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Column 654information on the arrangements made by institutions. In particular, we have only seen copies of a few institutions' Codes of Practice. 3. I should therefore like to suggest that as a first step the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals (and the Committee of Directors of Polytechnics and the Standing Conference of Principals, to whom I am writing in similar terms) might agree :
(i) to examine the working of Section 43 by reference, among other things, to your members' Codes of Practice and the way in which they have been applied ;
(ii) to obtain from your members any additional information needed to illuminate a number of key issues described below, and (iii) to recommend to the Government any desirable changes. 4. The key issues in (ii) are those which seem to us, as a result of our monitoring of events during the last year, pose particular problems for institutions. They do not necessarily reflect on the legislation but may raise questions as to how institutions have sought to put it into effect. They are :--
(a) the practice of directly limiting the number of meetings which may be held, or requiring organisers to meet security costs which may be disproportionate to their resources. (One suggestion to consider is that the student body, represented by the Student Union, should bear the scrutiny costs as a means of engaging them in the maintenance of free speech and good order) ;
(b) requirements for excessive notice of meetings. Notice is needed to make security arrangements but should not be such as to prevent topical meetings being arranged to a relatively short timescale. (Long periods of notice also enable those determined to cause disruption to marshall their forces) ;
(c) the need to ensure that speakers are not intimidated by the number of actions of protestors. This may require institutions to take greater responsibility for the conduct of meetings and the selection of venues ;
(d) the responsibility of institutions to avoid appearing to acquiesce in "no platform" policies. We are aware of one institution which refused to consider, and referred back to its Student Union, a complaint from a student group that it had been denied rights by the Union ;
Column 655(e) the need to take firm disciplinary measures against students who breach Codes of Practice and to have in place effective arrangements for identifying offenders.
5. If the task outlined above could be completed by the end of April 1989, the Government would then review its own position and discuss with the CVCP, CDP and SCOP changes for adoption, if possible, from the beginning of the 1989/90 academic year.
6. If you wish to discuss the contents of the letter with me or with officials, we are available to do so. But work needs to be put in hand quickly. I hope therefore that you can signify by Friday 6 January 1989 your agreement to proceed.
Mr. Alan W. Williams : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will reconsider the decision to terminate an annual grant of £113,000 to Dr. Geoff Mead at the Institute of Food Research in Bristol to fund work on the control of salmonella.
The decision to terminate the work on the manipulation of microbial flora of the gut of young chickens was taken following an extensive review of Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food commissioned research in microbiology. It was decided that the work was ready for industry to develop.
A small number of companies have participated in collaborative trials with the institute of food research, Bristol and it is to be hoped that they will be interested in taking this work further. This will not constitute a reduction in Government support on microbiological research, such as in salmonella. The funding is to be diverted to other important parts of our extensive programme of research into microbiological food safety. A working party is currently considering what further research is needed on salmonella and I will consider this advice carefully.
Q40. Mr. Teddy Taylor : To ask the Prime Minister if she will make a statement on the procedures adopted by the European Council to implement its agreement on co-operation between member states to combat terrorism.
The Prime Minister : Her Majesty's Government have for many years attached particular importance to international co-operation in this field. I therefore welcome particularly this, and any other, agreement with our partners, which will give fresh impetus to practical and effective co- operation in defeating the menace of terrorism.
Q89. Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Prime Minister if, pursuant to her answer of 29 November, Official Report, column 178, she will list those occasions since 1979 on which the text of letters to departing Cabinet Ministers (a) have and (b) have not been published.
The Prime Minister : This morning I presided at a meeting of the Cabinet and had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others. In addition to my duties in the House, I shall be having further meetings later today.
Mr. Winnick : To ask the Prime Minister, if junior Ministers in Her Majesty's Government require authorisation from the senior Minister in the Departments concerned before making public announcements outside the House on policies ; and if she will publish the recommended procedures involved.
Column 657(2) if she will list the occasions on which she has travelled by train on official business since June 1987.
Mr. Tom Clarke : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will reconsider the United Kingdom's contribution to the Grande Carajas programme in the Brazilian Amazonian forest.
Mr. Chris Patten : Her Majesty's Government have not contributed directly to any project in the Greater Carajas programme area of Brazil. In 1982, the World bank and the European Coal and Steel Community approved loans to finance part of the costs of the Carajas iron ore project. Disbursement against these loans is complete. The World bank is also financing an energy options study, which is in progress, in the light of proposed pig-iron smelter production in the region.
Mr. David Marshall : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when the intergovernmental commission expects to receive from Eurotunnel its proposals for safety arrangements, including operating rules and emergency procedures, for the Channel tunnel ; and what arrangements are being made for these proposals to receive public scrutiny.
Mr. Portillo : Eurotunnel has already submitted to the intergovernmental commission a certain number of its design proposals for the Channel tunnel, mostly in preliminary form, and intends to complete submission of them in final form by the end of next year, but it has yet to suggest a date for the submission of its operating rules and emergency procedures. The intergovernmental commission, in considering Eurotunnel's proposals, has the assistance of the Channel tunnel safety authority, and the commission and the authority can look for assistance to other bodies, but the concession does not provide and arrangements have not been made for the proposals to receive public scrutiny.
Mr. Greg Knight : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will consider remarking the lanes on the northbound carriageway of the M1 motorway north of the junction with the M25 so that the offside lane hard shoulder currently not in use can be utilised as an additional lane but in such a way as to create an additional crawler lane on the nearside similar to the way the lanes have been remarked on the southbound carriageway of the M1 north of junction 4.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : Crawler lanes are justified and effective only where there is a significant uphill gradient to the brow of a hill. These conditions do not apply to the northbound carriageway of the M1 north of the junction with the M25.
Any use of the off-side hard shoulder at this location as a running lane would involve many vehicles in repeated changes of lane in a short distance. The adverse effects on safety and the free flow of traffic, particularly at junction 8, would outweigh any benefit from the availability of a short stretch of additional carriageway.
Mr. Greg Knight : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport why the road surface markings and signs relating thereto have recently been altered on the southbound carriageway of the M1 north of junction 4 on the stretch of four-lane motorway.
Mr. Greg Knight : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what was the total cost of procuring and erecting the new road signs informing motorists of the short stretch of four lanes on the southbound carriageway of the M1 motorway north of junction 4.
Mr. Greg Knight : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what was the total cost of the road surface remarking recently carried out on the southbound carriageway of the M1 north of junction 4 on the stretch of four-lane motorway.
Mr. Gordon Brown : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what was the annual expenditure on research into (a) public transport and planning and (b) prevention and control of marine pollution in 1978-79, 1987-88, with forecasts and plans for 1988-89, 1989-90 and 1990-91.
Year |£ million ------------------------------ 1978-79 |1.4 1987-88 |1.8
Forecast expenditure for 1988-89 is £1.8 million. Planned expenditure for 1989-90 is £1.1 million. Specific plans for this sector have not yet been made for subsequent years but continuation of expenditure at about the 1989-90 level is likely.
Column 659For research into the prevention and control of marine pollution, no figures are readily available for 1978-79. For the other years my Department's forecast or planned expenditure is :
Year |£ million ------------------------------ 1987-88 |0.892 1988-89 |1.052 1989-90 |0.989 1990-91 |0.970
Other Departments also finance research in this area, including the Departments of the Environment, of Education and Science (NERC), and of Energy ; the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food ; and the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for Scotland.
Mr. Gordon Brown : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether, as a result of research commissioned or conducted by his Department on bus deregulation, he can provide details of (a) the average annual percentage increase in fares since deregulation and (b) the number of routes which have ceased to be served by buses.
Mr. Portillo : Between 1985-86 (the last full year prior to bus deregulation) and 1987-88, local bus fares in Great Britain rose at an annual rate of just under 8 per cent., as fares in metropolitan areas rose from previous very low levels. Data on route mileage are not compiled, but bus mileage had increased sharply, the bulk of it being operated commercially. Local authorities have the power to purchase additional non- commercial services in case of social need.
Mr. Bowis : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will announce the name of the inspector to carry out the investigation into the serious railway accident near Clapham Junction on Monday 12 December.
Mr. Channon : I am glad to tell the House that Mr. Anthony Hidden QC has accepted my invitation to hold an inquiry into this accident. I shall be discussing with Mr. Hidden what expert assessors should be appointed to assist him. He expects to hold an initial hearing as early as possible in January.
The investigation will be carried out under section 7 of the Regulation of Railways Act 1871. That will enable the investigation to inquire into the cause of the accident and all other relevant matters, and to make recommendations, so that appropriate lessons can be learned for the future.
Mrs. Gorman : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if the annual report and accounts of the Driver Testing and Training Organisation for the last financial year are yet available ; and if he will make a statement.
We welcome the progress noted in the report towards tight management control of unit costs and reduced waiting times for L-tests. The organisation has been set targets to achieve further improvements during the current year and to provide a better all-round service for its 2 million customers.
To help shorten waiting times, Saturday morning tests were introduced in September for a trial period at selected centres. Seven of the 11 regional driver test booking centres are now fully computerised. Once the new systems have settled down, this should mean a better service for customers, particularly when it comes to telephone inquiries.
As from 24 October, the eight-test day recommended in the 1985 review of occupational stress among driving examiners has come into effect. This major improvement in working conditions was made possible by co-operation between management and staff representatives to identify time-saving compensating changes in working arrangements.
Too many candidates take the test too soon. One in two fail. Driving should be learned not just to pass the test, but as an essential skill for life.
Good training and an effective driver testing system are key elements in helping to equip new drivers on Britain's busy roads to cope with the conditions they will find there. It continues to be the overriding objective of the Driver Testing and Training Organisation to contribute cost-effectively to their reduction in road casualties.
Mr. Channon : The statistics asked for are available in the chief inspecting officer of railways' annual reports, available in the Library, but for convenience are set out below. The casualties from the Clapham accident have not been included because the final figures are not yet available.
Railway Accident Statistics |1988<1>|1987 |1986 |1985 |1984 |1983 |1982 |1981 |*<2> |1980 |1979 --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Collisions Involving Passenger Trains |18 |20 |19 |17 |17 |17 |15 |18 |13 |18 Involving Other Trains |21 |27 |20 |16 |31 |35 |37 |10 |* |6 |8 Between Trains & Buffers |38 |33 |36 |35 |35 |36 |28 |39 |32 |34 Derailments Passenger Trains |28 |20 |34 |30 |33 |25 |23 |35 |* |28 |30 Freight Trains |77 |172 |158 |199 |187 |195 |150 |113 |* |110 |153 Passenger Casualties Train Accidents Killed |0 |3 |8 |0 |18 |2 |0 |4 |0 |8 Major Injuries |3 |13 |44 |31 |28 |9 |3 |12 |* |27 |18 Movement Accidents Killed |34 |36 |23 |31 |21 |25 |18 |31 |25 |42 Major Injuries |79 |80 |70 |42 |52 |46 |42 |54 |* |67 |79 Non-movement Accidents Killed |0 |29 |1 |2 |0 |2 |2 |4 |1 |2 Major Injuries |105 |84 |55 |51 |35 |31 |48 |41 |* |72 |60 <1> The 1988 statistics do not include the Clapham Junction accident and must be regarded as provisional. <2> The Accident Reporting Order was changed at the beginning of 1981 and the figures on either side of the asterisk are not strictly comparable. Notes: Passenger Casualties Train Accident- Injuries to passengers caused by a collision or derailment of a passenger train. Movement Accident- Injuries to passengers not caused by a train accident but arising out of the movement of a train ie falling, boarding or alighting from a moving train, or being struck by a train or door. Non-movement Accident- Injuries to passengers not associated with train working. Most are slips, falls or trips on the same level or on stairs or escalators at stations. The casualties of the fire at Kings Cross are included in this category.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : The tests have now been completed. We shall be making the full results available tomorrow. We shall have detailed discussions with manufacturers and other interested parties, including the Consumers Association and motorists' organisations. The TRRL tests are part of our continuing examination of this complex issue. The results will be placed in the Library shortly. We are continuing our investigation of other aspects, notably analysis of accident data both in the United Kingdom and abroad, and sharing our experience with that of other countries.
We have embarked on international discussions with a view to developing appropriate international vehicle safety standards.
Mr. Hinchliffe : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what is the practice of the British Transport police in prosecuting (a) children, (b) young persons, (c) adults and (d) hunts who trespass on or cause damage to British Rail property.
Mr. Hinchliffe : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will introduce legislation requiring the British Transport police to take legal action against members and officials of hunts who may endanger lives by trespassing on railway lines.
Mr. Fearn : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether there was a public health risk or any ecological damage caused by the sinking of the vessel Ardlough ; and whether hazardous substances, including low-level radioactive materials, which were unaccounted for have since been recovered.
Mr. Portillo : The public health risk was small and no ecological damage has been caused by the sinking of the Ardlough'. None of the hazardous materials unaccounted for has since been recovered. I am advised that the cargo which has not been recovered including the radioactive material, does not pose a threat of pollution sufficient to justify further action.
The Attorney-General : Section 1 of the Abortion Act 1967 does not create any offence and accordingly no prosecution can be taken under its terms. The last prosecution conducted by the Director of Public Prosecutions for an offence under the law relating to abortion was in 1972. It resulted in a conviction.
Column 663of 1986 showed that the percentage of justices from ethnic minorities in relation to the total number of justices appointed in the Lord Chancellor's area was 1.92 per cent. In 1985 4.07 per cent. of new justices appointed were from ethnic minorities, and the corresponding figure for 1986 was 4.57 per cent. Informal indications are that the percentage will be slightly higher for 1987 and 1988.
The Attorney-General : None. Such legislation is unnecessary because the differences between England and Scotland in the way in which property is usually sold are differences of practice, not of law ; and the procedural delays which permit gazumping in England are best dealt with by changes in practice.