 and 7. I understand the option for individuals to sign up to new contractual terms was fully discussed with the trade unions. This does not preclude future collective bargaining. It is important that the Highways Agency continues to have flexibility to develop its rewards strategy to meet its particular business needs.
Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport with reference to the letter of 30 January 2009 from the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State to the hon. Member for Totnes, when he plans to complete his evaluation of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency's review in relation to the southern part of the south west peninsula. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: As I said in my letter of 30 January, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency hope to conclude their discussions with the UK SAR Strategic Committee and its Operators Group by the end of February and will then report back to me. The consultation exercise will commence soon after that.
South Stockton Link (completed 2005);
Darlington Eastern Transport Corridor (completed 2008);
North Middlesbrough Accessibility Improvements (under construction).
In addition we are currently considering a major scheme business case for a series of bus corridor improvements throughout the Tees Valley to improve reliability and journey times on public transport.
Access to the wider region has been improved following the completion of dual carriageways improvements to the A66 west of Scotch Corner, and will be improved further, upon completion of the upgrade to motorway standard, of the A1 between Dishforth and Leeming, which has just begun.
Paul Clark: A cross-industry working group led by Network Rail, and in which the Department for Transport participates, is assessing the case for electrifying a wide range of lines. The group is expected to publish its conclusions at the end of March.
Stephen Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether any rail franchises have been (a) red lighted and (b) put on a watch list by his Department; and what criteria his Department applies in deciding whether to red light a franchise. 
Paul Clark [holding answer 10 February 2009]: The Department for Transport reviews and analyses the operational and financial performance of train operating companies on a regular basis. This is part of its routine monitoring of the contractual arrangements between the Department and its franchise holders. That internal analysis is commercially sensitive and cannot be released.
Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make commission an assessment of the potential for high-speed rail links between (a) London and South Wales and (b) London and Cornwall. 
There are a limited number of future capacity interventions that will accommodate predicted growth. The new company, High Speed Two (HS2) Ltd., will, as a first stage, bring forward proposals for Britains second new high speed line, between London and the West Midlands, and consider the potential for new lines to serve the North of England and Scotland.
Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what forms the Maritime and Coastguard Agency require to be completed by lifeboat rescue teams before lifeboats can be launched; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the cost to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency of operating the Hope Cove lifeboat service was in the latest year for which figures are available. 
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent estimate he has made of the adequacy of supplies of salt and grit for use on the non-trunk road network; and what steps he plans to take to ensure that supplies are adequate. 
Paul Clark [holding answer 9 February 2009] : The Government are working with local authorities and the Highways Agency to minimise the risk to public safety during this period of exceptional weather. We are collating information on current stocks in order to ensure effective distribution of available salt supplies and prioritise deliveries to those authorities most in need.
Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what (a) studies and (b) modelling his Department has undertaken into the impact of extreme weather on the transport infrastructure. 
Specific modelling of the impacts of extreme weather scenarios across the transport network is carried out by the transport owners and operators such as
Network Rail and Local Highways Authorities. DfT contributes guidance and support wherever possible through, for example, publications such as Maintaining Pavements: A Changing Climate and Sustainable Roads and the Highways Agencys strategy for the strategic road network.
The Highways Agency has devised a strategy for adapting the strategic road network to a changing climate. The Highways Agency also has a severe weather group which delivers an annual programme of areas for improvement and research including the implementation of the National Severe Weather Warning System
A DfT study on the changing climate: its impact on the Department for Transport identified potential impacts on the transport system from extreme weather events. Further details are available from the Department's website at:
Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether Network Rail has submitted to his Department an estimate for the (a) electrification and (b) upgrade of the Bidston to Wrexham line. 
Paul Clark: The Department for Transport is aware of the two independent cost estimates to electrify the Bidston to Wrexham line undertaken for Merseytravel and other stakeholders in 2005, and the more detailed estimate including provision of three new stations produced by Network Rail in 2008. However, this is primarily a matter for Merseytravel and the Welsh Assembly Government as co-funders of the recent Network Rail investigation.
Mr. Woodward: The inquiry's most recent estimate of the final cost is £190 million. This incorporates a reduction of approximately 20 per cent. of the inquiry's remaining budget, due to a number of additional measures which have been agreed with the inquiry to minimise the remaining costs.
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Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps his Department is taking to advise staff of pension options available to them in relation to added years or additional voluntary contributions. 
Paul Goggins: New entrants to the Civil Service are provided with a new entrant pension starter pack; this explains that new entrants have the option of requesting information on increasing their pension benefits.
The pensions websites provides both new and current members with specific downloadable leaflets on added pension (added pension replaced added years provisions on 1 March 2008) and the Civil Service additional voluntary contributions scheme.
In the event of changes to, or the introduction of new provisions to increase pension benefits, notification is issued via office notices which are provided to Personnel Departments to distribute to all staff.
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what recent discussions his Department has had with outside organisations to discuss policy on reducing the effect of the recession on matters within his Department's responsibility. 
Paul Goggins: The information is not available in the format requested. Court conviction data do not contain background information in relation to offences committed so it is not possible to separately identify the number of convictions for offences such as murder in which a gun was involved. It is only possible to provide conviction statistics for those offences which, in their definition, refer to gun-related offences as specified by firearms legislation.
Paul Goggins: At present, there are no crimes that relate specifically to graffiti in Northern Ireland. Offences involving graffiti are normally charged under criminal damage, but court databases do not allow us to disaggregate the number of criminal damage offences that involved graffiti.
Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many incidents of burglary from (a) domestic and (b) commercial premises were recorded in each district command unit area in Northern Ireland in each of the last 12 months. 
Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what policies his Department has to achieve carbon dioxide emissions reductions in the agricultural sector. 
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