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Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many civil servants working in Belfast are normally domiciled in Foyle constituency; and what estimate he has made of the number of cars carrying those civil servants which make the return journey between Derry and Belfast on a daily basis. 
Mr. Hanson: As at 1 January 2007, 240 civil servants who have a work address in one of the four Belfast constituencies have a home address in the Foyle constituency. The figure includes permanent and casual, industrial and non-industrial Northern Ireland civil service staff working within the 11 departments and agencies, the NIO, the PSNI and the NI Assembly. It does not include staff on career break.
Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps he is taking to amend dangerous dogs legislation in Northern Ireland; and how many successful prosecutions there have been under existing legislation in each of the last five years. 
David Cairns: The dangerous dogs legislation is enforced in Northern Ireland by district councils, My officials have written to councils and will over the coming months be liaising with councils and other interested parties to ascertain their views on the current legislation. Following the outcome of these discussions I will consider if further amendments to the legislation are required.
District councils provide statistical information to the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development with respect to enforcement of the Dogs (Northern Ireland) Order 1983 (as amended), including the number of prosecutions taken for offences under the legislation. However, prior to 2006 these returns did not specifically distinguish prosecutions regarding dangerous dogs from other prosecutions taken under the legislation. The information is included at table 1 as follows.
|Table 1: prosecutions under the Dogs (Northern Ireland) Order 1983 (figures supplied to DARD by district councils)|
|Minor offences(e.g. fouling, licensing)||Serious offences (e.g. attacks by dogs)||Dangerous dogs||Annual total|
|(1) Prior to 2006 returns did not specifically distinguish prosecutions with respect to dangerous dogs.|
(2) Figures only available to the end of June 2006.
(3) Figures include six cases pending.
Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps he plans to take to maximise the take up in Northern Ireland of the upcoming calls under the EU (a) Competitiveness and Innovation Programme and (b) Cordis Framework Programme 7. 
Maria Eagle: Invest Northern Ireland expects to build on its previous success through a successful application for funding from the Competitiveness and Innovation Programme to continue and extend current activities in the Innovation Relay Centre and European Information Centre.
Enhanced European integration and engagement with colleagues/potential partners through the British Isles (UK and Ireland) will maintain a trend of increasing returns from the 7(th) Cordis Framework Programme.
Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the cost to public funds was of the telephone use of the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland from his official ministerial residence in Hillsborough Castle in (a) 2004-05 and (b) 2005-06. 
Dr. Alasdair McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what evidence he has assessed on the effect of road excavation in streets by utility companies on the lifespan of streets. 
You recently asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland a Parliamentary Question regarding, what evidence he has assessed on the effect of road excavation in streets by utility companies on the lifespan of streets.
As this issue falls within my responsibility as Chief Executive of Roads Service, I have been asked to reply.
I should explain that road structures have a limited lifespan and can deteriorate for many reasons, including road openings by utility companies and no matter how well these are reinstated they inevitably weaken the road structure.
Over the last decade there has been extensive research carried out, both here in the UK and North America, into the long-term damage of the road pavement caused by road openings by utility companies. In assessing the effects of road openings, Roads Service like many other road authorities in the UK has considered the outcome of the detailed research carried out by the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL). The Department of Transport and County Surveyors Society jointly funded two reports and these are the most recent and perhaps pertinent publications considered by Roads Service as part of our assessment into the residual life of utility reinstatements. These reports are:
1. Long Term damage Performance of Reinstated Trenches and their Adjacent Pavements. Part (1) Literature Review by M. Zohrabi and MH Burtwell. TRL Report No. TRL 572
2. Long Term damage Performance of Reinstated Trenches and their Adjacent Pavements. Part (2) Long Term Performance of Reinstatements in the Highway by DP Steele, W McMahon and MH Burtwell. TRL Report No. TRL 573
It is worth noting that the need for the premature resurfacing of streets was also highlighted in the Traffic Management Act 2004, with an explanation of concerns covered in the associated Regulatory Impact Assessment.
Further research into long-term damage to road structures is currently being advanced by TRL and Roads Service will consider carefully, the conclusions and recommendations of their report.
Dr. Alasdair McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) whether the Draft Street Works (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) Order will require a full cost-benefit analysis to be carried out as part of the legislative process; 
(2) what factors were taken into account when deciding that the draft Street Works (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) Order should apply to works undertaken by (a) the Department for Regional Development Roads Service, (b) private developers and (c) other non-utility companies; 
You recently asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland three Parliamentary Questions:
(i) whether the Draft Street Works (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) Order will require a full cost-benefit analysis to be carried out as part of the legislative process;
(ii) what factors were taken into account when deciding that the Draft Street Works (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) Order should take into account works undertaken by (a) the
Department for Regional Development Roads Service, (b) private developers and (c) other non-utility companies; and
(iii) if he will undertake a further consultation on the impact of costs arising from the Draft Street Works (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) Order on the utility consumer.
I have been asked to reply as the issues raised fall within my responsibility as Chief Executive of Roads Service.
With regard to the issues raised in your first and third questions, the Street Works (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) Order itself will not have any direct cost implications. However, it is possible that regulations to be made under the Order would have cost implications for the utility companies. As a result, there mil be further consultation and a full Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) completed in relation to each set of draft regulations. A cost benefit analysis is a central analytical component of the RIA, However, it should be noted that the provisions of the Order mil not directly impose any additional costs on utility customers. Whether utilities pass on any element of additional costs to their customers is a matter for the utility in question and its regulator.
Turning to the second of your questions, the Department, at an early stage, considered the application of certain provisions of the Draft Amendment Order to works, other than street works, on roads. Since those issues were outside the legislative scope of the proposed Street Works (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) Order, legal advice was sought on the most appropriate way to proceed. The advice received was that if the Department proposed to apply those measures to other works on wads they should be taken forward through the amendment of the appropriate legislation. I expect we will consider doing so in due course, but we have a high workload and no immediate plans to do so.
Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many traffic violations resulting in fixed penalties being issued there were in Northern Ireland in (a) November 2005 and (b) November 2006. 
|Notice type||Notices issued November 2005||Notices issued November 2006( 1)|
|( 1 ) Figures for notices issued during November are correct as of 5 December 2006.|
From 30 October 2006, the responsibility for on street parking enforcement passed to the Roads Service of the Department for Regional Development. PSNI therefore no longer hold records in respect of those parking offences which fall within the responsibility of the Department for Regional Development. PSNI still enforce a number of specified offences such as obstruction, parking on a pedestrian crossing etc.
Mr. Hanson: The Northern Ireland civil service does not provide advice to employees on their eligibility for working tax credits. On occasion staff can be referred to HM Revenue and Customs for such advice.
Meg Munn: I have noted the contents of the report No Escape: Caste discrimination in the UK, which my hon. Friend kindly sent me. I have asked my officials in the Cohesion and Faiths Unit to consider, in consultation with stakeholders, what evidence there is of caste based discrimination in the UK and whether any action may be required.
Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many gay and lesbian couples have registered a civil partnership since their inception in (a) the North East, (b) Teesside and (c) Middlesbrough, South and East Cleveland. 
As National Statistician I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking for the numbers of gay and lesbian couples who have registered a civil partnership since their inception in (a) the North East, (b) Teesside and (c) Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland. (114319)
In England and Wales, National Statistics on civil partnerships are available for Government Office Regions but not for smaller areas. More detailed geographic information will be made available when annual data are published later this year.
By the end of September 2006, 444 couples had formed a civil partnership in the North East. Of these, 227 were male and 217 female. These provisional figures were published on the National Statistics web site on 4 December:
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what criteria local authorities should apply in (a) designating an area with Conservation Area status and (b) removing such designation. 
Yvette Cooper: The Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 requires local authorities to designate as conservation areas any areas of special architectural or historic interest the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance. Guidance on the assessment and designation of conservation areas is included in Planning Policy Guidance Note 15 (Planning and the Historic Environment). This says that the prime consideration in identifying conservation areas should be the quality and interest of areas, rather than that of individual buildings. It also says that cancellation of designation should be considered where an area or part of an area is no longer considered to possess the special interest which led to its original designation.
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