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Further to the Written Answer by Lord Rooker on 3 June (WA 47), why the salaries bill for legally qualified staff in the Public Prosecution Service for Northern Ireland rose from £5,100,000 to £6,035,000 between 200607 and 200708, when the number of such staff fell by one. [HL5887]
Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: The figures provided on 3 June represented the number of legally qualified staff in post at each year end (31 March). There was significant recruitment during 2006-07 reflecting the rollout of the Public Prosecution Service. The 172 staff in post at 31 March 2007 had not, therefore, all been in post during the whole of that year, and this impacted on the total salary payments quoted for that year. The average number of staff in post during 2006-07 was 149.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): The youngest RAF Tristar aircraft was completed by Lockheed Martin on 5 August 1980. Present plans are for the Tristar fleet to remain in-service until 2015.
The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Lord Adonis): The Chiltern Railways franchise agreement was signed in 2002 and there is no contractual requirement to record the number of individual interventions that take place with the company.
Beyond its required periodic reporting, which gives the Department for Transport assurance of the health of its business and the delivery of its contracted outputs, the level of such interventions is dependent upon the quantum of live issues present at any one time.
The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Lord Adonis): The Secretary of State announced on 29 October a programme of work to ensure that we make best use of our national transport networks including by the selective extension of rail electrification. This programme will be co-ordinated through a National Networks Strategy Group that I will chair. I will report on progress early in 2009.
The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Lord Adonis): Rail statistics are published by the Office of Rail Regulation. The latest data available are for 2006 and are published in the National Rail Trends Year Book for 2006-07, which is available in the Library of the House. The published measure (which was first used by the Office for Passenger Rail Franchising in 2000) is based on an assumed standing room of 0.45 metres per standing passenger.
There are two specific variations to the published measure: class 376 trains, operating on Southeastern services; and for services operated by Stagecoach South West Trains to and from London Waterloo.
New (class 376) purpose-built vehicles ordered for Southeastern are configured to serve short-distance metro passenger flows, and the stock has been specifically configured with low-density seating and appropriate grab rails for standing passengers, to ensure that passengers can stand in relative comfort for short-distance journeys. The same is true for class 455 units operated by Stagecoach South West Trains, on services that stop within 20 minutes of leaving London Waterloo. In these cases, the standard is varied to 0.35 and 0.25 square metres respectively.
The decision to maintain connections when trains run late is an operational matter for train operators and Network Rail; it should be influenced by the need to minimise the overall impact on passengers as well as accounting for the particular local circumstances.
Further to the Written Answer by Lord Adonis on 20 October (WA 85), on which occasions outside the normal course of events they have directed the hire and use of railway rolling stock fleets in the past three years. [HL5903]
The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Lord Adonis): In the past three years, it has been necessary to use powers under Section 54 of the Railways Act 1993 (as amended) to ensure that certain fleets were taken on by successor franchises through the refranchising of South West Trains, Cross Country, West Midlands and InterCity East Coast. Further details can be found through the invitation to tenders which can be found on the Department for Transport website at www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/rail/passenger/invitation totender.
Further to the Written Answers by Lord Adonis on 28 October (WA 158-9) and 29 October (WA 175), and in light of overcrowding on the services of
10 Nov 2008 : Column WA108
Lord Adonis: The Department for Transport would like to reach agreement with the train operating companies (TOCs) on implementing affordable and value-for-money solutions to introduce incremental capacity to the rail network at the earliest opportunity. We are working with those train operating companies to achieve this.
Whether information technology contracts under which departments and agencies procure services but do not own assets are monitored to ensure that the asset management programmes in use meet their targets for carbon and energy saving; and whether equipment that is replaced under such contracts is recycled. [HL5626]
The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change & Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The DECC currently receives IT services from IBM under a contract with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), and Fujitsu Services Ltd under a contract with the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR).
With regards to IT replacements and disposals, IBM's third-party supplier, Northern Realisations Ltd, provides a service fully compliant with the Waste Electronic and Electrical and Energy Regulations (WEEE) and reduction of hazardous waste directives.
Fujitsu Services Ltd complies with the requirements of the WEEE directives as appropriate and applicable. It has a corporate environmental policy (available on request) and recycles and disposes of equipment in compliance with both of these as far as security requirements allow.
Fujitsu Services Ltd is currently supporting the department with its ongoing initiatives in terms of energy saving, in particular investigating the safe early shutting down of PCs to save power during the working day. This is in addition to an automated script that is run at night to detect and switch off PCs identified as switched on but not in use.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): The housing market is experiencing significant challenges as a result of turbulence in the global financial markets. This has had a significant impact on first-time buyers, who are finding it harder to get on to the housing ladder due to higher deposit requirements and the higher cost of borrowing.
The Government are committed to taking action to respond to these challenges and, where necessary, will prioritise resources in order to do so. The new HomeBuy Direct scheme will make more affordable homes available to up to 10,000 first-time buyers who are currently priced out of the market, and will also help to maintain the capacity of the housebuilding industry to respond with increased housing supply when market conditions improve.
In assessing bids from developers to participate in HomeBuy Direct, the Housing Corporation will have regard to regional housing strategies and any additional evidence submitted by the regional development agencies about current housing-market challenges.
What decisions have been taken on the proposals for (a) upgrading the A1 western bypass in Gateshead and (b) upgrading to dual carriageway the A1 between Newcastle and Berwick-upon-Tweed; and what are the costs of these projects. [HL6107]
The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Lord Adonis): No decisions have yet been taken on the Al western bypass in Gateshead. The project is currently at the options identification stage and the Highways Agency has identified a range of options with a wide range of cost estimates, which have not yet been checked and validated. A report to Ministers on these options is expected in the first half of 2009.
On the Al between Newcastle and Berwick-upon-Tweed, two schemesAdderstone to Belford and Morpeth to Feltonwere developed up to preferred route status (2005). These schemes were designated regional schemes to be funded from the north-east region's regional funding allocation (RFA), and in 2006 the region advised the Secretary of State that they would not prioritise these schemes within their funding allocation. Work on these schemes was therefore halted. The region has been asked to review its priorities within the RFA this year and submit its advice to Ministers in early 2009.
Whether they plan to prohibit the use of satellite navigation devices which do not conform to Regulation 683/2008 of the further implementation of the European satellite navigation programmes (EGNOS and Galileo). [HL5978]
The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Lord Adonis): Regulation 683/2008 deals with questions of governance and financing for the Galileo programme (including EGNOS), as well as its legal basis and how the system is to be procured. It is not a regulation with which satellite navigation devices might conform.
On what dates were new GCSE specifications by any awarding body, including the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment, submitted to the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority or the Office of the Qualifications and Examinations Regulator or both between 15 March and 1 October; when each specification was approved or not approved by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority or the Office of the Qualifications and Examinations Regulator or both; what are the titles of GCSE specifications submitted after 4 April; and what was the awarding body submitting them. [HL5953]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families (Baroness Morgan of Drefelin): On the basis of information supplied to me by the Office of the Qualifications and Examinations Regulator (Ofqual), I can confirm that 187 full course specifications (not including double awards or short courses) were submitted on or just before the submission deadline of 4 April 2008. These came from all five GCSE-awarding bodies recognised at that time: OCR, AQA, Edexcel, WJEC and CCEA.
Of the 187 full course specifications submitted, 180 were accredited on 8 August 2008. Six were later withdrawn and the remaining one was accredited on 25 September 2008 once the outstanding issues were resolved.
The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change & Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): While the UK does not unilaterally assess the impacts of climate change on Tuvalu, Vanuatu, the Seychelles and the Maldives, the UK has played an important role in negotiating and supporting the implementation of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Nairobi Work Programme on adapting to Climate Change. This includes financial contributions and submission to the UNFCCC of the UK's experiences in this area.
The UK also contributed to the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 4th Assessment Report of Working Group II (Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability) technical report, which states with very high confidence that:small islands have characteristics which make them especially vulnerable to the effects of climate change, sea-level rise and extreme events; and,sea-level rise is likely to exacerbate inundation, storm surge, erosion and other coastal hazards, thus threatening the vital infrastructure that supports the socio-economic well-being of island communities.
The UK is working with other countries to consider a number of issues related to international climate change as part of the Bali action plan, due to culminate in 2009 at the Copenhagen UN meeting. This will consider:international co-operation to support the urgent implementation of adaptation options in vulnerable countries;risk reduction and risk management strategies, including insurance;disaster risk reduction strategies;economic diversification to build resilience; andways to catalyse action in the private sector, other international organisations and UN bodies and agencies.
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