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13 Sep 2011 : Column WA47



13 Sep 2011 : Column WA47

Written Answers

Tuesday 13 September 2011

Cyclists: Accidents

Question

Asked by Lord Bradshaw

Earl Attlee: The information requested is given in the following table:

Number of pedal cyclists casualties in reported accidents involving heavy goods vehicles in Great Britain: 2006-2010
Number of casualties
20062007200820092010

Killed

25

33

27

19

20

Serious

92

92

85

77

94

Killed or seriously injured

117

125

112

96

114

Slight

308

229

257

199

244

Total

425

354

369

295

358

Female Genital Mutilation

Questions

Asked by Baroness Tonge

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Browning): The Government are absolutely committed to tackling and preventing female genital mutilation (FGM) and we recognise that a joined-up approach across front-line agencies is needed to safeguard girls and protect women. Tackling FGM forms a key part of The Call to End Violence Against Women and Girls: Action Plan, published in March this year.

In 2010 we developed and distributed over 40,000 information leaflets and 40,000 posters that have been circulated to schools, health services, charities and community groups around the country. We have also established a regular forum for the voluntary and community sector to raise concerns with the Government and inform our work. This forum is also used to map community engagement work and identify best practice, such as the new multi-agency practice guidelines to help ensure that professionals are able and confident to intervene to protect girls at risk.



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There are 15 specialist clinics (as of March 2011) in the NHS which treat women and girls who have been subjected to FGM, all with trained and culturally sensitive staff who offer a range of healthcare services for women and girls including reversal surgery. Services are confidential and in many instances interpreters are available. These clinics are open to women to attend without referral from their own doctors and are funded by local PCTs.

There locations can be found at using the following link: http://www.forwarduk.org.uk/resources/support/well-woman-clinics.

Forensic Science Service

Questions

Asked by Lord Lester of Herne Hill

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Browning): The Home Office needed to find an operational and legal solution for the serious financial difficulties facing the Forensic Science Service. Once a way forward had been identified and tested with the Association of Chief Police Officers, the Home Office consulted across government to ensure the wider interests of the criminal justice system would be protected.

Asked by Lord Lester of Herne Hill

Baroness Browning: The Home Office considered information from the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and commercial advisers about the state of the market in general before the decision was made to manage the closure of the Forensic Science Service (FSS). We carefully considered all the available options to resolve the financial difficulties facing the FSS and the impact on the criminal justice system (CJS). ACPO has been clear from the outset that police forces and the forensics market could cope with the managed closure of the FSS.

Government Departments: Expenditure

Question

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

Lord Taylor of Holbeach: Through the implementation of strong controls on marketing and advertising, the Government have reduced expenditure through the Central Office of Information on relevant categories by 80 per cent, or £400 million, in 2010-11.



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The information requested is wide ranging and is not collected centrally. Each government department, agency and public body is responsible for setting its own communications priorities and outputs.

In addition, each government department is now responsible for publishing details of all departmental expenditure over £25,000 on its website in accordance with HMT guidance.

Government Departments: Research and Data

Questions

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): All Defra evidence contracts are closely monitored by Defra specialists working with policy officials. Contract variations are required if there are significant changes to any of the details in the original agreement (eg costs, required outputs, timetable, research team, etc).

In this instance the extension provided interim funding while joint funding arrangements with industry were put in place to take forward the work on improved genetic material of miscanthus for commercial cultivation.

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

Lord Henley: All Defra evidence contracts are closely monitored by Defra specialists working with policy officials. Contract variations are required if there are significant changes to any of the details in the original agreement (eg costs, required outputs, timetable, research team, etc).

The contract variation for the Wind Farm Noise Compliant Methodology research project (N00227) was to amend the project end-date and increase the project cost by £2,880.

The additional cost was to cover revisions to the report in response to Defra comments, to further review existing research on wind turbine noise and update the literature review section accordingly, and to make any necessary revisions in light of comments from other government departments.

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

Lord Henley: I refer the noble Lord to the Answer I gave on 11 August (Official Report, col. WA 407).



13 Sep 2011 : Column WA50

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

Lord Henley: All Defra evidence contracts are closely monitored by Defra specialists working with policy officials. Contract variations are required if there are significant changes to any of the details in the original agreement (eg costs, required outputs, timetable, research team, etc).

The project titled "Energy Dependency and Food Security" was initiated to examine the energy use associated with different food products, to investigate the relationships between energy and UK food prices and assess how energy price rises may influence food purchases.

As a variation to the contract, the department agreed to extend this project from 1 April 2011 to 30 November 2011, with an additional payment of £59,779 (in financial year 2011-12) towards costs in order to increase the data set and strengthen the evidence base on understanding energy dependency of the food chain and how it is managed.

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

Lord Henley: All Defra evidence contracts are closely monitored by Defra specialists working with policy officials. Contract variations are required if there are significant changes to any of the details in the original agreement (eg costs, required outputs, timetable, research team, etc).

The variation made to the PLANET project was to extend the contract from 1 April 2011 to 31 December 2011 to provide support to industry users of PLANET following the release of a new version of the software in April 2011, to include a new approach to fertiliser recommendations for grassland fields. This enables farmers better to adjust fertiliser applications to their particular system and minimise over use.

Government Departments: Surveys

Question

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The assessment of the information contained in the YouGov Debt Tracker Survey was included in a report published on the Department for Business website in June, Credit, Debt & Financial Difficulty in Britain, 2009-10. This is already publicly available at: http://www.bis.gov.uk/assets/biscore/consumer-issues/docs/c/11-963-credit-debt-in-britain-2009-10.



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Health: Chromosomal Aberrations

Question

Asked by Lord Jones of Cheltenham

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The department does not hold this information centrally.

The testing for chromosomal aberrations is the core business for clinical genetics services, which are available in the regional genetic centres.

Health: Medical Research

Questions

Asked by Lord Willis of Knaresborough

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): At a national level, the Government will create a health research regulatory agency to combine and streamline the approvals for health research which are at present scattered across many organisations. This will reduce the regulatory burden on research-active businesses, universities and the National Health Service, improve the timeliness of decisions about research projects and hence the cost-effectiveness of their delivery in the United Kingdom. This action has clear support from the Academy of Medical Sciences review of health research regulation and governance. As a first step, the Government will establish this year a special health authority with the National Research Ethics Service as its core. The new agency will work closely with the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency to create a unified approval process and promote proportionate standards for compliance and inspection within a consistent national system of research governance.

At a local level, the Government will radically transform the incentives for efficiency in research initiation and delivery. In May, the Government launched through the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) a framework of good practice and standard procedures called the NIHR Research Support Services to facilitate consistent local research management and greatly improve performance. NHS providers which adopt these standards will stop unnecessary duplication of checks. They will publish metrics regularly on their performance. They will have access to NIHR financial support for these activities. For clinical trials, the NIHR will from 2012 publish outcomes against public NIHR benchmarks, including an initial benchmark of 70 days or less from

13 Sep 2011 : Column WA52

the time a provider receives a valid research protocol to the time when that provider recruits the first patient for that study. In future, NIHR funding to providers of NHS services will become conditional on meeting benchmarks, including the 70-day benchmark to recruit first patients for trials. The NIHR will make this a condition of new contracts from autumn 2011 and performance will affect funding from 2013.

The Government published their intentions in the Plan for Growth in March 2011, available from HM Treasury. None of them requires legislation expressly for NHS foundation trusts.

Libya

Question

Asked by Lord Hennessy of Nympsfield

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Lord Strathclyde): As announced in the House on 5 September, the National Security Adviser is leading a study into the lessons learnt about how the new central co-ordination mechanisms around the National Security Council have operated during the Libya crisis. The length of time it takes will obviously depend on when the military operations end. The House will be informed of the conclusions from the National Security Adviser's study.

Olympic Games 2012: Torch

Question

Asked by Lord Berkeley

Baroness Garden of Frognal: The London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) is responsible for the Olympic torch relay. On 18 May LOCOG announced the 66 evening celebrations.

LOCOG has not finalised the Olympic torch relay route at this stage. It has announced only where the evening celebrations will be, with the rest of the route still to be worked through. Many more towns, villages, and places of interest will be confirmed before the end of the year as the detail of each day is pieced together.

LOCOG's aim is to take the Olympic flame to as many places as possible; to be within an hour's journey of 95 per cent of the population; and to showcase as much of the UK as possible. The route is being devised to achieve this. However, the relay lasts for just 70 days and LOCOG will have both geographical and time restraints to contend with.



13 Sep 2011 : Column WA53

Patrick Finucane

Question

Asked by Lord Empey

Lord Shutt of Greetland: I am advised that a decision on the matter will be made soon.

Questions for Written Answer

Questions

Asked by Lord Jopling

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Lord Strathclyde): My office has been in contact with the Home Office officials in relation to the outstanding Questions for Written Answer and has been kept informed of the reasons for the continued delay. In the same way as other government departments, the Home Office aims to answer questions within the target time.

Asked by Lord Jopling

Lord Strathclyde: My office makes regular contact with all government departments that are unable to meet the target of 10 working days to answer Questions for Written Answer. Every effort is made to address delays and to remind departments of their responsibilities to Parliament.

Railways: Rolling Stock

Question

Asked by Lord Bradshaw



13 Sep 2011 : Column WA54

Earl Attlee: The redeployment of rolling stock freed up by new trains introduced as part of the Thameslink programme is dependent on ongoing negotiations with train operators and the rolling stock leasing companies. Options for cascading this rolling stock include using it on commuter lines in the Thames Valley and those due to be electrified in the north-west.

Schools: Free Schools

Question

Asked by Lord Ouseley

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): All academies and free schools, through their funding agreement, are required to comply with the School Admissions Code and have to admit pupils without any reference to their past behaviour (except where a child has been permanently excluded on two occasions).

The code sets out how pupils who have previously been excluded may be placed at another school.

Shipping: Confidential Hazardous Incident Reporting Programme

Question

Asked by Lord Berkeley

Earl Attlee: The programme has not been funded by the General Lighthouse Fund. The Corporation of Trinity House provided some funding of the programme through its charitable arm for the continuation of the programme.

Transport: Heavy Goods Vehicles

Questions

Asked by Lord Bradshaw

Earl Attlee: The Government have made it clear that longer and heavier vehicles, or megatrucks (ie vehicles typically 25.25 metres long) will not be allowed on the UK's roads for the foreseeable future.

Asked by Lord Bradshaw



13 Sep 2011 : Column WA55

Earl Attlee: The use of weight restricted roads by heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) is a matter for local authorities. Prosecution figures would be held by the police.

The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) is responsible for the enforcement of overloaded HGVs. VOSA will continue to target over laden vehicles using target enforcement, through the use of weigh in motion sensors in balance with its other enforcement activities.

Asked by Lord Bradshaw

Earl Attlee: The Department for Transport is not aware of the research by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. Currently, for highways maintenance revenue funding, as part of the formula a factor is applied that takes into account annual traffic flows. This includes a 100:1 weighting for heavy goods vehicles as well as public service vehicles.


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