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31 Oct 2006 : Column WA19

Written Answers

Tuesday 31 October 2006

Armistice Day

Lord Craig of Radley asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Triesman): Although the Foreign and Commonwealth Office does not formally instruct them to do so, it is common practice for the heads of our diplomatic missions to attend, or to send a representative to, Armistice or Remembrance Day services overseas.

Commission for Equality and Human Rights

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): Trevor Phillips, the current chair of the Commission for Racial Equality, became chair of the Commission for Equality and Human Rights on 11 September. Following this appointment, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government wrote to Trevor Phillips stating that she was minded to direct that the CRE join the CEHR in October 2007 instead of April 2009 as originally envisaged. She asked for his advice on this matter and will take a decision shortly based on his reply, including his consultation of the other equality bodies.

Consultants: Department of Health

Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Warner): The department paid ER Consultants £22,530.74 in September this year and nothing in 2004-05 or 2005-06. Praesta was paid a total of £45,237.50 during 2005-06 and nothing in 2004-05 or

31 Oct 2006 : Column WA20

so far in 2006-07. The payments were made as part of the department’s HR and development programme for senior civil servants.

Government Departments: Special Advisers

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): There were two Cabinet Ministers in the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (now the Department for Communities and Local Government) whose special advisers received support from four members of staff. These staff provide support of a non-political nature in accordance with the Code of Conduct for Special Advisers.

Houses of Parliament: Carbon Offsetting

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer asked the Chairman of Committees:

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Brabazon of Tara): The House Committee agreed on 18 July to join the House of Commons in making payments to offset the carbon emissions produced from parliamentary air travel booked through the Travel Office, with effect from the next financial year (2007-08). Payments will be made into the Government Carbon Offsetting Fund set up by Defra, to fund projects which reduce emissions in the developing world.

Interpreters

Lord Lucas asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they would support the formation of a separate professional body by organisations solely representing the interpreting profession.[HL7813]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Education and Skills (Lord Adonis): The Government welcome action by any professional group to raise their standards of practice. Indeed, the national occupational standards on which many vocational qualifications are based are as a result of

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consultations with a range of relevant professional associations. However, it is for each group of professionals to decide for themselves whether they wish to form a distinct professional body and not something for the Government to prescribe.

Official Documents: Twelvetrees Crescent Warehouse

Lord Hanningfield asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: Thirty files in transit at the Twelvetrees Crescent site were destroyed. They formed part of records concerning grants under the Transport Act 2000, the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, disabled persons’ transport, contracts and marine matters. The impact is minor and no work or projects have been delayed or abandoned. Two ships may require to be resurveyed at an estimated cost of £4,000.

Railways: Great North Eastern Franchise

Lord Berkeley asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: GNER is committed to introduce the Leeds half-hourly services no later than December 2007. GNER is working with Network Rail and other industry parties to achieve this.

Roads: Dartford Crossing

Lord Hanningfield asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: Figures are available for the year ended 31 March 2005 and show:

(a) Total revenue from road-user charge—£68,927,000

(b) Total operating cost—£16,808,000

(c) Net revenue—£52,211,000 (including rental income and interest)



31 Oct 2006 : Column WA22

All revenue is spent on transport projects. The full accounts are available on the Dartford Crossing pages of the Highways Agency website. The link is www.highways.gov.uk/roads/projects/8614.aspx.

Lord Hanningfield asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: Based on the traffic volumes for the year to 31 March 2006:

(a) On average, 140,000 vehicles, 93.7 per cent of total traffic, used the crossing between 6 am and midnight.

(b) On average, 9,400 vehicles, 6.3 per cent of total traffic, used the crossing at other times.

Lord Hanningfield asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: Revenues from the crossing are included in the Department for Transport's overall budget. The department has provided funding support for many projects in Kent and Essex.

Kent County Council, Thurrock Council and Essex County Council have reported total actual transport capital expenditure (excluding on major schemes), as follows.

£m2003-042004-052005-06

Kent County

23.017

27.809

31.829

Thurrock

3.598

3.400

7.354

Essex County

35.755

40.148

75.462

Most of this expenditure is supported by the government funding support for capital investment in integrated transport improvements and highways maintenance related to the local transport plans produced by Kent County Council, Thurrock Council and Essex County Councils.

On top of the usual funding support for local transport plans, the Government allocated funding for supplementary bids related to integrated transport improvements in the vicinity of the Dartford Crossing to Kent County Council and Thurrock Council. The expenditure related to these allocations is included in the totals in the previous table. The allocations related to these supplementary bids were:

£m2003-042004-052005-06

Kent

1.0

1.0

1.0

Thurrock

1.0

0.73

0.75



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In addition, funding support has been provided for a number of major transport schemes promoted by the local authorities.

Some of these schemes (government funding in parentheses) were in the immediate vicinity of the Dartford Crossing:

Kent Fastrack rapid transit system (£14.5 million). Opened 2006

West Thurrock regeneration route (£5.070 million). Completed 2004

South Thames development route phase 4 (£16 million). Completed June 2003

Other schemes in Kent and Essex further away from the Dartford Crossing have also been progressed with government funding support.

This investment is in addition to substantial investment in trunk roads leading to the crossing, which includes:

A2/A282 Dartford improvement (£120.22 million). Currently under construction

A2 Bean to Cobham—phase 2 (£122.29 million). Currently under construction.

Lord Hanningfield asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: The figures for the first two years’ operation are:

2003-042004-05Total

Income

£68,118,000

£69,019,000

£137,137,000

Expenditure

£14,131,000

£16,808,000

£30,939,000

Net Proceeds

£53,987,000

£52,211,000

£106,198,000

The full accounts, for both years, are available on the Dartford Crossing pages of the Highways Agency website. The link is www.highways.gov.uk/roads/projects/4068.aspx.

Lord Hanningfield asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: The contract between Le Crossing Company Ltd and the Secretary of State for Transport was awarded on 22 January 2003. The starting date was 22 January 2003. The possession date was 1 April 2003.


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