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Mr. William Ross : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what progress has been made towards repair of the damage to river banks, woods, and bridges
Column 516caused by the floods of October 1987 ; what sums have been expended to the latest available date ; what he expects the final cost of repairs to be.
Mr. Viggers : The Department of Agriculture has undertaken an extensive maintenance programme to repair river banks damaged by the flooding on 21 and 22 October 1987. Floodbanks breached on the Rivers Roe, Mourne, Strule and Faughan have now been repaired. In addition, measures have been taken to arrest erosion adjacent to floodbanks, particularly on the Moyola river. A programme to strengthen floodbanks on the River Roe is in progress. Repairs to river banks on the Rivers Blackwater and Tynan have also been carried out. Tree planting to replace trees carried away by the flood has been and will continue to be done.
To date expenditure on this work amounts to some £370,000. It is estimated that a further £40,000 will be required to complete the river bank repairs.
The majority of damaged bridges have been repaired by the Department of the Environment roads service at a cost of £403,000. Work is either already underway or planned to start soon on the remainder. The final cost of repairs is estimated to be £800,000.
Mr. Heddle : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessments he has made as to the likely effect on (a) his Department's capital building programme and (b) the rent the Department will pay under occupational leases of implementation of the European Court of Justice's judgment on value added tax on non-domestic buildings.
Mr. Ian Stewart : Implementation of the European Court of Justice's judgment on VAT will have no effect on our capital building programme, since compensating adjustments have been made to the relevant expenditure provisions. At this stage, before landlords have decided whether to exercise their option to tax rents, it is not possible to offer meaningful estimates of the effects of the judgment on rental costs.
Mr. McNamara : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, North will receive a reply to his letter of 9 November to the Minister for Industry in Northern Ireland requesting the evidence relating to the view of the Tanaiste of the Irish Republic on the MacBride principles.
Mr. Viggers : I replied to this letter on 7 December.
Mr. Page : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether he plans to implement changes in relation to redundancy and insolvency payments in Northern Ireland following the announcement in the House on 31 October of proposed changes in Great Britain ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Viggers : Yes. It is planned to make similar changes in Northern Ireland to those announced in the House on 31 October, but as redundancy and insolvency payments in
Column 517Northern Ireland are made under different legislation from that governing Great Britain payments, it will be necessary to introduce separate legislation to effect the changes in Northern Ireland.
Mr. Bill Michie : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many railway inspectors are currently in post ; and how many vacant posts for railway inspectors are currently unfilled.
Mr. Portillo : A total of 16 railway inspectors are currently in post. There are vacancies for eight inspectors and as a result of our recent recruitment exercise, we hope to fill most of these early in the new year.
Mr. Bill Michie : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many railway inspectors were in post in each of the last five years.
Mr. Portillo : The number of railway inspectors in post in each of the last five years, as at 31 December, was :
Year |Number --------------------- 1983 |22 1984 |23 1985 |23 1986 |19 1987 |19
Mr. Steinberg : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will publish in the Official Report a list of bus garages closed by London Regional Transport since 1984, including vehicle capacity, numbers of employees, employees made redundant, and present use of the site and buildings.
Mr. Portillo : These are matters for London Regional Transport and its subsidiary London Buses Limited. It is for them to decide what garages are needed to support their operational requirements.
Mr. Steinberg : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will publish in the Official Report a list of routes put out to competitive tender by London Regional Transport since 1984, showing the companies which won the contracts.
Mr. Portillo : Tendering of bus routes in London is a matter for London Regional Transport.
Mr. Steinberg : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will seek to introduce greater openness into London Regional Transport's system of awarding contracts, whether for routes or services.
Mr. Portillo : London Regional Transport has a statutory duty to invite tenders for such of its activities as it determines to be appropriate, and to accept any tender which would result in those activities being carried out satisfactorily and at less cost. Subject to that, the award of contracts is a matter for LRT.
Mr. Campbell-Savours : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what are the financial considerations which
Column 518he took into account in drawing up proposals for the closure of coastguard services at each of Hartland, Moray and Ramsey.
Mr. Portillo : Expenditure on coastguard services is planned to increase from £21.8 million in 1986-87 to £26.2 million in 1989- 90. This increase reflects a steadily improving service with more effective radio and telecommunications equipment such as VHF direction-finding aerials, and better search and rescue helicopter coverage. The decision to merge the area responsibilities of the maritime rescue sub-centres at Hartland, Moray and Ramsey with those of adjacent stations will save about £600,000 a year, which is reflected in the planned figure for 1989-90. These savings allow other improvements in the service to be made, with no significant loss in operational effectiveness in the sea areas concerned.
Mrs. Clwyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many items of correspondence he has received from hon. Members about the work of the driver and vehicle licensing centre since 1 July.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : Ministers received 324 letters between 1 July and 7 December. Hon. Members also addressed 111 letters direct to the driver and vehicle licensing centre.
To save time, hon. Members may wish to write direct to DVLC on executive rather than policy issues. That way, it is possible to reply faster.
Mr. Robert Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list the number of refunds of car road licences for each of the years 1985-86, 1986-87 and 1987-88 which were on first time registrations of new cars and the average refund value and the number of refunds and value to motor vehicle dealers in all cases.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : This information is not available. No distinction is made between refund applications relating to the first licence for a new vehicle and those for other vehicles. The DVLC records are not structured in a way which would make such an analysis practicable. Applications from motor dealers are not separately identifiable.
Mr. Adley : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will state the annual cost of providing maintenance in respect of (a) lighting and (b) drainage for roads, for the latest year available.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : The information requested is as follows :
Expenditure 1986-87 £ million |Lighting|Drainage --------------------------------------------------- Department of Transport |13.3 |5.8 Local Authority |145.2 |66.2 |----- |----- Total |158.5 |72.0 Notes: Expenditure in England only. Lighting includes energy costs.
Mr. Adley : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list the cost per mile of contructing a mile of (a) motorway and (b) double track railway line.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : Construction costs of motorways vary substantially depending on factors such as location and the need for structures. As announced in the answer to
Column 520my right hon. Friend the Member for Arundel (Mr. Marshall) on 11 June 1986 at column 188, the Department decided to discontinue the preparation of general average costs.
Construction cost (excluding land) of recently completed motorways and motorways under construction (all three lane) are as follows :
Scheme Miles Cost Average cost |£ million |£ million per mile ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ (i) Recently completed Completion date May 1986 |M4/25 Airport Spur |0.9 |8.0 |8.9 June 1986 |M42 Tamworth-Water Orton |2.7 |27.0 |10.0 June 1986 |M42 Bromsgrove |4.3 |16.5 |3.8 August 1986 |M42 Tamworth |7.6 |22.2 |2.9 August 1986 |M27 Swaythling Link |0.7 |2.6 |3.7 October 1986 |M25 Micklefield-South Mimms |13.0 |94.3 |7.3 December 1986 |A1(M) Roestock-Stanborough<1>|3.1 |57.0 |18.4 March 1987 |M5/M42 Junction Southern Turn|1.4 |4.8 |3.4 (ii) Under construction |M40 Banbury Bypass |27.6 |151.4 |5.5 |M40 Warwick Section |11.1 |55.5 |5.0 |M63/M66 Portwood-Denton |5.0 |40.6 |8.1 <1> Including Hatfield tunnel.
The M25 is 117 miles long, and cost nearly £1 billion over the construction period from 1975 to 1986 (average £8.5 million per mile).
It is difficult to give costs for railways as there are few examples in recent years of new stretches of line being built. The cost of providing a suitable alignment can be considerable, and variables such as the cost of stations, junctions and tunnels mean that it is impossible to provide an average figure.
BR has provided the following examples of construction costs (excluding land) :
Selby diversion--costs of infrastructure, track, earthworks, signalling, overhead wiring and station alternations : average of £4.5 million per mile (1983 prices : equivalent to £5.8 million per mile current prices).
Stansted airport link--costs of infrastructure, track, earthworks, signalling and new junction but excluding the new station and tunnelling : average of £5.1 million per mile (1985 prices : £5.9 million per mile current prices) ; costs including tunnelling but excluding station : average of £7.7 million per mile (£8.8 million at current prices). The average figures include the single track section under the runway as well as the double track section : it is not possible to differentiate between these.
The figures exclude the cost of locomotives and rolling stock.
Mr. Adley : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will estimate, for the latest year available, the cost of damage caused to roadside buildings by passing traffic.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : Information is not held centrally from which to estimate the cost of damage to roadside buildings.
Mr. Adley : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will estimate for the latest year available the total cost to the National Health Service of treatment which is a direct result of road traffic accidents.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : I refer my hon. Friend to the answer that I gave to the hon. Member for Southport (Mr. Fearn) on 28 November at columns 164-65.
Mr. Teddy Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when the proposal by the EEC Commission that 40-ton lorries should have the right of access to United Kingdom roads by 1997 is being considered by the Council of Ministers ; and if the matter will fall to be considered by majority vote.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : I understand that the Commission report will be submitted formally to the Council shortly. It should be considered during the forthcoming Spanish Presidency.
The United Kingdom derogations from 40 tonnes and from 11.5 tonnes axle loading were granted under article 75(3) of the treaty which requires unanimity.
We shall have to demonstrate that the conditions under which the derogations were granted will still apply as we progress with our bridge- strengthening programme.
Sir David Mitchell : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he has any plans to improve the accessibility of taxis for the mobility- handicapped in London.
Mr. Portillo : This morning I hosted a press conference at my Department at which I was pleased to announce a new development for wheelchair-accessible taxis. Following discussions with the Metropolitan police, which is responsible for day-to-day taxi licensing questions, from
Column 5211 Feburary 1989 all newly licensed London taxis will need to be able to carry a passenger in a wheelchair and from 1 January 2000 every taxi operating in London will be required to take wheelchairs.
Mr. Mullin : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if, pursuant to his answer of 2 December, there was any change in the method of calculation of the number of accidents involving heavy goods vehicles between 1979 and 1980.
Mr. Peter Bottomley [holding answer 9 December 1988] : There was no change in the method of calculation of the number of accidents involving heavy goods vehicles between 1979 and 1980.
The fall in the number of fatal accidents involving heavy goods vehicles between 1979 and 1980 is part of a long-term trend going back to 1969. This trend is illustrated in terms of the numbers of goods vehicles involved in fatal accidents. Between 1969 and 1975, the number of heavy goods vehicles involved in fatal accidents fell from 1,700 to just over 1,000, a drop of nearly 40 per cent. This number remained fairly constant until 1980, when it fell further to 850 heavy goods vehicles in fatal accidents. The fall is likely to have been caused in part by the trend towards fewer, but larger, vehicles, and partly by the shift towards higher standard roads. A brief article on this trend was included on page 12 of "Road Accidents Great Britain 1982".
Mr. Amos : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list the trunk road schemes planned for starting in 1989-90 referred to in his Department's news release of 2 November, showing where possible the planned date for construction to start.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : The following schemes are planned to start in 1989-90 :
(A) Schemes for which statutory procedures are complete M3 Compton--Bassett widening
M40 widening junction 4-5
A13 Blackwall Tunnel--Cotton Street junction improvement A13 West India Dock Road junction improvement
A16 Louth bypass
A40 Long Lane junction improvement
A41 Bicester bypass stage 1
A47 Castor and Ailsworth bypass
A47 Eye bypass
A69 Brampton bypass
A282 Dartford third crossing approach roads
A303 Ilchester--South Petherton
A650 Drighlington bypass
(B) Schemes for which statutory procedures are not complete M40 Oxford-- Birmingham : Waterstock--Wendlebury
A6 Quorn and Mountsorrel bypass
A23 Waddon Marsh Bridge
A27 Brighton bypass
A30 Zelah bypass
A35 Axminster bypass
A35 Yellowham Hill--Troytown
A38 Marsh Mills improvement
A41 Chester improvement
Column 522A41 Whitchurch bypass
A42 Castle Donington North
A65 Addingham bypass
A65 Draughton bypass
A66 Bowes bypass--County boundary improvement
A127 Rayleigh Weir GSJ
A140 Dickleburgh bypass
A523 Macclesfield Inner Relief Road
A604 M1-A1 Link : Kettering Southern bypass
A604 M1-A1 Link : Rothwell--Kettering
A604 M1-A1 Link : Thrapston--Brampton
A604 M1-A1 Link : Advance BR bridge works
A1079 Market Weighton bypass
(C) Local Authority schemes approved for S272 grant
M1 junction 34 improvements
A418 Leighton Linslade bypass