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Mr. Redmond : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list by year since 1979 for each of the three counties of Yorkshire the number of cases of abuse of pesticides involving strychnine ; and if he will identify the domestic farm and wild animal species involved.
Year |Number of incidents|Animals involved |County ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1979 |Nil |- |- 1980 |1 |1 dog |North Yorkshire 1981 |1 |1 dog |South Yorkshire |2 |1 dog, 1 cat |North Yorkshire 1982 |1 |1 dog |South Yorkshire |1 |1 dog |North Yorkshire 1983 |2 |2 dogs, 1 cat |North Yorkshire 1984 |4 |4 dogs |North Yorkshire 1985 |1 |1 fox |North Yorkshire 1986 |1 |1 dog |North Yorkshire 1987 |1 |1 dog |South Yorkshire 1988 |1 |1 woodpigeon |North Yorkshire 1989 |Nil |- |-
Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food on how many occasions during each of the last three years he has initiated action following illegal use of strychnine-based pesticides.
|Number --------------------- 1986 |10 1987 |7 1988 |8
Mr. Allen : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what research his Department is undertaking on White Willow Watermark disease and its impact upon cricket bat manufacture ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Ryder : Research into the watermark disease of cricket bat willow is being carried out at the university of East Anglia and the Forestry Commission has provided some of the funding for this. It is not, however, undertaking any additional in-house research into the disease.
Meetings held recently between growers of willow and the cricket bat manufacturers, which have been attended by a representative from the Forestry Commission, seem likely to result in a voluntary levy being applied to the clefts from which the bats are made. This will enable further research to be carried out.
There has been a significant reduction in the number of diseased trees found in Britain over the last 15 years, largely because of control measures carried out under the Watermark Disease (Local Authorities) Order 1986 and its predecessors.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the names, locations and purchase dates of blocks of land of areas greater than 100 hectares in the three counties of Yorkshire, which were newly planted by the Forestry Commission in 1987-88.
There were none.
Mr. John Marshall : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what information he has as to how many European Economic Community countries impose quantitative restrictions upon the level of potato production.
Mr. Ryder : The United Kingdom is the only member state to impose quantitative restrictions. These are operated by the Potato Marketing Board, which controls production in Great Britain by regulating plantings under a quota system.
Column 564impact of the intervention policies of the Potato Marketing Board upon (a) the prices paid by the consumer and (b) profitability for growers.
Mr. Ryder : I am not aware of any studies on these specific points, but I refer my hon. Friend to two more general studies : "Potatoes in Surplus" by L. Hinton (Occasional Paper No. 37, Department of Land Economy, Cambridge University, 1987) and "An Econometric Model of the Maincrop Potato Market in Great Britain", by C. Ennew and B. White (Report No. 1/88, Department of Agricultural Economics and Food Marketing, University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne.).
Crop year (June/May) |'000 tonnes --------------------------------------------------------------- 1983-84 |411 1984-85 |369 1985-86 |348 1986-87 |377 1987-88 |430 Source: Customs and Excise Overseas Trade Statistics.
|£ ------------------------------ Tarmac |1,888,000 Concrete |3,629,000
Mr. Redwood : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what has been the total cost of repair and maintenance of (a) the tarmac sections and (b) the concrete sections of the M40 since the motorway was first opened for use.
|£ ------------------------------ Tarmac |1,888,000 Concrete |3,629,000
Mr. Redwood : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, since the M40 was first opened for use, how many months have been taken up with one or more lanes on the concrete sections closed for repairs.
End years |Total ------------------------------ 1979 |1,899 1980 |1,948 1981 |2,138 1982 |2,128 1983 |2,052 1984 |1,961 1985 |1,817 1986 |1,834 1987 |1,846 1988 |1,830 <1>1989 |1,820
At 31 March 1989. The change in the total between 1984 and 1985 reflected the termination of arrangements between Associated British Ports and the BTP.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : It is Government policy that communities with more than 100,000 inhabitants should have easy access although not necessarily direct connection to a trunk road. The justification for trunk road schemes is based on a comprehensive appraisal of costs and benefits. Selection of the appropriate carriageway standards forms a part of the process.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what instructions are given to drivers on underground trains in the event of a fire occuring in the middle of the train with particular regard to helping passengers (a) between the driver and the fire and (b) between the fire and the end of the train ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Portillo : Every effort is made to design underground rolling stock so that the risk of fire breaking out is minimised--or, if fire does occur, that it will not disable the train. In the event of a fire the driver's first responsibility is to get the train to the nearest station and
Column 566inform the line controller by radio. No passenger has been injured by a fire on a train within the period 1984 to date. I understand from London Underground Ltd. that a programme to remove inflammable material from rolling stock has begun.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what facilities are available on the London Underground in the event of an individual suffering a heart attack on a train ; and what instructions are given to staff on whether or not to move the sufferer.
Mr. Portillo : I understand that stretchers and first aid kits are available on the Underground but that staff are instructed to summon expert medical assistance in the event of someone being taken seriously ill. Staff are advised not to move any passenger suspected of suffering a heart attack.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what consideration has been given to the age and adequacy of current radio communications between drivers and guards on Central line underground trains ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Portillo : Communication between driver and guard on the Central line is by "Loudaphone". This is a microphone and loudspeaker system, operated by a push button, which is built into trains. The railway inspectorate is investigating reports of poor quality voice transmissions. As an added safety measure, the driver is also in radio communication with the line controller.
Mr. Moate : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what was the increase in the numbers of heavy goods vehicles taxed of the 38 tonne limit, expressed both numerically and as a percentage, as at year end 1988 compared with 1987 ; and how he measures the objective of reducing the numbers of heavy lorries in the light of these figures.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : The stock of 38 tonne goods vehicles increased by 9,900 (24 per cent.) between the end of 1987 and the end of 1988. It is estimated that the introduction of 38-tonne vehicles since 1983 has led to a saving of about 9,000 other heavy goods vehicles that would have been required to cope with the current level of haulage activity. This saving is estimated by assuming that a 38 tonne vehicle has a 20 per cent. greater payload, by weight, than a 32.5 tonne vehicle, that in other respects, eg journey length, load factors, etc. the vehicles operate in the same way, and that no new traffic is generated by 38-tonners.
Mr. Spearing : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what information he possesses concerning the numbers of motor cars registered in Great Britain in the years 1959, 1969, 1979, and 1989, respectively, together with the estimated cumulative motor car miles run in each year and his projections of both figures for the year 2000 and beyond.
Year |Cars<1> currently |Vehicle kilometres |licensed: (million)|(miles) Cars<3> and |taxis: (billion) -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1959 |5.2 |54.7 (34.0) 1969 |11.0 |132.0 (82.0) 1979 |14.5 |184.9 (114.9) 1988 |18.9 |270.4 (168.0) Forecasts<2> 2000 |21.1-22.7 |294-335 (183-208) 2005 |22.0-23.9 |304-356 (189-221) 2010 |22.7-25.0 |315-377 (196-234) 2015 |23.4-26.1 |325-395 (202-245) <1>Figures are for vehicles with a car body type. Figures for years before 1988 are not available on this basis and estimates have been made from the number of cars taxed as private in those years. <2>Upper and lower forecasts are taken from the assumptions for car ownership used in the national road traffic forecasts. <3>The definition of cars is slightly broader than that used for cars currently licensed.
The forecasts of car ownership and vehicle mileage are based on the national road traffic forecasts of 1984. It is expected that revised forecasts will be issued shortly.
Mr. Spearing : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what statutory powers were possessed by the former Greater London council in respect of transport planning in Greater London which are not now possessed by Her Majesty's Government.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : The Greater London council had a duty under section 2 of the Transport (London) Act 1969 to prepare transport plans for Greater London. This duty was revoked by the London Regional Transport Act 1984 which established London Regional Transport and charged it with the duty of planning and providing passenger transport services for Greater London.
The highways and traffic powers of the council in respect of roads in London were reallocated to the London boroughs under the provisions of the Local Government Act 1985, apart from 70 miles of former metropolitan roads which were transferred to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State under the Metropolitan Roads Trunking Order 1986. At the request of the London boroughs, he is also responsible for the control, management, development and extension of London's traffic signals and urban traffic control system.
Column 568where these are cost-effective and cheaper and more effective than providing secondary glazing under the Noise Insulation Regulations. We will also, in appropriate cases, agree to a developer siting a noise barrier on motorway land, subject to our being satisfied on details and the developer bearing the cost.
Any proposal for a barrier alongside a motorway, but on other land, is a matter for decision by the local planning authority, which may consult the Department about its effects on the highway.
Mr. Cartwright : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement about the current position of the east London river crossing, indicating when he expects to announce the revised design of the new bridge and when he now expects construction to begin.
Mr. Channon : Further progress with the scheme is dependent on the outcome of the review of the River Thames bridge design being undertaken by consultants. I refer the hon. Member to my reply to the hon. Member for Newham, South (Mr. Spearing) on 23 March at columns 708-9 for the current position on that study.
Mr. Alfred Morris : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what consideration his Department has given to the report entitled "Airport Security : the Experience of Manchester Airport", a copy of which has been sent to him ; what action he will be taking ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : We received a copy of the report from the hon. Member on 7 April. It has been read with interest. The report was prepared by the TGWU branch at Manchester airport. The Union's representative on the National Aviation Security Committee (NASC) will be asked whether the union as a whole endorses the recommendations made by its Manchester branch, and if so whether, as a result, it intends to put forward proposals for consideration by the National Aviation Security Committee.
Mr. Evennett : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what representations he has received concerning the safety implications of installing automatic ticket barriers on the London Underground ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Evennett : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what information he has concerning the failure rate of those automatic ticket barriers which have been installed on the London Underground ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Portillo : I understand from London Underground Ltd. that, on average, gates fail once for every 79,000 passengers using them. This represents approximately 16 single gate failures per day, each of which takes between 10 and 15 minutes for a fitter to rectify.
Ms. Ruddock : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) if he is aware of any circumstances in which, in the event of a power failure, any of the new automatic ticket gates in London Underground stations would remain closed ; and if he will make a statement ; (2) if London Underground Ltd. has informed him of any occasion on which difficulties occurring in the new automatic ticket gates at King's Cross station on the day of their official inauguration, 27 February, which would lead him to reconsider his assurances that in the event of a power failure, all the gates would open automatically ;
(3) if London Underground Ltd has informed him of any occasion on which an actual or simulated power failure has resulted in any of the new automatic ticket gates in London Underground stations remaining closed.
Mr. Portillo : As I told the hon. Lady in my letter of 4 April 1989, London Underground Ltd. (LUL) told me recently that in certain most unlikely circumstances failure of a single phase in the power supply would mean that not all the ticket gates would open automatically. It has assured me that, should such a failure occur, staff have been instructed to open all gates immediately by using the emergency opening arrangements which are unaffected by single-phase power failures. LUL is rectifying this problem by a programme of modification which will be complete within three months.
I can add that the problem was first identified at King's Cross.
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if the planned new regulations for Conveyance of Explosives by Road Regulations will (a) restrict traffic movements during severe weather or during periods of peak traffic, (b) introduce new standards to strengthen gas-carrying vehicles to withstand roll-over accidents, (c) insist on third party insurance that will be adequate to cover accidents such as the one at the Los Alfaques campsite, San Carlos, Spain, (d) impose new requirements for advance warning of planned journeys and routes to emergency services and (e) require escorts for vehicles paid by commercial companies.
Mr. Peter Bottomley [holding answer 11 April 1989] : The Road Traffic (Carriage of Explosives) Regulations laid before Parliament cover the transport of substances and articles classified as "explosives" only. The flammable gases are not covered. The regulations do not cover the matter of insurance.
The regulations require that where more than 5 tonnes of particular explosives are carried on a vehicle, the route must be agreed with the appropriate chief officer of police. An approved code of practice which gives practical guidance on methods of compliance accompanies the regulations. Vehicle operators undertaking journeys involving explosives should take care in selecting routes, and consider security, roadworks, congestion and weather. Routes through built-up areas should not be used except when necessary to make a delivery. A two-man crew is required on the vehicle. A separate escort vehicle is not.
Column 570with which containers of hazardous goods are lashed to the decks of cargo vessels when the hold is full ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Portillo [holding answer 11 April 1989] : The Department does not monitor the incidence with which cargoes are carried on the decks of cargo vessels, but in the course of their inspections marine surveyors in the Department may check that deck cargoes have been lashed and stowed correctly.
The carriage of all foodstuffs within the United Kingdom is subject to the requirements of the Food Hygiene (Markets, Stalls and Delivery Vehicles) Regulations, 1966, as amended. Responsibility for the enforcement of these regulations rests entirely with local authorities. Wider application of the storage temperature controls in these regulations is currently being considered and revised draft regulations will be issued for consultation shortly.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : We are arranging with the Central Office of Information for a copy of the results of the research, and some other background material relating to the family credit advertising campaign, to be placed in the Library.
Mr. Andrew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many family credit claimants are also in receipt of housing benefit ; how much of each £1 gained in family credit by these claimants is lost in housing benefit ; and what effects he estimates this will have on the propensity of low income families to claim family credit.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : Information on the number of family credit recipients who also get housing benefit is not available. Up to the point that housing benefit is extinguished, rate rebate recipients will lose 20p housing benefit for each £1 gained in family credit. Similarly, rent allowance and rebate recipients would lose 65p for each £1 gained in family credit.
Some families may not realise that, although their housing benefit might change, they will nevertheless be better off overall if they qualify for family credit. This is one of the points which our forthcoming advertising campaign will address.
Column 571Adjudication Officer's annual report for 1987-88 in respect of his comments on supplementary benefit claims, urgent need payments, sickness benefits and industrial disablement benefit.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : The chief adjudication officer's annual report for 1987-88 makes it clear that there were certain areas of the supplementary benefit scheme which were complicated to administer and to understand. The advent of income support in April 1988 has resulted in a simplification of the benefit system. Furthermore under income support the urgent cases provisions referred to are no longer present. A direct result of the changes is that the chief adjudication officer has noted that he finds that the overall level of performance on income support is encouraging.
The chief adjudication officer's report also identified that there is still room for improvement in the standard of adjudication on sickness benefit and disablement benefit. Further guidance will be issued where it is considered appropriate.
Mr. Wigley : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will widen the definition of industrial diseases, for the purposes of pneumoconiosis and workers' compensation legislation, so as to include associated lung diseases such as chronic bronchitis where there is evidence that such a condition exists in a person who has evidence of any dust whatsoever on his lungs.
Mr. Scott : We are advised on the list of prescribed industrial diseases by the Industrial Injuries Advisory Council. Its report on bronchitis and emphysema published in May last year (Cm. 379) concluded that it is at present impossible to distinguish airflow limitation caused by dust from that due to other causes such as smoking (the most common cause of bronchitis and emphysema) and that the available evidence is that the scale of the effects of dust is in any case relatively small. It did not recommend any extension of the current prescribed industrial diseases provisions, and we agree with that view.
Mr. John Marshall : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will make a statement about the percentage of gross domestic product devoted to pensioners ; and what is the percentage in other countries.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : The latest information available indicates that in 1983 spending on the elderly in the United Kingdom was third highest in the European Community as a share of GDP (9.6 per cent.), just behind Denmark and France. Partial figures for 1984 show increased spending in the United Kingdom, while spending in other states has decreased.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many claimants in the Doncaster and Mexborough area of South Yorkshire, currently placed in board and lodging accommodation by local authorities and entitled to income support, will (a) have to make a second, separate, claim for living expenses from the local
Column 572Department of Social Security offices and (b) have to claim money for their housing costs from local authority housing benefits sections after April.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : Claimants in this group already receiving income support will not have to make a new claim for income support in April. Local offices are sending them the necessary forms to claim housing benefit from April. The number placed in board and lodging accommodation by local authorities is not available.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many young people who have been in local authority care during the previous two years in Doncaster and Mexborough have lost entitlement to income support.
Mr. Allen : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many of those on income support will receive (a) a partial increase and (b) no increase at all in their incomes because of being in receipt of transitional protection and in the current year (i) for the United Kingdom as a whole and (ii) for the social security area covering Nottingham.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : I regret that the information is not available. The estimated number of income support claimants in Great Britain who will benefit from a partial increase at this year's up-rating is 610, 000. An estimated 600,000 will remain at the same level of benefit. No estimates are available on a regional or local basis.
Information for Northern Ireland is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many young people in Doncaster and Mexborough in the county of Yorkshire have been referred to an adjudication officer for consideration of refusal of approved training during the last 12 months.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : During the 12 months ended 31 March 1989, a total of 106 claims for benefit have been referred to the adjudication office covering the Doncaster and Mexborough area for consideration of the question of refusal of approved training. Thirty two of the references were decided in the claimant's favour and 74 against. These figures, which are based on a 100 per cent. count of adjudication officer decisions, refer to the number of claims rather than to the number of individuals claiming. Some individuals may have had more than one claim referred for adjudication.