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22 Nov 2010 : Column 1W

Written Answers to Questions

Monday 22 November 2010

Northern Ireland

Daylight Saving Bill

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) what recent representations he has received on the potential effects of the provisions of the Daylight Saving Bill on Northern Ireland; [25292]

(2) what assessment he has made of the potential effects of the provisions of the Daylight Saving Bill on Northern Ireland. [25293]

Mr Paterson: I have not received any representations on this matter, nor have I made any assessment on its potential effect as the text of this private Member's Bill has not yet been published. The summary of the Bill as presented at First Reading suggests that its subject matter is devolved to Northern Ireland Ministers.

Departmental Postal Services

Brandon Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the monetary value was of contracts between his Department and (a) Post Office Ltd and (b) Royal Mail in (i) 1997-98 and (ii) each year since 2004-05. [24938]

Mr Paterson: Comparable figures for the Department as it is now configured are not available for the years preceding the completion of devolution on 12 April 2010.

The Northern Ireland Office (NIO) has no contract with Post Office Ltd.

The Department has three contracts/agreements with Royal Mail:

Brandon Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps his Department has taken to identify those of its services that could be provided through the Post Office network. [24939]

Mr Paterson: The Northern Ireland Office (NIO) does not support any direct services that could be provided by the Post Office. The Department continues to keep the use of all suppliers under review.


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Departmental Press: Subscriptions

Mr Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much his Department spent on press cuttings services in each of the last 12 months. [25479]

Mr Swire: Comparable figures for the Department as it is now configured are not available for the period preceding the completion of devolution on 12 April 2010.

Since 12 April 2010, the Department has incurred no expenditure on press cutting services.

Universities: Fees and Charges

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills on the effects of the proposed rise in the cap on university tuition fees on students from Northern Ireland wishing to study in England. [25294]

Mr Paterson: I have not had any such discussions, but I would be happy to consider doing so if requested by Northern Ireland Ministers or other interested parties.

Scotland

Constituencies

Mr Bain: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what his Department's policy is on retaining local public inquiries as part of the Boundary Commission for Scotland's process of determining Scottish parliamentary constituency and regional list boundaries. [25924]

David Mundell: The Government have no plans to amend Scottish Parliament boundary review policy at this stage.

Departmental Postal Services

Brandon Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what the monetary value was of contracts between his Department and (a) Post Office Ltd and (b) Royal Mail in (i) 1997-98 and (ii) each year since 2004-05. [24940]

David Mundell: None. The Scotland Office has ongoing contracts with the Post Office for the delivery of mail between its offices in London and Edinburgh and is only charged for what is used.

Brandon Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what steps his Department has taken to identify those of its services that could be provided through the Post Office network. [24941]

David Mundell: There are no Scotland Office services that require to use the Post Office network.

Departmental Press: Subscriptions

Mr Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how much his Department spent on press cuttings services in each of the last 12 months. [25477]

David Mundell: In each of the last 12 months the Scotland Office spent £830.00 on press cuttings.


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Post Office

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what recent discussions he has had with Post Office Ltd on the expansion of services at local post offices in Scotland. [25298]

Michael Moore: I recently met with representatives of the Royal Mail Group when we discussed a range of issues including the Post Office network.

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he last met the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills to discuss the operation of Post Office services. [25299]

Michael Moore: I have regular exchanges with ministerial colleagues on a range of issues. The Government are committed to a stable and sustainable post office network and through the Post Office Bill we will be putting the Post Office on a more secure financial footing.

Public Sector: Manpower

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what estimate he has made of the likely reduction in the number of jobs in the public sector in each constituency in Scotland in each of the next five years. [24782]

Michael Moore: The independent Office for Budget Responsibility published their employment forecasts for the whole of the UK on 30 June 2010. Based on the June 2010 Budget, in three years time public sector employment will be 150,000 higher compared to the forecast based on the March 2010 Budget, and total employment is forecast to rise each year over the next five years. Latest figures for Scotland show that employment is rising but the Government cannot be complacent. This is why the Government will continue to take decisive action to support the rebalancing of the economy, so the private sector will carry on to drive the recovery as the necessary spending reductions take effect.

Visits Abroad

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland pursuant to the answer of 16 November 2010, Official Report, column 658W, on visits abroad, whether (a) Ministers and (b) officials of his Department have visited Malawi in the last 12 months. [25796]

Michael Moore: No (a) Ministers or (b) officials of the Scotland Office have visited Malawi in the last 12 months.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Agriculture

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what research she has (a) evaluated and (b) commissioned on the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the agricultural sector. [24663]


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Mr Paice: Over the past 10 years DEFRA has commissioned and evaluated research on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in bacteria in farmed livestock, spending more than £4.5 million over the last five years. A further £1 million has been used to commission research on AMR in companion animals and horses.

DEFRA's AMR research programme is focused on five main areas, all of relevance to agriculture:

In addition to the research commissioned directly by DEFRA, the Department also evaluates the impact on policy of research commissioned by other funders in the UK and further afield. The evaluation of such research is primarily performed by the DEFRA Antimicrobial Resistance Co-ordination Group.

Further detail on current and completed DEFRA AMR research projects is available on the DEFRA website.

Agriculture: Antibiotics

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what her policy is on the use of antibiotics as growth promoters in farming. [24661]

Mr Paice: The use of antimicrobials, including antibiotics, as growth promoters is banned in Europe.

Those growth promoters containing antimicrobials used in human medicines were banned following a decision in 1999. The ban of the remaining antimicrobial growth promoters was done on a precautionary basis and was phased in over a number of years with the final compounds being withdrawn on 1 January 2006.

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether she has assessed the merits of regulating the use of antibiotics in farming. [24662]

Mr Paice: In the United Kingdom, antimicrobials are available to farmers only following their prescription by a veterinary surgeon. This provision is in the Veterinary Medicines Regulations (2009) (SI 2009 No. 2297).

It is the responsibility of the prescribing veterinary surgeon to determine the most appropriate medicine following diagnosis or clinical assessment.

Further regulation of antimicrobials used in farmed animal production may be considered if new evidence emerges to demonstrate that either human or animal health was likely to be compromised by their use. At the present time this is not the case in the United Kingdom.

The DEFRA Antimicrobial Resistance Co-ordination Group considers all new evidence as it emerges.


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Agriculture: Subsidies

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate she has made of the cost to (a) her Department and (b) farmers of resolving mapping issues in relation to claims for Single Farm Payments in each of the last three years. [23726]

Mr Paice: The rural land register (RLR) is our spatial database maintained by the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) and used to validate farm subsidy payments, primarily the single payment scheme (SPS) but also schemes under the Rural Development Programme for England. It is not possible to split the costs associated with maintaining the RLR for each scheme. The operational cost of maintaining the RLR in relation to the last three SPS scheme years is as follows:

Financial year Cost (£ million)

2007-08

2.913

2008-09

2.891

2009-10

3.744

Notes:
1. The financial years broadly correspond to SPS years 2007, 2008 and 2009.
2. Costs for SPS year 2010 are not shown as this year's work is unfinished.

The costs were unusually high in 2009-10 owing to RPA undertaking a major exercise with the RLR where some 2.4 million land parcels were updated. Additional project costs associated with the update, including some significant remapping, amounted to a further £11.649 million.

RPA is not able to estimate costs incurred by individual farmers as they vary with each business. It should be noted that participation in the SPS and any mapping needed to support scheme claims is voluntary.

Agriculture: Sustainable Development

Mr Bain: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will hold a conference on sustainable agriculture, food security and levels of food production in order to inform the development of her Department's policies on these matters. [25333]

Mr Paice [holding answer 19 November 2010]: The Department has just published its Business Plan which sets out DEFRA's priorities, including helping to ensure a secure, environmentally sustainable and healthy supply of food. Our Business Plan sets out the actions the Department will take relating to sustainable agriculture, food security and food production. DEFRA Ministers and officials also regularly meet those with an interest in the sustainability of our food system.

In addition, I have assured the House of the willingness of either the Secretary of State or myself to participate in a stakeholder-convened conference to examine the current state of sustainability in our livestock industry, should a suitable event be organised in 2011.


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Carbon Emissions: Business

Gemma Doyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what consideration she has given to bringing forward proposals for mandatory reporting of carbon dioxide emissions by listed companies. [24243]

Mr Paice [holding answer 15 November 2010]: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Hartlepool (Mr Wright) on 27 October 2010, Official Report, column 319W.

Cotton

Bill Esterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will oppose the continuation of EU cotton subsidies. [25527]

Mr Paice: I believe that the time has come for the last remaining direct support to the EU cotton sector to be de-coupled and the UK will be pursuing this end as part of our negotiating position in the forthcoming CAP Reform round.

Dairy Farming

Julian Sturdy: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assistance her Department provides to dairy farmers. [24672]

Mr Paice: I chair the Dairy Supply Chain Forum, which enables dairy farmers to discuss key issues with processors and their customers. I am reinvigorating the Forum, to enable the dairy supply chain as a whole to address the issues facing it and reverse the UK's dairy trade deficit.

We are seeking a positive outcome from the EU High Level Group on Milk so that dairy farmers can be competitive within a properly functioning market.

Last year we paid the Dairy Fund in addition to the Single Farm Payment, and Rural Development Programme funding is available to support innovation.

More broadly, we are introducing the Grocery Code Adjudicator to enforce the Groceries Supply Code of Practice to prevent large retailers from transferring excessive risks or unexpected costs onto their suppliers.

Departmental Food

Julian Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether her Department has guidelines on ensuring that food used for her Department's official functions is of domestic origin. [25542]

Mr Paice: The Government are committed to ensuring that food procured by Government Departments, and eventually the whole public sector, meets British or equivalent standards of production wherever this can be achieved without increasing overall costs. DEFRA's Structural Reform Plan states that we will introduce guidance on this by January 2011.

To support this we are developing a series of Government Buying Standards for food that encourage the procurement of food that meets British or equivalent production
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standards, reduce the environmental impacts of food and catering services, and support a healthy balanced diet.

Departmental Regulation

Mr Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what regulations she plans to (a) repeal and (b) amend in the next five years. [23082]

Mr Paice: At present, it is too early to project how many regulations will be repealed or amended over the course of the next five years.

However, as part of the pipeline review of legislation inherited from the previous Administration, much of which is well advanced, my Department has identified four proposed regulations to be removed. Those removed are: waste controls regulations; rabies order; sewage sludge regulations; and private water supplies regulations.

I have recently announced the appointment of a taskforce on farming regulation as well as a review of waste regulation. Among other things, these reviews will consider how the burden of regulation may be reduced. Such savings may be fed into the One-in, One-out process as "OUTs". Generally, my Department will continue to work to identify further potential "OUTs" for One-in, One-out.

The Government's regulatory Forward Programme is due to be published later this year which will provide details of all forthcoming regulation.

Food Northwest

Lisa Nandy: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether she plans to take steps to ensure that Food Northwest continues to receive support following the abolition of the North West Regional Development Agency. [24762]

Mr Paice: The Government are committed to rebalancing the economy towards the private sector as well as renewing and strengthening local economies and has paved the way for the creation of Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs). The Government are working closely with all the regional development agencies to ensure an orderly transition to the new delivery structure.

The LEPs' main goal will be to drive sustainable private sector growth and job creation, addressing local economic priorities. We also want these Partnerships to be locally driven, and we would encourage Food Northwest to engage proactively in the development of their local partnerships to ensure they understand how farming and the food industry contribute to the local economy.

Although there is no core funding from Government for LEPs, we have created a new £1.4 billion Regional Growth Fund which will operate over the next three
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years. This fund is open to bids from public-private partnerships, including, but not exclusively, the new LEPs and private bodies.

Food: Labelling

Mr Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate she has made of the proportion of (a) imported and (b) domestic (i) beef, (ii) sheep and lamb, (iii) goat and kid and (iv) chicken which is (A) labelled in respect of the method of slaughter and (B) not so labelled at the point of sale. [25168]

Mr Paice [holding answer 19 November 2010]: No such estimate has been made by DEFRA as there is no statutory obligation to indicate the method of slaughter on meat labels.

Food: Waste

Rehman Chishti: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent research her Department has (a) undertaken and (b) evaluated on the effects on levels of food waste of supermarket special offers. [25069]

Richard Benyon: To date neither DEFRA nor the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), our key delivery body on waste, have undertaken research on the effects on levels of food waste of supermarket special offers.

However, wider research on food waste by WRAP indicates that a significant percentage of consumers (72%) believe supermarket promotions may contribute to the amount of food they throw away.

WRAP has just initiated research to understand which promotions are being used by retailers on a range of fresh products, and to determine the impact of such promotions on both supply chain and household food waste.

WRAP has been working with retailers to encourage the use of alternative promotions for perishable foods, to enable consumers to continue to take advantage of promotions but avoid buying more food than they might need or be able to use.

Forestry Commission: Land

Mr Bain: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much was spent from the public purse in each forest district on biodiversity protection and enhancement on Forestry Commission-managed land in England in each year between 2005 and 2010 to date. [22973]

Mr Paice: While all sustainable forest management can benefit biodiversity, the Forestry Commission has spent the money shown in the following table specifically for the benefit of biodiversity.


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22 Nov 2010 : Column 10W
Financial year (April-March)

2005 2006 2007 2008 2009( 1) 2010

Sherwood

164,391

271,184

246,206

284,014

242,422

117,345

East Anglia

204,394

254,077

334,322

275,848

237,370

119,185

Northants

171,876

240,638

299,384

199,944

179,405

51,977

North-east England

128,955

609,523

549,469

558,360

260,785

78,412

North-west England

322,989

309,000

304,592

436,399

586,158

280,055

North York moors

116,337

145,608

141,708

107,167

44,264

133,470

South-east England

163,108

282,610

306,431

350,481

309,980

139,865

New Forest

1,296,457

1,602,096

1,047,303

1,399,758

1,616,074

1,090,427

West midlands

106,683

192,573

135,225

197,774

360,257

133,246

Peninsula

160,540

328,001

299,493

86,825

64,006

44,530

Forest of Dean

182,372

224,826

194,072

176,456

172,739

127,528

Bedgbury project

-

-

-

80,760

94,704

-

Westonbirt

-

-

-

-

-

232,579

Fee head office

655,746

324,978

13,135

302,438

618,863

420,482

3,673,847

4,785,114

3,871,339

4,456,223

4,787,026

2,969,101

(1) April to October

Genetically Modified Organisms: Food

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 5 July 2010, Official Report, column 62W, on genetically modified organisms: food, when she expects the European Commission report on the operation of the EU Legislation on the release of genetically modified (GM) organisms and the marketing of GM food and feed products to be published. [24633]

Mr Paice: The Commission is expected to issue its reports on the reviews of the operation of the EU legislation on the release of genetically modified (GM) organisms and the marketing of GM food and feed products (Directive 2001/18/EC and Regulation (EC) 1829/2003) before the end of 2010.

Neil Parish: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps her Department is taking to establish a low-level threshold for the presence of genetically-modified events in imported third country feed material. [25269]

Mr Paice: The European Commission has recently tabled a proposal to harmonise the sampling and detection of unauthorised GM material in imported animal feed. The Commission proposes 0.1% as the lowest level at which genetically modified (GM) material can reliably be detected after allowing for technically unavoidable uncertainties in methods of sampling and analysis. Analytical results that did not exceed 0.1% would be treated as equivalent to zero for enforcement purposes.

The proposal would apply only in relation to unauthorised GM organisms or derived material for which:

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is the lead Government Department on this matter but is working closely with DEFRA given our strong shared interest. The FSA has consulted on the proposal and the Government will now determine what the UK position should be. An EU vote on the proposal is not expected before January 2011.

Livestock: Burial

Julian Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has for the future of her Department's rules on burial grounds for animals. [25545]

Mr Paice: The Animal By-products (ABP) Regulation which was recently reviewed and revised by the EU will maintain the ban on burial of fallen stock on farm in most circumstances. There is therefore no realistic possibility in the short term of the ban being lifted. However, there are a number of things we can do both in the short and longer term to ease the regulatory burden for farmers when disposing of their fallen stock. Firstly, the revised ABP legislation continues to recognise that fallen stock can be buried in remote areas and extends that principle to derogate from the rules requiring disposal by incineration or rendering in circumstances where accessing fallen stock for disposal is practically impossible or dangerous or when natural disasters make it disproportionate to require collection. When the revised rules come into effect next year, we will make guidance available to farmers on when such circumstances apply.

Secondly, the revised legislation makes it more straightforward for on-farm containment systems such as bioreducers to be approved for use under EU rules and we will be pressing the Commission to bring forward the necessary proposals to make that happen as soon as possible.

In the longer term, as the BSE risks have declined markedly since the on-farm burial ban was first introduced in 2003 and as scrapie is not known to pose a risk to human health, we will be pressing the Commission for a review by the European Food Safety Authority of the current scientific rationale for the ban, so that it can inform future changes to ABP legislation.

Livestock: Slaughterhouses

Mr Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate she has made of the proportion of (a) cattle, (b) sheep and lambs, (c) goats and kids and (d) chickens slaughtered for meat which was (i) stunned and slaughtered using
22 Nov 2010 : Column 11W
halal methods, (ii) not stunned and slaughtered using halal methods and (iii) slaughtered by other methods in the latest period for which figures are available. [24982]

Mr Paice [holding answer 18 November 2010]: The most recent data on halal slaughter were published in March 2004 by the Meat Hygiene Service in its Animal Welfare Review. These reported data were collected through a survey of meat plants which took place between 1 and 7 September 2003. The following table shows the number of animals killed for the production of halal meat during that one week period.

Stunned
Species Not stunned Pre cut Post cut

Cattle

0

850

6

Young lambs

5,141

103,944

0

Other sheep

11,454

19,230

0

Goats

62

12

0

Broilers

134,289

1,898,689

0

Hens

11,495

92,296

0

Ducks

36

0

0


More recent data collected by the EU Dialrel project, see:

show that for halal slaughter in the UK, 75% of cattle, 93% of sheep and 100% of poultry are stunned before slaughter.

Livestock: Waste Disposal

Julian Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what her most recent assessment is of the effects on the livestock industry of the six-day rule; and whether she plans to review the operation of that rule. [25543]

Mr Paice: The advice I have received is that standstills confer significant protection against the spread of fast moving diseases such as foot and mouth. The biggest factor in the size of an outbreak is the length of time between the disease entering the country and its detection (the so called silent spread period-typically three weeks). Properly observed standstills limit the number of movements livestock can make during this period and hence reduce the number of potentially infected premises. I have asked the Task Force on Food and Farming headed by Richard Macdonald to review the six-day rule and make recommendations as to whether it should be retained in its current form, modified or abolished.

Local Authorities: Freedom of Information

Ms Bagshawe: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what proportion of local authorities provided data for annual returns to her Department's survey on Waste Data Flow in each of the last five years. [25315]

Richard Benyon: Local authorities submit data quarterly to WasteDataFlow under the Landfill Allowances and Trading Scheme (England) Regulations 2004.


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In England, for the last five years (2005-06 to 2009-10), 100% of local authorities have provided data for all four quarters of each year. For 2005-06 to 2007-08, four authorities in England entered data required by the regulations, but not the full dataset requested on WasteDataFlow.

This information is available on DEFRA's website at:

Ms Bagshawe: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what proportion of local authorities provided data for annual returns for the Flycapture survey in each of the last five years. [25316]

Richard Benyon: Local authorities enter data on fly-tipping onto the Flycapture database on a monthly basis. In England the proportion of local authorities which provided fly-tipping data for (a) at least one month and (b) for all 12 months, for the last five financial years is provided in the following table:

Percentage of local authorities which submitted data to Flycapture
Financial year (a) For at least 1 month (b) For all 12 months

2009-10

100.0

100.0

2008-09

100.0

99.8

2007-08

100.0

96.5

2006-07

99.7

87.0

2005-06

99.5

89.2


Members: Correspondence

Mary Creagh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she plans to respond to question 24527, tabled on 11 November 2010, on land owned by the Forestry Commission. [25805]

Mr Paice: I replied to the hon. Member on 18 November 2010, Official Report, columns 920-23W.

Paraguay: Imports

Robert Flello: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether she has made a recent estimate of the quantity of soy imported from Paraguay (a) directly and (b) through a third country (i) raw and (ii) incorporated into a product in the latest period for which figures are available. [25065]

Mr Paice: Since my statement to the House on 12 November 2010, Official Report, columns 589-604, I have been made aware that, according to Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, a shipment of 25,000 tonnes of soy beans arrived in the UK from Paraguay in April 2010. This should be seen in the context of total UK imports of 1.2 million tonnes of soy bean meal and 556,000 tonnes of soy beans in the latest period for which figures are available (January to September 2010). There are no recorded imports from Paraguay of food products containing soy extract in the latest period for which figures are available.


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Rural Development Programme

Mr MacShane: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much funding will be disbursed from the Rural Development Programme for England in the period from 2010 to 2013. [24357]

Mr Paice: The planning assumption for the total spend for all axes of the Rural Development Programme for England between 2010-11 and 2013-14 is around £2.4 billion.

Rural Payments Agency: Manpower

Jake Berry: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many staff are employed in the Rural Payments Agency. [25360]

Mr Paice: As of 31 October 2010 the number of staff employed in the Rural Payments Agency is 2,567.49 full-time equivalents.

Science: Finance

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) how much her Department plans to spend on scientific research in the next five years; [25061]

(2) how much her Department spent on scientific research in each of the last five years. [25062]

Richard Benyon: DEFRA has not yet determined the details of its research spend over the next five years. However, we intend to maintain the core Department's spend on evidence as a proportion of total programme expenditure to 2014-15.

Evidence is defined as reliable and accurate information that DEFRA can use to support sound decisions in developing, shaping, and evaluating policy. It includes research, monitoring and surveillance, economic and statistical analysis and modelling, secondary analysis and synthesis, and analysis of stakeholder views.

The total budget available to commission evidence in each year is planned to be:

£ million

2010-11

210

2011-12

199

2012-13

189

2013-14

177

2014-15

167


For comparison, the budget for evidence in 2009-10 was £213 million, of which £125 million was classified as research.

These figures represent evidence commissioned by core DEFRA in each year from external providers and our three laboratory agencies (the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science; the Food and Environment Research Agency and the Veterinary Laboratories Agency). They do not include evidence commissioned out of grant in aid funds by the Environment Agency, Natural England, Forestry Commission or the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew.


22 Nov 2010 : Column 14W

Core DEFRA's scientific research spend for the last five years is detailed in the following table. The data were taken from the Science Information System, which is used to monitor and record details of DEFRA's research and development projects.

Spending (£ million)

2005-06

139

2006-07

137

2007-08

130

2008-09

128

2009-10

(1)119

(1) The Department's Evidence Investment Strategy published in January 2010 quoted a budget for research in 2009-10 of £125 million. The figure in the table reflects the actual spend as specified in the question. Note: These figures represent research commissioned by core DEFRA in each year from external providers and our three laboratory agencies (the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science; the Food and Environment Research Agency and the Veterinary Laboratories Agency).

Sheep: Tagging

Julian Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what impact assessment her Department has undertaken of the implementation of electronic identification tagging for sheep. [25541]

Mr Paice: Detailed information about the cost of implementation in England is provided in a regulatory impact assessment on electronic identification (EID) of sheep and goats available on the DEFRA website at:

Wood

Mr Bain: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what her Department's policy is on bringing forward legislative proposals to create an offence of possessing, importing and trading in illegallylogged timber in the UK. [25243]

Mr Paice: We will put in place the necessary legislation to implement the provisions of the EU illegal timber (due diligence) regulation in the United Kingdom. This underlines our commitment to eliminating illegal timber from the UK market. The regulation prohibits the first-placing of illegal timber on the EU market, restricting its purchase and sale down the supply chain.

Transport

A555

Ann Coffey: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will place in the Library a copy of the assessment made by his Department from 2005 to 2010 on the effect of the building of the A6 bypass on road access to Manchester Airport. [24847]

Norman Baker: The Department for Transport has not undertaken a standalone assessment of the effect of the building of the proposed South East Manchester Multi Modal Study Relief Road (SEMMMS) nor of
22 Nov 2010 : Column 15W
the individual parts of that scheme, including the proposed A6 Stockport North-South Bypass, on road access to Manchester Airport.

Aviation: Northern Ireland

Naomi Long: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on (a) an aviation strategy for Northern Ireland and (b) the devolution of aviation matters to the Northern Ireland Assembly; [23660]

(2) whether he plans to produce a regional aviation strategy for Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement. [23661]

Mrs Villiers: The Secretary of State has not had any discussions with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on these matters.

The Secretary of State for Transport intends to develop a sustainable aviation framework for the UK which supports economic growth, as well as addressing aviation's environmental impacts. The Department for Transport will issue a scoping document in the new year, with a view to publishing a draft policy framework for formal consultation in March 2012.

Bridges: Tolls

John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he has made an assessment of the economic effects of increases in the level of tolls on (a) the Severn Crossing, (b) the Dartford Crossing and (c) other major river crossings. [25711]

Mike Penning: The Secretary of State has not made any assessment of the economic effects of the toll increases on the Severn Crossings and we have seen no evidence to suggest that the tolls have an economic impact on the Welsh economy. I am aware that the Welsh Assembly Government are undertaking an economic assessment on the impact of the tolls on the Welsh economy which is due to complete next year.

In respect of the Dartford Crossing, the details of the proposed revised charging regime, including an assessment of its impacts on usage and economic effects, will be set out for public consultation.

The Department intends to begin the necessary consultation on such proposals around the end of 2010.

The Department is currently undertaking an economic appraisal study of the impacts of the Humber Bridge tolls on the region. This study is due to be completed later in the year.

British Rail Board (Residuary) Ltd: Assets

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what timetable he has set for the disposal of British Rail Board (Residuary) Ltd assets. [21809]

Mrs Villiers: BRB (Residuary) Ltd continues to pursue its agreed strategy of disposing of non-operational assets that have no potential future transport use in such a way and to a timescale to secure best possible value to the taxpayer. As such it is not appropriate to set a specific timetable for the disposal of these assets.


22 Nov 2010 : Column 16W

Many of the assets that BRB (Residuary) Ltd holds carry indefinite statutory responsibilities. On the winding up of BRB (Residuary) Ltd these and any other remaining assets will transfer to the direct control of the Department for Transport.

British Transport Police

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent discussions he has had with the Chief Constable of British Transport Police on its priorities. [23589]

Mrs Villiers: Primary responsibility for setting objectives for the British Transport police rests with the British Transport police authority. Department for Transport officials maintain regular contact with both the force and the authority on a range of issues, but Ministers have not sought to use their statutory powers to intervene in the objective-setting process.

British Transport Police: Scotland

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what recent discussions he has had with the Chief Constable of British Transport Police on the operations of British Transport Police in Scotland; [23586]

(2) what recent discussions he has had with the Scottish Executive on the work of British Transport Police in Scotland. [23587]

Mrs Villiers: Department for Transport Ministers have had no recent discussions specifically about the operation of the British Transport police in Scotland.

Bus Service Operators Grant

Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what estimate he has made of the level of Bus Service Operators Grant in each year of the comprehensive spending review period; [23373]

(2) what estimate he has made of the rate of payment of Bus Service Operators Grant in the first year of the new arrangements for the grant; [23374]

(3) whether he plans to differentiate the levels of Bus Service Operator Grant according to (a) fuel consumption and (b) standard of equipment provided by bus operators; [23424]

(4) how much funding will be paid from Bus Service Operators Grant to operators of local bus services and coach services in 2010-11. [23462]

Norman Baker: We estimate that Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG) funding for the current year and each year of the spending review period will be:

£ million

2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15

Local bus services

432

438

357

359

361

Coach services

18

12

0

0

0



22 Nov 2010 : Column 17W

We anticipate that the BSOG rate for 2011-12 will be the same as it is now (43.21 pence per litre). In 2012-13, we anticipate that this will be reduced by 20%, as announced in the spending review.

BSOG for local bus services is paid mainly according to the amount of fuel used. However, in recent years, the following incentives relating to vehicle equipment have been introduced:

As announced in the spending review, we intend to maintain these incentives.

Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much funding from Bus Service Operators Grant was paid to operators in (a) London, (b) rural areas, (c) small towns, (d) non-metropolitan urban areas and (e) metropolitan areas with an integrated transport authority in (i) 2009-10 and (ii) 2010-11. [23387]

Norman Baker: We do not keep details of Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG) split between types of area. We estimate the distribution of BSOG payments to local bus operators in 2009-10 to be as follows:

2009-10 £ million

London

112

English met areas

129

English non-met areas

189

Total

430


We would expect the estimated split for 2010-11 to be similar to 2009-10.

Bus Services: Disability

Mrs McGuire: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress he has made on ensuring that all new buses brought into service (a) are fully accessible and (b) include audio and visual information systems. [24301]

Norman Baker: The Public Service Vehicle Accessibility Regulations 2000 (PSVAR) require all buses and coaches both old and new to comply with the provisions of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (now the Equality Act 2010), from 2015 to 2017 for buses, and from 2020 for coaches. Buses used on local services have been steadily becoming more accessible. In 2009-10 (the latest statistics available), 61% of the bus fleet meets the PSVAR requirements.

Research has been commissioned to assess the costs and benefits of installing audio visual equipment on buses. The research project has brought together a cross section of stakeholders, including Guide Dogs, Royal National Institute of Blind People and Royal National Institute for Deaf People. We will take account of the results of this work in considering any changes to PSVAR. The project is scheduled to report shortly.


22 Nov 2010 : Column 18W

Capita

Kate Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many contracts his Department has with Capita; and how much it has paid to Capita under such contracts in 2010-11 to date. [18626]

Norman Baker: The Department for Transport and its seven Executive Agencies has 13 contracts with Capita and a total spend of £11,775,553 in 2010-11 to date.

Channel Tunnel Safety Authority

Mr Gale: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will take steps to maintain the independence of the Channel Tunnel Safety Authority. [24083]

Mrs Villiers: The Channel Tunnel Safety Authority is already an independent body. We have no plans to change its current status.

Concessions

Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the effects of reductions in funding for local authorities on the provision of concessionary transport fares. [23386]

Norman Baker: The Chancellor of the Exchequer confirmed the Government's commitment to protect key benefits for older people, such as free bus travel, in the recent spending review. From April 2011 all funding for the scheme will be provided through Formula Grant which gives local authorities the freedom and flexibility they want in their use of funding. Formula Grant is allocated on the basis that the level provided overall is sufficient to enable local authorities to deliver effective local services, while ensuring that authorities do not set excessive council tax increases.

The overall amount of Formula Grant funding available for local government was set out in the spending review. The funding available within Formula Grant for concessionary travel takes account of savings that local authorities will be able to make following the recent change to the age of eligibility for the scheme and through reforms to the administrative and reimbursement arrangements of the scheme. These reforms are not designed to impact on the provision of concessionary travel for eligible people.

Crossrail Line

Teresa Pearce: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when his Department plans to publish a detailed timetable for the phased introduction of Crossrail services; and if he will make a statement. [25336]

Mrs Villiers: Following the decision to lengthen the delivery timetable for the central tunnel section of the Crossrail scheme, we expect that phased introduction of Crossrail services will commence from 2018.

The timing for the phased introduction of Crossrail services requires further work in a number of areas before it can be confirmed. This includes the procurement of rolling stock, work on the transfer of services from
22 Nov 2010 : Column 19W
existing franchises to the future Crossrail services and development of detailed plans on the commissioning of services.

It remains a priority for Government that the phased introduction of Crossrail services happens in the most efficient possible way. I expect to update the House on this in due course.

Cycling

Dr Huppert: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport by what mechanism he intends to monitor the effect of his Department's local transport policy framework and funding allocations on (a) local authority delivery of walking and cycling initiatives and (b) levels of walking and cycling. [20202]

Norman Baker: The National Travel Survey provides an ongoing measurement of walking and cycling levels in England. Specific initiatives within the Cycling England programme which provide direct funding to local authorities are monitored by collection of relevant data to demonstrate delivery and provide a basis for evaluation.

The Department for Transport is considering arrangements for measuring the impact of the different types of measures, including walking and cycling, that will be supported by the Local Sustainable Transport Fund over the four years from 2011-12. Details of the evaluation arrangements will be published later in the year as part of guidance on the operation of the new fund.

Cycling England

Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what consultation he undertook before he decided to abolish Cycling England. [23413]

Norman Baker: Cycling England was reviewed as part of the coalition Government's commitment to radically increase the transparency and accountability of public services and reinvigorating the public's trust in democracy. The Government's approach was based on the presumption that state activity, if needed at all, should be undertaken by bodies that are democratically accountable at either national or local level.

As with all the bodies included in the review, three tests were applied:

Through this process the decision was taken to bring Cycling England's functions in house.

We are grateful for the support of Cycling England in the delivery of cycling policy and recognise its achievements since its creation in 2005. However, with the announcement of a broad fund of £560 million for Local Sustainable Travel, rather than a dedicated cycling budget, we feel that Cycling England is not the right way to continue to encourage local authorities and others to stimulate cycling.

Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of Cycling England in promoting sustainable travel initiatives; and if he will make a statement; [23414]


22 Nov 2010 : Column 20W

(2) what assessment he has made of the value for money of the work of Cycling England. [23416]

Norman Baker: Cycling England was established in 2005 with a remit to "Get More People Cycling, More Safely, More Often". Over the period 2008-09 to 2010-11, the Department for Transport (DfT) invested around £140 million in programmes to deliver this objective. Cycling England's role was to advise on how best to spend these funds and to oversee the delivery of the projects.

Analysis of results of the first three years of funding, of which DfT contributed £7.5 million, for the initial six Cycling Demonstration Towns has provided a Benefit Cost Ratio in the range 2.6 to 3.5, and a 27% increase, in cycle trips as shown by automatic cycle counters.

Current programmes continue to the end of March 2011 and are yet to be evaluated.

Dartford-Thurrock Crossing: Safety

Gareth Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much in profits from toll receipts has been spent on safety measures at the Dartford Crossing in the last five years. [17354]

Mike Penning: The Highways Agency does not apply the profit from charge receipts to specific projects. However, the following amounts have been spent directly on Safety Improvement Projects, including fire suppression measures, at Dartford Crossing:

Expenditure (£ million)

2005-06

2.1

2006-07

0.4

2007-08

2.7

2008-09

2.0

2009-10

0.8


Routine maintenance and operational costs are not included.

Departmental Equality

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to publish equality impact assessments undertaken by his Department as part of the comprehensive spending review; and if he will make a statement. [18198]

Mr Philip Hammond: In line with the Government's commitment to fairness, the spending review announced on 20 October has been conducted in a way that protects the poorest and most vulnerable in our society. My Department has undertaken a robust analysis of its spending proposals and the foreseeable effects of these on all protected groups.

As part of my Department's work in relation to the spending review, I have carefully considered the equalities impacts of particular proposals, as part of fulfilling the Government's commitment to promoting equality for all legally protected groups. I intend to publish the equality impact assessments arising out of the spending review in due course.


22 Nov 2010 : Column 21W

Departmental Manpower

Gregg McClymont: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many officials his Department has appointed on fixed-term contracts since 7 May 2010. [16799]


22 Nov 2010 : Column 22W

Norman Baker: The information requested is in the following table:

Department for Transport Business Unit Fixed-term contracts appointed (FTC's) Total full-time equivalent headcount for each dept /agency as at 30 September 2010

DFT(c)

(1)<5

2,033.5

Highways Agency

<5

3,778.3

VOSA

0

2,397.3

Maritime and Coastguard Agency

5

1,128.9

Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency

(2)86

5,966.5

Driving Standards Agency

0

2,458.0

Vehicle Certification Agency

0

147.0

Government Car and Despatch Agency

0

277.0

Total DFT(c) and agencies

96

18,186.5

(1)DFT(c)-These appointments were all either exempt from the recruitment freeze or were agreed appointments prior to 19 May 2010.
(2)DVLA recruited these FTCs before the recruitment freeze on 19 May, with some starting in June, (honouring job offers made before the freeze) and have recruited no further FTCs since June. The majority of the 86 FTCs were clerical grades working in operational areas such as the contact centre; nine of these have since left.

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the proportion is of (a) men and (b) women full-time equivalent staff in each grade or pay band in each bargaining unit in his Department. [23874]

Norman Baker: Information for the central Department and its seven Executive Agencies is in the following tables.

Percentage of (a) men and (b) women in each grade/pay band in the Department for Transport
DfTc MCA VOSA DVLA
Grade equiv Pay band Female Male Female Male Female Male Female Male

AA

PB1

53

47

39

61

46

54

58

42

AO

PB2

64

36

42

58

35

65

64

36

EO

PB3

44

56

25

75

17

83

62

38

HEO

PB4

38

62

24

76

25

75

55

45

SEO

PB5

24

76

11

89

23

77

51

49

G7

PB6

33

67

17

83

15

85

45

55

G6

PB7

25

75

6

94

0

100

41

59

SCS

SCS

32

68

22

78

0

100

8

92


DSA VCA GCDA HA
Grade equiv Pay band Female Male Female Male Female Male Female Male

AA

PB1

52

48

62

38

0

100

67

33

AO

PB2

30

71

49

51

23

77

23

77

EO

PB3

39

61

38

62

7

93

55

45

HEO

PB4

34

66

2

98

8

92

40

60

SEO

PB5

40

60

10

90

0

100

25

75

G7

PB6

46

55

12

88

25

75

21

79

G6

PB7

25

75

0

100

50

50

16

84

SCS

SCS

75

25

0

100

0

0

10

90

Key:
DfTc-The Department for Transport (Central)
MCA-Maritime and Coastguard Agency
VOSA-Vehicle and Operator Services Agency
DVLA-Driver Vehicle and Licensing Agency
DSA-Driving Standards Agency
VCA-Vehicle Certification Agency
GCDA-Government Car and Despatch Agency
HA-Highways Agency

Departmental Pay

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether senior civil servants in his Department have received bonuses in the last 12 months. [23875]

Norman Baker: Non-consolidated performance payments were awarded to senior civil servants in the Department for Transport in 2010.

Awards were based on a budget limited, by a collective decision of permanent secretaries, to 5% of SCS base
22 Nov 2010 : Column 23W
pay; a reduction from the 8.6% of pay recommended by the Senior Salaries Review Body and accepted by the previous Government in March 2010.

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the highest level of bonus paid to a member of the senior Civil Service in his Department was in the last 12 months. [23876]

Norman Baker: The highest level of non-consolidated performance pay awarded to a member of the senior civil service in the Department for Transport and its seven Executive agencies in the last 12 months was £23,680.

This non-consolidated performance award was made to a senior civil servant employed on a fixed term contract with specific performance pay arrangements.

The vast majority of senior civil servants in the Department are permanent civil servants with performance pay arrangements determined centrally and not by the Department. For these staff the highest non-consolidated performance payment in the last 12 months was £9,500.

Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee

Gavin Shuker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how the functions carried out by the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee will be discharged following its abolition. [24456]

Norman Baker: No decision on successor arrangements has yet been taken. We will be taking forward a consultative process on successor arrangements in the near future.

East Coast Railway Line

Julian Sturdy: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what timetable has been set for the bidding process for the East Coast Main Line franchise. [24671]

Mrs Villiers: The timetable for the bidding process for the Inter City East Coast franchise has not been determined yet.

Excise Duties: Biofuels

Paul Maynard: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what recent representations he has received from the sustainable biodiesel industry on the likely effects of removal of the 20 pence fuel duty differential for biodiesel produced from used cooking oil; [21719]

(2) what estimate his Department has made of the contribution of the use of biodiesel produced from cooking oil to meeting targets for renewable energy use. [21720]

Norman Baker: Under the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO), suppliers of fossil fuel for transport are required to ensure that a proportion of the fuel they supply is obtained from renewable sources. In both 2008-09 and 2009-10, the first two years of the scheme, approximately 3% of the biofuel supplied was from recycled waste cooking oil. The supply of UCO is currently encouraged by a 20p duty differential.


22 Nov 2010 : Column 24W

We are currently working to amend the RTFO to fulfil the requirements of the European Renewable Energy Directive (RED). The RED provides additional support for biofuels from waste, including UCO, by double counting the contribution they make towards national targets.

It is difficult to assess the future supply of UCO biodiesel. WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme) estimate that approximately 250,000 tonnes of cooking oil are produced every year in the UK and the Renewable Fuels Agency collect data on the volume of UCO biodiesel supplied under the RTFO. The supply of UCO biodiesel in the future will depend on the competitiveness of UCO suppliers within the market compared to diesel and other sectors, including the animal feed industry and power generation.

Ministers have had no recent representations from UCO suppliers. However, Department for Transport officials recently met with the UK Sustainable Biodiesel Association who represent many small UCO suppliers.

Ferries: Roll-On Roll-Off

Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will commission research into the stability of roll-on roll-off ferries. [23448]

Mike Penning: Research into the damage stability of roll-on roll-off ferries has been commissioned by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency who are also collaborating on research commissioned by the European Commission and leading a group of the International Maritime Organization to review damage stability regulations for roll-on roll-off passenger ships.

Highways Agency

Mr Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps the Highways Agency is taking to ensure greater co-ordination between its offices. [22691]

Mike Penning: The Highways Agency delivers a national road service through a network of eight offices, eight control centres and 31 smaller outstations at motorway locations. Co-ordination between the different offices is delivered through a directorate structure which manages the agency business on a national basis.

Large Goods Vehicles: Exhaust Emissions

John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what targets his Department has set for the reduction of emissions from heavy goods vehicles. [25712]

Norman Baker: The forthcoming Euro VI emissions standard, which will be mandatory for the engines of all lorries, buses and coaches, registered from 1 January 2014, will virtually eliminate emissions of solid particles, which is the air pollutant most closely linked to health problems, from vehicles of these types. This is because we confidently expect the standard to lead to the universal adoption of wall-flow diesel particulate filters on these vehicles in order to meet the very strict limits that the standard sets for emissions of particulate matter. It will also result in a significant reduction in emissions of oxides of nitrogen.


22 Nov 2010 : Column 25W

In addition to setting demanding standards for emissions of air quality pollutants from the engines of heavy vehicles, the Euro VI standard requires, for the first time, the measurement of carbon dioxide emissions during the tests on these engines.

Large Goods Vehicles: Tolls

John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects the proposed heavy goods vehicle road user charging scheme to be fully operational. [25709]

Mike Penning: We intend that a scheme will come into operation in April 2014, as shown in our Business Plan published on 8 November.

John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the annual (a) cost and (b) revenue arising from the operation of a heavy goods vehicle road user charging scheme. [25710]

Mike Penning: We are considering details of how the scheme will work and until further decisions have been made it is impossible to say how much it will cost or what revenue it will raise.

Motor Vehicles: Testing

Martin Horwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what procedures are in place to verify the accuracy of declarations for exemption from MOT certificates submitted on V112 forms. [25714]

Mike Penning: Post Office or Driver Vehicle and Licensing Agency Local Office staff check the details entered on the V112 Declaration prior to issuing a tax disc. A V112 is a declaration form completed by the customer at the point of re-licensing confirming that their vehicle is exempt from requiring an MOT certificate. The form gives the specific circumstances in which a vehicle is deemed to be exempt.

Motorways: Sales

Steve Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate his Department has made of the revenue likely to accrue to the Exchequer from the sale to the private sector of (a) the motorway network and (b) the trunk road network. [21705]

Mike Penning: This Government have no plans to privatise either the motorway network or the trunk road network. We have not undertaken any studies of the likely revenues of selling either.

Preston-Manchester Railway Line: Electrification

Mr Crausby: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has for electrification of the railway line between Preston and Manchester; and if he will make a statement. [23016]

Mrs Villiers: The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced in the spending review that electrification between Liverpool, Manchester and Preston will go
22 Nov 2010 : Column 26W
ahead. We are now in discussions with Network Rail about a delivery timetable and an announcement will be made in due course.

Railway Stations: South East

Mr Evennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which stations operated by Southeastern Railway have received funding for the provision of step-free access from his Department in the last five years; and which stations are due to receive such funding in the next 12 months. [24764]

Norman Baker: The Access for All main programme has so far provided step free routes at Herne Hill, Lewisham, Orpington and Staplehurst. Canterbury West is due to be completed in the next few weeks and Blackheath at around the end of this financial year.

In addition, since 2006 Southeastern Railways have received £885,040 from the Access for All Small Schemes Programme towards a total investment of £2,118,656 at 50 stations to provide a variety of access improvements. This has included schemes to make West Malling, Welling, Crofton Park, Tunbridge Wells, Chatham, Barnehurst and Faversham step free, although staff assistance may still be required to interchange between platforms.

Railways: Construction

Lyn Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will assess the merits of encouraging the operators of international high speed rail services to include a stop at Stratford International station. [24830]

Mr Philip Hammond: Ultimately, the decision as to whether or not to stop at Stratford is a commercial judgment for the operators concerned. However, the Government continue to encourage both Eurostar and Deutsche Bahn to talk to the agencies and businesses that are investing in the development of the area around Stratford International station. We expect the sale of a 30 year concession to operate HS1 to lead to greater competition and a greater diversity of services being offered on the line, to the benefit of passengers.

Railways: Finance

Gavin Shuker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what preliminary findings he has received from Sir Roy McNulty's review of value for money on the railways. [24462]

Mrs Villiers: Sir Roy McNulty shared his emerging findings with the Secretary of State in advance of some of the announcement of the Government's spending review. Sir Roy McNulty will formally publish his interim findings shortly.

Railways: Kent

Mr Evennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to review performance of the Kent Integrated Franchise in relation to the objectives set out during the bidding process. [24763]


22 Nov 2010 : Column 27W

Mrs Villiers: Department for Transport officials monitor Southeastern's performance against the contract on a four-weekly basis. This review includes operational performance and the delivery of committed obligations.

The Southeastern Franchise Agreement is currently due to end on 31 March 2012. However, if the operator passes a performance-based continuation review, they have the right to extend the franchise for a further two years, to allow the franchise to end on 31 March 2014.

The review period is due to conclude on 12 December 2010 and the Secretary of State would expect to notify the operator of the outcome early in the new year.

Railways: Theft

Julian Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will estimate the number of hours by which rail services have been delayed as a result of cable thefts in the latest period for which figures are available; and whether he has made an estimate of the change in that number in respect of the last five years. [25532]

Mrs Villiers: The Department for Transport does not hold train delay data at this level of detail, although ministers are in regular dialogue with Network Rail on issues affecting reliability including cable theft.

Network Rail is responsible for performance data for the rail industry. My hon. Friend may wish to contact Network Rail's Acting Chief Executive at the following address, to request such information:

Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation

Paul Maynard: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what future plans he has for the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation. [23208]

Norman Baker: The UK's renewable transport fuel obligation (RTFO) requires fossil fuel suppliers to produce evidence that a specified percentage of their road transport fuels comes from renewable sources. The obligation level increases annually to 2013-14 when it reaches 5% by volume.

The EU's renewable energy directive (RED) requires member states to source 10% of transport energy from renewable sources by 2020. We are currently considering options for achieving this target in the UK, and will consult shortly on proposals to amend the RTFO to meet the requirements of the RED.

Rescue Services

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport where the rescue co-ordination centres required to be designated under section 2.1.11.2 of the International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue are located. [24404]


22 Nov 2010 : Column 28W

Mike Penning: The 19 Maritime Rescue Coordination Centres are located at:

The designated Aeronautical Rescue Coordination Centre is located at RAF Kinloss.

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will place in the Library a copy of the map of the agreed search and rescue regions required by section 2.1.6 of the International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue. [24405]

Mike Penning: The UK Search and Rescue Region map can be found on pages 17 to 19 of the 'Search and Rescue Framework for the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland'. This can be found on the Maritime and Coastguard's Agency website at:

Copies of this document have been placed in the Libraries of the House.

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what principal types of available search and rescue units were required to be designated under section 2.1.11.4 of the International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue in 2008. [24407]

Mike Penning: The following principal types were required to be designated; boats, aircraft, ground units and supplementary units.

The following search and rescue units were designated as being available in 2008:

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what principal types of available search and rescue units are required to be designated under section 2.1.11.4 of the International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue. [24408]


22 Nov 2010 : Column 29W

Mike Penning: The following principal types were required to be designated: boats, aircraft, ground units and supplementary units.

The following search and rescue units are designated as being available:

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport on how many occasions the Government has requested assistance from a neighbouring state in accordance with section 3.1 of the International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue in each of the last five years; and from what search and rescue assets it received assistance. [24409]

Mike Penning: The information is not held in the form requested and extracting the information from the search and rescue database could be achieved only at disproportionate costs.

In practical terms, however, the intent of the International Maritime Organization's search and rescue convention is to encourage and support mutual cooperation between the UK and its neighbours. Joint working and co-ordination can be considered to be part of the normal business of search and rescue activity.

Bob Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he plans to announce his review of the search and rescue programme. [24419]

Mike Penning: On 17 June the Chief Secretary to the Treasury announced a review of the approval of the search and rescue helicopter project in the context of the wider pressures on public spending. The review is continuing and once it is complete an announcement will be made.

Roads: Safety

Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will bring forward proposals to introduce an annual road safety day. [21252]

Mike Penning: Road casualties are a crucial concern throughout the year, but there may be advantage in having an annual road safety day in providing a focus for attention and joint communications activities across groups. Therefore the possibility of an annual road safety day will be considered as part of the work on a future road safety strategy.

Rolling Stock: Procurement

Gavin Shuker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the potential effects on plans for the delivery of new rolling stock of the outcomes of the comprehensive spending review. [24460]


22 Nov 2010 : Column 30W

Mrs Villiers: As set out in the comprehensive spending review statement, an announcement regarding rolling stock will be made in due course.

Shipping

Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will bring forward proposals for additional measures to ensure that shipping companies enforce passenger manifest requirements. [23455]

Mike Penning: The Merchant Shipping (Counting and Registration of Persons on Board Passenger Ships) Regulations 1999, as amended, lay down requirements for owners of UK ships and ships operating from UK ports to have a system for counting everyone on a ship. Ships on longer voyages are required by the same regulations to collect and register information on each person on board, including name, gender and age. The requirements of the regulations are enforced by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency as part of its inspection regime. The Government have no plans to bring forward additional measures at this time.


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