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Mr. Key : All local highway authorities are expected to familiarise themselves with the Department's cost-benefit analysis--COBA--system. They are advised in annex B to the annual transport policy and programme--TPP-- circular to consult the COBA user manual. There is no specific advice on the application of COBA to bypasses.

Medway Bridge

Mr. Rowe : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport under what statutory power a rail and road bridge over the Medway could be planned and constructed currently.

Mr. Freeman : Parallel bridges over the Medway are being planned for the M2 widening scheme and the channel tunnel rail link ; the bridges can be built sequentially or at the same time. It is possible to provide for both approaches either through joint approval in a hybrid Bill, or with separate approval of the road scheme under Highways Act order procedures.

A1(M)

Mr. David Evans : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make it his policy to delay any current or further plans for the expansion of the A1(M) in Hertfordshire and conduct an assessment of road schemes on an equal basis with other modes of transport.


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Mr. Key : Our aim is to achieve a balance between the various modes of transport so that each can make its proper contribution to a safer, more environmentally friendly and more efficient transport system. We therefore seek to ensure, for example, that road and rail projects are assessed on a consistent basis using, where relevant, a common set of assumptions about the value people attach to improvements in their journey times.

Mr. David Evans : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on his Department's strategy, planned timetable and traffic forecasts for widening the A1(M) from junctions 6 to 8 to four lanes in each direction and the future of the section from junctions 4 to 6 ; and what assessment has been made of whether the proposed expansion of junctions is necessary to facilitate connections with the planned east-west route.

Mr. Key : The priority of the schemes to widen the A1(M) in Hertfordshire is being considered in the current review of the road programme and the timetables for widening will reflect the outcome of the review. Our proposals for the section between junctions 6 and 8 were the subject of public consultation in October last year. They are designed to cater for traffic flows in 2012 ranging from 85,000 to 115,000 vehicles per day. The junction arrangements which were shown are not dependent on the proposed east-west route but account has been taken of possible options for it. Responses to the consultation are being considered.

Aircraft Movements

Mr. Gapes : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the number of annual aircraft movements that take place over the east London area including the boroughs of Redbridge, Newham, Barking and Dagenham and Havering.

Mr. Norris : No such estimates are made by my Department, nor by any other body as far as I am aware.

Metropolitan Trunk Roads

Mr. Dowd : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much transport support grant was allocated for expenditure on metropolitan trunk roads for each year since 1979 for use by (a) local authorities and (b) the former Greater London council until its abolition.

Mr. Key : Local authorities are not allocated TSG for national trunk roads, whether or not in metropolitan areas.

Coaches

Mr. Pendry : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will allow the running of coaches to a weight limit of 18 tonnes while retaining the existing rear axle load ; what maximum tyre load is permitted where the front axle tyres fitted are standard 156 rate ; and what assessment he has made of the extent to which that effective load distribution is ensured in those circumstances.

Mr. Key : No. The maximum load for a tyre with load index 156 is four tonnes. Correct load distribution, which is critical to ensure axles are not overloaded, is largely determined at the initial design of the vehicle when axle weight limits are set by the manufacturer in compliance with legislation. These weights are enforced by the vehicle inspectorate at weighbridge and other checks.


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Mr. Pendry : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the possibility of allowing coaches with a weight limit of 18 tonnes to use a limited network of trunk roads and motorways where the strengthening of bridges is not required.

Mr. Key : I have considered the possibility of permitting certain operations, including motorway coaches, to be allowed higher weights. Until the bridge assessment programmes currently being carried out by my Department and local authorities are completed there remains the problem of feeder roads to motorways. Few journeys can be completed entirely on motorways and it is difficult to envisage how a scheme for higher weights on motorways alone could be effectively enforced to protect potentially vulnerable roads.

Thames Transport

Mr. Dowd : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many times the working party exploring the Thames transport potential has met ; what reports it has published ; and if he will name its current members.

Mr. Norris : The River Thames working group which I chair has met twice. It is currently analysing the substantial number of responses received from a wide-ranging consultation exercise and expects to produce a report of its findings and recommendations in the summer. The current members of the group are David Bayliss, director of planning, London Transport ; David Jeffery, chief executive, Port of London authority ; Eric Sorensen, chief executive London Docklands development corporation ; and Robin Clement, deputy chief planner, London Planning Advisory Council. Dick Barker represented London First until recently ; I hope to make an announcement shortly about his successor. Officials from the Departments of Transport and of the Environment also attend.

Inner City Transport Investment

Mr. Dowd : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans his Department has to publish the study carried out by Dr. Margaret Grieco of Oxford university on the impact of transport investment on the inner- city economy.

Mr. Freeman : None. I understand that the author is making her own arrangements for the report to be published.

Heavy Goods Vehicles

Mr. Gapes : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessments his Department has carried out into the costs of highway maintenance attributable to use by heavy goods vehicles.

Mr. Key : Heavy vehicles using the trunk road network are continually monitored in order to evaluate the wear and tear on the roads. The need for maintenance results primarily from traffic wear and tear although other aspects such as climatic effects and aging of road materials have an influence.

The vast majority of road wear and tear is caused by vehicles over 15kN unladen vehicle weight such as heavy goods vehicles--HGVs--and buses--PSVs. No precise breakdown of the cost of heavy goods vehicle related


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maintenance is readily available but in 1993 -94, of the £700 million that we expect to spend on maintaining the trunk road network, less than half is attributable to traffic wear.

A6(M) Stockport Bypass

Sir Thomas Arnold : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement about the line of route of the A6(M) Stockport north-south bypass.

Mr. Key : Although the line is fixed, revised proposals were published in November 1991 to take account of the forecast of increased traffic and changes recommended by the inspector in his report of the 1987- 88 inquiry. In February 1992 a draft compulsory purchase order was published. The revised proposals included a modification of the junction with the A6(M) and the A627 Offerton road which has provoked substantial opposition from the local authority and local residents.

As a result, we have reviewed our proposals in this area resulting in further changes. The draft orders will need to be withdrawn and fresh ones published. Our review is almost complete and we expect to publish the fresh orders this summer.

Excessive Loads

Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to prevent commercial vehicles entering England with excessive loads.


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Mr. Key : Enforcement against overloading of commercial vehicles will continue to be undertaken at ports, with the agreement of port authorities, and at other inland sites within the vicinity of ports. Where driver self-weigh equipment is available operators and drivers are encouraged to use the facility to check-weigh and to help avoid vehicles leaving ports in an overloaded condition.

International goods vehicle traffic will also continue to be routinely checked at inland enforcement sites. Arrangements are currently being negotiated with Eurotunnel for checking channel tunnel traffic prior to leaving France.

British Rail

Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will publish a table showing the targets and performance against targets in respect of (a) punctuality and (b) reliability of each of the divisions of British Rail serving the (i) South Yorkshire, (ii) Humberside, (iii) North Yorkshire and (iv) West Yorkshire areas in each month from January 1992.

Mr. Freeman : The information requested is as follows. British Rail performance data are published on a four-weekly, rather than a calendar month, basis. The following tables run from period 11 of the 1991-92 financial year--commencing 29 December 1991--to period 10 of the 1993-94 financial year ending 1 January 1994.


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British Rail punctuality                                                                                                                                                                                                               

(Yorkshire and Humberside area)                                                                                                                                                                                                        

                                    Four-week                                                                                                                                                                                          

                                   ||13periods                                                                                                                                                                                         

                                    1991-92                                   1992-93                                                                                                                                                  

Service group                      |11           |12           |13           |1            |2            |3            |4            |5            |6            |7            |8            |9            |10                         

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

TransPennine Express               |90           |94           |96           |93           |87           |89           |91           |94           |92           |92           |89           |88           |91                         

South Yorkshire/Humberside (Long)  | n/a         | n/a         | n/a         |95           |92           |84           |87           |91           |91           |90           |88           |84           |83                         

South Yorkshire/Humberside (Short) | n/a         | n/a         | n/a         | n/a         | n/a         | n/a         | n/a         | n/a         | n/a         | n/a         | n/a         | n/a         | n/a                       

West Yorkshire (Long)              | n/a         | n/a         | n/a         | n/a         | n/a         | n/a         | n/a         | n/a         | n/a         | n/a         | n/a         | n/a         | n/a                       

West Yorkshire (Short)             |91           |94           |93           |96           |93           |95           |94           |95           |94           |93           |90           |91           |92                         

InterCity Cross Country            |82           |86           |86           |86           |78           |80           |82           |83           |85           |83           |73           |77           |79                         

InterCity East Coast Main Line     |82           |86           |87           |84           |90           |84           |91           |89           |91           |88           |86           |87           |85                         

Notes:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

1. The passengers charter target for punctuality has been set at 90 per cent. throughout the period for all regional railways and InterCity routes.                                                                                    

2. Some early figures are unavailable because of changes in route definitions.                                                                                                                                                         

3. Punctuality results are rounded to the nearest whole number.                                                                                                                                                                        


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British Rail punctuality                                                                                                                                                                                                               

(Yorkshire and Humberside area)                                                                                                                                                                                                        

                                    Four-week                                                                                                                                                                                          

                                   ||13periods                                                                                                                                                                                         

                                    1992-93                                   1993-94                                                                                                                                                  

Service group                      |11           |12           |13           |1            |2            |3            |4            |5            |6            |7            |8            |9            |10                         

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

TransPennine Express               |93           |93           |92           |90           |89           |87           |90           |87           |93           |91           |81           |83           |86                         

South Yorkshire/Humberside (Long)  |91           |93           |89           |91           |95           |92           |89           |91           |94           |92           |89           |90           |91                         

South Yorkshire/Humberside (Short) |91           |91           |87           |87           |89           |92           |86           |85           |85           |80           |82           |82           |90                         

West Yorkshire (Long)              |96           |95           |95           |95           |95           |94           |95           |94           |95           |95           |85           |89           |91                         

West Yorkshire (Short)             |92           |91           |92           |93           |90           |89           |91           |91           |93           |90           |81           |85           |89                         

InterCity Cross Country            |80           |87           |83           |84           |84           |84           |87           |89           |87           |86           |84           |86           |81                         

InterCity East Coast Main Line     |82           |89           |91           |89           |89           |92           |94           |92           |92           |92           |87           |70           |83                         


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British Rail reliability                                                                                                                                                                                                               

(Yorkshire and Humberside area)                                                                                                                                                                                                        

                                    Four-week                                                                                                                                                                                          

                                   ||13periods                                                                                                                                                                                         

                                    1991-92                                                                                                                                                                                            

Service group                      |11           |12           |13           |1            |2            |3            |4            |5            |6            |7            |8            |9            |10                         

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

TransPennine Express               |98.6         |98.8         |99.3         |97.9         |98.2         |98.6         |99.1         |99.7         |98.7         |99.4         |99.5         |99.0         |98.7                       

South Yorkshire/Humberside (Long)  | n/a         | n/a         | n/a         |98.5         |98.4         |97.7         |98.7         |98.6         |99.1         |98.5         |98.3         |98.0         |99.3                       

South Yorkshire/Humberside (Short) | n/a         | n/a         | n/a         | n/a         | n/a         | n/a         | n/a         | n/a         | n/a         | n/a         | n/a         | n/a         | n/a                       

West Yorkshire (Long)              | n/a         | n/a         | n/a         | n/a         | n/a         | n/a         | n/a         | n/a         | n/a         | n/a         | n/a         | n/a         | n/a                       

West Yorkshire (Short)             |99.0         |99.6         |99.6         |98.7         |99.8         |99.5         |99.6         |99.5         |99.5         |99.7         |99.6         |99.5         |99.5                       

InterCity Cross Country            |99.6         |99.6         |99.2         |99.6         |99.5         |99.4         |99.5         |99.5         |99.6         |99.8         |99.3         |98.7         |99.5                       

InterCity East Coast Main Line     |98.5         |98.8         |99.0         |99.3         |99.5         |97.8         |99.3         |99.5         |98.2         |99.5         |98.6         |98.5         |98.6                       

Note: The passengers charter target for reliability has been set at 99 per cent. throughout the period for all InterCity and regional railways routes.                                                                                 


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British Rail reliability                                                                                                                                                                                                               

(Yorkshire and Humberside area)                                                                                                                                                                                                        

                                    Four-week                                                                                                                                                                                          

                                   ||13periods                                                                                                                                                                                         

                                    1992-93                                   1993-94                                                                                                                                                  

Service group                      |11           |12           |13           |1            |2            |3            |4            |5            |6            |7            |8            |9            |10                         

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

TransPennine Express               |99.0         |99.0         |99.3         |98.8         |98.7         |97.2         |98.3         |97.1         |98.9         |98.0         |98.3         |95.8         |96.9                       

South Yorkshire/Humberside (Long)  |99.1         |99.4         |99.0         |98.6         |99.1         |98.4         |97.0         |98.3         |98.8         |93.2         |98.1         |97.3         |98.7                       

South Yorkshire/Humberside (Short) |99.5         |99.6         |99.7         |99.2         |99.9         |99.2         |98.3         |98.6         |97.8         |98.8         |98.9         |98.2         |98.9                       

West Yorkshire (Long)              |98.6         |99.6         |98.9         |99.9         |99.6         |98.8         |98.5         |98.7         |99.7         |99.1         |96.7         |95.7         |97.4                       

West Yorkshire (Short)             |98.8         |99.1         |99.0         |99.1         |98.2         |99.5         |99.4         |99.2         |99.4         |99.1         |98.0         |96.1         |96.7                       

InterCity Cross Country            |99.2         |99.8         |99.2         |99.3         |98.2         |99.7         |99.7         |99.7         |99.7         |99.4         |99.5         |99.8         |99.0                       

InterCity East Coast Main Line     |97.5         |99.2         |99.2         |99.1         |99.4         |99.3         |99.6         |99.0         |99.0         |99.4         |99.6         |97.4         |95.2                       

Year of Older People

Mr. Bowden : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) in which programmes and events for the European year of older people and solidarity between Generations he has been directly involved ; (2) what contribution his Department made to the European year of older people and solidarity between generations in terms of financial support, practical support for particular events and the provision of information.

Mr. Norris : The Department has a continuing programme of initiatives to improve services, facilities and information for older people as pedestrians, public transport users and motorists. These initiatives were promoted by the Department at national and local events throughout the year.

During 1993 the Department published an information leaflet aimed at older drivers with practical advice on continuing to drive safely. Two million copies were distributed with the help of the Saga group and through doctors' surgeries. A "stuffer" leaflet on the same topic was also distributed to 30 million car owners with their vehicle excise duty reminders.

In addition, the Department continued to promote, through research, guidelines and advice to local authorities, operators and individuals, the needs of older people for improved bus design and access to bus services and the safety of older pedestrians.

Motor Cycling

Mr. Nigel Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the method of enforcement will be for the proposed stage II noise limits of motor cycles.

Mr. Key : There will be two aspects to the enforcement of the stage II noise limits. In the case of new motor cycles, the manufacturer will have to seek and obtain a valid type


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approval certificate to the noise directive prior to sale and registration. The date of mandatory application of these limits has yet to be agreed by the EC Council of Ministers.

As far as in-use enforcement is concerned, on 10 January I made regulations which require that both original and replacement silencers for motor cycles be marked as complying with a relevant EC directive or--for replacement silencers--an equivalent British standard. I am also now drawing up regulations to control the supply of replacement silencers at point of sale.

Heavy Vehicles

Mr. Fry : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) how many bridges on the trunk road system are not capable of supporting a gross vehicle weight of 18 tonnes ;

(2) how many bridges on the motorway system are not capable of supporting a gross vehicle weight of 18 tonnes.

Mr. Key : Our records show that there are three underbridges on motorways and 65 underbridges on all purpose trunk roads in England in which parts of the structure have been assessed as having inadequate capacities for carrying vehicles of 18 tonnes gross weight with the required margins of safety.

Market Testing

Mr. McAllion : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will publish for each service that has been market tested in his Department in 1993 (a) the cost of the testing process, including consultancy costs, (b) the result of the test, (c) the name of the successful contractor, (d) the value and duration of the contract, (e) the number of staff involved, (f) estimated annual cost reductions and (g) whether the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 1981 were deemed to apply.

Mr. Norris : My Department is currently analysing the outcome of the 1992-93 competing for quality programme with the efficiency unit in the Cabinet Office. Much of the


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information requested in the question will, once it has been finalised, be published in aggregate form in the "Citizens Charter Second Report".

Airport Security

Mr. Dobson : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what evidence he has received from the communications and transport deregulation task force to justify its statement on the cost and cost-effectiveness of airport security.

Mr. Norris : The statement to which the hon. Member refers is in his recent report "Deregulating Disaster". He quotes an early draft by the task force which suggested that the Department approaches airport security with an "overly belt and braces approach at huge cost to industry".

In its final report, to be published shortly, the task force recommend that security measures must be commensurable with the level of threat and that the aviation industry should be fully consulted in the measures adopted. We accept this view.

A590

Mr. Jopling : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has, and over what time scale, for improvements to the A590 road between the M6 and Barrow.

Mr. Key : The Secretary of State announced last August a review of the road programme to establish more clearly defined priorities within it. The review is now in progress and the aim is to announce the conclusions in time for the launch of the Highways Agency in April.

The timing of any schemes in the programme for improvements to the A590 between the M6 and Barrow is dependent on the outcome of this review.

Christmas Cards

Mr. Bayley : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many official Christmas cards were sent out in 1993 by (a) Ministers, (b) civil servants and (c) staff of Government agencies working in or to his Department ; and how much these cards cost (i) to buy, (ii) to post and (iii) in staff time to sign, address and place in envelopes.

Mr. Norris : This information is not held centrally and could be given only at disproportionate cost.

Loans

Mr. Matthew Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list, for each scheme operated by his Department under which loans are available, the objectives of the scheme, the number of unrecovered loans, the total value of unrecovered loans, the average number of unrecovered loans for each year since 1990, the average value of unrecovered loans for each year since 1990 and the annual cost of recovering loans.

Mr. Norris : There are three loans outstanding on the votes of my Department. They are :

Humber bridge--built under provision of the Humber Bridge Act 1959, as amended. As at the 30 September 1993, the total debt outstanding is £359,307,192.

Second Mersey tunnel--built under provision of the Mersey Tunnel Act 1965, as amended. As at 30 September 1993, the total debt outstanding is £24,388,785.


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Tyne tunnel--built under provision of the Tyne Tunnel Act 1964, as amended. As at 30 September 1993, the total debt outstanding is £13, 162,996.

Payments against these loans are made regularly in two instalments each year. The administrative costs of such payments are less than £300 per year.

My Department also makes loans to staff under their terms and conditions of service. These include loans covering the cost of season tickets, and assistance with house purchase where staff are moved under compulsory terms.

M62 Relief Road

Mr. Sumberg : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many representations have been received from the Bury, South constituency against the proposed M62 relief road.

Mr. Key : So far, some 2,500 representations have been received from Bury, South, from a total in excess of 5,000. These figures include an element of duplication.

Vehicle Reverse Alarms

Mr. Thomason : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) when he has plans to review the present 2,000 kg weight limit below which reversing alarms may not be fitted unless that vehicle is a bus, a works truck or engineering plant ;

(2) how many representations he has received concerning regulation 99 of the Vehicle Construction and Use Regulations 1985 in respect of vehicle reverse alarms ; and if he will provide a statement on the future of this provision.

Mr. Key : During 1992 and 1993, 15 letters were received on this subject. Eight of these were requests for information or from those with a commercial interest, two were complaints about noise nuisance and the rest questioned whether the provision should not be made compulsory and/or extended to other categories of vehicles. I shall be reviewing this matter when I come to consider certain other amendments to the Construction and Use Regulations on vehicle noise.

Mr. Thomason : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what criteria were used in arriving at the 2,000 kg weight limit below which a vehicle reversing alarm may not be fitted unless it is a bus, a works truck or engineering plant.

Mr. Key : Reversing alarms are permitted to be used as an aid to safety on those vehicles where we consider the driver's vision might be obscured by the shape or size of the vehicle. The prime responsibility for ensuring that reversing is carried out safely rests, however, with the driver ; and he or she should follow the advice of the highway code.

Minibuses and Coaches (Safety)

Mr. Donohoe : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what is the British Government's current position on the statutory introduction of passenger seat belts on coaches manufactured within the European Union ;

(2) what progress he has made in asking the other members of the European Union to introduce the statutory


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installation of passenger seat belts on coaches manufactured within the European Union ; and if he will make a statement ;

(3) what representations he has received on improving the safety of passengers travelling on minibuses or coaches ; what the Government's current position is on this matter ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Key : We have been discussing with the European Commission for some years the desirability of amending the directives which deal with the fitting of seat belts in coaches. To date, however, there has not been the support necessary from EC member states for the Commission to make seat belt fitment on all seats a mandatory requirement.

We have received a great number of representations from a wide range of organisations and individuals, making various suggestions which they feel would improve the safety of minibus and coach travel.

We are currently reviewing the full technical and cost implications of seat belts in coaches. Until this review is complete and we have full reports on the tragic accidents which happened last year, it would not be wise to consider making further regulations in this area.

St. Avon

Mr. Viggers : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he proposes to take to seek to ensure that the circumstances leading to the incident in which St. Avon ran aground at Browndown, Gosport on 21 July 1993 do not recur.

Mr. Norris : Following consideration of the grounding of the steam tanker Avon and other accidents, advice on preventive measures has been drafted and will be issued shortly in the form of a merchant shipping notice.

West Coast Main Line

Mr. Dobson : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will publish a full list of all statements made by Ministers in his Department, and/or press notices issued by his Department, which referred to a possible start and/or completion date for refurbishment of the west coast main line, the date on which each such statement was made, and the possible start and/or completion date which was mentioned.

Mr. Freeman [holding answer 18 January 1994] : On 1 December 1993, my right hon. Friend announced the Government's decision that the modernisation of the west coast main line would be taken forward as a privately financed project. Railtrack would invite expressions of interest from the private sector to work with it in devising new performance standards for the route. At the same time, he announced plans for a competition in late 1994 to select a private sector consortium to modernise the line and maintain it for a defined period.

Marine Accident Investigation Branch

Mr. Foulkes : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list each report of the marine accident investigation branch concluded in 1993 ; and which of those were published.

Mr. Norris : Investigations carried out by the marine accident investigation branch, and reports published on its


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behalf by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, are listed in the summary of investigations which is produced three times a year. A copy of each summary is placed in the Library.

Crossrail

Mr. Dobson : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will publish a full list of all statements made by Ministers in his Department, and/or press notices issued by his Department, which referred to a possible completion date for the crossrail project, the dates on which each such statement was made and the possible completion date which was mentioned.

Mr. Norris : The then Secretary of State wrote to the chairmen of British Rail and London Transport on 9 October 1990 about crossrail and the Chelsea-Hackney line. The associated press notice said that crossrail was expected to open in 1999.

Channel Tunnel Rail Link

Mr. Dobson : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will publish a full list of all statements made by Ministers in his Department, and/or press notices issued by his Department, which referred to a possible completion date for the channel tunnel rail link, the dates on which each such statement was made, and the possible completion date which was mentioned.

Mr. Freeman : The list is as follows :

18 May 1990

The Minister for Public Transport, in debate on private Members' motion, at column 1179

"I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Mid-Kent (Mr. Rowe), who sought to put this debate in the context of the channel tunnel opening in three years' time and a rail link being a decade away, even with the fastest possible agreement on the route, and its design and structure."

9 October 1991

Press Notice--from text of a letter by the right hon. and learned Member for Edinbugh, Pentlands (Mr. Rifkind) to Sir Bob Reid "Inevitably, the start of a construction of the rail link is some way ahead. On present forecasts, existing capacity is not expected to be exhausted until around 2005. It means account can be taken of demand for rail services through the Channel Tunnel once it opens. This will help to give a more precise view of when the extra capacity of the new line might be needed."

14 October 1991

Statement by the right hon. and learned Member for Edinburgh, Pentlands, at columns 25-26

"Inevitably, the start of construction is still some way ahead ; but so is the need for the line. BR's own forecasts are that the capacity of the existing network is expected to be sufficient to meet the demand until around 2005. It will be possible to take account of the actual demand for rail services through the Channel Tunnel, once it opens. Overall, the choice of the eastern route rather than the southern route will not have any material effect on when the new line might come into operation. Suggestions that a decision has been taken not to begin construction before 2000 are incorrect. No such decision has been taken."

22 March 1993

Statement by Secretary of State for Transport, at column 611


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