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Column 570London ; what effects he expects on traffic flow from the extension of one-person operations to bus routes presently using a crew of two ; what advice or instructions he has given to London Regional Transport or London Buses Limited in respect of this policy ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Portillo : The statutory duty to provide bus services in London lies with London Regional Transport and it is for it and its subsidiary, London Buses Ltd., to determine the method of operation, having due regard to efficiency, economy and safety. They take into account boarding times and congestion effects in their appraisal of conversions to one-person- operation. I understand they have no plans for any significant increase in the proportion of routes served by one-person-operated buses.
Mr. Gordon Brown : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will publish in the Official Report the number of (a) fatal and (b) non- fatal accidents involving heavy goods vehicles and long distance lorry drivers for each year from 1979 to the last available year.
|c|Total fatal and non-fatal accidents involving heavy goods vehicles:|c| |c|Great Britain: 1979-1987|c| |Fatal |Non-fatal|Total -------------------------------------------------- 1979 |940 |15,531 |16,471 1980 |782 |13,335 |14,117 1981 |761 |12,522 |13,283 1982 |786 |12,520 |13,306 1983 |722 |11,606 |12,328 1984 |777 |12,173 |12,950 1985 |728 |12,345 |13,073 1986 |794 |12,635 |13,429 1987 |776 |12,866 |13,642
We cannot distinguish from the Stats19 accident report form whether the driver is a long-distance driver or not.
Dr. Cunningham : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what representations he has received concerning the proposed Surrey county council (No. 5) CPO (1988) for the junction of the A244/C155/D3830 at Walton on Thames.
Mr. Rowe : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will request a copy of the report from SNCF on noise resulting from its surveys of the TGV Atlantique line ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Portillo [holding answer 24 April 1989] : I understand that British Rail has a copy of the report which we believe my hon. Friend has in mind. In drawing up a national noise standard we shall wish to be aware of any standards adopted elsewhere, even where trains run much faster than BR plans for the United Kingdom.
Ms. Ruddock : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the impact of the options outlined in the South Circular assessment study on the projected increase in freight traffic on the south London rail link from the Channel tunnel.
Mr. Lee : Over the 12 months ending in March 1989 the retail prices index increased by 7.9 per cent. The increase in petrol prices over the same period contributed approximately one fifth of one percentage point to this increase.
Mr. Hardy : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many miners he estimates are or have been exposed to noise levels above 90 dBA during the past 10 years ; and what is his estimate of the proportion of those so exposed who are likely to suffer hearing damage.
Mr. Hardy : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many people have been employed as contractors for or on behalf of British Coal in each of the past five years ; and what proportion of these individuals have suffered injury in each of those years.
Mr. Nicholls : Since 1977-78 British Coal's annual progress report on respirable dust shows a downward trend in the average national dust levels. However, in 1987-88 there was a small increase of 3.8 per cent. over 1986-87 levels. Cutting coal at the face is by far the major generator of dust in mining operations and since 1985-86 the average daily output per coal face has risen by 39 per cent.
Mr. Hardy : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list the number of underground fires recorded at collieries during each year since 1979 and the number of those associated with conveyors.
|1979 |1980 |1981 |1982 |1983 |1984-85<1>|1985-86 |1986-87 |1987-88 |1988-89 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Outbreak of fire below ground and withdrawal of men due to smoke and other signs of fire |68 |72 |72 |77 |66 |46 |77 |58 |72 |52 Number associated with conveyors |17 |28 |20 |30 |24 |<2>- |31 |25 |34 |28 <1> 15-month period January 1984-March 1985, including the period of industrial dispute. <2> Not known.
Mr. Hardy : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what was the rate of serious injury among mine workers and the proportion of the labour force this represented in (a) 1968, (b) 1978 and (c) 1988.
Year |Serious injuries |Porportion of labour |force represented ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 1968 |1.07 |1:430 1978 |0.99 |1:502 1988-89<1> |3.35 |1:127 <1> Provisional. Source: British Coal Corporation and Health and Safety Executive.
Mr. Nicholls : The information on accident rates does not include details of the relative time in a shift when an accident occurred. However, British Coal conducted a 12-month survey on this topic from April 1986 to April 1987. This showed that of the total of 993 major accidents in that period only 33 occurred in the last hour of a shift. This is less than 4 per cent. of the total.
Mr. Hardy : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what duties he expects to be carried out by the proposed pit supervisors ; and what differences will exist in practice and statutory requirement in comparison with those currently exercised by colliery deputies.
Mr. Nicholls : My right hon. Friend understands that the Health and Safety Commission is currently considering proposals relating to the management and administration of health and safety at mines. Because the proposals are still in a formative stage it is not possible now to state what duties will be carried out by pit supervisors, nor how the future role of deputies will differ from their present role, if at all.
Mr. Harry Barnes : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Derbyshire, North-East on 19 April, if he will list those industries in which he estimates there is a significant number of accidents which are unreported ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Nicholls : All cases of fatal injury in the course of work activity are reported to the enforcement authorities. It is not known what proportion of other reportable injuries go unreported, nor is there any firm evidence to suggest that the problem is more acute in certain industries. There are some indications, however, that the agricultural, construction and service sector are subject to significantly more under- reporting than the best estimate of 50 per cent. for employees in all industries and services.
Mr. Matthew Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what measures are being taken to ensure that employees are allowed time off for public duties under sections 29, 30 and 32 of the Employment Protection Act 1978, as amended by the Employment Act 1982 ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Nicholls : An employee may present a complaint to an industrial tribunal that he has not been permitted to take time off. The services of ACAS are also available. An explanatory booklet may be obtained from offices of the Department.
Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what representations have been received from (a) trades unions representing Government information officers and (b) individual officials, concerning the preparation and dissemination of material relating to the action for jobs programme.
Column 574charge in 1989-90 in England, based on the Price Waterhouse report, is between £209 million (if all authorities work as efficiently as the most efficient in their category) and £277 million (if authorities maintain their current efficiency). These estimates were at November 1987 prices.
18. Mr. Tredinnick : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what would be the average community charge in each local authority in 1989-90 ; and if he will make figures available arranged by reference to the controlling party in each such authority.
Mr. Gummer : Illustrative 1989-90 community charges will be published once the data needed from local authorities have been received and analysed. To help my hon. Friend, we shall include details of the controlling parties, drawn from the standard reference works.
Mr. Gummer : My right hon. Friend has issued a general booklet entitled "You and the community charge : your step by step guide" explaining the whole community charge system. He is also publishing six supplementary leaflets on individual aspects of the community charge. One of these, on exemptions, is already available. The others will cover rebates, the appeal system, the collective community charge, students and the community charge, and second homes. These will be issued over the next few weeks. All of these publications are being made available on request free of charge. In addition my right hon. Friend will send a short leaflet on the community charge to every household in England in May.
Column 575Government's planned publicity campaign for the commencement of community charge registration in England and Wales.
67. Mr. Nellist : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether his Department has made any recent assessment of the level of inability to pay the community charge ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Gummer : The community charge is designed to reflect ability to pay. Rebates of up to 80 per cent. of the charge will be available to those on low incomes, and for those on the lowest incomes, income support will include an amount specifically to help with the remaining 20 per cent.
14. Mr. Heddle : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what assessment he has made of the effect of the current level of duty differential between leaded and unleaded petrol on sales of unleaded petrol.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : Uptake figures for the first full month after the Budget increase in duty differential in favour of unleaded petrol will not be available until the end of April. In the month to mid-March unleaded petrol accounted for 6.4 per cent. of the market. I understand from the United Kingdom Petroleum Industries Association that its provisional figures for the whole of March show a market share (on a slightly different basis) of 9.3 per cent. This amounts to more than a hundredfold increase since figures were first made available in April 1987.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : There has been a tenfold increase in outlets for unleaded petrol since March of last year and the United Kingdom Petroleum Industry Association advises me that 38 per cent. of filling stations now stock the fuel.
15. Mr. Speller : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the position over pollution from existing and planned new sewerage outlets into the Bristol channel ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Moynihan : Nineteen bathing waters along the Bristol channel coast are identified under the EEC bathing water directive. In the 1988 bathing water season, 10 of these met the directive's mandatory coliform standards. The existing sewerage outlets are operating satisfactorily and a number of new schemes are planned which will bring about local improvements to water quality in the Bristol channel.
Mr. Ridley : Consultation on UDC budgets is not appropriate : their money is voted by Parliament. UDCs are required, however, to draw up a code of practice as to consultation with the local authorities in their areas on the exercise of their powers.
Mr. Trippier : All UDCs except central Manchester and Bristol have developed arrangements for liaising with community organisations. Central Manchester and Bristol are still formulating their arrangements.
68. Mr. Loyden : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether it is his intention that urban development corporations should seek to agree a set of objectives about regeneration with local authorities ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Trippier : The Government encourage co-operation between urban development corporations and local authorities to help UDCs secure the regeneration of their designated areas. UDCs are required, under section 140 of the Local Government, Planning and Land Act 1980, to prepare codes of practice as to consultation with their local authorities.
19. Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations he has received concerning the decision of Three Rivers council tenants to reject a transfer to Chess Valley housing association ; and if he will make a statement.
25. Mr. Patnick : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the estimated net saving in terms of public expenditure as a result of the measures taken over the past 10 years to restrict expenditure by local authorities.
27. Mr. Andrew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what measures he is taking to ensure that the Thames water authority supplies a high quality standard of drinking water after privatisation.
Mr. Moynihan : The Water Bill contains proposals for a comprehensive new system for safeguarding and improving the quality of water supplies. This will include tight quality standards, frequent sampling, the establishment of a drinking water quality inspectorate, and requirements to provide full information to consumers on the quality of water they receive.
28. Mr. Cousins : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what proposals he has for the debt incurred on and management of Kielder water in relation to privatisation of the Northumbrian water authority.
Mr. Moynihan : The National Rivers Authority will enter into an agreement with Northumbrian water authority's successor company to deal with the operation of Kielder as a water resource asset. Under the terms of clause 83 of the Water Bill, there will be a general debt restructuring of all water authorities prior to flotation.
51. Mr. French : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the proposed safeguards for consumers contained in the proposals for the privatisation of the water industry.
Mr. Howard : After privatisation our comprehensive new charter for customers would for the first time give consumers rights on the quality of water they drink, the charges they pay, and the standard of service they receive. As part of this I am pleased to announce that public consultation today begins on the draft regulations for the guaranteed standards scheme. This is a no nonsense, no quibble scheme providing a spur to management to ensure the best commercial practices. Domestic customers will be automatically entitled to a payment or credit of £5 for every day, or each occasion, on which a breach of one of the standards of service occurs. This will avoid the frustration customers at present experience because they cannot obtain any compensation in such cases.
The scheme covers :
--delays beyond the period notified by the company for restoring water supplies following a planned interruption of supply ; --delays of more than 24 hours in restoring water supply following an unplanned interruption which has been notified to the company (72 hours in the case of a burst strategic main) ;
--appointments which are not kept on the day specified by the company to the customer ;
--failure to provide a substantive answer to written enquiries about bills, or requests for alternative methods of payment within 20 and 10 working days respectively ;
--failure to answer written complaints about water supply or sewerage services by providing an answer within 10 working days, and a substantive answer within 20 working days if the matter requires a site inspection or further investigations.
I will place copies of the draft regulations of the guaranteed standards scheme in the House Library along with copies of the Government's leaflet "Customer Standards and Consumer Rights".