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Column 93course to the paper submitted by Racal Decca Marine Navigation Ltd. The costings for updating the existing Decca transmitters are based on an offer made by RDMNL to the general lighthouse authorities in November 1988, under which the company would finance the work in return for an extension of their contract with the authorities to the year 2004.
Mr. Barry Field : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list those countries that propose a reduction in ships officer manning levels, including radio operators, in the next 12 months ; and if he will list and tabulate the United Kingdom's manning levels as against those of other EEC countries.
Mr. McLoughlin : The Department has no information that other countries propose to reduce ships officer manning levels, including radio operators, in the next 12 months. The United Kingdom's manning levels are assessed on an individual ship basis in accordance with the principles of safe manning established by the International Maritime Organisation. The Department has not attempted to tabulate manning levels but a record of the safe manning certificates issued is maintained.
Mr. McLoughlin : The Department does not forecast prospects for the shipping industry, but I have noted that British ship operators in the short sea sector have recently been more confident about future prospects, reflected in improved freight rates and some increased investment in new tonnage. British operators are among the most entrepreneurial and cost- effective and I will continue to argue vigorously in the Community for the liberalisation of cabotage markets and for the elimination of subsidies which distort competition and put British interests at a competitive disadvantage.
All United Kingdom registered vessels of 100 grt and over |Number of vessels |Deadweight tonnage ('000|Percentage reduction in |tonnes) |total deadweight ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- September 1988 |2,030 |7,253 |- September 1989 |1,929 |6,544 |9.8
|Officers|Ratings |Cadets |Total ----------------------------------------------------------------- 31 December 1988 |9,322 |12,860 |447 |22,629 30 June 1989 |8,989 |12,593 |411 |21,993 Per cent. reduction |-3.6 |-2.1 |-8.1 |-2.8
Mr. Barry Field : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he is taking to ensure that the memorandum of understanding on port state control is strictly enforced to a uniform and high level throughout the EEC.
Mr. McLoughlin : Each signatory country of the memorandum of understanding should achieve an annual total of inspections corresponding to 25 per cent. of the estimated number of individual foreign merchant ships which enter its ports during a 12-month period. The United Kingdom has always exceeded the 25 per cent. figure of inspection of foreign flag vessels since the memorandum became operational. United Kingdom representatives have always endorsed the efforts of the secretariat of the port state control committee to encourage signatories of the memorandum, which include all littoral EEC countries, to achieve the 25 per cent. inspection rate.
Mr. Vaz : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what representations he has received from cycling organisations in England and Wales regarding (a) full provision for cyclists in new road schemes, (b) increases in local authorities' cycle budgets, (c) promotion of traffic- calming measures and (d) special funding for British Rail for cycle provision on trains ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Atkins : The Cyclists' Touring Club wrote in July proposing a series of measures including the four included in the question. I have replied pointing out that cycling does not need to be stimulated by public funding. Interest in cycling is high. Sales of new machines have been buoyant. Unfortunately cycling is one of the least safe means of transport, so the emphasis of the Government's work must be on making it safer. Cycle provision on trains is a matter for British Rail.
Mr. Parkinson : I was pleased that the Council reached agreement on a new directive to ban the addition of certain types of older, and noisier, jet aircraft to Community fleets. This is a useful step in the process of moving towards an era of quieter aircraft. The Council also agreed, subject to receiving the opinion of the European Parliament, to a regulation removing recommended road haulage tariffs between
Column 95member states. We welcome this as part of the process of abolishing tariffs and reducing bureaucracy across the Community.
There was discussion but no agreement on the Commission's proposals for shipping "positive measures" ; a proposed short-term road haulage cabotage experiment ; a draft directive on training for drivers of dangerous goods vehicles ; a proposal by the Commission for a programme of transport infrastructure funding ; and fiscal harmonisation in road haulage. The Commission reported the current position in the Community's negotiations with Austria, Switzerland and Yugoslavia. Notes by the Presidency presented proposals on road safety, and on the development of railways in the Community. I also attended an informal meeting of the Council in Paris on 6 October which was mainly devoted to a discussion of the Commission's recent proposals in the field of aviation.
The further consultation outlined in the White Paper on the details of the legislative changes and administrative arrangements for key proposals is well advanced. Copies of the papers on driver retesting, vehicle prohibition and the use of technology for enforcement have been placed in the Library.
Mr. Cartwright : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what is his latest estimate of the total cost of the east London river crossing taking into account the changes in bridge design and the widening of the road to dual three lanes between the A13 and the Thamesmead spine road.
Mr. Latham : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what is the budget allocated by his Department for the current financial year for motor cycle tests ; whether that budget figure has been reached ; and what arrangements are being made to ensure satisfactory delivery of the service for the remainder of the financial year.
Mr. Atkins : The new part 2 motorcycle test was estimated to cost £644,000 in 1989-90 (starting 2 October) on the assumption of 26,850 tests to be conducted and an average waiting time of four weeks. This remains our forecast. Following the pre-September surge to avoid the fee increase (to £24), both the new arrangements and demand are now settling down as forecast.
Column 96motorcycle riding test in Leicestershire ; what is the existing waiting list ; and what action is taken to ensure that applicants are tested before their provisional licences expire after two years.
Mr. Atkins : Six weeks planned to reduce to four weeks by the end of the financial year. There are 300 tests at present booked for dates up to 15 December. Waiting times of this order should not present difficulties for motorcycle riders seeking test within the two years' term of their provisional licence ; applicants with specific needs may ask to be given priority bookings.
Mr. Latham : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what is the number of test inspectors for motorcycle tests in Leicestershire ; how many tests they have carried out since the new test was introduced on 2 October ; and what arrangements will be made to hold tests in venues other than the city of Leicester.
Mr. Atkins : Two examiners are available to conduct part 2 motorcycle tests in Leicestershire ; 45 tests have been conducted in the county since 2 October and 50 tests a week have been booked to be conducted in November and into December. Additionally, it is proposed to conduct tests at Melton Mowbray from December and at Hinckley in the new year.
Mr. Latham : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what type and cubic capacity of motorcycle is made available to test examiners of his Department ; what is the approximate purchase price of these machines ; and what steps have been taken to ensure public economy in this regard.
Mr. Latham : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what type of one-way radio equipment has been provided to motorcycle test examiners of his Department ; what is the approximate purchase price of this equipment ; and what steps have been taken to ensure public economy in this regard.
Mr. Atkins : Examiners have been provided with UHF FM 1.5 watt single-channel portable radios and ancillary equipment. Following extensive trials to identify the most suitable and cost-effective equipment these were purchased at a cost of £2,106 per set following competitive tenders.
Mr. Bermingham : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many waste nuclear fuel train journeys have been completed (a) with no accidents involved, and (b) with accidents involved, for each year since 1982 in England and Wales ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Portillo : There are at present about 350 loaded fuel flask movements per year. It is not practical for British Rail to provide statistics of all movements since 1982, but in that period there have been eight incidents during transport, all of which were minor. In more than 25 years of nuclear fuel flask movements, not one incident has occurred which led to a release of even the smallest quantity of radioactivity, or to injury to any person caused by the nature of the contents.
Mr. Bermingham : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress has been made on his plans to put on a sound, long-term basis expenditure on maintenance and minor improvements to bring classified roads up to reasonably modern standards over the next decade ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Atkins : We are catching up with the backlogs of maintenance on motorways and other trunk roads as quickly as programming and traffic management considerations allow and in line with the targets announced in April. Once the backlogs have been eliminated, a steady programme of major maintenance will be required to keep pace with ongoing deterioration. We have greatly improved the strength of motorways and other trunk roads built in recent years to increase their life before reconstruction becomes necessary.
Other classified roads are the responsibility of local highway authorities, who determine their own maintenance priorities.
Mr. Wray : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what support he is giving to research about aircraft noise reduction, and what financial support is available for the implementation of measures aimed at reducing the level of aircraft noise (a) near the main Scottish airports and (b) generally.
Mr. McLoughlin : My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry expects to spend some £1.8 million in the current financial year on research on reducing aircraft noise at source. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport has made schemes for Heathrow and Gatwick airports under section 79 of the Civil Aviation Act 1982 whereby the airport company makes grants for noise insulation of dwellings ; it is also intended to make a scheme for Stansted. At other airports, not designated under section 79, such measures are for the airport management.
Mr. Speed : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list all the public transport proposals currently under consideration by his Department for grant or investment approval in London and the south- east.
The Department of Transport is considering the case for new rail lines identified by the central and east London Rail studies ; for an extension of the docklands light railway to Greenwich and Lewisham ; and for the investment required to improve the existing BR rail lines and to buy new rolling stock to carry Channel Tunnel traffic in 1993. Channel-tunnel- related investment is not eligible for grant.
Column 98(2) when he intends to publish the results of stage 26 of the London assessment studies.
Mr. Atkins : We expect to receive reports from the consultants for all four London assessment studies in the next month or so. Arrangements for printing will be put in hand as soon as possible for publication early in December. The reports will be available for purchase and there will be free summaries. Displays will be offered at town halls and public libraries throughout the study areas. In order to reduce uncertainty, we intend to announce at the time the reports are published which options will not be considered further. We shall be inviting comments from local authorities, other organisations and members of the public before reaching firm decisions on the remaining options.
Mr. Tony Lloyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what measures his Department has for use on trunk roads in order to prevent injuries or deaths to pedestrians ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Atkins : The Government attach great importance to making trunk and local roads safer for pedestrians. In April 1989 following a thorough review of pedestrian safety on all roads we published a leaflet entitled "Pedestrian Safety" which outlined a number of initiatives aimed at making walking safer. The implementation of the proposals on local roads, where the great majority of pedestrian casualties occur, is primarily for the local authorities. The proposals also apply as appropriate to trunk roads, standards for which already incorporate requirements to protect pedestrians. In addition, the trunk road construction programme will continue to take traffic away from roads in towns and villages which are heavily used by pedestrians, thus making a significant contribution to safety.
Mr. Latham : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what is the terminal date for completion of the road works near junction 12 on the north-bound carriageway of the M1 ; what financial incentive has been provided to the contractor to complete the work ahead of schedule ; and what quantification he has made in financial terms of the cost to business and industry from the daily congestion and delay there.
Mr. Atkins [holding answer 27 October 1989] : The works are likely to finish in mid-November, about a month ahead of the original programme. The contract was let on a lane-rental basis with the contractor paying a fee to the Department related to the amount of carriageway space he
Column 99uses. The fee in this case is a maximum of £25,000 per day. This provides considerable incentive to complete the works early. The lane rental fee is based on the estimated cost of delays to the travelling public. Calculations take into account the range of vehicles and whether business or leisure use is involved.
Mr. Latham : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he will specify any action taken by his Department to minimise the delay and inconvenience caused to road users by the major road works near junction 12 on the north-bound carriageway of the M1 since July ; and why there has been no use of contraflow techniques.
Mr. Atkins [holding answer 27 October 1989] : Lane rental has been used to encourage the contractor to complete the works in the shortest possible time consistent with quality and price. The traffic management arrangements use the minimum road space necessary for safe and efficient working on the site. In the current phase of lane closures the cones are removed during peak hours to enable three lanes to be open. Contraflow has, where appropriate, been used throughout the contract.
Other dual carriageway proposals in the road programme for the A1 north of Morpeth are the Brownieside improvement and Marshall Meadows to the
Column 100Scottish Border improvement. On current planning the start of works on these schemes is scheduled for the spring 1991.
Mr. Tony Lloyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) if he will review urgently the road safety position with respect to the A56 Chester road, between the intersection with the M63 motorway and Warwick road north ;
(2) what information he has about the number of accidents involving motor vehicles and pedestrians on the A56 Chester road between the intersection with the M63 motorway and Warwick road north which resulted in (a) fatalities, (b) serious injury, (c) minor injury and (d) other over the last three years.
Mr. Atkins : I understand the hon. Gentleman's concern in the light of the recent tragic accident there. However, these are matters for Trafford metropolitan borough council as highway authority for that stretch of the A56.
Mr. Speller : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will accept the invitation of the hon. Member for Devon, North to visit the north Devon coastline and the Swansea coastguard station in order to assess the efficiency of the emergency services concerned with search and rescue.
Mr. McLoughlin : My right hon. Friend thanks the hon. Member for his invitation. He is, however, content that there is adequate provision of services for maritime search and rescue in the area and has no immediate plans for any such visit.