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Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how many BP employees are on secondment to his Department; for what purposes; on what terms; and how many BP employees have been on secondment to his Department since January 2000. 
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Ms Keeble: I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my right hon. Friend (Mr. Spellar) to my hon. Friend the Member for Rochdale (Mrs. Lorna Fitzsimons) on 21 March 2002, Official Report, columns 492W-493W.
Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what consultation there has been between the consultants undertaking the London to south and south-west multi-modal study and the Thames Valley multi-modal study on recommendations regarding the M4 from London to Reading. 
Mr. Byers: There have been frequent meetings between the two sets of consultants undertaking these two multi modal studies, and between the Government Offices for the south-east and south-west who are chairing the steering groups for the studies.
Mr. Jamieson: To provide a baseline against which to monitor progress towards the congestion target in the 10-year Plan for Transport, we will publish estimates of congestion in 2000 later in the year.
Mr. David Marshall: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what plans he has to improve signposting on roads and motorways; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Jamieson: The responsibility for placing and maintaining signs lies with the relevant traffic authority. We have published good practice guidance on the design and use of signs, which is available from the Stationery Office, in the Traffic Signs Manual and Local Transport Notes, and the Highways Agency has recently updated its standard on sign maintenance. We are currently consulting on updated guidance for the provision of white and brown direction signs to tourist attractions and facilities in England, and we will be publishing updated guidance on warning signs and road markings when revised Traffic Signs Regulations are introduced later this year.
Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will make it his policy to remove the right for local authorities to charge successful tenders a percentage of the total tender price. 
Dr. Whitehead: I am not aware that local authorities do charge successful tenderers a percentage of the total tender price. If the hon. Member would like to provide me with more information, I will consider further.
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Mrs. Shephard: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what the annual salary costs are of (a) the chairman and (b) the chief executive of the East of England Development Agency in 200102. 
Dr. Whitehead: In 200102 the salary costs for the chairman of the East of England Development Agency are £46,634, and the salary costs for the chief executive are £100,590 plus a bonus yet to be determined.
This year, for the first time, we are setting targets for the handling of enforcement appeals. The Planning Green Paper underlines that better enforcement is a key factor in raising public confidence in the planning system. Improved handling of enforcement appeals will support delivery of that objective.
We are also setting a new target for the handling of called-in planning applications and recovered appeals by the inspectorate. This is part of our Green Paper drive to deliver essential improvements in the decision-making times in these cases.
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To satisfy the Advisory Panel on Standards for the Planning Inspectorate, and thus the Secretary of State and the first Minister of the National Assembly for Wales, annually and following rigorous monitoring, that the quality of all the inspectorate's work is being maintained at a high standard, with 99 per cent. of its case work free from justified complaint. Information and guidance
Mr. Yeo: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will make a statement on the redevelopment of Wembley Park underground station to facilitate transit to and from a national stadium at Wembley. 
Mr. Jamieson: I refer the hon. Member to the reply my right hon. friend the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Brent, North (Mr. Gardiner) on 12 March 2002, and which I understand appeared in the Official Report, on 19 March 2002, column 237W.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how many complaints were received by (a) the DVLA, (b) his Department and (c) other bodies with reference to the process by which licence applications are processed by the DVLA, broken down by the nature of each complaint, in each year since 1997. 
Table 2 shows the number of official correspondence cases received by DVLA, which may include complaints, but detailed analysis figures are not available. Of these, private secretary office cases are received via the Department. Further analysis of Table 2 data is not available without a special exercise at disproportionate cost. DVLA receive 5.4 million driving licence applications every year.
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|Driving licence applications|
|Non receipt of a driving licence||48||59||130||92|
|Other driving licence complaints||153||227||551||139|
|Drivers medical complaint||25||75||149||174|
|Documents lost at DVLA||6||7||46||154|
(34) 199798 to 19992000 data are for both driver and vehicle complaints.
|Private secretary office||232||253||510||905|
The figures are shown in financial years.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what recent changes there have been in the (a) management, (b) computerisation and (c) other aspects of the DVLA related to the process by which licence applications are processed; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Jamieson: The second EC directive on driver licensing resulted in significant changes to the management, computerisation and other aspects of DVLA's processes relating to the issue of driving licences. Prior to July 1998 drivers received paper licences. From this point photocard licences were introduced on a phased basis. All licences issued by DVLA are now in this form.
The changes have meant that photographs and signatures are captured electronically for reproduction on the new style licence. As it now contains a photograph identity checking procedures have been tightened up considerably, compared with those in place for the issue of paper licences. Ministers decided that from April 1999 identity documentation should be accepted to support identity.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of the process by which licence applications are processed by the DVLA; what steps his Department (a) has taken and (b) plans to take to make this process more effective; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Jamieson: The process associated with the issue of driving licences has been the subject of continuous review and improvement since photocards were introduced in July 1998. Holders of UK passports and those in receipt of state retirement pensions can now have their applications checked at some 750 post offices with the documents returned immediately, thereby reducing the need to send their documents direct to Swansea.
The introduction of electronic interchange of information about identity between DVLA and UK Passport Services is being actively explored. New versions of forms and leaflets are introduced regularly taking customers views into account, which has reduced the rate of return of applications significantly.
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