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Derek Twigg: The Government recognise the importance of local railway lines to the communities that they serve and seeks to support their development, primarily through the implementation of the Community Rail Development Strategy.
Stephen Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list the franchises held by train operating companies; when each franchise was granted; what its length is; when each franchise is scheduled for renewal; and if he will list new franchises he is expecting to grant. 
Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the (a) supply of and (b) demand for dedicated railway engineers for the next (i) five, (ii) 10, (iii) 15 and (iv) 20 years; what action he is taking to ensure that there are sufficient numbers of competent dedicated railway engineers in the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement. 
Derek Twigg [holding answer 25 April 2006]: It is the responsibility of the rail industry to predict and meet future needs for competent dedicated railway engineers. However, it became clear in the years following initial privatisation of the railway that the industry, and in particular Railtrack, was not fulfilling this need. Government have established the new industry framework within which both Network Rail and the Association of Train Operators now have active and successful programmes for recruitment, training and professional development of chartered and graduate engineers and engineering technicians. Of particular note is the apprenticeship scheme set up by Network Rail in partnership with the Royal Navy at HMS Sultan, Gosport, which has places for up to 250 per year.
Stephen Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much the cost of a standard return rail ticket purchased on the day of travel from London to each of the 20 largest cities in the UK has changed in real terms since 1997. 
Mr. Darling: I have regular discussions with the First Minister on a range of transport and other topics. The promotion and construction of new railways which start and end in Scotland is a devolved matter.
Dr. Ladyman: The A1079 was detrunked on 1 April 2003. Before this it was maintained by the Highways Agency. However, the agency accounts for maintenance on a management area as opposed to a specific route basis, and figures relating to the spend specifically on the A1079 are not readily available.
Mr. Graham Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many accidents there have been on the A1079 in each of the last five years; how many resulted in serious injury; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Ladyman: The number of personal injury road accidents that occurred on the A1079 from 2000 to 2004 (the latest year for which figures are available) and the resulting serious casualties are given in the table.
|Accidents||Accidents resulting in at least one serious casualty|
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many near misses were recorded involving flights (a) into and (b) out of each airport in Northern Ireland in each of the last five years, broken down by airline or carrier. 
During the five years from 2001 to 2005 inclusive there were seven Airprox incidents over Northern Ireland airspace reported to the UK Airprox Board for assessment. In each case at least one of the aircraft involved was outbound from or inbound to an airport in Northern Ireland. All seven events were reviewed and categorised by the Board as being Category C where no risk of collision existed. At least one commercial air transport aircraft was involved but the Airprox Board does not make public the identity of the airline.
2 May 2006 : Column 1462W
Mr. Mullin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport on what date and for what reasons the cap of 480,000 flights a year at Heathrow was agreed; and under what circumstances it might be removed. 
Derek Twigg: The limit of 480,000 air transport movements a year at Heathrow is among the conditions imposed by the Secretary of State in his decision letter of 20 November 2001 granting planning consent to the development of a fifth terminal. As stated in the decision letter, the Secretary of State accepted the planning Inspector's recommendation for the limit on the basis of a precautionary approach, and in view of the Inspector's concerns about noise, particularly the weighting of the number of aircraft movements relative to the Leq noise index. The limit applies from the date that the core terminal building opens for public use, but BAA have stated their intention to manage traffic levels in the intervening period. The limit could only be changed following consideration of a further planning application which provided grounds for reaching a different view.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 13 March 2006, Official Report, column 1883W, on the Blue Badge Scheme, (1) how many people displaying a valid Blue Badge have been prosecuted for parking where there is a ban on loading or unloading in each year since 1997; 
(2) what recent representations he has received on whether to prosecute people displaying a valid Blue Badge for parking where there is a ban on loading or unloading; if he will bring forward legislation to allow people so parked to do so; and if he will make a statement. 
Enforcement of the Blue Badge Scheme is a matter for local authorities. There is no legal requirement for local authorities to provide the Department with details of any parking prosecutions. The devolved administrations are responsible for the Scheme in other parts of the UK.
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The Department has received representations from some local authorities about the legality of parking by blue badge holders in loading bays. The Department's policy is that under the Blue Badge Scheme, badge holders should not automatically be permitted to park in loading bays during a ban on loading and unloading. To ensure that this is clearly reflected in the regulations the Department proposes to bring forward amendments, where necessary, during the course of the year.
2 May 2006 : Column 1464W
|Number of police officers|
|North Eastern Area||195||205||197||192||188|
|North Western Area||280||275||268||270||256|
|Wales and Western Area||299||303||309||320||295|
|Number of police officers|
|North Eastern Area||193||197||205||207|
|North Western Area||263||256||255||271|
|Wales and Western Area||295||281||288||309|
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