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Written Answers to Questions
Wednesday 27 April 2011
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assistance her Department is providing for the development of farm co-operatives to enable farm-scale anaerobic digestion. 
Richard Benyon: The Government are committed to increasing energy from waste through anaerobic digestion (AD) to produce, for example, heat, electricity and transport fuels. This work is led by DEFRA, working closely with the Department of Energy and Climate Change and other Government Departments.
Steps which the Government believes need to be taken to achieve this goal are set out in the AD Framework document, published in November 2010. The project aims to facilitate collaborative work between industry, Government and a wide range of interested parties to identify barriers to the uptake of AD, and key actions that can be taken forward by industry or in partnership.
Departmental Cleaning Services
Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make it her policy to require all cleaning contracts held with her Department to stipulate that the cleaning products used should be EU Ecolabel products accredited by her Department; and if she will make a statement. 
Richard Benyon: Our cleaning contractor sources cleaning chemicals which have been chosen with sustainability in mind. The products it uses are also considered under the broader context of sustainability rather than simply whether it has an EU Ecolabel or not. The standard cleaning chemicals are all super concentrate products. These have a number of sustainability benefits including reduced packaging, carbon reduction in deliveries and production and precise dosing capability which minimises wastage and pollution.
Departmental Mobile Phones
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devices; and how much her Department spent on mobile telephones and related data services in the last year for which figures are available. 
Richard Benyon: The following tables show the number of mobile communication' devices issued at the end of fiscal year 2010-11 and how much the Department and its Executive Agencies spent on mobile telephones and related data services in the same period.
|Organisation||Total devices||2010 - 11 Spend (£)|
|(1) Device information is dependent on external supplier data and relates to active connections in March 2011.|
|RPA||1 April 2009 - 31 March 2010||1 April 2010 - 31 December 2010|
Mike Freer: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much her Department spent on (a) recruitment agency fees, (b) outplacement agency fees for displaced or redundant staff and (c) staff training in the last year for which figures are available. 
|Core DEFRA/agency||Recruitment agency fees (incl. media costs where reported)||Outplacement agency fees to support displaced/redundant staff||Staff training costs|
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|(1) 2009-10 costs. Staff training costs for AH/VLA will not be available until the end of April 2011|
Government Departments: Business Plans
Mr Paice: We are currently developing the approach for sustainable development proofing departmental business plans to feed into the refresh of business plans. This includes considering how best to provide updates on progress.
Livestock: Animal Welfare
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much money her Department allocated to each local authority for animal health and welfare work in each of the last three financial years.  [Official Report, 17 June 2011, Vol. 529, c. 11-14MC.]
|Allocation per financial year (£)|
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|Source: Core DEFRA|
Meat: Ritual Slaughter
Simon Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate she has made of the number and proportion of domesticated animals and birds slaughtered without prior stunning in 2010. 
Mr Paice: The most recent data on the slaughter of animals without prior stunning was published in March 2004 by the Meat Hygiene Service in its Animal Welfare Review. The data were collected through a survey of meat plants between 1 and 7 September 2003. The following table shows the number of animals killed over that period without prior stunning for the production of kosher and halal meat:
show that, of the UK abattoirs surveyed, 100% of the animals and birds slaughtered for the production of kosher meat were slaughtered without prior stunning. For halal meat, 25% of cattle and 7% of sheep were slaughtered without prior stunning. The Dialrel data also indicate that no poultry were slaughtered for halal production without stunning.
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Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what mechanism she has put in place to monitor the export to developing countries of chemical pesticides produced in the UK. 
Mr Paice: Monitoring of the export to the developing world of certain dangerous chemicals (including pesticides) is focused on those that pose the greatest concern with regard to human health risk or environmental contamination.
Under Regulation EC 689/2008, exporters of these chemicals are required to share information on how to store, transport, use and dispose of them safely. In addition, they are required to notify or seek consent from importing countries outside of the EU before their first export each year. This enables importing countries to make informed decisions about the import and appropriate management of these chemicals. This process is operated by the Health and Safety Executive on behalf of the UK.
In addition Regulation EC 1107/2009 concerning the placing of plant protection products on the market which will come into operation on 14 June will introduce a statutory requirement for record keeping by all companies exporting plant protection products.
Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what mechanism her Department has put in place to measure the level of pesticide residue in imported food and drink; 
Mr Paice: The UK carries out an annual programme to monitor pesticide residues in food and drink. The purpose of the programme is to support the statutory approvals process for pesticides by checking that no unexpected residues are occurring; check that residues do not go above statutory maximum residue levels (MRL); and check that the residues in food and drink are within acceptable levels. The sampling is reflective of the food supply chain and in particular the places where people buy food.
This monitoring programme and its results have been overseen by the independent Pesticide Residues Committee from 2000 to 31 March 2011. From 1 April this Committee has been replaced by an Expert Committee of DEFRA, which will carry out the same role of providing scientific and technical advice. The results of the monitoring programme, including full details of the brand-name and manufacturer of each sample taken, and the detailed risk assessments considered by the Committee, are published in quarterly reports. The Committee also publishes an annual report summarising each year's work and giving information on those samples where residues were found above the MRL and on follow-up action taken. These reports are available on the Committee's website.
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The monitoring programme indicates that pesticide residues in food are almost always within the MRL limits. These are not safety limits but are set under EC regulation to represent the largest amount of pesticide expected to be found in a crop when it has been treated in accordance with good agricultural practice. Where residues are found, case by case assessment demonstrates that the vast majority involve no risk to consumers. For 2009 (the most recent full year of data), out of 3,835 samples tested 42 (1.1%) contained a residue exceeding the relevant MRL. Seven samples contained residues that could be a risk to health. These were notified to the Food Standards Agency which took action to inform the European Commission under the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed.
It can be misleading to make simple comparisons of the annual survey results as different foods are tested each year, analytical capability increases over time (so more pesticides can be tested for at lower levels), and the statutory MRLs change to reflect changing agricultural practice.
Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the (a) budget and (b) number of full-time equivalent staff of her Department and its public bodies responsible for monitoring the levels of pesticides in the foodchain (i) was in each of the last 10 years and (ii) will be in each of the next five years. 
(a) The national programme of pesticide residue testing in food in the UK is administered by the Chemicals Regulation Directorate (CRD) of the Health and Safety Executive. Expenditure on this work is published each year in the annual report of the Pesticide Residues Committee, which advises Ministers on the design and implementation of the programme. This information is summarised as follows. Costs include sample collection, analysis, collation and reporting of results. A further £30,000 is spent each year on the administration of the Pesticide Residues Committee.
|Programme year||Cost (£ million) (1)|
|(1) These expenditure figures include a proportion of analytical costs which are met by the devolved Administrations.|
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Richard Benyon: This Government believes in rewards, rather than penalties, to encourage recycling and other beneficial behaviours. As part of the Waste Policy Review we are looking at how we can support councils to reward householders for recycling. A number of local authorities have entered into contracts with Recyclebank to provide rewards for recycling, and we support them taking this initiative. It is for individual local authorities to decide whether a reward scheme is appropriate in their area and what type it should be.
10 Downing Street: Gardens
The Prime Minister: The gardens of Nos. 10, 11, and 12 Downing Street are maintained by The Royal Parks. Biodiversity is supported in the Downing Street gardens through a range of horticultural regimes and practices, including the provision of a pond, borders to support wildlife, and nesting boxes for birds and insects.
Alison McGovern: To ask the Prime Minister whether he has had any meetings since September 2010 with representatives of (a) Tesco, (b) Sainsbury's, (c) Asda, (d) Morrisons and (e) trade associations of which these companies are members. 
The Prime Minister: I refer the hon. Member to the list of official meetings by Ministers with external organisations which is published on a quarterly basis, in accordance with the new ministerial code. This is available on the No. 10 website:
Afghanistan: Peacekeeping Operations
Nick Harvey [holding answer 26 April 2011]: I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my noble Friend Lord Astor of Hever, to Lord Moonie, in another place on 11 November 2010, Official Report, column WA106.
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Armed Forces: Allowances
Armed Forces: Germany
Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much his Department paid to the German government on each occasion since 1981 that British forces stationed in Germany were returned to the UK. 
Armed Forces: Private Education
Nick Harvey: Continuity of education allowance continues to be available to all ranks of the armed forces. However, I am in the process of carrying out a review to consider the fundamental rationale for the allowance, and look at alternatives and the justification for the current set of entitlements.
Armed Forces: Redundancy
Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what effects the redundancies in the armed forces announced in the Strategic Defence and Security Review will have on standing commitments. 
Our standing commitments were re-evaluated during the Strategic Defence and Security Review and we determined they fell into two categories: non-discretionary and discretionary. We have therefore ensured that as we build to our new force structure in 2020 we will retain the capabilities we need to meet fully the non-discretionary elements of our standing commitments over the next 10 years. While we do not currently envisage altering the tasking of those capabilities that are at present conducting discretionary standing commitments it does mean that, should we need to, we have the flexibility in the force structure to do so.
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Armed Forces: Young People
Mr Robathan: No. We take pride in the fact that our armed forces provide challenging and constructive education, training and employment opportunities for young people, equipping them with valuable and transferable skills.
Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent assessment he has made of the (a) emotional and (b) physical risks to the wellbeing of those under the age of 18 who are recruited to the armed forces. 
Mr Robathan: There are widely promulgated guidelines and procedures specifically covering the care and welfare of under 18s, to ensure that personnel are aware of best practice and include a mentoring regime for new arrivals. The chain of command provides a key role in the welfare of all personnel, and there is a comprehensive welfare system which includes chaplains, the soldiers, sailors, airmen and families association or service welfare organisations, and unit welfare officers. Personnel are also provided with links to single service or civilian helplines.
In accordance with defence policy, no service personnel under the age of 18 are deployed on any operation, outside the United Kingdom, which would result in them becoming engaged in, or exposed, to hostilities. Similarly, in line with United Nations (UN) policy, service personnel under 18 are not deployed on UN peacekeeping operations.
Departmental Public Expenditure
Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent progress has been made in identifying the non-frontline savings set out in the Strategic Defence and Security Review; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr Fox: We have made good progress in identifying how best to deliver the non-frontline savings set out in the Strategic Defence and Security Review in the course of a recent Planning Round. However, there remains further work to drive some of the detailed implementation. This will be actively monitored by the Defence Operating Board (Transformation) including working with the relevant senior responsible owners for these measures to ensure that they are delivered.
Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether further savings in his Department's budget in addition to those identified in the Strategic Defence and Security Review will need to be identified up to 2015-16. 
The Ministry of Defence has always been clear that the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) was the start of a process and that there were still difficult decisions that would need to be taken as it was implemented as a result of the situation inherited
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from the previous Labour Government. We will also need to ensure that for usual budgetary purposes—due to changes such as fuel prices, foreign exchange, inflation, changes in valuations in our estate, and armed forces pay awards—that we match our resources to our highest priorities. This we do on an annual basis utilising the Department's Planning Round process. I will make a statement to the House on the progress of implementing the SDSR and the Department's finances shortly.
Libya: Armed Conflict
Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he has had with his counterparts in (a) the US Administration and (b) the Governments of other countries forming the coalition for military action in Libya on policy on the use of depleted uranium weapons; and how that policy (A) is applied to and (B) will apply in operations in Libya. 
No discussions have been had with counterparts in the US Administration and the Governments of other countries forming the coalition supporting United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973 (2011) on policy on the use of depleted uranium weapons.
Nuclear Weapons: International Co-operation
Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent discussions (a) he, (b) Ministers and (c) officials in his Department have had with their counterparts in continental European national governments on co-operation in nuclear policy; and if he will make a statement. 
Nick Harvey: The UK operates an independent nuclear deterrent and the policy underpinning this remains sovereign to the UK. Engagement with our counterparts in continental Europe on co-operation on nuclear policy is therefore mainly via discussions within NATO which is currently undertaking a defence and deterrence posture review tasked by the Lisbon summit in November 2010. It is not the practice of the Government to make public details of all discussions with foreign Governments and I am therefore withholding further details as this would, or would be likely to, prejudice relations between the UK and other states.
Strategic Defence and Security Review
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Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he has any plans to review his decision to place one landing platform dock in reserve in light of recent events in North Africa and the Middle East. 
Nick Harvey: We have no plans to do so. As set out in the White Paper: “Securing Britain in an Age of Uncertainty: The Strategic Defence and Security Review”, Cm 7948, we plan in future to be able to land and sustain a command group of up to 1,800 personnel from the sea using specialist shipping. To meet this requirement, we need to maintain at high readiness just one of our two landing platforms docks. The second ship will be held at extended readiness.
Aviation: Working Hours
Blue Badge Scheme: Logos
Yasmin Qureshi: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will assess the merits of changing the design of the blue disability badge so that all required information is displayed on one side of the badge. 
Norman Baker: The design of the blue badge follows the European parking model which is set out in EC Council Recommendation (98/376/EC). This details the information that should be placed on the front and the back of a badge. The information that is included on the back is personal and many blue badge users do not want this on display, including overnight in some parking bays, for personal security reasons. The badge clearly indicates the side that should be displayed in the vehicle.
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I plan shortly to bring forward legislative amendments to the badge design to make it harder to copy and to forge. One of these amendments will require the badge number and the expiry date to be included on both sides of the badge. This will enable enforcement officers to check the validity of badges no matter which side of the badge is on display.
Brighton and Hove City Council: Grants
Mike Weatherley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many ring-fenced grants provided by his Department were available for Brighton and Hove city council to claim in (a) 2007-08, (b) 2008-09, (c) 2009-10 and (d) 2010-11; how much was available in such grants; how many such grants were made; and how much was awarded in such grants. 
Norman Baker: Between 2007-08 and 2010-11, the Department for Transport had a number of grant streams available to local government. Some of these were allocated by formula and were not ring-fenced. Others were granted on the basis of bids from local government. Details of the grants which Brighton and Hove city council could bid for are outlined as follows:
|Table 1: 2007-08 Local transport bid-based f unding (£ million)|
|Grant||Brighton and Hove allocation||Total funding|
|Table 2: 2008-09 Local transport bid-based funding (£ million)|
|Grant||Brighton and Hove allocation||Total funding|
|Table 3: 2009-10 Local transport bid-based funding (£ million)|
|Grant||Brighton and Hove allocation||Total funding|
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|Table 4: 2010-11 Local transport bid-based funding (£ million)|
|Grant||Brighton and Hove a llocation||Total funding|
|(1) In the years in question eligibility to claim major scheme funding was restricted to schemes that (a) had been prioritised in their region's regional funding allocation and (b) had achieved Full Approval status as defined by the major schemes guidance in operation at the time. The only scheme in Brighton and Hove that was prioritised in the South East Regional funding allocation was the Brighton Rapid Transit scheme, but this never reached full approval status and therefore no funds were provided. (2) Many Road Safety Partnership projects lasted for two financial years—the figures are for the first year for which projects were approved. The figures are for the maximum approved QfT funding contribution. Some actual claims were less. Totals include some projects led by non-Government Organisations, rather than local authorities. (3) The Bikeabilily funding provided to Brighton and Hove in 2009-10 and 2010-11 was for local authority and School Sports Partnership delivery.|
Mike Weatherley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many ring-fenced grants provided by his Department are available for Brighton and Hove city council to claim in 2011-12; how much is available in such grants; how many such grants have been made; and how much is to be awarded in such grants in the next 12 months. 
capital grants for (i) highways maintenance and (ii) integrated transport, both of which are allocated by formula to all local highway authorities and are not ring-fenced;
additional funding for specific transport projects based on bids to (iii) Local Sustainable Transport Fund and (iv) local authority Major Schemes programme. Total budgets for 2011-12 for these two grants are £80 million and £418 million respectively. Decisions on award amounts, including to Brighton and Hove city council, are dependent on the on-going bidding processes.
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Public Bodies Reform Programme
Mrs Villiers: On 16 March 2011, Official Report, columns 9-10W, the Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General issued a written ministerial statement updating Parliament on progress on public bodies reform. That statement also announced that Departments estimate cumulative administrative savings of at least £2.6 billion will flow from public bodies over the spending review period.
Driving Offences: Fines
Yasmin Qureshi: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much revenue was raised from fines as a consequence of drivers failing to meet the requirement to display blue badges correctly under the Disabled Persons (Badges for Motor Vehicles) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2007 in (a) Bolton, (b) Greater Manchester and (c) England in each of the last three years. 
Norman Baker: The Department for Transport does not collect these data and so the information is not available. Enforcement of the Blue Badge scheme is the responsibility of the local authority in cases where they have taken civil parking enforcement powers or, in other cases, the police or traffic wardens.
Mike Penning: Foreign registered vehicles can already be stopped by police and issued with up to three fixed penalty points. If the driver cannot demonstrate a satisfactory UK address, police officers will take a summons deposit. Money taken for summons deposits is held pending the court hearing and either paid as the fine or refunded, based on the outcome of the hearing. If the driver does not appear at the court hearing, the money is retained and the driver has no further right to appeal.
Our plans to improve the collection of fines incurred by citizens of other EU member states for speeding in the UK will be covered in our strategic framework for road safety, which will be published shortly.
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East Coast Railway Line: Timetables
Mrs Villiers: Publication of the May 2011 timetable for East Coast trains has not been delayed. The timetable was published on East Coast's website on 14 February 2011, in accordance with the industry's normal timescales for publication of new timetables.
Kate Hoey: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) whether he plans to issue revised guidance on the Freedom Pass scheme for disabled people in respect of eligibility for those who apply who have been refused a driving licence under section 92 of the Road Traffic Act 1988; 
Norman Baker: The Department for Transport issued guidance to Travel Concession Authorities in 2008 regarding the assessment of applicants for a disabled person's England-wide travel concession pass. The guidance is due to be reviewed in the future to ensure that it continues to be useful to local authorities in assessing applicants against the disability eligibility criteria defined in legislation. However, there are no plans to revise any of the disability eligibility criteria themselves.
Great Western Railway: Electrification
Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the effect on levels of rail service connectivity of not electrifying the Great Western Main Line between Cardiff and Swansea. 
Mrs Villiers: Electrification from London to Cardiff and deployment of the new train fleet on the Great Western line will increase connectivity for stations between Cardiff and Swansea because passengers will benefit from more seats and faster journeys.
Through trains to London will continue and they will be 20 minutes quicker from December 2017 with a journey time from Swansea of two hours and 39 minutes. This significant improvement to the area's transport infrastructure should enhance the attractiveness of Swansea and the rest of South Wales for inward investment.
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High Speed 2: Exhibitions
Steve Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what expenditure his Department is incurring on (a) the High Speed 2 caravan being used for the HS2 Consultation mobile roadshows and (b) the equipment being used for the HS2 Consultation exhibitions; and whether the (i) caravan and (ii) equipment has been (A) purchased or (B) leased; 
(2) what the cost to his Department is of the (a) computer programs, (b) interaction maps, (c) sound booths, (d) noise simulation recordings and (e) exhibition furniture in use at the HS2 mobile exhibitions and roadshows; and which companies have been awarded contracts to provide such goods. 
Mr Philip Hammond: Some work is still ongoing, but we estimate that the total expenditure on the consultation events and associated equipment to be £1.1 million. This sum reflects our commitment to provide good quality advice to the public regarding the proposals. The mobile exhibition vehicle is owned by HS2 Ltd.
Central office of Information (CoI) were contracted by HS2 Ltd to award the contracts for companies which provided these goods. Noise simulation recordings are being undertaken by Arup and there are no final costs as yet due to the ongoing nature of the work.
Steve Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) how many HS2 Consultation feedback forms were completed at the Euston HS2 mobile exhibition on 24 March 2011; and whether such statistics will be published each week during the HS2 consultation period; 
Mr Philip Hammond: The purpose of the roadshows is to provide people with information about the proposals to inform consultation responses. They are able to submit forms electronically or in writing at the event, or they can submit responses via the consultation website after the event. We do not propose to publish information on the number of forms received at each event weekly; however, a summary of responses received will be published after the consultation closes. Oral feedback from visitors is not being recorded.
Mr Philip Hammond: The mobile exhibitions and roadshows are being undertaken by HS2 Ltd in support of the current high speed rail consultation exercise, with support from the Department for Transport. As such, the majority of staff at the events are directly employed by these organisations. Further specialist engineering support is provided by Temple and Arup, who are engaged as consultants.
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Large Goods Vehicles: Licensing
Paul Blomfield: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what consideration he has given to harmonisation of the requirements for the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence with those for a Large Goods Vehicle licence; and if he will make a statement. 
Mike Penning: The Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (DCPC) was introduced in UK in September 2008 for bus and coach drivers and September 2009 for lorry drivers. Following public consultation in 2005, a modular qualification approach enabling new drivers to obtain their driving licence and DCPC as part of the same process was adopted to allow maximum flexibility for those caught by the new requirements. This effectively harmonised the requirements of licence acquisition driver testing with the requirements for DCPC.
Mrs Villiers [holding answer 29 March 2011]: We are continuing to invest across the UK rail network, with around £14 billion planned to be spent within this spending review period to 2014-15 to enlarge capacity and improve performance.
We will provide 650 additional carriages by 2014 to meet the rising peak demand in our major cities and on our long distance routes. Platforms are already being lengthened and stations enhanced for this. We will electrify routes in the North West and the Great Western Main Line to Cardiff by 2017 and expect to buy new Intercity Express Trains for the latter and for the East Coast Main Line. We are going ahead with the Crossrail and Thameslink projects which will provide substantial extra capacity into London from all four points of the compass by 2019. Only last month the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a further £200 million for railway improvements in the regions including the Ordsall Chord in Manchester and the redoubling of the Swindon-Kemble route in the south-west.
However, the single biggest contributor of additional capacity to the rail network would be the proposed High Speed 2 network which would transform capacity between Britain's major cities, providing approximately 230,000 seats per day on the new line in Phase 1, rising to more than 500,000 seats per day once the second phase to Manchester and Leeds is operational, as well as releasing capacity for regional, commuter and freight services on existing lines.
Mrs Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many (1) casualties were recorded in road traffic accidents in (a) St Albans constituency and (b) Hertfordshire in each of the last three years for which figures are available; 
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|Reported casualties from personal injury road accidents in (a) St Albans constituency and (b) Hertfordshire: 2007 to 2009|
||(a) St Albans||(b) Hertfordshire|
|Note: Based on the 2010 parliamentary constituency boundaries.|
|Reported pedestrian casualties from personal injury road accidents in St Albans constituency (1) who were (a) injured (b) killed: 2007 to 2009|
||(a) Injured||(b) Killed|
|(1 )Based on the 2010 parliamentary constituency boundaries.|
Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assumptions in respect of (a) specifications and (b) costs were made in his Department's comparison between the electric multiple unit and locomotive electric trains and bi-mode intercity express programme trains; and what the source of such assumptions was. 
The costs and benefits of the two options differ, and it was the differences in costs and benefits that provided the basis for the decision to go ahead with the bi-mode option. I would also refer the hon. Member to my answers of 21 March 2011, Official Report, columns 786-87W and 5 April 2011, Official Report, column 877W, where I outlined some of the costs and the sources.
Thames Gateway Bridge
Mr Holloway: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the effects on revenue at the Dartford River Crossing of constructing a lower Thames crossing; and if he will make a statement. 
Following that review, which is expected to take around 12 to 18 months to complete, the Department's intention, as part of the statutory process, would be to publicly consult on the merits of the potential options.
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Thameslink Railway Line
1. Installation of 140 metres of pre-fabricated platform extensions at Elstree and Borehamwood station in one weekend in March;
2. Commencement of construction of train sidings and platform extensions at Bedford;
3, Completion of the major track switch from the west side of Blackfriars station to the east side at Christmas 2010, and commencement of the reconstruction and widening of the west side; and
4. Erection of 400 tonnes of steelwork for the new ticket hall at Farringdon to be shared with Crossrail.
Transport: Carbon Emissions
Norman Baker: The Government are committed to ensuring that the transport sector plays a full part in delivering the emissions reductions needed to meet our 2020 and 2050 climate change targets. On 8 March we published a draft “Carbon Plan”, which summarises ongoing and planned action to reduce carbon emissions from all sectors, including transport. The “Carbon Plan” can be found via the website of the Department of Energy and Climate Change at:
Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will take steps to provide more affordable access to public transport for 17 to 25-year-olds affected by rising motor insurance premiums. 
Norman Baker: For rail travel, young people are already eligible for a 16-25 Railcard if aged between 16 and 25, or if aged 26 and over and in full-time education. This is a requirement of each operator's franchise agreement.
In London, all 16 to 17-year-olds can pay child rate for Travelcards longer than seven days and pay half the adult rate when using ‘pay as you go’ on buses, trams, Tube, DLR and London overground services. Students aged 18 or over receive a 30% discount on Travelcards longer than seven days and up to an annual Travelcard.
Outside London, the majority of bus fares are set by commercial operators in a deregulated market. Many operators offer reduced fares and discounted tickets to encourage young people to use local bus services, often in partnership with local councils. Any decision on the provision of local discretionary concessions for young people in a particular area, or for the price of tickets on services they financially support, is for an individual local transport authority. Local transport authorities outside London also have powers to make ticketing schemes or set maximum fares through statutory bus Quality Partnership Schemes.
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On 28 March the Secretary of State for Education announced a new £180 million 16-19 Bursary Fund that, from September 2011, will enable schools and colleges to target support to those young people facing the greatest financial barriers to participation. The new scheme will have the flexibility to allow for transport costs where schools and colleges identify this as a barrier to individual students' participation.
I recognise that the rising cost of motor insurance is a problem to young people. We are working with the motor insurance industry to identify ways in which we can develop insurance products which offer incentives to those young drivers who may be willing accept restrictions or take additional training.
Natascha Engel: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent progress has been made in disbursing the funding allocated for research into asbestos-related diseases his Department announced in 2010. 
Mr Simon Burns: No specific funding was allocated for research into asbestos-related diseases. The Department of Health funds research through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and the Department's Policy Research programme. The Department's funding for Research and Development will increase in real terms over the next four years, from £1,004 million in 2011-12 to £1,089 million in 2014-15. The NIHR welcomes applications for support for research into any aspect of human health, including mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. These applications are subject to peer review and judged in open competition, with awards being made on the basis of the scientific quality of the proposals made. In all disease areas, the amount of NIHR funding depends on the volume and quality of scientific activity.
Simon Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his policy is on the proposed EU prohibition on the use of bisphenol A in babies’ feeding bottles; and for what reason the UK abstained in the vote in the Council of Ministers on the adoption of Directive 2011/8/EU. 
Anne Milton: Commission directive 2011/8/EU was implemented in the United Kingdom by the Plastic Materials and Articles in Contact with Food (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2011 (SI 2011/231) and separate, equivalent, regulations relating to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The UK abstained in the vote in EU Standing Committee on 25 November 2010 as the European Commission circulated its formal proposal to member states late on 23 November 2010 and there was insufficient time for parliamentary scrutiny of the proposal before the vote.
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Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much his Department has spent on first-class rail travel for journeys by Ministers and officials in his Department between London and Leeds since his appointment. 
Mr Simon Burns: During the period May 2010 to March 2011 the Department spent £268,934 on first-class rail travel between London and Leeds, using tickets purchased through the Department's central travel contract.
Mr Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) children and (b) adults with type 1 diabetes were presented as emergency hospital admissions with diabetic ketoacidosis in each of the last five years for which figures are available. 
Paul Burstow: The table shows the number of emergency finished admission episodes where the primary diagnosis was type 1 diabetes with ketoacidosis by selected age groups in England 2005-06 to 2009-10. Individuals may have been admitted on more than one occasion each year.
Drugs: Side Effects
Mr Simon Burns: Reports of suspected adverse drug reactions (ADRs) are collected by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and Commission for Human Medicines (CHM) through the spontaneous reporting scheme, the Yellow Card Scheme. The scheme collects ADR reports from across the whole United Kingdom and includes all medicines, including those from prescriptions, over-the-counter or general retail sales. Reports are also received for herbal medicines and other unlicensed medicines.
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||Number of reports|
These data represent all UK spontaneous ‘suspected’ ADR reports received through the Yellow Card Scheme and reports from the pharmaceutical industry. These reports do not usually state where the medicine was administered.
It is important to note that the reporting of a suspected adverse reaction does not necessarily mean it is related to the drug. The reports are ‘suspicions’ of adverse drug reactions and have not been proven. Many factors have to be taken into account in assessing causal relationships including temporal association, the possible contribution of concomitant medication and the underlying disease being treated.
Fertility: Health Services
Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will take steps to ensure that (a) NHS Sutton and Merton and (b) other primary care trusts do not reduce funding for tertiary infertility services where these are provided at levels at or below guidelines issued by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. 
Anne Milton: Primary care trusts (PCTs) are well aware of their statutory commissioning responsibilities and the need to base commissioning decisions on clinical evidence and discussions with local general practitioner commissioners, secondary care clinicians and providers.
The NHS deputy chief executive, David Flory, wrote to PCT commissioners on 11 January 2011 to highlight the importance that those involved in commissioning fertility services have regard to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence fertility guidelines, including the recommendation that up to three cycles of in vitro fertilisation are offered to eligible couples where the woman is aged between 23 and 39. The communication has been placed in the Library.
The Department also supports Infertility Network UK, the leading fertility patient organisation, to work in partnership with PCTs to encourage good practice in the provision of fertility services. This work is ongoing.
HIV Infection: Tuberculosis
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Hove primary care trust area and
East Sussex Downs and Weald primary care trust area in the latest period for which figures are available. 
|Three year average number and proportion of tuberculosis patients aged 15 and over co-infected with HIV, 2006 to 2008|
|Notes: 1. Matching is carried out retrospectively because of delay in reporting of cases and data are, therefore, available up to 2008 at present. 2. As there are only small numbers of cases in each of the primary care trusts (PCTs), three-year average numbers have been provided. 3. This figure does not include cases of co-infection in children because HIV in children is reported separately. 4. Numbers less than five are not shown because of possibility of deductive disclosure. Because of small number of cases by PCT we only provide three-year average numbers. Source: Health Protection Agency.|
Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what assessment his Department has made of the contribution of collaborative tuberculosis and HIV services to reducing rates of co-infection; 
(2) if he will take steps to ensure that relevant commissioning expertise will be available for the provision of integrated tuberculosis and HIV services by GP consortia under his proposed new structures for the NHS. 
Anne Milton: On 21 December 2010, we published “Healthy Lives, Healthy People: Consultation on the funding and commissioning routes for public health”, a copy of which has already been placed in the Library.
The aim of this consultation, which closed on 31 March 2011, was to ensure the Department gets details of the new public health system right in order to deliver significant improvements to the health of the population.
The document proposed that the NHS Commissioning Board will commission HIV treatment and that the national health service will continue to fund and commission infectious disease treatment including tuberculosis (TB) treatment. The NHS Commissioning Board will have a leadership role in providing commissioning guidance for general practitioner consortia based on quality standards and by designing tariffs and model NHS contracts.
We need to read and analyse the consultation responses carefully, and consider whether changes need to be made to our proposals. We will work to clarify the detail of how this would be implemented in practice, including how to ensure the relevant expertise informs the commissioning of integrated HIV and TB services. It is important that all concerned work together to ensure that tuberculosis and HIV services are commissioned and delivered in a way that meets local need and reduces rates of co-infection.