§ Mr. Ian Bruce
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how long on average it takes his Department to answer letters from hon. Members; what target date his Department sets; what percentage receive replies within the target date; and what assessment he has made of how long it takes to deliver a letter after it has been typed. 
§ Angela Eagle
[holding answer 2 February 1998]: The Department has a target of 15 working days from receipt to answer letters from hon. Members. In 1997, the number of replies to reach this target has been 59 per cent., while the average reply time was 20 working days. Once a letter is typed, it is signed as soon as possible, usually overnight the same day, and despatched the following day.