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Written Answers to Questions

Thursday 12 March 2009

Church Commissioners

Church of England: Finance

Norman Lamb: To ask the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, representing the Church Commissioners whether the Church of England pension fund has rules to avoid making investments in companies involved in the sale, distribution and manufacturing of weapons and defence equipment. [262384]

Sir Stuart Bell: The investment decisions of the Church of England Pensions Board are informed by the work of the Church of England's Ethical Investment Advisory Group whose policy advice precludes investment in companies which supply defence platforms, weapons and weapons systems. Investment in non-offensive systems including avionics, radar, sonar, instrumentation, components, military IT and software, as well as refit and commissioning of military systems, is permitted under the policy advice as long as a company's exposure to such work is less than 25 per cent. of turnover.

Church of England: Pay

Norman Lamb: To ask the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, representing the Church Commissioners whether staff involved in management of the Church of England pension funds are eligible to receive bonuses for their work. [262519]

Sir Stuart Bell: Church of England Pensions Board staff do not receive bonuses. Staff employed at outside firms involved in the management of the Pensions Board's assets do receive annual bonuses based on their own performance and the profitability of their employers.

House of Commons Commission


Mr. Amess: To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission how many security passes to the Palace of Westminster were issued in each category in the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement. [261444]

Nick Harvey: Between 4 March 2008 and 4 March 2009, a total of 10,413 parliamentary passes were issued across 26 different categories. These figures include new passes and those issued as replacements due to loss, damage, expiry or change of post. The following table summarises the six main categories of pass:

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Pass category Number issued February 2008 to February 2009





Staff of Members and Peers


Staff of the two Houses


Government Department staff


Other categories



A3: Hindhead

Stephen Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his most recent estimate is of the cost of the A3 Hindhead improvement (a) with and (b) without twin-bored tunnels under the Devil’s Punch Bowl; and how much is expected to come from public funds. [262268]

Paul Clark: The latest estimate for the A3 Hindhead improvement currently being constructed is £371 million, of which all is to come from public funds. There is no estimate for a scheme without the twin-bored tunnels under the Devil’s Punch Bowl.

Aviation: Carbon Emissions

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) if he will bring forward proposals to give legal force to the target to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from UK aviation to below 2005 levels by 2050; [261186]

(2) whether aircraft emissions will apply (a) in total and (b) net of trading and offsetting for the target to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from UK aviation to below 2005 levels by 2050. [261187]

Jim Fitzpatrick: In announcing its target to bring UK aviation carbon dioxide emissions in 2050 below 2005 levels, the Government asked the Committee on Climate Change to advise on the best basis for its development. The committee is due to report by December 2009. Once the Government have received the committee's advice, they will determine the best basis for taking the target forward.

Aviation: Fuels

Mr. Brazier: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport in the light of the incident at Birmingham airport on 14 May 2008, what steps he is taking to ensure that aviation fuel is not contaminated by biofuel. [262962]

Jim Fitzpatrick: Aviation fuel supplied to aircraft must be fit for purpose. Ultimately, fuel companies are responsible for supplying fuel to their airline customers which is within specification and they have arrangements in place to deliver this. Procedures for handling aviation fuel at airports and other aviation fuel facilities have been developed by the Joint Inspection Group, a Joint Venture company formed in 2002 by fuel supply companies.
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Following the Birmingham airport incident last May, fuel suppliers carried out a detailed investigation and took appropriate corrective action. The Joint Inspection Group issued revised handling procedures and recommendations which were endorsed by the International Air Transport Association and circulated internationally.

Government Departments including the Department for Transport, Department of Energy and Climate Change, and the Ministry of Defence, are working closely with stakeholders in the fuel supply industry, aircraft engine and airframe manufacturers, airport operators, airlines, and safety regulators to track developments towards a higher permissible biodiesel component level, monitor developments with testing methods, and monitor the application of the existing testing regime in the aviation fuel supply chain.

Bus Services: Northumberland

Mr. Ronnie Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much Government subsidy Northumberland county council is receiving for bus transport in 2008-09. [258933]

Paul Clark: The Department for Transport supports the provision of bus services by means of rural bus subsidy grant, which is now paid to local authorities as part of their area-based funding; £859,321 has been allocated to Northumberland county council in 2008-09.

In addition, the council has received £56,517 in 2008-09 for the Plus 518 Rural Bus Challenge (RBC) programme.

Local authorities also support local bus services using funds from the Department for Communities and Local Government's formula grant.

The council has been allocated integrated transport capital funding of £3.3 million for 2008-09. Allocations are not ring-fenced and local transport authorities have discretion to spend their allocations in line with their priorities, including on bus transport.

Catalytic Converters

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the number and percentage of catalytic converters in the UK which meet the emissions standards required by EU Regulations 715/2007 and 692/2008 on vehicle emissions. [261402]

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Jim Fitzpatrick: Based on information supplied by the replacement catalyst industry, the Department's impact assessment on draft regulations which will implement Article 11 of EU Regulation No 715/2007 assumes that 80 per cent. of replacement catalytic converters sold in the UK in recent years do not currently meet the original type approval emissions standard. For the vehicles which are subject to the Regulation's replacement catalyst requirements (petrol cars and vans meeting Euro 3 and 4 emissions standards) an overall catalyst replacement rate of 5 per cent. per annum is assumed. On this basis some 127,350 replacement catalytic converters are estimated to have met the original standard in 2008. A copy of the impact assessment may be found at:

Departmental Absenteeism

Mr. Scott: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many staff of his Department were recorded absent for non-medical reasons on (a) 2 February 2009 and (b) 3 February 2009; what estimate he has made of the (i) cost to his Department and (ii) number of working hours lost as a result of such absence; and what guidance his Department issued to staff in respect of absence on those days. [260575]

Mr. Hoon: Non-medical absence is managed locally so this information can be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Data Protection

Mr. Vara: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many contracts (a) his Department and (b) its agencies have which allow contractors to store personal data of UK citizens overseas; for which contracts this applies; in which countries the data for each contract are held; and how many people have their data stored overseas in the case of each such contract. [245350]

Mr. Hoon: The following table lists the information readily available. It represents the current position and details are liable to change as, for instance, new contracts are signed, or old ones end. The table provides a summary of three contracts let out by the Department and three by its agencies, where the Department is the data controller, that involve storing data overseas.

Description of the contract and in which country Approximate number of citizens who have their data stored overseas

Pearson Driving Assessments Limited processes and backs up personal data on theory test candidates in the US on behalf of the Driving Standards Agency (DSA).


Highways Agency (HA) uses Gallup for staff satisfaction surveys, some personal data on HA staff are stored in the US for conducting the survey purposes.


The Department contracts Siemens to deliver a public inquiry service the back-up arrangements for which include the storage of staff business contact details by RightNow Technologies in the US.


Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) have contracted with PricewaterhouseCoopers to conduct staff surveys. Staff's personal data are stored in Germany.


The Department has a contract with Bravo Solutions who use Asite Ltd. to run a web-based system for tendering purposes. Data are held in the UK and backed-up to the US.


The Department are using GeoStats for conducting a survey of travel patterns of individuals who have volunteered to take part. The data collected will be processed by GeoStats in the US for up to 6 months before being returned to the main UK contractor

Up to 150

(1 )As of 17 December 2008.

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Departmental Manpower

Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many headcount additions above the agreed headcount target in the Gershon Review have been made in his Department since 2004. [262418]

Mr. Hoon: The Gershon review set headcount reduction targets for the central Department and the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, to be met by 31 March 2008. Both of these areas successfully met their targets and the latest figures indicate that their headcount remains within the agreed levels.

Departmental Ministerial Policy Advisers

Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much has been claimed in reimbursable expenses by special advisers in his Department in 2008-09 to date. [260339]

Mr. Hoon: Costs incurred on reimbursable expenses in 2008-09, will be available only when the Department for Transport's resource accounts are fully audited and laid before Parliament. This is expected to be before the 2009 summer recess.

Departmental Public Appointments

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what information his Department holds on the number of persons appointed to executive positions in bodies for which his Department has responsibility in the last five years who previously had careers in the banking industry. [261225]

Mr. Hoon: The Department for Transport does not hold this information centrally. The information requested can be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Training

Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether his Department has provided voice coaching to any of its employees in the last 12 months. [260644]

Mr. Hoon: 12 members of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency staff attended a media skills course, which involved training in how to speak for radio and TV. No other instances of voice coaching were recorded by the Department for Transport and its agencies in the last 12 months.

Departmental Video Conferencing

Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many meetings (a) he, (b) other Ministers and (c) departmental officials undertook using teleconferencing equipment in 2008. [262459]

Mr. Hoon: A total of 216 video conferences were held in the Department for Transport (Central) in 2008, but no records are kept of the individuals attending so the breakdown requested cannot be supplied. No figures are available for the agencies as they do not keep records of usage.

No details are available for telephone conference usage as records are not kept.

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The Department for Transport and its agencies encourage the use of both video conferencing and telephone conference facilities as a first option, in order to save time and travelling expenses where possible.

Departmental Visits Abroad

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much expenditure was incurred in respect of overseas visits which (a) he, (b) other Ministers in his Department and (c) his Department’s senior officials undertook in 2008. [262172]

Mr. Hoon: Since 1999, the Government have published a list of all overseas travel by Cabinet Ministers costing over £500. Information for the financial year 2007-08 was published on 22 July 2008, Official Report, column 102WS, and for the first time, included details of overseas visits undertaken by all Ministers. All travel by Ministers is undertaken in accordance with the “Ministerial Code”.

The Department for Transport does not record travel expenses for senior officials separately from those for other staff. The information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Diesel Trains Limited

Stephen Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will place in the Library (a) the (i) memorandum of association and (ii) articles of association of Diesel Trains Limited and (b) a copy of each letter to industry partners referred to in his Department's press release of 5 March 2009 on the establishment of the company. [262387]

Paul Clark: A copy of the Memorandum of Association of Diesel Trains Ltd. has been placed in the Library. The company took standard “Table A” articles of association from the Companies (Table A to F) Regulations 1985 as amended.

A copy of the letter to industry partners has been placed in the Library. The letter is also available on the Department’s website at:

Stephen Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the names are of the (a) directors and (b) other members of senior management of Diesel Trains Limited. [262388]

Paul Clark: The interim directors of Diesel Trains Ltd. are Bob Linnard and Caroline Low. The permanent directors and senior management have not yet been appointed.

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