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Railways: InterCity Trains

Lord Bradshaw asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: Consultation on the content of the InterCity express programme’s invitation to tender was undertaken with train manufacturing and rolling stock leasing companies through the Railway Industry Association.

Evaluation of the bids received will be undertaken by Department for Transport officials and their advisers. It is also envisaged that representatives from relevant train operating companies and Network Rail will contribute to the evaluation of certain features of the bids.

Railways: Interoperability Directives

Lord Bradshaw asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: Currently, the interoperability directives apply to the high-speed network and the conventional Trans-European Networks within the United Kingdom. Everything else is excluded. The Railways (Interoperability) Regulations 2006, Schedules 1 and 2, define the scope of the Trans-European Networks for member states.

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Railways: Journey Times

Lord Patten asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: No such study has been carried out and Her Majesty’s Government cannot see the need for such a specific study. Current journey times are obtainable from publicly available timetables.

Religious Organisations

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

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): The Government do not hold information on the number of mosques in the UK or their denominations. The Government are working with a range of partners to develop further their understanding of Muslim communities in the UK and their infrastructure.

Roads: Humps

Lord Tebbit asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: In 2004, the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) published TRL Report 614, Impact of Road Humps on Vehicles and their Occupants (available via the TRL website at, which was commissioned by the Department for Transport.

The report concluded that for vehicle occupants levels of discomfort were, generally speaking, acceptable if speeds did not exceed 15 to 20 mph. Expert medical opinion following this research was that damage to healthy bones, discs, ligaments or muscles was very unlikely. It was noted that excessive exposure to repeated loading from humps could lead to the prolapse of an unhealthy disc. However, “excessive exposure” would have to be more than that expected from even a busy taxi driver in an urban environment.

We have no evidence of specific hazards relating to people with other sorts of spinal injuries.

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Social Services

Baroness Scott of Needham Market asked Her Majesty’s Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): It is for individual local authorities to decide on the eligibility criteria for receiving adult social care services. Local authorities manage and direct their own resources in accordance with local priorities and the needs of the communities to which they are accountable.

Transport: Delays

Earl Attlee asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: When determining policy, the cost of delay is valued using assumptions about the value of time. The values of time recommended by the Department for Transport for use in the economic appraisal of transport projects are presented in Transport Analysis Guidance, Unit 3.5.6, “Values of Time and Operating Costs”. This is available at Expert/5_Economy_Objective/3.5.6.htm.

Transport: Heavy Goods Vehicles

Lord Bradshaw asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Lord Bassam of Brighton: A study of longer, heavier vehicles was commissioned in December 2005 by the then Minister of State for Transport (the honourable Member for South Thanet). The study is due to report shortly, but the Secretary of State has previously made clear that it would take a great deal of persuasion for the Government to allow 60-tonne super lorries in the UK.

The study was let by competitive tender and I refer the noble Lord to my response to his earlier Question on this subject (Official Report, 19 June 2007, col. WA 47) which provides further details. It is looking at many issues including road safety and how any route compliance could be assured if such lorries were to be permitted. It will also assess the implications arising from the European single market if these vehicles were to be allowed, although it is not considering whether heavier lorries will be driven by foreign operators and drivers, nor is it looking at taxation which is a matter for the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

The benefits of the move to 44 tonnes were reviewed in 2004 by Heriot-Watt University, who compared the effects of increasing the maximum weight of lorries from 41 tonnes with their forecasts made for the Commission for Integrated Transport in 2001. The results showed that the benefits were greater than predicted.

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