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4 Mar 2009 : Column 1608W—continued

High Speed Two

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what terms of reference he has given to the High Speed Two company. [259407]

Paul Clark [holding answer 27 February 2009]: I refer the hon. Member to the statement made by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of Sate for Transport on 15 January 2009, Official Report, columns 355-60, and the accompanying document “Britain’s Transport Infrastructure: High Speed Two”, which was deposited in the House Libraries on the same day.

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Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what regulations apply to the carriage of passengers in stretch limousines; and if he will make a statement. [259349]

Paul Clark: The Department for Transport has published guidance for operators of stretch limousines, which provides an overview of the requirements that apply to the use of such vehicles. The guidance is available on the internet at:

and a copy will be placed in the Library.

Motor Vehicles: Petrol Alternatives

Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what (a) research and (b) trialling his Department has conducted on the provision of (i) hydrogen supply and (ii) electric charge points networks for road vehicles powered by hydrogen and electricity in the last five years; and what (A) funding and (B) other resources his Department has provided for (1) local authorities and (2) regional development agencies to create such networks in that period. [259591]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The Department for Transport (DfT) commissioned the Health and Safety Laboratory to examine the issues around hydrogen refuelling infrastructures. In 2008 they produced the reports “Assessing the safety of delivery and storage of hydrogen” and a “Review of the regulatory framework around hydrogen refuelling”, available on:

The Department and the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform commissioned Cenex (UK Centre of Excellence for Low Carbon and Fuel Cell technologies), along with the consultancy firm Arup, to examine and advise on the issues relating to the mass market introduction of electric vehicles. Their report is available at:

DfT has provided grant funding for electric recharging points of £171,000 through the alternative refuelling infrastructure grant programme of which £80,546 was provided directly to local authorities. There were no grants provided for the regional development agencies for electric recharging points. No grants were provided for hydrogen refuelling infrastructure.

New Trains: Investments

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the Statement of 12 February 2009, Official Report, columns 1531-4W, on new trains (investments), by what date he expects the last of the 1,400 new carriages announced to be in service. [259610]

Paul Clark: The Intercity Express programme (IEP) order is for up to 1,400 vehicles, the last of which are expected to enter service in 2018.

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Property Development

Mr. Gauke: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the powers available to him under the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 2006 in respect of proposed development sites. [259324]

Paul Clark: Powers are available to the Secretary of State for Transport under the General Permitted Development Order(1), which give planning permission in respect of works undertaken in exercise of the functions of the Secretary of State under the Highways Act 1980, or works in connection with or incidental to the exercise of those functions. No assessment has been made of these powers.

Public Transport: Disabled

Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what funding his Department has made available to improve disabled access transport services in North Wiltshire constituency. [258290]

Paul Clark: In November 2007, the Department for Transport announced the allocation of over £50 million to Wiltshire county council, which covers the North Wiltshire constituency, to support delivery of capital investment included in the last three years of its local transport plan. This funding is not ring-fenced and Wiltshire has discretion to spend allocations in line with its priorities, including disabled access to transport services. Revenue expenditure on transport is generally supported through the Department for Communities and Local Government’s formula grant.

Local transport legislation contains an obligation for local transport authorities to have regard to the transport needs of older people and people with mobility difficulties when developing transport plans and policies.

Railways: Overcrowding

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will take steps to introduce additional rolling stock on the Newport-Hereford line to reduce passenger overcrowding. [259393]

Paul Clark: Services on this route are provided by the Arriva Trains Wales franchise, and responsibility for their specification is devolved to the Welsh Assembly Government. Additional services were introduced on the route in December 2008.

Roads: Snow and Ice

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many days stock of gritting agent the Highways Agency held on (a) 31 January 2009 and (b) 6 February 2009; and if he will make a statement. [258543]

Paul Clark: The Highways Agency defines its salt stocks by the number of days that salt treatments could be delivered for snow conditions, across the strategic
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road network in England, without further deliveries being received. This assumes six treatments per day, at a salt spread rate of 20 g/m2 per treatment.

During a normal winter season, the Highways Agency will seek to maintain a minimum salt stocks level of six days. For the requested dates, the salt stocks held by the Highways Agency were as follows:


31 January 2009


6 February 2009


This reduction in stocks enabled the Agency to make some of its supplies available to individual local authorities and for new supplies of salt to be shared with local authorities and devolved Administrations across Great Britain, reflecting stocks held and forecast weather.

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will bring forward legislative proposals to require local authorities to clear pavements of snow in areas with high numbers of pedestrians. [259877]

Paul Clark: Section 41 of the Highways Act 1980 places a duty on highway authorities

It is for each local highway authority to determine how best to discharge this duty. The Government see no need for further legislation.

Rolling Stock

Mr. Charles Kennedy: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether any of the new rail rolling stock recently announced by his Department will be fitted out for use as sleeper accommodation. [258440]

Paul Clark: These trains will be designed to be longer and carry up to 21 per cent. more passengers but will not be fitted out for use as sleeper accommodation.

Mr. Charles Kennedy: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he plans to support the provision of sleeper rail services where these compete with domestic or short-haul international air travel services; and if he will make a statement. [258441]

Paul Clark: Sleeper services between Scotland and London are provided by First ScotRail as part of the franchise agreement with transport Scotland. Sleeper services between Penzance and London are provided by First Great Western. There are no other plans for sleeper services.

Stephen Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Lewes of 9 February 2009, Official Report, column 1606W, on rolling stock, what the timetable is for ordering the remaining 877 of the 1,300 carriages referred to in the 2007 White Paper, “Delivering a Sustainable Railway”. [258719]

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Paul Clark: It is currently expected that the new train orders will be placed as follows:

Operator Vehicles Expected order date














Up to 1,300


However, this is subject to agreement with the train operators concerned and a satisfactory value for money assessment.

Wheel Clamps

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport under what circumstances the owner of a vehicle may be held liable for a payment to release a wheel clamp where the vehicle in question had been parked by a person other than the owner. [259346]

Paul Clark: Few local authorities use immobilisation as part of their parking enforcement activities. If an immobilised vehicle had been parked on the public highway by a person without the keeper’s consent, the keeper would have to pay the release fee but can make representations to the local authority and, if this is refused, can appeal to an adjudicator on this ground.

I understand from the Home Office that if such a vehicle was immobilised on private land, the way that the vehicle keeper was treated would be at the discretion of the immobilisation staff.

Work and Pensions

Bereavement Benefits

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 3 February 2009, Official Report, column 1010W, on bereavement benefits, how many payments of (a) bereavement allowance and (b) bereavement payment were (i) made within the target times and (ii) not made within the target times in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. [255835]

Kitty Ussher: There is no national target for the processing of applications for bereavement benefits although we aim to deliver bereavement allowance within 15 days and bereavement payment within 10 days.

Information about average actual clearance time for bereavement allowance, widowed parents allowance and bereavement benefit payments for the last five years is in the following tables.

Bereavement allowance and widowed parents allowance average actual clearance times










2008-09 to date


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Bereavement payment average actual clearance times










2008-09 to date


Departmental Consultants

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many consultants his Department retains; in what areas of his Department's work each operates; for how long each has been contracted to work within his Department; and at what cost. [259778]

Jonathan Shaw [holding answer 27 February 2009]: The Department does not keep centralised records of individual consultants retained and therefore the answer could only be provided at disproportionate cost. We can however confirm that consultants are currently engaged in the following areas:

Departmental Telephone Services

Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many telephone numbers for which callers are charged at the rate applicable to 0845 numbers are used by (a) his Department and (b) its executive agencies for public access to services. [246992]

Jonathan Shaw: DWP and its executive agencies; Jobcentre Plus, Pension, Disability and Carers Service and Rent Service currently publish 129 0845 numbers for primary contact for customers accessing their services.

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