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Buses and Taxis

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he is taking to improve the sustainability and environmental quality of buses and taxis in city areas. [73206]

Mr. Jamieson: The Government have introduced a range of fiscal incentives to encourage the wider availability and use of cleaner fuels such as ultra-low sulphur petrol and diesel and road fuel gases such as LPG and natural gas. These incentives are relevant to all road vehicle sectors including buses and taxis.

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My Department's PowerShift and CleanUp programmes—administered by the Energy Saving Trust—provide grants towards the cost of converting vehicles to run on cleaner fuels and towards the cost of fitting emission reduction technologies such as particulate traps. Both taxis and buses have benefited from these programmes.

In addition, my Department has set up the New Vehicle Technology Fund to support the demonstration of innovative clean, fuel-efficient technologies such as fuel cells and hybrid vehicles. The Department views urban vehicles such as taxis and buses as important early markets for the introduction of these technologies and is currently assessing a number of taxi and bus proposals.

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will establish a working group to review the quality of taxi systems in major English cities. [73204]

Mr. Jamieson: While we are responsible for the legislative framework for taxis throughout England and Wales, taxi licensing rests with local authorities; it is up to them to use their licensing powers to ensure that their local taxi system is of a satisfactory standard.

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will license a new class of taxis in inner city areas based on smaller vehicles. [73203]

Mr. Jamieson: Under the legislation governing taxi licensing in England and Wales, a taxi must be a vehicle with fewer than nine passenger seats. Within this broad provision, it is up to local licensing authorities to determine which vehicles they consider suitable for licensing as taxis, bearing in mind that taxis are licensed for the purpose of enabling both individuals and small groups to hire them at a rank or hail them in the street.

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment his Department has made of the Smart car and similar vehicles as taxis for city areas. [73205]

Mr. Jamieson: The Department has made no specific assessment of the Smart car or any similar vehicle for use as taxis in city areas. Decisions about which vehicles to license as taxis are made by local licensing authorities based on their assessment of local conditions and circumstances. They would, of course, want to bear in mind the needs of people who wish to travel in small groups as well as those of disabled people, some of whom may need to travel in a wheelchair.

Trams and Light Rail

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what assessment for the purposes of the 10-year plan he has made as to the change in journey speeds on tram systems in London over the last two years; and if he will make a statement; [71499]

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Mr. Jamieson [holding answer 19 July 2002]: The 10-year plan indicated a number of possible outcomes for transport in London which could be delivered over the life of the plan, while making clear that the Mayor was responsible for specific priorities. We shall monitor delivery and from time to time we shall review the situation with the Mayor. The outcome in the plan concerning new routes and faster journeys by light rail, tram or guided bus, was a general reference to possible new services which could result from new infrastructure which could be delivered using the plan's resources.

Departmental Reorganisation

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much has been spent by his Department in re-branding his Department (a) in total and (b) sub- divided between (i) design of the departmental logo, (ii) design and orders of new stationery, (iii) Department signage and (iv) website design as a result of the Department structural change in June; and if he will make a statement. [70692]

Mr. Jamieson: My Department is spending a nominal sum of less than £25,000 from within existing budgets, to make the required changes to these items.

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) how much has been spent on consultancy fees in relation to the change in Department structure since June; and if he will make a statement; [70711]

Mr. Jamieson: So far no changes to office accommodation have been made as a result of the recent machinery of government changes and no money spent to date. Over the summer Ministers and officials will be co-located with Department for Transport staff currently in Great Minster House. This will be more effective and reduce travelling between Great Minster House and Eland House.

Public Transport

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he will publish new guidance on the flexible public transport services which the law already allows. [73537]

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Mr. Spellar: Fresh guidance on the range of flexible public transport services, which can currently be undertaken, will be published later this week. It is aimed at bus, taxi and private hire vehicle operators, local authorities, transport partnerships and voluntary groups because many may not be aware of the opportunities available. We want to encourage greater use of these services because they can bring more benefits both to passengers and providers and help improve public transport provision. We are distributing the document, which is a free publication, widely as well as publishing it on our website. Although this guidance has been produced as a follow up to the rural White Paper and gives examples of schemes being undertaken in rural areas, I would stress that the services apply equally for urban areas.


Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the meaning is of the term 'carrier' as used in REPPIR. [73189]

Mr. Jamieson: In the Radiation (Emergency Preparedness and Public Information) Regulations 2001 a 'carrier' is an employer undertaking the transport by rail of any radioactive substance, which includes a carrier for hire or reward and a carrier on own account, and an employer transferring or conveying a radioactive substance through any public place otherwise than by rail, road, inland waterway, sea or air or by means of a pipeline or similar means.

Anglo-Scottish Ministerial Meetings

Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many formal and official inter-ministerial meetings his Department has held with the Scottish Executive since May 1999, broken down by (a) Scottish Executive department, (b) subject and (c) date. [72717]

Mr. Jamieson: Ministers have held meetings with members of the Scottish Executive on a variety of transport issues since May 1999.

Ministerial Meetings

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when and where Ministers in his Department have held meetings with Ministers and officials of the Irish Government since 1 June 2000; which Ministers were involved in each meeting; which Irish Government Departments were involved in each meeting; and which Ministers and officials from the Irish Government attended each meeting. [72699]

Mr. Jamieson: Ministers have held meetings with representatives of the Irish Government on a variety of transport issues since June 2000.

Job Location

Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many jobs under the remit of his Department in (a) the core Department, (b) non-departmental public bodies, (c) executive agencies and (d) independent statutory bodies, organisations and bodies financially sponsored by his Department and other such organisations, are located in (i) Scotland, (ii) England, excluding Greater

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London, (iii) Greater London, (iv) Wales, (v) Northern Ireland and (vi) overseas, broken down by (A) whole-time equivalent jobs and (B) the percentage per individual Department, body or organisation.

Mr. Jamieson: I would refer the hon. Member to the following table, which shows the position within the Department for Transport at 1 June 2002:

Department for TransportFull-time equivalent Location
Core Department(49) 1,700London, rest of England and Scotland
Executive Agencies(50)12,212
consisting of:
Driver and vehicle licensing5,144England, Scotland and Wales
Driving Standards Agency1,970England, Scotland and Wales
Highways Agency1,770England
Vehicle Certification Agency112UK, USA and Japan
Vehicle Inspectorate2,116England, Scotland and Wales
Maritime and Coastguard Agency1,100UK
Grand Total:13,912

(49) The core Department for the Department for Transport (DfT) employs approximately 1,700 staff. This figure is composed of staff working on policy areas and includes an estimate of 50 per cent. of the support staff who worked for the former Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions (DTLR). This figure may change when re-structuring is complete and final decisions have been taken on how support staff are to be allocated to the Office for the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) and Department for Transport (DfT).

(50) The figures for the Executive Agencies are estimates—based on their plans for year 2002–03 and are taken from the DTLR (C) departmental annual report 2002.

I will write to the hon. Member with details for non-departmental public bodies and independent statutory bodies in due course.It has not been possible to calculate the percentage per individual Department, body or organisation as we do not have a breakdown of the total figures by region.

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