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The policy statement referred to in my previous Answer is, like other such statements, intended to describe the approach which the Secretary of State will normally expect to take in particular circumstances. It may therefore amount to a material consideration to be taken into account where relevant but, beyond that, it has no specific legal status.

Railways: Overcrowding

Lord Bradshaw asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: The number of carriages operated by First Great Western (FGW) to meet its franchise commitments is a matter for FGW to manage.

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The additional units acquired by FGW to enable Portsmouth to Cardiff services to be strengthened to three-car operation have been sub-leased from another train operating company and have not been lent to FGW by the Government.

Schools: Visits

The Earl of Shrewsbury asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families (Lord Adonis): Because schools are private places, no member of the public has an automatic right of access to a school. But it is customary for head teachers to allow parents of younger pupils on to designated parts of the premises around the start and end of the school day. Parents can meet school staff by appointment.

Persons conducting inspections on behalf of Her Majesty's Chief Inspector have a right to enter a maintained school without invitation. Officers of a local authority inspecting a school under Section 51 of the Education Act 2005 also have rights of entry to a maintained school.

Since 1996 police officers have had certain powers of entry to a school in order to search the premises and any person there for a suspected offensive weapon; the permission of the head teacher is not required but co-operation between the head and the police is advised in this and in other circumstances where the police seek access. Members of emergency and other organisations will usually enter schools by arrangement.

Transport: Concessionary Fares

Lord Bradshaw asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: The Government are not currently negotiating with the devolved Administrations about reciprocal arrangements for cross-border concessionary travel between England, Scotland and Wales. Local authorities in border areas retain the flexibility to provide cross-border travel for their own residents at their discretion.

Discussions with the devolved Administrations took place at official level during the passage of the Concessionary Bus Travel Bill.

However, the complexity and cost associated with mutual recognition of bus concessionary travel passes in England, Scotland and Wales is likely to be considerable. There are issues around how operators will be properly reimbursed (given the differing arrangements in place), by whom, and whether the terms of the different concessions would have to be harmonised. These issues will be much easier to address once full smart ticketing is in place on all buses.

Vehicles: Speed Limits

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: There are no proposals to require road vehicle manufacturers to limit the maximum speed of vehicles to 70 mph. However, under current EU legislation, all new goods vehicles with a maximum mass of more than 3,500 kilograms are already limited to 90 km/h (56 mph) and all new passenger-carrying vehicles with more than eight passenger seats are already limited to 100 km/h (62.5 mph).

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