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Women and Transport

35. Ms. Armstrong : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what studies he has undertaken or plans to undertake into women and transport ; and if he will make a statement.

41. Ms. Ruddock : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what studies he has undertaken or plans to undertake into women and transport ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Portillo : I refer the hon. Members to the reply given to the hon. Member for Halifax (Mrs. Mahon) earlier today.

New Roads

36. Mr. Ken Hargreaves : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many responses he has received to the Green Paper "New Roads by New Means".

Mr. Portillo : Over 160.

Road Maintenance

37. Mr. Amos : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what measures he is taking to reduce delays to road users caused by maintenance work.

Mr. Atkins : Existing measures include programming of roadworks to avoid where possible having works too close together, or during peak traffic periods ; improved contraflow layouts and video monitoring to enable prompt responses to traffic incidents at road works ; the use of mobile lane closures for some works, in which a convoy of specially marked vehicles protect workmen instead of static lines of cones ; and the use of lane rental contracts. Since these contracts were introduced in 1984, they are estimated to have saved over 2,000 days of lane closures worth around £40 million in avoided delays to road users.

New traffic management arrangements to increase vehicle flows past contraflow sites are being tested ; these include the use of narrower traffic lanes to enable more lanes to be provided, and tidal flow systems in which the

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number of lanes available in each direction changes to match traffic demand. The Department is also developing a computer system to assist in optimising the planning and scheduling of maintenance and improvement works on trunk roads, including motorways, to minimise disruption to road users.


39. Mr. Neil Thorne : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what measures are being taken to improve transport in docklands.

Mr. Portillo : London Regional Transport is planning to double the capacity of the Docklands light railway from Tower Gateway early next year by the introduction of two-unit trains, which will be followed by further new sets in 1991, raising the capacity of the Tower Gateway service from the present 1,750 passengers to 6,500 passengers per hour. Completion of the first tunnel to the Bank is now scheduled for late 1990, with the second one to follow in late 1991, and I have asked LRT to do everything it can to advance the opening dates for the new services through them. We have also enabled LRT to let the first contracts for the DLR extension to Beckton, and in the meantime the reliability of the existing railway is being improved by an urgent programme of remedial measures.

The British Railways Board has this month introduced improved services and rolling stock on its North London line service to North Woolwich, and has commenced work on a new station at Silvertown, which will give easier access to the London City airport. I hope to make an announcement shortly on the recommendation arising from the east London rail study as to an extension of the Jubilee line to Stratford.

Docklands minibus have introduced a fifth service, and an improved LRT bus network is in place to serve the docklands. The riverbus now provides a weekend service and runs through to Greenwich, and is installing monitors on piers so as to improve passenger information. The London Docklands Development Corporation has a programme for the construction of a development road network through Limehouse, the Isle of Dogs and the royal docks. Work is well advanced and expected to be completed in 1993. As part of this, a £171 million contract has just been let for construction of the Limehouse link, a 1.8 km dual two-lane cut and cover tunnel from the highway to Westferry Circus and Poplar, which is due for completion by the autumn of 1993. Construction work should start on the Limehouse link by the end of this year. Work should also start on the proposed Lower Lea crossing by the spring of 1990. The Eastern Gateway access road was opened on 3 October. The opening of an extension to Aspen Way by the end of this year will provide a third major access to the Isle of Dogs from the A13, serving the island's eastern side.

The Department has a complementary programme to improve the A13 in Tower Hamlets and Newham by the mid-1990s. Three interim schemes for the Isle of Dogs are scheduled to start in 1990, two for completion in 1991 and one for 1992.

Final schemes at these locations and Cotton street are scheduled to start in 1993. At that time work should begin on the widening of the Ironbridge, including a connection of LDDC's proposed East India Dock link.

An exhibition of our proposals to replace the Beckton flyover and improve the A13-A117 junction during

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1992-93 was held at Brampton Road Manor school, East Ham on 27-28 October. Improvements to the A13 junction with the A112 are scheduled for 1994-95

We have announced reopening of the inquiry into the design of the east London river crossing bridge. The reopened inquiry will clearly have to take account of the inter-relationship with the proposed future development of the London City airport, on which a planning application has now been made.

We have rationalised waiting and loading restrictions on the A13 trunk road in Tower Hamlets, and have let a contract for provision of a new east London traffic control system. We have invited tenders for the renovation of the northbound Blackwall tunnel. LDDC has in hand a study on the extension of the controlled parking zone to the Isle of Dogs. The Department and the other highway authorities have reached an understanding with the statutory undertakers on the conduct of highway works in Docklands.

Rail Investment (North-West)

40. Mr. Andrew F. Bennett : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what proposals he has received concerning rail investment in the north-west of England ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Portillo : In July approval was given to BR's proposals to invest £26 million in a new Manchester airport rail link. BR is already spending a total of nearly £50 million on new locomotives and driving van trailers on the west coast main line, and another £35 million on the Windsor link and the resignalling and remodelling of Piccadilly station in Manchester. The area is also benefiting from BR's substantial rolling stock investment.

A41 Bypass

43. Mr. Page : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the progress of the A41 bypass inquiry.

Mr. Atkins : Public inquiries into the A41 Berkhamsted and King's Langley bypasses finished in September 1988 after 48 sitting days. The considerable volume of evidence put forward is being carefully considered in the light of the independent inspector's report and recommendations. The Secretaries of State for the Environment and for Transport will announce their joint decision as soon as possible.

Aviation (Single Market)

44. Mr. Bright : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress has been made towards completing the single market in aviation.

Mr. McLoughlin : A first stage of aviation liberalisation was agreed in December 1987. The EC Commission has recently made proposals for a second major package, which would encourage greater competition and should bring down fares. The Council is due to decide on these proposals by the end of June 1990. Particularly bearing in mind the interests of consumers, my right hon. Friend has pressed hard for further liberalisation. I am glad that the commission has taken up the United Kingdom's ideas in framing its proposals. We will continue to press for measures based on these proposals to be adopted by the Council.

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Glasgow Abbotsinch Airport

46. Mr. David Marshall : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he intends to give Glasgow Abbotsinch airport gateway status before 1992 ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. McLoughlin : My right hon. Friend announced on 13 September that he was to review Scottish lowland airports policy. A consultation document was issued on 27 September and respondents have until 29 November to comment. All views put forward will be considered carefully.

Manchester Airport

48. Mr. Thurnham : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he next intends to visit Manchester airport.

Mr. McLoughlin : My right hon. Friend has no present plans to do so. I visited the airport myself on 23 October.

London Underground

49. Mr. Squire : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what extensions of the current London Underground have been agreed but not completed ; and what schemes have been submitted but still await approval.

Mr. Portillo : There are no outstanding proposals for extensions to the Underground which have been approved but not built. We are considering with the operators the new lines proposed in the central and east London rail studies.

Road Signs

Mr. Pike : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will take additional steps to (a) improve the standard of road signs, (b) ensure speedier repair of damaged and faded road signs and (c) ensure road signs are not obscured on motorways and trunk roads.

Mr. Atkins : Yes.

British Rail and Scotrail

Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on progress towards the privatisation of British Rail and Scotrail.

Mr. Portillo : Studies into the possible privatisation of British Rail, including Scotrail which is one of British Rail's six regions, are continuing.

Municipal Ports

Mr. Barry Field : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he has any information on the management costs expressed per ton at municipal ports.

Mr. McLoughlin : Regulations under section 42 of the Harbours Act 1964 require all statutory ports whose turnover is £250,000 or more to send their annual accounts to this Department, which also collects data on the trade which passes through ports. Because of the wide variety of goods handled, comparisons of costs per ton would not be meaningful.

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Mr. Barry Field : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will carry out a financial and managerial appraisal of all municipal ports.

Mr. McLoughlin : No. Any such appraisal would be the responsibility of the local authorities concerned or for the Audit Commission, in the case of a broader comparative survey.

Mr. Barry Field : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list those ports together with their tonnage for the last five years operated by municipal management.

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Mr. McLoughlin : Freight tonnage handled over the last five years by those ports in Great Britain where the local authority is the harbour authority, and where traffic exceeded 100,000 tonnes a year, is given in the following table.

There are another 14 ports in Great Britain where the local authority is the harbour authority but traffic was less than 100,000 tonnes per year.

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Million tonnes                                         



Anglesey Marine Terminal                               

  (closed March 1988)    |6.5 |7.8 |7.4 |7.7 |1.1      

Boston                   |1.4 |1.4 |1.5 |1.5 |1.4      

Bridgwater               |0.5 |0.4 |0.4 |0.4 |0.2      

Bristol                  |3.8 |3.8 |4.1 |4.0 |4.5      

Colchester               |1.5 |1.2 |1.1 |1.0 |1.0      

Orkney                   |16.1|16.1|15.8|17.1|8.0      

Perth                    |0.3 |0.3 |0.3 |0.3 |0.3      

Portsmouth               |1.6 |2.0 |2.0 |2.4 |2.8      

Ramsgate                 |1.2 |1.3 |1.3 |1.6 |1.9      

Sullom Voe (Shetlands)   |59.7|59.0|57.2|50.0|50.6     

Sunderland               |1.2 |2.5 |2.3 |1.8 |2.0      

Watchet                  |0.1 |0.1 |0.1 |0.1 |0.1      

Whitby and Scarborough   |0.2 |0.2 |0.2 |0.2 |0.2      

Whitstable               |0.2 |0.2 |0.2 |0.2 |0.4      

Wisbech                  |0.2 |0.2 |0.1 |0.1 |0.1      

Workington               |0.6 |0.6 |0.5 |0.4 |0.7      

Statistics of freight tonnage through British ports are published in an annual report "Port Statistics", published jointly by the Department of Transport and the British Ports Federation. "Ports Statistics 1988" was published on 27 October and a copy has been placed in the House Library.

Marine Rescue Services

Mr. Barry Field : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) if he has had any representation on the cost of switching from Decca to Loran C for the marine rescue services ;

(2) if he will list the representations he has had about Loran C ; (3) if he will publish his response to the paper submitted by Racal Decca on the Loran C proposals ;

(4) if he will publish the basis for his costings for updating the Decca transmitters.

Mr. McLoughlin : Representations about the future choice of marine radionavigation system have been received from the following : Andrew Weir Shipping

Brightlingsea and District Fishermen's and Boatmen's Association British Marine Industries Federation

British Motorship Owners Association Ltd

British Offshore Support Vessels Association

British Ports Federation

British Shippers' Council

British Telecom (Marine) Ltd

Brooks and Gatehouse Ltd

Caledonian MacBrayane

Coe Metcalf Shipping

Comite International Radio Maritime

Commissioners of Irish Lights

Cruising Association

Department of Agriculture for Scotland

Department of the Environment

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Department of Trade and Industry

Electronics and Business Equipment Association

Federatie Van Visserijverenigingen

Federation of Highlands and Islands Fishermen

General Council of British Shipping

Highlands and Islands Fishermens Association

Honourable Company of Master Mariners

Humberside International Fisheries Institute

International Association of Lighthouse Authorities

International Chamber of Shipping

International Hydrographic Bureau

Kelvin Hughes Ltd

Lights Advisory Committee

Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food

MOD Hydrographer

National Federation of Fishermen's Organisations

Navigation Management Ltd

NAVSTAR (Polytechnics Electronics)

Nautical Institute

Northern Ireland Fish Producers' Organisation Ltd

Northern Lighthouse Board

North Shields Fishermen's Association


Racal Decca Marine Navigation Ltd.

Royal Institute of Navigation

Royal National Lifeboat Institution

Royal Yachting Association

Royal Yachting Association for Scotland

Scottish Development Department

Scottish Fishermans Federation

Sea Fish Industry Authority

Shell UK Exploration and Production

STC Defence Systems

Trinity House

United Marine Aggregates Limited

Wild Goose Association

Some 12 individuals have also made representations.

The RNLI has drawn attention to the cost of re-training marine rescue personnel and of re-equipping with receivers if a changeover were to be made to Loran C.

These representations are all now being considered, and the Department proposes to publish a response in due

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