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29 Jun 2010 : Column 472Wcontinued
The Highways Agency has seven regional press officers to support its role in operating, maintaining and improving the strategic road network in each region. These press officers are employed primarily to keep the public informed of roadworks, incidents and events which might affect their journeys.
Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of changes to the previously announced timescale for the east coast rail franchise competition. 
Mrs Villiers [holding answer 24 June 2010]: Changes to the timescale for the inter city east coast franchise competition are still under consideration and a prior information notice will be issued in due course. The estimated cost to the public purse would depend on the final timescale for the competition, and reflect the extent to which the premium that would be paid by a private sector train operator might exceed that agreed with the current east coast operator.
Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what estimate he has made of the total cost to the public purse of suspending the (a) Essex Thameside and (b) Greater Anglia rail franchise competition; 
(2) what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse from (a) loss of or delay to premium payments and (b) compensation payments to bidding companies arising from suspension of the competition for (i) the Essex Thameside and (ii) Greater Anglia rail franchise. 
Mrs Villiers [holding answer 24 June 2010]: The two franchise extensions will have a theoretical opportunity cost caused by foregoing the higher premium/lower subsidy expected if the franchises were re-competed instead of extended. This is difficult to quantify, because assumptions need to be made about the likely prices from new bidders versus the cost of extending with incumbents. The opportunity cost arising from the delay to replacing franchises was estimated to be £6 million for Essex Thameside and £18 million for Greater Anglia. However, we believe that including the two franchises in the reformed system, on which we will be consulting shortly, will yield benefits for passengers and facilitate investment in the railways which will outweigh these costs.
In accordance with our accreditation process as advised to bidders the Department does not expect to have cause to incur compensation.
Brandon Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether the new franchise agreements for the Eastern Region Railway will require the operator to invest in fixed assets, with particular reference to Great Yarmouth railway station. 
Mrs Villiers: We have announced a consultation exercise on future policy on rail franchising. Following that it is planned to restart the competition for the Greater Anglia competition later this year. Bidders are likely to be encouraged to develop proposals that deliver better trains, stations and services. Assessing the best way to encourage private sector investment in station improvement will form an important part of the upcoming rail franchise consultation.
Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what information his Department holds on the extent of overcrowding on the 20 most crowded rail services. 
Mrs Villiers: The Department for Transport holds passenger count data for rail services arriving into London and major regional cities during the peak commuter periods in autumn 2009. A list of the most crowded rail services is not routinely produced by the Department.
Crowding statistics based on the autumn 2009 passenger count data will be published at an aggregated level in the Office of Rail Regulation's National Rail Trends Yearbook in July 2010.
Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the change in the number of passengers that will be carried on each rail franchise over the next (a) five, (b) 10, (c) 15 and (d) 20 years. 
Mrs Villiers: No estimate has been made of the change in the number of passengers that will be carried on each rail franchise over these periods.
Mr Leech: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the percentage change in traffic levels (a) on English roads and (b) on roads in each county within England was in each year since 1997, taking 1997 levels as the baseline. 
Mike Penning: Tables showing percentage changes in traffic volumes for all motor vehicles on all roads for (a) English roads and (b) each local authority in England have been placed in the Libraries of the House.
The figures provided in the tables are for the period 1997-2009. Table 1 shows estimated traffic for all motor vehicles, table 2 shows the percentage change from 1997 and table 3 shows year-on-year percentage changes.
Road traffic estimates are produced by using a consistent national methodology which is mainly designed to deliver national level estimates. Traffic figures at local authority level are less robust than the regional and national totals and are not classed as national statistics. Some discontinuities exist in the data between various years for certain local authorities.
Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether his Department has retained the target of 10% of transport energy coming from renewable sources by 2020. 
Norman Baker: The Government's coalition agreement contained a commitment to
"seek to increase the target for energy from renewable sources, subject to the advice of the Climate Change Committee".
Currently, we are working towards transposing the EU renewable energy directive, which requires member states to source 10% transport energy from renewables by 2020. This target was agreed in 2009 and is part of a wider requirement to source 15% of overall energy from renewables by 2020.
Options for achieving our renewable energy in transport targets are being considered, and a formal consultation will take place in due course.
Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he plans to take to build a modern and sustainable transport system in (a) West Sussex and (b) Mid Sussex. 
Norman Baker [holding answer 24 June 2010]: The Department for Transport is focused on building a modern and sustainable transport system. This will contribute to future economic growth of all parts of England including in West Sussex and Mid Sussex.
Following the spending review we will be reviewing priorities for the transport network, including those in West Sussex and Mid Sussex.
Mr Leech: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his Department's most recent estimate is of average city centre to city centre journey times by (a) road and (b) rail between London and (i) Manchester, (ii) Sheffield and (iii) Leeds. 
Mike Penning: The information requested is as follows:
During the 12-month period from September 2008 to August 2009, the estimated average daytime journey times between London city centre and Manchester, Sheffield and Leeds city centres were as follows:
|Destination from London (Trafalgar Square)||Average journey time (hours: minutes)|
Information on actual journey times on the railway network is not held by the Department. However, the most recent typical weekday advertised journey times from London to Manchester, Sheffield and Leeds are as follows:
|Journey||Typical weekday advertised journey time (hours: minutes)|
It should be noted that the road and rail journey times are not directly comparable. The average road journey times include delayed journeys, whereas the rail journey times provided are advertised journey times and therefore do not account for delayed journeys. Additionally, rail journey times do not incorporate travel time between the city centre and the railway station.
Mr Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has for the repatriation of bodies of soldiers killed in action after the closure of RAF Lyneham. 
Nick Harvey: A study is under way to determine the most suitable location for repatriations once flying operations cease at RAF Lyneham in September 2011. A final decision will be made later this year.
Mr Mike Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many trained Royal Air Force search and rescue pilots have served on operations (a) in Afghanistan and (b) elsewhere overseas in the last five years. 
Nick Harvey: A total of 21 trained RAF Search and Rescue pilots have served in Afghanistan during the last five years. Information on the total number of Search and Rescue pilots who have served overseas is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. The Search and Rescue Force operates a service in the UK and Falkland Islands only; those serving in Afghanistan and other overseas locations have flown in a non Search and Rescue role.
Mr Mike Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the incremental cost of retraining an armed forces helicopter pilot for a search and rescue role. 
Nick Harvey: To retrain an armed forces helicopter pilot for a search and rescue role requires completion of two courses: the Search and Rescue Training Unit ab-initio pilot course; and the Search and Rescue Operational Conversion Unit. The total cost of these courses is just over £1 million.
Mr Mike Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the running costs, excluding asset depreciation, of the Royal Air Force search and rescue service were in the last 12 months for which figures are available. 
Nick Harvey: The total costs, excluding asset depreciation, of the Air Rescue Coordination Centre, the RAF Sea King Search and Rescue force and the RAF mountain rescue service for the financial year 2009-10 was £62.26 million.
In addition, 84 Squadron RAF provides Search and Rescue services in Cyprus using contractor owned helicopters. The contract cost for financial year 2009-10 was £3.6 million.
Mr Mike Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what mechanisms there are to recover from (a) other Departments, (b) local authorities, (c) insurance companies and (d) individuals the cost of calling out Royal Air Force search and rescue helicopters; and how much has been recovered in such payments in the last five years. 
Nick Harvey: No charges are made for responding to incidents involving imminent danger to human life. This is the case for the majority of Search and Rescue activity. Charges are raised for other occasions where RAF SAR units provide assistance to Government Departments and local health trusts. No charges are raised against individuals or insurance companies.
The amount recovered from other Government Departments in respect of RAF search and rescue call-outs each of the last five years is:
|Financial year||£ million|
Mr Mike Hancock:
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) civilians and (b) members of the armed forces were (i) rescued and (ii) evacuated by
Royal Air Force search and rescue helicopters (A) in the UK, (B) from UK waters and (C) elsewhere in each of the last five years. 
Nick Harvey: Not all of the information is held in the format requested. Records are only held for combined numbers of people rescued and bodies recovered and the term evacuation is not used by the RAF in this context. Additionally, the locations of rescue operations are recorded by land, coast and maritime categories. The available information is provided in the following tables:
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