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24 May 2002 : Column 621W
failed to register on the electoral register in (a) the UK, (b) Greater London and (c) Enfield in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement;  (2) how many cases of failure to register on the electoral register have been prosecuted in (a) the UK, (b) Greater London and (c) Enfield in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement;  (3) if he will estimate how much expenditure was undertaken in compiling the electoral register in (a) the UK, (b) Greater London and (c) Enfield in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement;  (4) if he will estimate how much income was derived from the electoral register in (a) the UK, (b) Greater London and (c) Enfield in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Love: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (1) what action he is taking to increase the take up of (a) postal voting and (b) proxy voting to increase turnouts in elections; and if he will make a statement.  (2) what action is being taken to increase the numbers registered on the electoral register; and if he will make a statement.  (3) what action is being taken to publicise the need to register on the electoral register; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Whitehead: Under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, responsibility for promoting public awareness of electoral systems and carrying out programmes of education and information is now for The Electoral Commission. I understand that The Electoral Commission is this year launching two main advertising campaigns to promote public awareness of the availability of absent votes and to encourage completion and return of the annual electoral registration form.
Mr. Love: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what discussions he has had with the Electoral Commission regarding a review of election law; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Whitehead: In its report on the 2001 general election, The Electoral Commission outlined its plans to review a number of areas of electoral law and practice. Many of those reviews are now under way and my Department is heavily involved with them. I understand that the Commission intends to produce recommendations in time for them to be considered before the next election. In addition, there is considerable day-to-day contact between the Commission and the Department on a range of electoral issues.
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how many prosecutions have been undertaken for non-registration with electoral registration officers; and if he will make a statement about the future of this offence in relation to access to electoral roll data without the consent of the voter. 
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Dr. Whitehead: Information on the number of prosecutions for non-registration is not held centrally. There are no plans to amend the legislation requiring electors to supply information for registration. We published on 13th May our proposals to restrict access to, and sale and supply of, the electoral registers and the purposes for which they may be used. Our intention, subject to consultation and Parliamentary approval, is to make regulations before the summer recess. The increased privacy afforded by our proposals will reassure electors when providing information for registration.
Mr. Tom Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what progress has been made in developing technology to limit the speed of motor vehicles on public roads. 
Mr. Jamieson: A research project into External Vehicle Speed Control was carried out on behalf of the Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions between 1997 and 2000. An Executive Summary of the results is available on the Department's website and copies have been placed in the library.
Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what action he intends to take to reduce the number of pedal cyclists who ride through red traffic lights. 
Mr. Byers: The Highway Code and road traffic law apply to cyclists as much as to anyone else. It is an offence under section 36 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 to fail to comply with a traffic sign and the maximum fine is £1,000. The police can also prosecute cyclists who ride carelessly or dangerously and these offences carry maximum fines of £1,000 and £2,500 respectively. Enforcement of the law is a matter for the police.
Mr. Prosser: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what recent forecasts of future trends in UK port traffic have been made by his Department; and what steps he is taking to ensure that sufficient port capacity will be available to meet predicted demand. 
Mr. Jamieson: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Portsmouth, South (Mr. Hancock) on 22 April 2002, Official Report, column 57W, in which I referred to our ports policy paper, "Modern PortsA UK Policy", published in November 2000, and a discussion paper, "Recent developments and prospects in UK container ports", published in July 2001. Copies of both documents were placed in the Library. The Department plans to undertake shortly a further study like the one on containers on roll-on roll-off ferry capacity.
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contribution of port development to (a) integrated transport policy and (b) wider sustainable development objectives. 
Mr. Jamieson: I refer my hon. Friend to our ports policy paper, "Modern PortsA UK Policy", copies of which have been placed in the Libraries of the House. The paper recognises the importance of ports in integrated transport and the importance of addressing this in regional planning guidance, and associated regional transport strategies.
Mr. Jamieson [holding answer 23 May 2002]: The most recent announcement was made by my right hon. Friend, the Minister of State for Transport on 3 December. The rules announced ensure cameras will be visible and conspicuous as a condition of the Netting-Off arrangements whereby safety camera partnerships may recover their costs from revenue raised from fixed penalty tickets.
Mr. Truswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions which proposals for new ports are under consideration that fall into the category of major infrastructure projects as defined by the Government's consultation paper, New Parliamentary Procedures for Processing Major Infrastructure Projects. 
Mr. Jamieson: Proposals for port developments are handled under a range of existing legislation (including the Harbours Act, the Transport and Works Act and the Town and Country Planning Act). Under the proposals for New Parliamentary Procedures for Processing Major Infrastructure Projects set out in the Government's consultation paper, only those projects of national importance which are designated by the Secretary of State, in the light of the definition proposed in Annex C of the paper, would be put to Parliament as major infrastructure projects for its consideration in principle. Designation of projects will be on a case by case basis under the proposed new legislation if enacted.
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if his Department will include the reduction of age discrimination in access to employment and services in future guidance on the evaluation and accreditation of local strategic partnerships. 
Ms Keeble: The Government does not intend to include the reduction of age discrimination in access to employment within guidance on the accreditation of Local Strategic Partnerships (LSPs). It is for the LSP to decide its objectives and priorities for action based on an assessment of local needs and in consultation with partners from the public, private, voluntary and community sectors.
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Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what the estimated cost is of establishing an elected South West Regional Assembly including the costs of a referendum and of the first elections; and what the estimated running costs are in each of the first three years. 
Mr. Raynsford: The costs of establishing elected regional assemblies will vary from region to region, mainly because of different sizes of their electorates. But we expect them all to fall in a range around £15 million to £30 million a region, including the costs of a referendum and of the first assembly elections. The South West is likely to be towards the middle of this range. Chapter 5 of the White Paper, Your Region, Your Choice, gave our estimate of the running costs of an elected assemblyaround £25 million a year, or around £20 million excluding the costs of staff who will transfer from existing public bodies.
Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if an elected regional assembly will have the power to impose unitary authorities on existing county and district councils if so recommended by the Boundary Committee. 
Mr. Raynsford: Our proposals for local government reorganisation in regions which have voted to have an elected assembly are set out in paragraphs 9.8 to 9.11 of the White Paper, Your Region, Your Choice, published on 9 May. The orders required to implement a reorganisation will be made by the Secretary of State and will need to be approved by Parliament. This process will run in parallel with the process for establishing an elected assembly for the region. But the assembly will have no powers or responsibilities involving the structure of local government in its region.
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