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Mr. Portillo : The Government have set British Rail standards which cover overcrowding. It is for British Rail to decide how best to meet the quality standards most cost effectively.

Company Cars

Mr. Spearing : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what information he possesses concerning the current or past estimated proportions of car-miles travelled on roads in Greater London whose costs are met by sources other than the taxed income of the drivers.

Mr. Peter Bottomley : Information in this form is not available. Limited data on car journeys for which employer's assistance was given were included in the Greater London travel survey (1981). The Department has recently commissioned research to provide a better understanding of the nature and extent of travel assistance in the London area.

Greater London (Traffic Management)

Mr. Spearing : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what regular meetings take place and at what intervals, between representatives of his Department and those of all London boroughs concerned with traffic management and the avoidance of congestion ; if representatives of the Metropolitan police are present ; if agendas, minutes, or reports of any such meetings are sent to any elected persons in Greater London ; and if he will place any such documents relating to the year 1988 in the Library.

Mr. Peter Bottomley : All London borough councils are invited to send an elected member and an official to the annual meeting of the London advisory consultative committee. This meeting provides a forum for all the London local authorities to discuss specific traffic and highway issues of concern to the capital. Representatives of the Metropolitan police are not present at these meetings. An agenda is circulated prior to the meeting and councils are invited to suggest appropriate items for discussion. A note of the meeting is prepared and sent to

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the borough representatives. I will arrange for a copy of the note of the meeting held on 2 February to be placed in the Library.

Mr. Spearing : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what information he possesses concerning the incidence of major traffic congestion in Greater London ; what information he receives from the Metropolitan police, London Regional Transport, or other statutory bodies or services ; and what is the approximate proportion of major incidents of congestion that have as their principal or contributory cause (a) demonstrations, (b) official events, (c) accidents, (d) vehicle breakdowns, (e) roadworks, (f) illegal parking, (g) traffic light failure, and (h) shed loads.

Mr. Peter Bottomley : Records are not maintained of the incidence and causes of individual traffic jams in London. Day-to-day traffic control is a matter for the Metropolitan police.

Mr. Spearing : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what information is available to him, hon. Members and the public, respectively, concerning traffic flows, measured in pcus per hour for varied periods in each day along principal vehicular thoroughfares in Greater London ; at how many locations measurements of such flows are regularly made ; and what public body is currently responsible for such measurements, and for their collation and publication ; (2) what sets of figures or maps are available to him which show the maximum design flow in pcu per hour of each of the major traffic thoroughfares in Greater London, as limited by key intersections ; and if he will place any such figures or maps in the Library.

Mr. Peter Bottomley : The information on design flow held centrally is incomplete and could only be made available at disproportionate cost.

The Department of Transport conducts a range of traffic surveys to monitor road traffic conditions in London, and undertakes analysis and distribution of results. Estimates of vehicle flow are made for each length of major road between intersections and with other class A or motorway standard roads. There are about 1,600 individual links in all.

Summary information in the form of maps for the Strategic London Road Network of trunk and designated roads is published in "Transport Statistics Great Britain

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1976-1986" and for major roads in the vicinity of the M25 in "Transport Statistics Great Britain 1977-1987". Copies are in the Library.

Estimates for individual links are based upon a small sample and therefore subject to appreciable margins of error. A standard one-page report is produced for each link, available on request from the Department of Transport, STC5, room A6.29, Romney house, 43 Marsham street, London. A charge is made to cover handling and computer retrieval costs. Where appropriate the results can be provided on microfiche or other media.

The report gives estimates of annual average flows for weekdays between 7 am and 7 pm, weekdays between 6 am and 10 pm, weekdays for the 24-hour day, and for the full week 24-hour day.

Separate estimates of flow are given for pedal cycles, motor cycles, cars, and taxis, buses and coaches, light goods vehicles, heavy goods vehicles, and all motor vehicles. Heavy goods vehicles are further classified as rigids or articulated and by the numbers of axles.

Mr. Spearing : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will place in the Library any map or diagram in his possession which shows the current approximate flows in persons per hour, at the peak evening or morning hour, of all passenger-carrying railways in Greater London, or wider area.

Mr. Portillo : Information of the kind requested will be included in the report of the central London rail study, which is to be published shortly. I will then send the hon. Member a copy.

Mr. Spearing : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will publish in the Official Report a table to show the estimated or actual level of passenger traffic within the Greater London area for each year from 1983 to 1988 which shall include for each year (a) passenger journeys by bus services operated under the auspices of London Regional Transport, (b) passengers carried and passenger miles, respectively, travelled on railways currently operated by London Underground Limited, and (c) the number of passengers arriving and departing at (i) central London stations of the British Railways Board and (ii) through other stations within the Greater London, or similar area.

Mr. Portillo : Estimates are as follows :

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Passenger Traffic in Greater London (millions)                                                                                                     

                      LRT Bus Passenger    LRT Underground                           BR Central Stations<2>                                        


                                          |Passenger Journeys  |Passenger Miles     |Passengers Arriving |Passengers Departing                     


1983                 |1,090               |563                 |2,700               |162                 |157                                      

1984                 |-                   |-                   |-                   |165                 |159                                      

1984-85              |1,160               |672                 |3,340               |-                   |-                                        

1985                 |-                   |-                   |-                   |169                 |166                                      

1985-86              |1,153               |732                 |3,710               |-                   |-                                        

1986                 |-                   |-                   |-                   |180                 |177                                      

1986-87              |1,165               |769                 |3,862               |-                   |-                                        

1987                 |-                   |-                   |-                   |194                 |188                                      

1987-88              |1,286               |798                 |3,888               |-                   |-                                        

<1> Includes some journeys outside the Greater London area.                                                                                        

<2> Includes some Inter-City passengers.                                                                                                           

Further information on passenger traffic in London is given in "Transport Statistics for London" published yesterday. A copy is available in the Library.

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Mr. Spearing : To ask th Secretary of State for Transport what information he possesses concerning the current number of (a) work and (b) non-work journeys made on a normal weekday within the Greater London area and the approximate proportion of each made principally by (i) car, (ii) bus or coach and (iii) rail.

Mr. Portillo : Estimates from the 1985-86 national travel survey are as follows :

Average number of journeys made in London on a weekday                                                      

                   Work Journeys                       Non-work Journeys<1>                                 

                  |Number (millions)|per. cent.       |Number (millions)|per. cent.                         


Car               |3.0              |42               |5.3              |35                                 

Bus/Coach         |0.7              |10               |1.6              |11                                 

Rail              |1.5              |22               |0.6              |4                                  

Walk<2>           |1.2              |17               |7.1              |47                                 

Other             |0.6              |9                |0.5              |3                                  

                  |----             |----             |----             |----                               

    Total         |7.0              |100              |15.1             |100                                

<1>Non-work journeys by London residents only.                                                              

<2>Excluding walk journeys of less than 50 yards.                                                           

Classification Societies

Mr. Bermingham : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if any further moves are anticipated to increase the role of classification societies in inspectorate work ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Portillo : The survey and certification of submersible craft and their associated handling systems, and the approval of the intact stability on mobile offshore drilling units, are shortly to be delegated to the classification societies. There are no present plans to increase the role of the classification societies in other statutory surveys, but a review of the working relationship between the Department and the classification societies is being undertaken and when this is completed the possibility of further delegation will be considered. In addition my Department is planning a pilot study to test the possibility of transferring to other organisations some of the work connected with the re-survey of small passenger ships carrying no more than 50 passengers.

Mhari (Sinking)

Mr. Foulkes : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what representations he has received regarding the sinking of the Mhari following the publication of his inspector's report in December 1985 ; and whether he will now consider the possibility of raising the wreck for further examination.

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Mr. Portillo : Representations have been received from relatives of those lost with this vessel, from hon. Members and from members of the public.

The Department has no responsibility for the removal of wrecks and does not plan to raise that of the Mhari for examination.

UK-Singapore Air Route

Mr. Haselhurst : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he has discussed with British Airways the question of increased capacity on the United Kingdom-Singapore route ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Peter Bottomley : Discussions were held in London this week between United Kingdom and Singapore civil aviation officials on arrangements for the provision of air services between the United Kingdom and Singapore. The discussions made useful progress and they are expected to continue in Singapore within the next two months.

Channel Tunnel

Mr. Spearing : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what capital expenditure he expects to be necessary to modify the railway route south of King's Cross, currently used by the Thameslink services, to enable it to carry rolling stock of standard loading gauge to and from the Channel tunnel.

Mr. Portillo : Such a proposal would need to be costed by the British Railways Board.

British Rail Engineering Limited

Mr. Greg Knight : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what decisions have been reached about the sale of British Rail Engineering Limited.

Mr. Portillo : The Railways Board has decided to select a consortium of the management and employees of British Rail Engineering Limited. Trafalgar House plc and Asea Brown Boveri Ltd. as preferred bidder for the purchase of its engineering subsidiary BREL (1988) Ltd. Government consent to the sale will ultimately be required and the British Rail chairman has asked for our agreement in principle to the board's decision. My right hon. Friend is considering this and a statement will be made as soon as possible.


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