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Mr. Duncan : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which properties have already been bought and which properties it is the intention of his Department to purchase alongside the stretch of the A1 in the county of Rutland between Stamford and Grantham which is due to be widened.
Mr. Key : Fifteen applications for purchase of properties between Stamford and Grantham have been received under the statutory blight regulations ; of those, to date two acquisitions have been completed and a further 12 applications have been accepted, the remaining application is still under consideration.
Mr. Duncan : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans there are to widen the A1 in the county of Rutland between Stamford and Grantham.
Mr. Key : The plan to widen the A1 northwards from Stamford was first announced on 3 July 1990. Subsequently a scheme for the Stamford to Newark section entered the roads programme on 17 December 1991. Detailed plans will emerge in the form of public consultation proposals.
Mr. Duncan : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make available for inspection by local councillors and other interested parties his Department's existing plans for any scheme to widen the A1 in the county of Rutland between Stamford and Grantham.
Mr. Key : Plans will be made available when the public consultation stage is reached.
Mr. Duncan : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what public consultations he expects there to be about the widening of the A1 in the county of Rutland between Stamford and Grantham ; and under what procedure and timetable.
Mr. Key : It is our usual practice to consult the public about scheme options before publishing statutory orders under the Highways Act 1980 to which objections can be lodged and, if necessary, a public inquiry held. Timing depends on the outcome of the roads programme review.
Mr. Duncan : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which junctions he expects to be closed and which he expects to remain open following the widening of the A1 in the county of Rutland between Stamford and Grantham.
Mr. Key : It is too early to say.
Mr. Duncan : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what consultants have been appointed for the widening of the A1 in the county of Rutland between Stamford and Grantham.
Mr. Key : Kirkpatrick and Partners has been appointed for the widening of the A1 between Peterborough and Stamford including the A1 Stamford bypass. Consultants for the remainder of the A1 in Rutland cannot be appointed before the outcome of the roads programme review.
Mr. Spellar : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to bring the side of the road vehicles use in Britain into conformity with European practice.
Mr. Key : No. The case for making this change was studied in detail in 1969 and was reviewed in 1992 in response to a recommendation by the Monopolies and Mergers Commission in its report on the motor industry. The review confirmed that the change to driving on the right would have minimal economic benefits, could adversely affect road safety and would cost at least £2 billion.
Column 466These are powerful reasons for continuing to drive on the left along with some 38 other countries, and one third of the world's population.
Mrs. Angela Knight : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will give urgent consideration to the proposals by ABB in Derby for refurbishment of the Northern line of London Underground on a lease finance basis ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Norris : Yes. At London Underground's request, the Government are considering very urgently whether a deal along the lines of that proposed by ABB might be consistent with our published guidelines for public sector leasing. We expect to be in a position to take a view of this point very soon.
Mr. Dafis : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will meet representatives of British Rail to discuss the desirability of retaining all existing stations on the main Fishguard-Paddington line to maintain its viability ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Freeman : I regularly meet representatives of British Rail for discussions on a wide range of issues.
I understand that there are no plans to to propose closure of any stations on the Fishguard to Paddington line.
Mr. Dafis : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to ensure oil tanker traffic is monitored around the United Kingdom coast 24 hours a day.
Mr. Norris : At present, laden oil tankers report their movements to local coastguards in the areas of the Fair Isle channel, Pentland firth and the Isles of Scilly. In both the Dover strait and the Minch, all tankers report their movements to local coastguards. The provision of further monitoring will be subject to the
recommendations made by the inquiry announced by the Secretary of State to the House on 11 January 1993, Official Report, columns 609-10, under the chairmanship of Lord Donaldson of Lymington.
Ms Walley : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he intends to take to co-ordinate a strategy to improve safety in mini- buses and coaches ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Key : We are reviewing the full technical and cost implications of seat belts in mini-buses and coaches. I expect to receive a report within the next few weeks. I cannot anticipate when decisions will be taken ; but we shall be publishing our conclusions.
Mr. Llwyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what evaluation has been carried out of the proposal to fit seat belts to omnibuses ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Key : We are reviewing the full technical and cost implications of seat belts in minibuses and coaches. I expect to receive a report within the next few weeks. I cannot anticipate when decisions will be taken ; but we shall be publishing our conclusions.
Mr. David Marshall : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will give a list of current research contracts concerning any aspects of transport and the environment, giving costs and the names of consultants employed.
Mr. Norris : I am placing the information requested in the Library.
Mr. Michael Spicer : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent progress has been made on improvements to road communications between the midlands and the east coast ports.
Since 1990 the main achievement has been the construction of the A14--M1-A1 Link road--the final sections of which will be completed later this year. This route provides a vital east-west link, connecting the east coast ports to the midlands and the north. In addition, a number of bypasses and improvements to existing routes across East Anglia have been completed including on the A11, Thetford-Bridgham Heath, Thetford bypass, Four Wentways-Newmarket, Newmarket-Red Lodge, Red Lodge bypass, and on the A47, Norwich southern bypass, East Dereham-North Tuddenham, Narborough bypass, Castor-Ailsworth bypass, Guyhirn and Eye bypasses.
Construction work has started on A11, Besthorpe-Wymondham and Stump Cross- Four Wentways and on A47, Walpole Tilney-Tilney High End thus further improving these routes through East Anglia.
Mr. Jacques Arnold : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will supply copies of the detailed plans showing the safeguarded zones relating to the channel tunnel rail link to every hon. Member whose constituency is affected in Kent.
Mr. Freeman : A copy of the full-sized detailed plans for all of the safeguarded areas has been placed in the Library of the House. I understand that Union Railways is making arrangements for A3 sized copies of the safeguarding plans to be sent to all hon. Members who constituencies are affected by the safeguarding directions.
Mr. Roy Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will now publish the Seymour report on the train crash in the Severn tunnel on 7 December 1991.
Mr. Freeman : The Health and Safety Executive has today published the Severn tunnel accident inquiry report. A copy of the report will be placed in the House of Commons Library.
Mr. Roy Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what conclusions he has drawn from the Seymour report on the train crash in the Severn tunnel on 7 December 1991 ; what action he will be taking in regard to safety standards and of the organisation of accident and emergency services.
Mr. Freeman : I have noted the conclusions and recommendations made in the Severn tunnel accident inquiry report. British Rail is considering the recommendations and has already implemented a range of measures to improve the detection of faults, the maintenance of equipment, communications and access to the tunnel. Interested parties are continuing to look at further ways of improving liaison and site arrangements for the emergency services.
Mr. Andrew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list by office the number of excise reports which have been received by each vehicle registration office (a) that are discarded due to lack of staff resources, (b) that are closed because the alleged offender cannot be traced and (c) that will not be investigated.
Mr. Robert Key [holding answer 9 February 1994] : Column A-- Insufficient resource
During the past four years there has been an appreciable increase in the number of excise offence reports--EORs--received from the police. Since 1991-92 EORs have been rising at the rate of between 13 per cent. and 17 per cent. per annum.
|million --------------------------- 1990-91 |1.3 1991-92 |1.5 1992-93 |1.7 <1>1993-94 |2.0 <1>Forecast.
The introduction of new technology and improved working practices enabled the local office network to cope with the increase initially. However, by the end of 1992-93 the gain from those improvements had largely been exhausted. 1993-94 has seen further increases in the number of EORs, brought about chiefly by the introduction of the windscreen warning notices --WWN--scheme. This has put a number of local offices under severe pressure with the result that some EORs were being discarded because there were insufficient resources to deal with them. As an immediate solution, revised guidelines were issued to the network in July 1993. This resulted in cases being dealt with in order of priority with serious cases involving other traffic offence, the better quality named reports, persistent offenders and high value cases involving HGVs being processed first. The agency has also, as a short-term measure, succeeded in getting an additional £120,000 running costs during the current financial year. This has been given to those local offices where the problem of receipts is most acute to pay for the recruitment of casual staff and/or overtime working. The agency will consider longer term measures when the local office strategic review is completed this spring.
Column B and C cases not pursued
Column B refers to the number of cases in which the alleged offender cannot be traced and which results in the abandonment of the case.
The figures listed in column C are cases where initial inquiries indicate that there is little or no likelihood of a successful conclusion. The decision is then taken not to proceed with detailed investigation. These include cases
Column 469where discrepancies exist between the details on the vehicle record and the excise offence report or where information contained on a microfilmed copy of an application is illegible. While a case is already being dealt with VROs may choose not to action further EORs for the same vehicle. VRO managers take cost-effectiveness into account in deciding whether or not to pursue a case. An example is where the current keeper relicenses the vehicle immediately on being reported and where the outstanding back-duty is so small that the cost of pursuit would outweigh the amount of recoverable revenue. A further example is where a new keeper relicenses within five days of acquiring the vehicle.
April 1993 to January 1994 |(a) |(b) |(c) VRO |Excise |Insufficient|A/O<1> not |Cases not |offence |staff |traced |pursued |report |resource |receipts ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Manchester |57,625 |1,938 |1,298 |2,401 Sheffield |34,292 |15 |2,130 |2,091 Liverpool |54,723 |9 |1,631 |6,178 Bangor |8,423 |0 |423 |73 Chester |13,157 |0 |525 |0 Huddersfield |13,318 |1 |2,845 |622 Leeds |39,543 |772 |3,131 |2,847 Preston |30,428 |7 |544 |3,883 Hull |12,577 |0 |1,660 |464 Aberdeen |5,977 |0 |511 |72 Inverness |2,822 |0 |280 |0 Dundee |11,693 |0 |1,767 |1,159 Middlesbrough |16,655 |0 |2,841 |2,294 Newcastle |56,918 |0 |9,383 |3,170 Carlisle |7,219 |1 |1,249 |801 Edinburgh |24,339 |0 |1,158 |558 Glasgow |37,175 |0 |2,531 |1,030 Luton |50,805 |1,120 |556 |6,349 Ipswich |18,670 |1 |1,027 |1,413 Chelmsford |52,614 |1,166 |2,759 |2,431 Norwich |35,121 |666 |1,382 |3,058 Haverfordwest |5,808 |0 |304 |45 Cardiff |41,292 |14 |994 |1,055 Swansea |13,274 |2 |1,143 |214 Taunton |9,997 |817 |647 |1,305 Truro |11,479 |0 |425 |1,036 Gloucester |17,477 |118 |1,416 |76 Exeter |29,204 |38 |2,586 |4,440 Bristol |32,845 |0 |3,910 |1,662 Worcester |15,081 |0 |1,341 |152 Swindon |13,116 |15 |1,662 |479 Reading |19,271 |0 |3,610 |3,259 Portsmouth |37,788 |70 |1,830 |5,472 Oxford |17,131 |0 |2,720 |1,581 Brighton |42,861 |162 |1,574 |1,251 Maidstone |56,687 |0 |2,552 |2,123 Guildford |22,735 |0 |1,001 |1,849 Bournemouth |17,013 |0 |1,478 |1,533 Stoke |16,275 |0 |1,525 |2,245 Leicester |25,429 |1 |446 |4,580 Lincoln |13,650 |274 |1,112 |157 Nottingham |33,590 |0 |5,251 |1,722 Peterborough |13,427 |0 |1,440 |610 Northants |21,681 |2 |711 |419 Birmingham |55,787 |2 |10,251 |2,527 Coventry |22,402 |11 |2,319 |2,738 Dudley |9,883 |30 |951 |108 Shrewsbury |5,471 |0 |758 |96 LEO<2> |379,443 |8 |20,069 |13,642 <1> Alleged Offender. <2> London Enforcement Office.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to evict residents in Cambridge Park road, Wanstead along the route of the M11 link road ; when he expects such action to take place ; what will be the likely cost of the operation ; what steps he is taking to ensure that no violence or excessive force is used ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Norris [holding answer 17 February 1994] : On 16 February squatters were removed from numbers 2-12 Cambridge Park road. Initial estimates of the cost of the operation are in the region of £200,000. Eight arrests were made, two by county court bailiffs, and six by the police of whom five were in connection with the anti-BNP Welling riots. No excessive force was employed by the authorities. The protestors were defying court orders to quit the properties. I regret that by their action they are prolonging the inevitable disruption suffered by the local community, deferring the very real benefits including reduction in local traffic, improvement in air quality, lower accident rates and better facilities for residents which the scheme will bring.
Expenditure on enforcement action denies expenditure on real benefits to the community, and I very much regret that given that the link road has been the subject of no less than three public inquiries, a small minority should so misguidedly inflict such damage on the local area.
Mr. Donohoe : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) how many people are employed within each operational region of the Vehicle Inspectorate on (a) vehicle testing and (b) road transport enforcement ; and if he will make a statement ; (2) if he will make a statement listing the testing fee scales currently operated by the Vehicle Inspectorate.
Mr. Key : I have asked the Vehicle Inspectorate chief executive to write to the hon. Member with this detailed information.
Letter from Ron Oliver to Mr. Brian Donohoe, dated 23 February 1994 :
Vehicle Inspectorate staffing and costs
The Secretary of State for Transport has asked me to reply to your recent questions about the Vehicle Inspectorate. In all you asked five questions. One of these related to the future status of VI's testing stations and will be answered by Mr. Key.
The information relating to the remaining four questions is attached as follows :
Annex 1 : VI testing stations by region following the Inspectorate's reorganisation on 1 November 1993.
Annex 2 : Staffing and costs by district prior to 1 November 1993 (staffing expressed in whole time equivalents).
Annex 3 : Current test fees.
Annex 4 : Staffing by Vehicle Testing (VT) and Road Traffic Enforcement (RTE) regions.
I hope you find this information useful. If you have any additional questions please write to me at the above address.
Vehicle inspectorate testing stations by region
Merseyside and North Wales