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26 Mar 2009 : Column WS51

Written Statements

Thursday 26 March 2009

Binyam Mohamed


The Attorney-General (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): On 23 October 2008 the Home Secretary referred to me papers relating to allegations of possible criminal wrongdoing in relation to Binyam Mohamed, in order for me to consider whether further action should be taken. The matter was referred to me in my capacity as an independent guardian of the public interest and the rule of law. I perform this function wholly independently of government.

I have given the matter very careful consideration and have sought the views of the Director of Public Prosecutions. Both the director and I have thoroughly reviewed the substantial body of material, much of it highly sensitive, which has been referred to me both by the Home Secretary and by other sources. This includes the open and closed judgments of the Divisional Court in the case; transcripts of all the evidence given by Witness B; the other evidence and submissions made to the court; the Foreign Secretary's PII (public interest immunity) certificates; and material from third parties about the case. We have progressed this important work as quickly as possible.

I have concluded that the appropriate course of action is to invite the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police to commence an investigation into the allegations that have been made in relation to Binyam Mohamed.

I have expressed to the commissioner the hope that the investigation can be taken forward as expeditiously as possible given the seriousness and sensitivity of the issues involved. The conduct of the investigation will be a matter for the police, with advice from the Crown Prosecution Service.

Any decision on whether any person should be charged with a criminal offence can only be taken following the police investigation on the basis of an independent assessment of the evidence and the public interest, in accordance with the code for Crown Prosecutors.

Driving Standards Agency Fees


The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Lord Adonis): My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Jim Fitzpatrick) has made the following Ministerial Statement.

The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) has today published a report on the results of its consultation on fees for theory and practical driving tests and for tests and trainee licences required as part of the approved driving instructor qualification process.

Copies of the report have been placed in the Libraries of the House and are also available from the DSA website

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The changes will be introduced for driving tests booked on or after 30 March 2009 and for approved driving instructor related services from 24 April.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) has today published a report on the responses to its consultation on driving licensing fees on the DVLA website at Copies of the report have also been placed in the Libraries of the House. The changes will be introduced from 6 April.

The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) has today published a report on the results of its consultation on fees for services covering the testing, specialist inspections and operator licensing of heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) and public service vehicles (PSVs—buses and coaches); local bus service registration; issue of authorisations for some international journeys of HGVs and PSVs; single vehicle approval of cars, light goods vehicles and motorcycles; and tachograph centre approval. Copies of the report have been placed in the Libraries of the House and are also available from the Department for Transport Website at The fees for HGV and PSV annual testing and operator licence will be introduced on 20 April; those for most other services are expected to be introduced on 27 April.

Land Registry: Key Performance Indicators and Targets


The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): My right honourable friend the Minister of State (Michael Wills) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

The following list sets out the key performance indicators and targets that have been set for Her Majesty's Land Registry for 2009-10.

Customer Service


Percentage of official copy and search applications processed within two working days: 98 per cent.

Percentage of all registrations processed within 15 working days: 80 per cent.


Percentage of registrations processed free of any error: 98.5 per cent.

Overall satisfaction:

Percentage of customers who rate the overall service provided by Land Registry as excellent, very good or good: Better than 95 per cent.


Percentage return on average capital employed: 3.5 per cent.


Cost per unit in cash terms1 (real terms)2: £35.60 (£23.27).

Strategic Development Area Targets

Customer service

Introduction of a prototype service for electronic lodgement of a search of the index map (SIM) with plan.

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Land registration

Through voluntary registration, add a further 310,000 hectares of land to the total areas of registered freehold land in England and Wales.

Electronic service delivery

Introduce a pilot Business Gateway

Business Development

Increase gross incremental revenue from “add value” products and services by 25 per cent compared to 2008-09 and earn a contribution of 8 per cent of income net of direct costs and apportioned product development costs.

1 Based on the GDP deflator issued by HM Treasury on 23 December 2008 (base year 1992-93).

2 The real term unit cost in the base year of 1992-93 was £30.65.

Transport: East of England


The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Lord Adonis): My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Transport (Geoff Hoon) has made the following Ministerial Statement.

I am today informing the House of the results of the further work that the Department for Transport has carried out since March 2008 on the long-term capacity of the M11 motorway and the West Anglia main line. This work has considered the likely long-term growth in the regional economy as well as the potential expansion of Stansted Airport, and the need to support both with effective and sustainable transport links. It has also taken account of the Government’s latest air passenger demand forecasts, which were published on 15 January 2009.

The regional spatial strategy for the East of England was published on 12 May 2008. This plan provides for a 15 to 20 year vision for the sustainable development of the East of England, a region with particularly strong growth pressures. Despite the current economic downturn, the Government believe that, over the next 15 to 20 years, the East of England region will continue to witness a growth in its economy, the generation of new employment opportunities and continuing demand for the development of new housing.

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Further work carried out by the department has confirmed that, on the rail side, there remains a business case for a significant package of enhancements to the West Anglia main line, to deal with the long-term increase in passenger demand on the route. These enhancements could lead to significant improvements in journey times and frequencies for all users of the route. The department will now specify the outputs it requires from the work to be undertaken by Network Rail in the forthcoming control period 2009-14. Network Rail will lead the detailed development work to determine the precise scope of improvements needed to deliver these important outputs, and progress the necessary planning consents. This work will inform the assessment of funding for the railway control period 2014-19, subject to affordability, value for money and business case approval.

On the roads side, the department has, with the Highways Agency, considered a number of options which could deliver capacity enhancements to the M11 motorway between junctions 6 and 8. The options considered included dynamic use of the hard shoulder and widening the motorway to four lanes in each direction. The study work has concluded that no enhancements to this section of the motorway are needed until at least 2021. Thereafter, a number of enhancements may be needed. Decisions on these will be taken in the context of the Delivering a Sustainable Transport System (DaSTS) framework, published in November 2008, which sets out a timetable for future investment decisions.

Copies of the reports underpinning this announcement have been made available in the House Libraries, as well as on the Department for Transport’s website. The two reports are:

a North East London and West Anglia Main Line progress report and strategy, explaining the current issues facing the line and the improvements that might be made in future; andan M11 junctions 6 to 8 options identification report prepared on behalf of the Highways Agency, which explains the different options that have been considered and their respective advantages and disadvantages.
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