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Written Answers to Questions

Wednesday 25 March 2009


Departmental Public Expenditure

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how much capital spending is planned to be brought forward by his Department to (a) 2008-09 and (b) 2009-10. [266300]

Mr. Paul Murphy: I refer the hon. Gentleman to my answer of 24 March 2009, Official Report, column 185W.

Departmental Training

Mr. Hands: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales pursuant to the answer of 29 January 2009, Official Report, column 689W, on departmental training, which Minister took the course Action Learning Set—National School of Government; and at what cost. [265669]

Mr. David: The Action Learning Set—National School of Government course referred to in my earlier answer cost £250. Identifying Ministers who undertake training may discourage participation in future training sessions, acting as a disincentive for Ministers to undertake formal professional development.

Energy: Prices

Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change on energy prices in Wales. [265709]

Mr. Paul Murphy: I take a close interest in energy prices in Wales. Along with the Welsh Assembly Government I asked Ofgem when undertaking its review into the energy market to investigate why people in Wales appeared to be paying more for their energy. In its initial findings Ofgem concluded that people in Wales did pay more for their electricity due to a number of factors. I understand that Ofgem will be publishing new licensing conditions to help tackle some of these issues next month with a view to introducing them by the autumn.



Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make an estimate of the airport runway capacity required in the South of England to remove the need for aircraft to be held in stacks. [265127]

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Jim Fitzpatrick: The Government recognise the negative impacts of stacking on operational efficiency and the environment. The ‘Future of Air Transport’ White Paper encourages making better use of existing airport capacity and supports the delivery of two new runways in the south-east. Implementing that policy should reduce the need for stacking. In particular, the Government's recent confirmation of its support for a third runway at Heathrow should help to reduce the need for stacking at that airport where lack of runway capacity is a significant contributory factor. However, runway capacity is not the only relevant factor, and that is why the UK also strongly supports optimising the use of airspace, including through implementation of the Single European Sky.


Justine Greening: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what objectives and sub-objectives were contained in his Department's Aviation Directorate's business plan in (a) 2006-07, (b) 2007-08 and (c) 2008-09; and which of these were contained in Project Heathrow project delivery and risk reports in each such year. [265874]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The Aviation Directorate's business plan for each of the years 2006-07, 2007-08 and 2008-09 included objectives relating to the delivery of ‘The Future of Air Transport’ White Paper. Heathrow project delivery and risk reports refer to those objectives. The Department's business plans are available on its website.

Departmental Billing

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what percentage of its suppliers his Department has paid within 10 days of receipt of invoice in the last four months. [264932]

Mr. Hoon [holding answer 20 March 2009]: The Department for Transport collects and monitors its payment performance on a monthly basis against a target to pay all valid invoices within 30 days of receipt unless different payment terms exist. The Department’s overall payment performance is reported to BERR at the end of each financial year.

Following the Prime Minister’s statement on 8 October 2008 the Department has implemented new monitoring arrangements to report on its payment performance for all suppliers against a 10 day deadline. The new arrangements came into effect on 1 January 2009 with the first set of data available for the month of January.

Payment performance information is published each month on the Department’s website at:

Data are available for January and February 2009 for the percentage of valid invoices paid within 10 days as follows:

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January 2009

Percentage paid on time




February 2009

Percentage paid on time




Data from the Vehicle Certification Agency is excluded—this will not be available until the next financial year.

Departmental Internet

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 3 February 2009, Official Report, column 1124W, how many hits each of the websites maintained by the Department received in each of the last 12 months. [262791]

Mr. Hoon: Tables have been placed in the Libraries of the House showing websites currently maintained by the Department and the page hits received in each of the last 12 months.

Data are unavailable in some instances, either for technical reasons or because the website was not live at the time.

The Department intends to measure website usage in line with the proposed guidance issued by the Central Office of Information, ‘Measuring website usage (TG116)’, starting from the financial year 2009-10.

Departmental Public Expenditure

Mr. Goodwill: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the cost of managing the estates of the (a) Vehicle and Operator Services Agency and (b) Driving Standards Agency in the last year for which figures are available. [264729]

Mr. Hoon [holding answer 19 March 2009]: The information is as follows:

Driving: Multiple Sclerosis

Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his policy is on the application of the provisions of the Road Traffic Act 1988 relating to the physical fitness of drivers to persons with multiple sclerosis. [265093]

Jim Fitzpatrick: Multiple sclerosis is a prospective disability under section 92(2) of the Road Traffic Act 1988. A prospective disability is defined as a medical condition, which by virtue of the progressive or intermittent nature of the disability or otherwise, may become a relevant disability in the course of time.

For Group 1 licence holders/applicants (cars and motorcycles), providing a medical investigation confirms that driving performance is not impaired, a driver with multiple sclerosis can be licensed. A one, two or three-year licence may be required.

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For Group 2 licence holders/applicants (buses and lorries), a licence will be refused or revoked if the condition is progressive. If driving would not be impaired and the condition is stable, licensing can be considered on a case by case basis subject to satisfactory reports and an annual review.


Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much his Department spent on consultants in respect of proposals to widen stretches of the M25 in each of the last 11 years. [266462]

Paul Clark: The cost of consultants engaged on M25 widening schemes for each of the previous 11 years is set out as follows.


























The above costs relate to consultancy work on the following activities:

Preparation of the M25 DBFO Contract, specifically:

Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he plans to award contracts for the next phase of the widening of the M25. [266463]

Paul Clark: The widening of the M25 between Junctions 16 to 23, and Junctions 27 to 30, is included in the scope of the M25 Design, Build Finance and Operate (DBFO) Contract currently in the final stages of procurement.

It is expected that this contract will be awarded in late April 2009, subject to satisfactory completion of statutory processes and completion of the ongoing competition to raise finance for the project.

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Motor Vehicles: Environment Protection

Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent steps he has taken to encourage the use of environmentally-friendly cars. [265130]

Jim Fitzpatrick: In January 2009, the Secretary of State for Transport announced £250 million towards consumer incentives for ultra-low carbon cars. This is in addition to £100 million the Government are already providing to support research, development and demonstration of key technologies for such vehicles.

The UK was in the vanguard of EU member states lobbying for a long term target, which was added to the New Car CO2 regulation agreement reached in December 2008 between the European Council, Parliament and Commission. The target for 2020 is provisionally set at 95g/km.

The latest strand of the Government's ‘Act on CO2’ consumer awareness campaign continues to promote the purchase of more environmentally friendly vehicles as well as the benefits of smarter driving.

Finally, the use and purchase of environmentally friendly vehicles is supported through the current UK taxation system, which is also the basis for the new car fuel economy labelling scheme now used in most car showrooms.


Justine Greening: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport with reference to the answer of 26 November 2008, Official Report, column 1370W, on redundancy, how many staff left his Department under staff exit schemes with a severance package worth (a) between £100,000 and £125,000, (b) between £125,001 and £150,000, (c) between £150,001 and £200,000, (d) between £200,001 and £250,000, (e) between £250,001 and £500,000, (f) between £500,001 and £1,000,000 and (g) over £1,000,000 in each year since 2005-06. [264290]

Mr. Hoon: Unfortunately a detailed breakdown of staff exits cannot be provided as there are fewer than five exits in most cases. In these cases, the information is suppressed on the grounds of confidentiality.

Number of exits
Size of severance package 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08

£100,000 to £125,000

£125,001 to £150,000

£150,001 to £200,000


£200,001 to £250,000

£250,001 to £500,000

500,001 to £1,000,000

Over £1,000,000





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