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11 May 2009 : Column 500W—continued

The data presented above relate to the position at the 31 December each year.

The Department for Transport does not hold statistics regarding vehicle registrations in Northern Ireland.

Motor Vehicles: Lighting

Dr. Iddon: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what timetable he has set for publication of the responses to his Department’s consultation on amendments to the vehicle lighting and construction regulations; [272534]

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(2) if he will bring forward proposals to amend road vehicle lighting regulations to require conspicuity markings on all heavy goods vehicles registered from 10 October 2009. [272535]

Jim Fitzpatrick: We plan to publish the results of the consultation by the summer, together with the amendments to the lighting regulations.

These amendments will require new heavy goods vehicles and their trailers first used from 10 October 2009 to be fitted with conspicuity markings.

This date coincides with the international agreements contained in UN-ECE Regulation 48 on vehicle lighting. Bringing forward the implementation date would contravene this regulation.

Ports: EU Action

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent representations he has received on proposals for a common EU maritime policy on port taxes. [272699]

Jim Fitzpatrick: None.

Railways: Fares

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will take steps to prevent train operating companies raising the cost of unregulated fares further during 2009. [272411]

Paul Clark: Unregulated fares are a commercial matter for train operators who are free to set them on a commercial basis. Train operators face strong competition from the private car, coaches and airlines and will set fares to compete: it is not in their interest to price people off the railway as this would reduce their revenue.

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions he has had with (a) National Express East Coast, (b) First Great Western, (c) East Midlands Trains, (d) First Capital Connect and (e) CrossCountry on plans to raise the cost of unregulated fares. [272421]

Paul Clark: Unregulated fares are a commercial matter for train operators who are free to set them on a commercial basis. Department for Transport officials hold regular meetings with train operators, during which a wide range of topics are discussed.

Railways: Franchises

Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what criteria are used to determine the minimum service provisions of train operating companies' franchise agreements; and what processes there are for consultation with passengers on any changes in these provisions. [274408]

Paul Clark: The service provisions within franchise agreements are consulted upon by the Department for Transport as part of the franchise reletting process. Such consultations usually involve all relevant local authorities, passenger transport executives (PTE's) and other major stakeholders, user groups and user representatives such as Passenger Focus.

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The minimum level of service—as described within the service level commitment detailed within the franchise agreement—is determined by a combination of:

Train operators are required to consult stakeholders where they propose changes to these minimum service levels, and the Department will consider these responses alongside other evidence from operators in deciding whether such changes are appropriate.

Railways: Torbay

Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will estimate the level of overall demand for direct train services between Torbay and London. [274290]

Paul Clark: Estimates of the overall demand for direct train services are based on data on recent flows between Torbay and London. Both South West Trains and First Great Western operate London-Torbay services from Waterloo and Paddington respectively. This information belongs to the train operating company and queries should be addressed to the companies concerned at:

Roads: Accidents

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many accidents have occurred in each year involving powered two-wheel vehicles causing (a) death, (b) serious injury and (c) other injury in each (i) county and (ii) unitary council area in each year since 1997. [274419]

Jim Fitzpatrick: Tables showing the number of (a) fatal, (b) serious and (c) slight reported personal injury road accidents involving at least one motorcycle in each county and local authority area in each year since 1997 have been deposited in the Libraries of the House.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Agriculture: Subsidies

Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much his Department has paid back to the European Union following rulings in relation to breaches by the UK of requirements under the Common Agricultural Policy in each year since 1997. [273276]

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Jane Kennedy [holding answer 7 May 2009]: The Rural Payments Agency has had the following financial corrections applied by the European Commission over the past five financial years:

£ million











Payments are deducted from subsequent claim reimbursements, two months after the correction decision is formally published, but with the exception of late payment penalties which are deducted at the time of the claim being submitted. In this case the correction decision is retrospective. The high figure in 2008-09 includes such a retrospective decision for failure to meet payment deadlines in regard to the Single Payment Scheme 2005.

Data prior to the implementation of the Single Payment Scheme (e.g. prior to 2004) could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Animal Welfare

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the National Farmers Union on action to be taken following the consultation on Responsibility and Cost Sharing. [273344]

Jane Kennedy: The Secretary of State and I meet regularly with representatives of the National Farmers Union to discuss a wide range of agricultural and farming issues including responsibility and cost sharing for animal health.


Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what estimate he has made of the likely change in the number of (a) honey and (b) bumble bees as a percentage of their total population in the next five years; [273301]

(2) what his most recent estimate is of the cost to agriculture in England of the likely change in the numbers of (a) honey bees and (b) bumble bees in the next 10 years. [273302]

Jane Kennedy: No such estimates have been made yet. However, recent evidence considering the decline in species richness of both bumblebees and solitary bees suggests a significant decrease in the number of bee species for which data was available in England. In recognition of this, the Secretary of State recently announced additional funding of £4.3 million for bee health which includes supporting the implementation of the initial phase of a 10 year plan to improve and protect the health of honey bees in England and Wales. This additional funding will allow DEFRA to contribute £0.5 million per annum over five years to a wider research programme on pollinator decline which was announced on 21 April.

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Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department plans to take in the next two years to protect the bee population in England. [273303]

Jane Kennedy: DEFRA has allocated new resources for the bee health programme to fund the implementation of the ‘Healthy Bees' plan. On top of its current £1.3 million per annum, an additional £2.3 million will be provided to the National Bee Unit (NBU) (part of the Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA)) over the next two years to implement the first stage of the plan.

This involves producing a more accurate national picture of the numbers and distribution of beekeepers, and the health status of their colonies. Our improved understanding of the national position will allow the development of a new robust disease control and surveillance programme for implementation from 2011 onwards. In addition, FERA is bidding for funding under the EU Framework Programme 7, to establish a consortium of researchers who will investigate the main factors leading to colony losses.

Bluetongue Disease: Disease Control

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what mechanisms are in place to (a) prevent and (b) monitor the import and spread of bluetongue disease in summer 2009. [273342]

Jane Kennedy: The information requested is as follows:

(a) As of 3 November 2008, all of Great Britain became a single confluent protection zone for Bluetongue serotype 8 (BTV-8). Animals can be moved freely within this protection zone, and to and from other BTV-8 protection zones in Europe provided that they meet the generic import/export requirements and are accompanied by an Export Health Certificate which has been signed by an official veterinarian.

Movements of susceptible animals from Protection Zones for different serotypes are subject to the restrictions set out in Annex III of the Commission Regulation (EC) No 1266/2007 (as amended).

(b) DEFRA has a number of scanning and targeted surveillance measures in place to monitor Bluetongue in the UK as detailed in the UK-wide Bluetongue Control Strategy.

With specific regard to imports, DEFRA conducts post-import tests on all susceptible animals imported from continental Europe for all Bluetongue serotypes. From 1 April 2009, this was increased to double testing to ensure that disease is picked up in both its early and late stages. DEFRA also urges industry to consider the risks and check the health and vaccination status of animals when sourcing any animals, from within the UK or abroad.

Spread of BTV-8 is additionally controlled through the use of vaccine. DEFRA underwrote 28 million doses of BTV-8 vaccine in 2008, enough for all susceptible animals in England. 12 million of these doses formed the supply at the start of 2009. This along with free market vaccine supplies from the three manufacturers authorised to market vaccine in the UK, Intervet, Merial and Fort Dodge should meet the demand for BTV-8 vaccine in 2009.

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British Overseas Territories: Nature Conservation

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much has been distributed in grants to the British Overseas Territories from the Darwin Initiative scheme since 2006. [272612]

Huw Irranca-Davies: Since the Darwin Initiative was launched in 1992, a total of just over £2 million of its funding has been awarded to projects in the UK Overseas Territories. £494,124 of this figure has been invested since 2006, which reflects the Darwin Initiative’s increasing interest in biodiversity conservation in these important parts of the world.

Dangerous Dogs (Amendment) Act 1997

Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many dogs in England and Wales have been placed on the register of exempt dogs under section 4A and section 4B procedures under the Dangerous Dogs (Amendment) Act 1997 in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. [272366]

Jane Kennedy: We do not record under which section of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 (as amended 1997) prohibited types of dogs are added to the Index of Exempted Dogs.

Number of dogs added to index England Scotland Wales


































































Data for 2009 can be considered as to end of April.
Index of Exempted Dogs.

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