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22 May 2006 : Column 1274W—continued

Concessionary Fares

Ms Diana R. Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what estimate he has made of the funding required to fund free off-peak travel for (a) older and (b) disabled persons on buses in Kingston upon Hull, North; [69761]

(2) how much funding the Government are providing to Kingston upon Hull council to provide free bus travel for (a) older and (b) disabled persons. [69762]

Gillian Merron: The Government are providing an extra £350 million for 2006-07 through the formula grant system. This will be sufficient in aggregate to fund the additional cost to local authorities. This funding is unhypothecated; therefore the funding for concessionary fares is not separately identified.

Concorde

Miss Widdecombe: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions his Department has had with British Airways on the cost of reinstating Concorde. [72440]

Gillian Merron: None. Issues concerning Concorde remain a matter for British Airways and Airbus.

Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list the (a) public and (b) private sector organisations to which the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency has (i) sold and (ii) provided drivers' names and addresses in the last two years; and what the reason for the data sharing or data transfer was in each case. [70597]

Dr. Ladyman: Access to the driver database is governed by the Data Protection Act 1998 and in general, details of a record can be released only to the data subject themselves or to a third party with the data subject's consent.

DVLA has an obligation to release information from the vehicle record to those who demonstrate a legitimate right to receive it. Various other Government and law enforcement bodies have powers under different legislation to request information from DVLA for prescribed purposes. DVLA does not record the frequency of requests from each enquirer. Table 1, which has been placed in the House Libraries, lists those who are likely to have received information in the last two years and for what purpose, under various legislative powers. All are provided with the information in accordance with the relevant Act, and no fee is levied.

Table 2 outlines organisations that have received information under Regulation 27(1 )(e) of the Road Vehicles (Registration and Licensing) Regulations 2002. Table 3 lists the reasons for the request. Both of these tables have also been placed in the House Libraries.

Any private organisation or individual listed will have been charged a fee of £2.50 per inquiry made. No fee is levied on public bodies.


22 May 2006 : Column 1275W

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when the new arrangements for driving licence fees will come into force. [71996]

Dr. Ladyman: Proposals for restructuring DVLA's fees are currently out for public consultation. The consultation period closes on 21 July 2006. Until we have analysed the responses to the consultation and agreed a way forward we cannot give a firm date for any changes there may be to driving licence fees.

Emergency Services

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how blue light driver training will be (a) delivered and (b) certified for members of the medical profession who provide volunteer assistance to the emergency services; and if he will make a statement. [71884]

Dr. Ladyman: Subject to parliamentary approval the Road Safety Bill will provide powers for us to quality assure the content and delivery of blue light training. The Driving Standards Agency will consult with stakeholders before any decisions are made as to how such training will be delivered or certified.

However, in the absence of a regulatory regime, DSA developed an agreed set of minimum core competencies for drivers of emergency vehicles. These were published in 2001 as the “Blue Light Users Working Party Expectations Document”. DSA had worked together with the ambulance and fire services, police and the Ministry of Defence to develop this document. It was agreed that each service should tailor any training based on these competencies to the needs of their own drivers and vehicles. The expectation document is available on the DSA website:

Finsbury Park Station

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans his Department has to transfer the management of Finsbury Park station to Transport for London. [72977]

Derek Twigg: The Department for Transport has no plans to transfer the management of Finsbury Park station at present.

Highways Act

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the operation of section 161 of the Highways Act 1980; what recent representations he has received about the operation of this (a) section and (b) Act; what amendments have been made to the Act; and what plans he has to amend this Act. [72181]

Dr. Ladyman: Section 161 of the Highways Act 1980 deals with penalties for causing certain kinds of danger or annoyance to users of the highway. If a person
22 May 2006 : Column 1276W
without lawful authority or excuse deposits anything whatsoever on a highway in consequence of which a user of the highway is injured or endangered, that person is guilty of an offence and liable to a fine.

In the last 12 months the Department has dealt with two representations from members of the public concerning this section.

The Highways Act 1980 contains more than 300 sections and 25 schedules. A large number of amendments have been made to the Highways Act in the last 26 years and the cost of collating a list would be disproportionate. As there is no central record of representations received by the Department that would enable officials to identify those about the operation of the whole Act, it would also incur disproportionate cost to do so.

However, section 161 subsections (1), (3) and (4) of the Highways Act 1980 were amended by sections 38 and 46 of the Criminal Justice Act 1982. These amendments raised the level of the fines. Section 161 subsection (2) was substituted by the Highways (Amendment) Act 1986 and relates to creating criminal offences in relation to lighting fires or discharging firearms or fireworks in the vicinity of the highway.

We have no plans to amend the Highways Act 1980.

Level Crossings

Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many incidents have been recorded at level crossings in each year since 1997; and how many of these resulted in (a) death and (b) injury. [69601]

Derek Twigg: The information requested is in the following table.

Incidents, death and injuries( 1) at level crossings on Britain's level crossings, 1997 to 2004( 2)
(a) Incidents (b) Deaths (c) Injuries

1996-97

33

3

35

1997-98

34

14

31

1998-99

37

11

34

1999-2000

32

13

28

2000-01

27

10

24

2001-02

27

11

11

2002-03

27

13

28

2003-04

28

18

25

2004(3)

26

11

56

(1) These figures do not include suicides. (2 )Figures taken from HMRI's annual reports on railway safety. (3) This is a nine-month report period as part of the transition to a European requirement that rail accident statistics be published on a calendar year basis.

Ministerial Travel

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what the total cost was of overnight accommodation for Ministers of State in his Department on foreign visits in each of the last three years; [69079]

(2) on how many occasions Ministers of State in his Department stayed overnight in (a) five-star, (b) four-star and (c) three-star hotels on foreign visits in each of the last three years. [69080]


22 May 2006 : Column 1277W

Dr. Ladyman: The total costs of accommodation outside the United Kingdom for all four Ministers in the Department for Transport undertaking official business, including the costs of any accompanying Private Secretaries, for each of the last three financial years are:

Information about the category of any hotels at which Ministers have stayed is not held centrally.

Ministerial travel is conducted in accordance with the Ministerial Code and Travel by Ministers. When travelling on official business Ministers are expected to make efficient and cost-effective travel arrangements.

Since 1999 the Government have published an annual list of all visits overseas undertaken by Cabinet Ministers costing £500 or more during each financial year, this information includes accommodation costs. Copies are available in the Library.

MOT Fee

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether it is his policy that the maximum MOT fee will remain constant during the lifetime of this Parliament. [71821]

Dr. Ladyman: No. We intend to continue current policy which is to review MOT fees annually to take account of changes in cost such as inflation and any changes in the time it takes to conduct an average MOT test.

Motorways

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) how many (a) vehicles and (b) heavy goods vehicles used the M6 toll motorway in each of the last 24 months; [72918]

(2) how many (a) vehicles and (b) heavy goods vehicles travelled on the M6 toll motorway on average each day in the last period for which figures are available. [72919]

Dr. Ladyman: The available information is contained in the following table. The figures have been taken from information provided on the website of Midlands Expressway Ltd., the operators of the toll road.

The company does not provide separate figures for heavy goods vehicles. The table gives average traffic figures for each month, broken down for workdays and weekends/public holidays, covering the period from the opening of the M6 Toll in December 2003 to April 2006.


22 May 2006 : Column 1278W
Month Workdays Weekends/public holidays All days

December 2003

34,848

33,929

34,490

January 2004

32,763

26,249

30,662

February 2004

40,304

30,648

37,308

March 2004

41,880

33,120

39,620

April 2004

47,247

39,575

44,689

May 2004

46,921

36,436

42,862

June 2004

50,414

41,311

47,986

July 2004

58,340

47,896

55,308

August 2004

56,855

52,225

55,362

September 2004

53,604

47,745

52,041

October 2004

52,887

44,686

50,242

November 2004

50,311

38,106

47,057

December 2004

49,146

37,992

45,548

January 2005

43,344

29,620

38,474

February 2005

46,571

33,780

42,917

March 2005

49,626

38,266

45,961

April 2005

50,845

36,667

46,591

May 2005

50,365

36,020

45,274

June 2005

48,544

36,474

45,325

July 2005

50,279

39,179

46,873

August 2005

48,872

41,816

46,824

September 2005

48,523

39,076

46,004

October 2005

50,027

38,246

46,227

November 200

48,852

32,844

44,583

December 2005

47,499

32,633

42,224

January 2006

41,632

26,414

36,723

February 2006

46,660

31,190

42,240

March 2006

47,726

30,033

43,160

April 2006

51,811

36,954

45,868



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