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Mr. Portillo : We are in touch with the promoters of light rail projects in Greater Manchester, south Yorkshire, Avon, the west midlands, Cleveland and Nottingham. We are also aware of about 30 other schemes, many at an early stage of consideration.
Mr. Atkins : The Compton-Shackleford improvement is programmed for completion by the end of January 1990 but we may be able to complete the major part of it in December. The improvement at Deerbarn bridge should be completed early in December.
Mr. Atkins : Our active and constantly evolving programme of initiatives to promote mobility for people with disabilities is set out in our document "Transport and Disability--a statement of Aims and Priorities".
Column 99One major priority is to improve the accessibility of public transport including the development of wheelchair- accessible coaches and buses. We shall be working with vehicle designers and manufacturers to influence car design and control modifications, to increase opportunities for personal mobility for even the most severely disabled people.
We are also developing guidelines on design for pedestrian areas to help elderly and disabled people.
Mr. Atkins : Work to widen and upgrade the A33 between Compton, south of Winchester, and the M27, to form the southernmost section of the M3 started in August. It is scheduled for completion in late summer 1991.
Revised proposals for the remaining section between Bar End and Compton, around Winchester, were the subject of a public inquiry in 1985 which was re-opened in 1987-88 to consider further evidence. My right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for the Environment and for Transport are considering the reports of the independent inspectors who conducted the inquiries. They will announce their decisions as soon as they are able. Construction dates will depend on the nature of those decisions.
78. Mr. Barry Field : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to involve the private sector in road building and road repair programmes in light of the responses received to his consultation paper, entitled "New Roads by New Means."
Mr. Atkins : The private sector is already closely involved in the planning, design, supervision and construction of new trunk roads and in the maintenance of existing trunk roads. The response to the consultation paper "New Roads by New Means" was encouraging, and several new schemes are being taken forward actively, in England and in Scotland.
Mr. Atkins : Improving road safety is one of our top priorities. That is why we have developed a comprehensive strategy to attain our target of cutting casualties by one third by the year 2000. I welcome the commitment and enthusiasm of local authorities who are now drawing up plans and targets for their own areas.
We are working with them, the police and all others concerned to tackle the key problems : safer vehicle design, low cost local road engineering measures, concentration on making roads safer for the most vulnerable groups and above all, encouraging a sensible and responsible attitude among all road users.
Mr. Portillo : It would be for British Rail to bring forward any proposals if it believes they would be worthwhile. Since 1979 BR has spent £691 million in today's prices on electrification, an average of £63 million a year.
82. Mr. Flannery : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he has any plans to make available a special grant to Sheffield to expand railway facilities and station alterations for the world student games in Sheffield.
Mr. Portillo : I understand that British Rail is intending to undertake extensive improvement works to Sheffield station in time for the world student games. My Department has taken full account of the funding requirements of the Sheffield transport interchange in allocating resources to the South Yorkshire passenger transport authority. In addition, I am discussing with the authority whether any resources might be made available for part of the proposed Supertram route serving the games sites.
83. Mr. Foulkes : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what action his Department is taking to test systems which alert submarines to the presence of fishing vessels above them ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. McLoughlin : Two proposals for acoustic devices have been received which have been sent to the Admiralty research establishment to assess their suitability as a warning to submarines of the presence of fishing vessels and their nets.
Mr. Atkins : Assisting local authority road schemes through transport supplementary grant ; constructing trunk roads where appropriate ; providing grant under section 56 of the Transport Act 1968 for public transport investment which shows good benefits ; and consolidating the regeneration of London docklands with the approval of the Jubilee line extension from Green Park via Waterloo and the Isle of Dogs to Stratford.
88. Mr. Wallace : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what studies his Department has undertaken to find out the environmental cost of transporting freight by road as compared to transport by rail.
Column 101In those cases where the transfer of goods from road to rail is shown to provide clear and worthwhile environmental benefits, section 8 of the 1974 Railways Act provides for grants to be paid.
92. Mr. Higgins : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether his Department is responsible for, or was consulted about, the new traffic lights at the junction of Gaden way and St. Georges road, London SE1 ; what was the cost of the installation ; what representations he has received about its effect on traffic flows from both directions ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Atkins : The traffic lighting scheme in question, costing £18, 600, is the responsibility of the London borough of Southwark, as the local highway authority, and was devised in association with the traffic control systems unit.
The Department was consulted about the proposal as St. George's road is a designated road. The Department has not received any representations about the scheme.
Mr. Atkins : The present limit is the level at which for most drivers the chances of being involved in an accident start to rise sharply. With some half of drink drive offenders convicted at around twice the limit, our priority is to achieve greater compliance with the law as it stands.
Mr. Portillo : According to the 1985-86 national travel survey, women aged 16 and over made on average 38 per cent. more public transport journeys than men in that age group. They accounted for about 60 per cent. more bus journeys but 25 per cent. fewer rail journeys. In terms of passenger mileage, women generated 10 per cent. less public transport mileage per head than men, but were responsible for relatively more bus usage and less rail usage.
Relative use of public transport by women and men Journeys and mileage per person per week ------------------------------------------------ Bus |2.00|1.24|1.61|7.0 |5.0 |1.40 Rail |0.34|0.45|0.76|6.1 |9.4 |0.65 Bus and rail |2.34|1.69|1.38|13.1|14.4|0.91 Source: National Travel Survey 1985-86.
Mr. Barry Field : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which competent harbour authorities are charging vessels under the command of a master with a pilotage exemption certificate ; and if he will list the highest and lowest charges.
Mr. McLoughlin : The Department does not have this information. The Pilotage Act 1987 however provides for objections to be made to the Secretary of State by, amongst others, port users against the levels of charges levied by competent harbour authorities for the issue or use of pilotage exemption certificates.
Mr. Hawkins : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will introduce measures to improve the design or location of petrol tanks in motor vehicles to prevent fires in collisions ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Atkins : In high speed collisions it is virtually impossible to protect tanks totally. Regulations already require them to be in a position where they are reasonably secure from damage. For the future we are pressing the European Commission to adopt more stringent requirements for fuel tanks. We shall be seeking support of other Community members.
Mr. Hawkins : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what research his Department has commissioned or undertaken into the causes of fires in vehicles involved in collisions and into methods of reducing them.
Mr. Atkins : Though relatively few people die from this cause, such cases inevitably arouse particular horror. Over the years our research and action programmes to improve vehicle safety have included work on the features most likely to cause fires. Fuel cut offs are important and we have discussed this with manufacturers. We have also just sent them an analysis of electrical causes of fire and plan further work to protect against fuel leakage following rear impacts. We have made clear to vehicle manufacturers that we expect them to pay close attention to designs that reduce fire hazards.
Mr. Cartwright : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when his Department expects to reach a decision on the case of Mr. P. Robinson, of 7 Southland road, SE18, about whom his predecessor wrote to the hon. Member for Woolwich on 28 June.
Mr. Latham : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what has been the number of accidents which have taken place on the A46 trunk road at the Thrussington-Seagrave crossing north of Syston, Leicestershire, over the last two years ; what action he intends to take to improve safety there ; and whether he will make a statement.
The Department instructed its agents, Leicestershire county council, in October this year to place improved warning signs on all approaches to the crossroads. These should be in place by Christmas. A scheme to light the crossroads will be implemented as soon as practicable. Urgent consideration is being given to the need for further modifications.
Mr. Paice : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what evidence is available to him on the level of public support for the legislation requiring that children seated in the rear of cars are restrained where appropriate restraints exist.
Mr. Atkins : This valuable legislation, introduced by my hon. Friend the Member for Cheadle (Mr. Day) has been widely supported at all stages. It is generally recognised as making an important contribution to the reduction of unnecessary death and injury among children.
The new law came into force on 1 September. Next spring we shall review whether further publicity about its requirements and its benefits is needed in the light of a survey of seat belt wearing being carried out by the transport and road research laboratory.
Mr. John D. Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to his reply of 29 November, how many commissioners there are in Irish Lights ; who appoints the members of Irish Lights from Northern Ireland ; and for what period of time they serve as commissioners.
Mr. McLoughlin : The Commissioners of Irish Lights consist of 17 members (including those from Northern Ireland) who are appointed by the Irish Lights board for unlimited terms ; and four ex-officio members, who are the Lord Mayor of Dublin and three nominees of Dublin city council and who hold office for the period of their nomination.
Mr. Higgins : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will review traffic management schemes in central London to determine their effect on traffic flows and his power to change such schemes in the public interest.
143. Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) by what date he intends to phase out the dumping of industrial wastes into the North sea ; and if he will make a statement ;
(2) if he intends to allow the practice of dumping liquid industrial waste at sea after 31 December ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Gummer : The United Kingdom is fully meeting international agreements reached unanimously by the North sea countries. Indeed the United Kingdom is amongst the European leaders in demanding higher standards for the North sea. We are very conscious of the need to prevent pollution of our offshore waters. Eighty per cent. of riverborne pollution entering the North sea comes from rivers of Germany, Holland and Belgium.
Ministers at the second North sea conference agreed that disposal at sea of industrial wastes should not be prohibited if there were no practical alternative means of disposal on land and if it could be shown to the Oslo Commission that the materials caused no harm in the marine environment. The Oslo Commission in 1989 agreed the procedure by which a country would show that a waste met these criteria. The Government have initiated this procedure in respect of three wastes which have been licensed for sea disposal for some years. The nature of these wastes and the problems faced in identifying environmentally acceptable alternative disposal options have been discussed at length in the Oslo Commission. At no stage has evidence been produced that any of these wastes cause harm in the marine environment. Detailed scientific work in the United Kingdom has shown that no harm is caused by sea disposal. Indeed, the presence of the wastes in the sea cannot be detected by the most sensitive means of analysis a few minutes after disposal.
Column 105No deadline has been set internationally for termination of sea disposal. However, the Government are seeking to end sea disposal of these wastes at the earliest possible time. Of the 20 licences issued in 1987 for disposal of liquid industrial waste at sea, more than half will not be renewed next year. The remainder will be terminated as soon as alternative means of disposal have been identified and implemented. The companies concerned are urgently working to develop land-based methods. The Oslo Commission agreed earlier this year that even when an alternative disposal option is identified a transitional period will be needed before sea disposal can end, to give time for introduction of the alternative arrangements. At this stage the final termination date for liquid industrial waste licences cannot be precisely identified, though it is expected that most will be terminated within about two years.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) when he received an application to dump 3,000 tonnes of a curing agent in epoxy powder in the North sea ; and if he will make a statement ;
(2) when he received an application from Sterling Organics to dump 42,000 tonnes of paracetamol waste in the North sea ; and if he will make a statement ;
(3) when he received an application from Fisons Ltd. to dump in the North sea 4,000 tonnes of waste from the making of asthma medicines ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Gummer : All three companies have for some years had sea disposal licences for these wastes which arise from production of medicines --which help asthma sufferers and relieve pain--and soap. These have been subject to annual renewal. Pending the completion of development and implementation of alternative means of disposal the companies have sought continued licensing as some of their products provide relief--sometimes life-saving relief
Column 106--to asthma sufferers and pain relief to others. The procedures agreed for such cases by the Oslo Commission were therefore initiated for the Sterling Organics and Fisons wastes on 19 September and for the third waste on 5 October.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many applications he has made to the Oslo Commission for licences to dump industrial waste in the North sea in 1990 ; if he will list in each case the substances, quantities and companies involved ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Gummer : The Oslo Commission procedure, which is required in advance of the issue of national licences under the Food and Environment Protection Act 1985, has been initiated for three wastes, as follows :
Material |Tonnage ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Fisons Wash waters from synthesis of Intal-a treatment for asthma and allergies |6,000 Sterling Organics Aqueous residues from preparation of paracetamol |42,000 Orsynetics Salt solution from manufacture of O-tolyl-biguanide, exported for use in paint and soap manufacture |3,000
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list the licence applications he has received for dumping industrial waste in the North sea in 1989 (a) from January to June and (b) from June onwards ; if he will list the substances, quantities and companies involved ; and if he will make a statement.
|Material |Tonnage -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- January to June Fisons PLC |Wash waters from the synthesis of Intal, a treatment for asthma and allergies |6,000 Imperial Chemicals Industries PLC |Waste from pharmaceutical manufacture |6,000 Tate & Lyle |Filtration sludge from sugar refining |33,000 Sterling Organics Ltd. |Aqueous residues from preparation of paracetamol |42,000 Orsynetics Ltd. |Salt solution from the manufacture of O-tolyl biguanide, exported for use in paint and soap manufacture|3,000 Fisons PLC<1> |Distillation waste from pharmaceutical manufacture |1,000 Formica Ltd. |Phenol washings from laminate manufacture |800 Fine Organics Ltd. |Effluent from pharmaceutical production |8,000 A. H. Marks Ltd.<1> |Neutralised acetone/water mixture from formulation of organic chemicals |999 BP Petroleum Development<1> |Used saline drilling mud |1,000 British Coal |Minestone |150,000 British Coal |Minestone |150,000 CEGB |Pulverised fuel ash |36,000 |(part year) |CEGB |(part year) <2>-- |Solid waste from boric acid production |200,000 July to November Chorley Bleaching Co. Ltd.<1> |Waste from bleaching cotton |100 ICI Chemicals & Polymers Ltd. |Acid ammonium sulphate effluent from acrylics production |165,000 Allied Colloids Ltd. |Acid ammonium sulphate effluent from acrylics production |15,000 Woolcombers Ltd. |Waste from washing wool |999 Chlor Chem Ltd. |Acidic effluent from production of water treatment chemicals |1,000 Robinson Bros<1> |Caustic liquor from manufacture of pharmaceutical intermediates |70 British Coal |Minestone |1,250,000 British Coal |Minestone |525,000 British Coal |Minestone |525,000 CEGB |Pulverised fuel ash |50,000 CEGB |Pulverised fuel ash |500,000 Jackson's Fuel Co. Ltd. |Washed sand |7,500 <1> Licences to expire by end of 1989. <2> Application not approved. Information on the applicant was received in confidence.
Mr. Martyn Jones : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if any new scientific or medical evidence is under consideration by the Advisory Committee on Pesticides on the link between the development of aplastic anaemia and Lindane and Pentachlorophenol.
Mr. Maclean : The Animal Health Act 1981 as applied by the Zoonoses Order 1989 provides that where an animal, including a bird, has been slaughtered under the Act at the Ministers discretion, the carcase of the animal shall belong to him and shall be buried, or sold, or otherwise disposed of by him, or as he directs, as the conditions of the animal or carcase and the other circumstances may require or admit.
Mr. Maclean : The food safety directorate will strengthen my Department's organisation for dealing with food safety issues. This reorganisation of work does not involve costs to industry or the consumer.
Mr. Maclean : I did not consult any interested parties before setting up the food safety directorate, but I did take into account the views put to me by a number of individuals and organisations that the large amount of food safety and similar regulatory work undertaken by my Department should be more clearly identified and brought together.
Mr. Curry : My Department has not carried out any studies on the use of high-density baled refuse for these purposes. We support adoption of new techniques that offer improved protection, lower costs or both. However, at first sight there seems to be some question as to the suitability of such material for coastal defence work. For example, there is a possibility of microbiological activity within the bale which could lead to voids being created and a reduction in the density of the bale, which in turn would put in question the structural integrity of the defence. Further, possible leaching of harmful substances from such bales could cause pollution in a marine environment.
Mr. Ralph Howell : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what information he has on (a) the increases in bread prices in each of the last three years and (b) the price of wheat, in real, actual and percentage terms for each of the last three years.
Column 109Mr. Curry : The information requested is set out in the following table. The 1989 figures are based on information for the first 10 months and are not strictly comparable with those of earlier years.
----------------------------------------------------------------------- 1986 |43.0 |+7.0 |48.1 |+3.4 |118.18|-1.0 |124.30|-4.3 1987 |43.7 |+1.6 |46.6 |-3.1 |111.00|-0.2 |118.33|-4.8 1988 |46.3 |+5.9 |46.3 |-0.6 |105.14|-5.3 |105.14|-11.1 <3>1989 |48.8 |+5.6 |45.8 |-1.3 |104.08|-1.0 |97.59 |-7.2 Source:Bread prices: Employment Gazette. Wheat prices: Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. <1>The wheat prices quoted are net of co-responsibility levies. <2>Using the GDP deflator (at market prices). <3>Simple averages, January to October. Percentage change is compared to same period of 1988. Constant 1988 prices are based on forecasts of the GDP deflator for the first three-quarters of 1989.
Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) what information he has concerning the incidence of mastitis in dairy cows subject to artificial bovine somatotropin treatment ; (2) what information he has concerning the effect of bovine somatotropin treatment on the fecundity of trial animals.