Written Parliamentary Questions: 28th November 2005
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many children have been placed on the child protection registers by child protection committees as a result of an allegation of Munchhausen Syndrome by Proxy in each year since 2002; and how many of those children were taken into care. (John Hemming)A:
The Department for Education and Skills does not collect this information, as 'Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy' is not a recommended category for registration on child protection registers, nor is it a ground for the making of care orders under section 31 of the Children Act 1989. (Maria Eagle, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Children and Families) Department for Education and Skills)Silent Telephone CallsQ:
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry in what circumstances those making silent telephone calls will not be subject to action from Ofcom following Ofcom's publication of a new policy on silent calls. (John Hemming)A:
The matter raised is the responsibility of the Office of Communications (Ofcom). Ofcom is the independent regulator for the communications sector, deriving its main powers and duties directly from statute rather than by delegation from the Secretary of State, and accountable to Parliament in its own right. Accordingly, my officials have asked the chief executive of Ofcom to respond directly to the hon. Member and to send me a copy of his response. Copies of the chief executive's letter will also be placed in the Libraries of the House.
(Alun Michael, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Industry and the Regions) Department for Trade and Industry)RailwaysQ:
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what (a) regulations and (b) advice (i) his Department and (ii) regulatory bodies within his Department's responsibility have issued to passenger train operators regarding the efficiency of passenger trains in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. (John Hemming)A:
Neither the Department nor the regulatory bodies for which it is responsible have issued any regulations or advice regarding train efficiency to passenger train operators. The Department funds a research programme run by the Rail Safety and Standards Board, in which the Association of Train Operating Companies is actively engaged, which is considering possible ways of reducing the environmental impact of trains. The Department is also co-ordinating the procurement of the replacement of the Intercity 125 High Speed Train and is placing significant emphasis on ensuring fuel efficiency by the replacement. (Derek Twigg, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Department for Transport)Greenhouse Gas EmissionsQ:
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent estimate he has made of the greenhouse gas emissions per distance travelled of passenger trains operating in the United Kingdom.(John Hemming)A:
Greenhouse gas emissions from trains vary significantly according to their size, power requirements and whether they are diesel or electric. The following table provides estimates of CO 2 emissions for average diesel, electric and UK trains in terms of emissions per passenger kilometre assuming average passenger loads:
CO 2 emissions per passenger km (g/km)
Fleet average—diesel - 41
Fleet average—electric - 56
Average UK—electric and diesel combined - 49
(Derek Twigg, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Department for Transport)PassportsQ:
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many applications for passports have been rejected when received by post since the new categories of rejection came into operation, broken down by (a) category and (b) passport office. (John Hemming)A:
Since the implementation by the UK Passport Service (UKPS) of new photo standards from 12 September 2005, 597,863 passport applications have been received. For a variety of reasons, UKPS has had to contact the applicant for further information on 119,339 applications. Of these queries, 81,927 applications, that is, 13.7 per cent. of total intake have required new photographs to be submitted.
A breakdown of this information by passport office is shown in the table.
The three main categories of photograph rejection are incorrect paper quality, facial expression and eyes obscured. The UKPS are currently unable to provide a breakdown of these categories by office. The UKPS will shortly be issuing revised guidance to its customers clarifying how the standards should be met to ensure fuller compliance.
Passport application intake 597,863
Total queries 119,339
Total photo rejections 81,927
Photo queries as percentage of intake 13.7%
(Andy Burnham, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Home Office)Train Journeys (Environmental Impact)Q:
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the environmental impact of a journey between London and Birmingham by (a) an electric train, (b) a diesel train and (c) a car. (John Hemming)A:
The following table compares total emissions of CO 2 , the main greenhouse gas, and NOx and PM 1 0 the two pollutants of most concern to local air quality, for representative electric and diesel trains and a car travelling between London and Birmingham. Two sets of figures are provided, one detailing the total emissions for the journey, the other detailing emissions per passenger journey assuming average vehicle loadings.
CO 2 (kg) NOx (g) PM 1 0 (g)
Total journey emissions
Electric train 2,020 4,320 129
Diesel train 1,270 10,800 202
Car 34.2 61.5 2.6
Emissions per passenger
Electric train 5.9 12.5 0.4
Diesel train 9.7 82.9 1.5
Car 21.7 38.9 1.6
(Derek Twigg, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Department for Transport)Predictive Diallers (DCA)Q:
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many calls were made from call centres in her Department in 2004–05 using predictive diallers; how many such calls resulted in contact being made with the recipient without a Government agent available to talk to them; and what assessment she has made of the likely impact of Ofcom's policy on silent calls on the use of predictive diallers in departmental call centres.(John Hemming)A:
Two call centres are currently operated by the Department for Constitutional Affairs or its agencies:
The Asylum and Immigration Tribunal Call Centre, Leicester,
The Magistrates Court Fines Collection Call Centre, Gwent.
Neither of these call centres currently makes use of predictive diallers and there are no future plans for their use.
(Harriet Harman, Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs)Special Advisors (Law Officers' Department)Q:
To ask the Solicitor-General if he will list the special advisers in post in the Law Officers Departments, broken down by pay band; and what the total budgeted cost to these Departments of special advisers is for 2005–06. (John Hemming)A:
None, the Law Officers Departments employ no special advisers. (Mike O'Brian, Solicitor General, Law Officers' Department)