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Mr. MacGregor : The number of letters received from hon. Members by Ministers in the Department of Transport in February was 1,144. The number of letters written to hon. Members by Ministers in the Department of Transport in February was 1,196.
Dr. Marek : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what are the track costs that are charged to the Victoria to Gatwick InterCity service ; how they differ from other services being prepared for privatisation ; and what is the average figure for Great Britain.
Mr. Freeman : On 15 February, Railtrack published the illustrative revenue from the sale of track access rights to passenger train operating units--TOUs. The estimate of revenue from the sale of track access rights to Gatwick express in 1994-95 is £8 million. Railtrack estimated that total revenue from the sale of track access rights in 1994-95 to the 24 mainland passenger TOUs would be £2.2 billion. Charges for Gatwick express and all other passenger TOUs have been calculated using the methodology set out in the reply given by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport on 15 February Official Report, column 237.
Mr. Freeman : The existing passengers charter is BR's document, setting out BR's code of practice for dealing with passengers and for paying compensation when things go wrong. Franchisees will be required, as a condition of their franchise agreement, to produce and publish their own passenger's charters, which will be expected to cover the same ground, including the payment of compensation, as BR's existing charter.
The "speed" cameras introduced on west London trunk roads in October 1992 show considerable benefit from reduced numbers of road accidents and casualties. Traffic congestion and delay following accidents have also been reduced. I expect to release full-year accident figures in the near future.
There is no direct effect on road traffic regulations. The Road Traffic Act 1991 permitted the use of photographic evidence in courts. These regulations came into effect in July 1992.
Mr. Norris : The current restrictions, on which we consulted last October, end on 27 March. I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 21 February, Official Report, column 78, concerning the representations we received on these.
We consulted from 10 November to 31 December 1993 on the restrictions to apply from 27 March to 23 October 1994--the summer season--and for the following four years. I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport on 31 January, Official Report, column 506, concerning details of consultation. The number of responses given referred to those for the 1994 summer season.
Mr. Norris : London Transport will retain the full amount of any proceeds from the sale of the companies up to a specified amount and 25 per cent. of any proceeds above that sum. The amount involved is commercially confidential at this stage in the sale process.
Mr. Rathbone : To ask the Secretary of State for Tranport what causal relationship his Department has established between the amount of new road building or road improvements and the increase in car ownership and car use.
Mr. Key : None. Growth in car ownership and use is best explained by growth in incomes and the economy. Nor is there conclusive evidence that individual road improvement schemes are a significant factor in creating traffic ; but this relationship is being studied by the Standing Advisory Committee on Trunk Road Assessment, which is due to report shortly.
Mr. Key : The Vehicle Inspectorate--VI--is the Department of Transport's principal vehicle inspection agency. The VI employs two main groups of inspection staff : vehicle examiners--PTOs, HPTOs and SPTOs--
Column 106who are responsible for conducting roadworthiness checks ; and traffic examiners--TEs and STEs--who monitor and enforce regulations relating to drivers' hours and vehicle operating weights. Vehicle and traffic examiners also advise the traffic commissioners on licensing matters. The table summarises the number of staff engaged in this work by each of the VI's 23 enforcement areas.
Location |Senior |Higher |Professional |Enforcement |Senior |Traffic |Total |professional |professional |and technical|coordinators |traffic |examiners |and technical|and technical|officer |examiners |officer |officer ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1. Inverness-Perth |2 |1 |6 |- |1 |4 |14 2. Glasgow-Kilmarnock |- |- |12 |- |- |5 |17 3. Edinburgh |1 |1 |6 |- |1 |7 |16 4. Carlisle-Preston |- |2 |9 |- |1 |7 |19 5. Manchester-Derby |1 |- |17 |- |1 |6 |25 6. Liverpool-Wrexham |1 |1 |13 |- |1 |7 |23 7. Stoke-Wolverhampton |- |2 |13 |- |2 |9 |26 8. Birmingham-Kidderminster |1 |1 |12 |- |1 |8 |23 9. Cardiff-Swansea |1 |1 |12 |- |1 |7 |22 10.Bristol-Gloucester |1 |1 |10 |- |1 |5 |18 11.Exeter-Plymouth |1 |2 |13 |- |1 |7 |24 12.Bicester-Southampton |1 |1 |9 |- |2 |9 |22 13.Mitcham-Lancing |1 |1 |11 |- |1 |10 |24 14.Canterbury-Gillingham |- |2 |9 |- |3 |11 |25 15.Yeading-Edmonton |1 |- |13 |- |1 |8 |23 16.Purfleet-Royston |1 |1 |10 |- |1 |7 |20 17.Norwich-Ipswich |- |2 |8 |- |1 |6 |17 18.Leicester-Leighton Buzzard |1 |1 |9 |- |1 |9 |21 19.Grantham-Peterborough |- |3 |7 |- |2 |4 |16 20.Nottingham-Doncaster |1 |1 |12 |- |- |7 |21 21.Grimsby-Beverley |- |2 |5 |- |- |5 |12 22.Leeds-Walton |1 |1 |12 |- |- |9 |23 23.Darlington-Newcastle |1 |1 |9 |- |- |7 |18 Group regional offices |8 |18 |1 |5 |1 |- |33 |_______ |502 Note: Figures relate to substantive grade of staff.
Mr. Key : Based on figures for the past three years the Vehicle Inspectorate executive agency--VI--has conducted an average of about 58,000 roadworthiness and traffic enforcement spot checks annually. The relevant information is as follows.
1. Roadworthiness spot checks Year |Spot |checks ------------------------------ 1990-91 |20,527 1991-92 |21,106 1992-93 |<1>24,895 |------- Total |66,528 Average |22,176 <1> Excludes 4,647 special checks on emissions.
2. Traffic Enforcement spot checks Year |Spot |checks ------------------------ 1990-91 |32,584 1991-92 |33,778 1992-93 |40,508 |------- Total |106,870 Average |35,623
The VI took over responsibility for the Traffic Enforcement Organisation from April 1991.
Mr. Cryer : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what research is currently being conducted and at what cost into the use of leg protectors on motor cycles ; what have been the conclusions drawn from previous research ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Key : Research on leg protectors is continuing at the Transport Research Laboratory--TRL. Most of the current effort is in support of the United Kingdom contribution to the International Standards Organisation-- ISO--proposals for an ISO standard on "Test and analysis procedures for research evaluation of rider crash protection devices fitted to motorcycles", in which the motor cycle industry is participating. The cost over the last 10 years has been roughly £300, 000 per annum at current
Column 107prices and at present represents some 29 per cent. of total expenditure on motor cycle related research. The research to date shows that properly designed leg protectors could reduce the severity of, or even eliminate, at least 25 per cent. of leg injuries without increasing injuries to other parts of the body. I refer the hon. Member to TRL's working paper WP/VS/213 entitled "TRRL Review of Research on Motorcycle Leg Protection--1991", a copy of which was placed in the Library in July 1992.
Dr. Godman : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement concerning the implementation of European Community 93/103/EC concerning minimum safety and health requirements for the crews of fishing vessels.
Mr. Norris [holding answer 17 March 1994] : Arrangements for the implementation of European Community directive 93/103/EC, which will only apply to new fishing vessels from 23 November 1995, will be discussed at the May meeting of the fishing industry safety group.
Mr. Spearing : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement concerning the problem of negative equity on property subject to compulsory purchase orders for road improvements.
Mr. Norris [holding answer 17 March 1994] : The Government take very seriously the problem of negative equity and since October 1992 we have introduced measures, such as those designed to facilitate mortgage transfers between properties, to help affected home owners. We are actively considering whether, should a home which is the subject of negative equity be compulsorily acquired, any further measures are necessary and if so, what form these measures should take.
Mr. Spearing : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects to announce his decision concerning the construction of an underpass at the junction of Newham way and Prince Regents lane in Newham ; and if prior to that date he will announce his proposals to meet the problems of negative equity in the area.
Mr. Norris [holding answer 17 March 1994] : The inspector's report on the public inquiry into the scheme was received earlier this month and is now being considered. I cannot yet say when a decision will be announced.
On negative equity, I refer the hon. Member to my reply to his other question which I have answered earlier today.
Mrs. Clwyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list for each civil service grade in his Department (a) the total number of persons employed and (b) the percentage of this figure that are women.
Mr. Norris [holding answer 17 March 1994] : The table shows total staff in post, and percentages of women employed in each grade in the Department of Transport and its agencies. The figures reflect staff in post as at 1 April 1993.
Department of Transport-Staff in Post-1 April 1993 Grade |Total |Total |Female |Female |Percentage ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Grade 1 |1 |0 |0 Grade 2 |4 |0 |0 Grade 3 |25 |2 |8.0 Grade 4 |16 |0 |0 Grade 5 |110 |8 |7.3 Grade 6 |146 |7 |4.8 Grade 7 |763 |73 |9.6 SEO |951 |81 |8.5 HEO |1,395 |330 |23.7 EO |4,468 |1,049 |23.5 AO |3,676 |2,563 |69.7 AA |3,683 |2,833 |76.9 Chair/Member of Commission |8 |0 |0 |------- |------- |------- Total |15,246 |6,946 |45.6
This is a matter for the Meteorological Office under its framework document. I have asked the chief executive, Meteorological Office to write to my hon. Friend.
Letter from J. C. R. Hunt to Mr. Barry Field, dated15 March 1994 :
I am responding to your Parliamentary Question concerning the timing of the shipping forecasts.
The importance of the shipping forecast is well recognised by the BBC, the Met Office and the Department of Transport. Although the situation has been considered in the context of other BBC radio programme changes, it has been agreed that the times of the shipping forecast will remain unchanged. On very rare occasions, the 1750 shipping forecast may be delayed if test matches (to be broadcast on Radio 4) are at a critical stage ; if so an announcement will be made at 1750 giving the new time of broadcast.
Mr. Gummer : The details of my Department's annual expenditure on running costs are published every year in the annual report. Expenditure on receptions is included within this figure and is less than 0.00002 per cent. of total net expenditure.
Mr. Thomason : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the total Government spending in the London boroughs of (a) Hackney, (b) Haringey, (c) Islington, (d) Lambeth and (e) Newham.
Government grants: 1993-94 estimates £ thousands |Revenue |Capital |Housing |Total |grants<1> |grants |subsidies<2> ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Hackney |291,191 |3,679 |116,565 |411,435 Haringey |269,069 |3,887 |70,361 |343,317 Islington |196,857 |4,854 |135,725 |337,436 Lambeth |310,941 |5,166 |137,080 |453,187 Newham |279,019 |20,166 |67,841 |367,026 <1> Revenue grants consist of Revenue Support Grant, Specific and Special Grants; redistributed non-domestic rates are excluded. <2> This consists of Housing Revenue account Subsidies and contributions towards running costs of Approved Homes Improvement Agencies.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what has been the average percentage increase in rents for private (a) unfurnished and (b) furnished lettings set by rent officers in each for the last 10 years in the Doncaster area.
South Yorkshire Average yearly percentage increase in registered fair rents Year |Private |Private |Unfurnished|furnished |Lettings |lettings ------------------------------------------------ 1983 |2.9 |7.4 1984 |15.2 |-3.5 1985 |5.2 |15.6 1986 |10.3 |6.4 1987 |3.9 |8.1 1988 |12.6 |12.3 1989 |6.4 |8.9 1990 |10.8 |13.6 1991 |10.8 |14.5 1992 |8.1 |-5.0
Copies have been placed in the Library of the House.
Government Grants: 1993-94 estimates £ thousand |Revenue |Capital |Housing |Total |Grants<1> |Grants |Subsidies<2> ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Pendle |11,508 |1,570 |3,996 |17,074 Bath |14,004 |894 |6,589 |21,487 Bournemouth |39,768 |606 |6,278 |46,652 <1> Revenue grants consist of Revenue Support Grant, Specific and Special Grants; redistributed non-domestic rates are excluded. <2> This consists of Housing Revenue Account Subsidies and contributions towards running costs of Approved Home Improvement Agencies.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the allocation within Doncaster's standard spending assessment, on a per capita basis, for children at risk, during the next financial year ; what is the allocation for each of the other metropolitan borough councils in South Yorkshire ; and on what basis this formula operates.
Mr. Baldry : The children's personal social services element for 1994-95 for Doncaster is £32 per head of resident population. Information for the other metropolitan borough councils is in the table :
Table showing the children's personal social service (PSS) element for 1994-95 per head of resident population for Doncaster and the other metropolitan borough councils in south Yorkshire. |PSS for |children |(£/head) ---------------------------- Doncaster |32 Barnsley |26 Rotherham |27 Sheffield |33
The formula uses a "client group approach" ; the client group is the estimated number of children at risk. Cost adjustments are made to reflect the increased costs associated with social conditions and differences in the costs of provision between areas. The formula for the children's PSS element, along with the formulae for other SSA elements, has been revised in the light of the SSA review.
Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Caernarfon (Mr. Wigley) of 9 February, Official Report, column 315, when he hopes to complete his review of the legal framework governing discharges from abandoned mines.
Column 111March, said that the justification for the special exemptions for abandoned mines should be reassessed in the light of the emerging conclusions of the review of contaminated land and liabilities.
Mr. Dafis : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, pursuant to his answer of 11 January, Official Report , column 6 , what is the source of information on which he based his reply regarding the carbon dioxide emission implications of the latest GATT agreement.
Mr. Atkins : The terms of reference of working group III of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, as agreed at the IPCC eighth session in Harare, require working group III to consider and develop as necessary a range of internally consistent scenarios for future emissions based on reasonable economic, demographic and technological projections and taking account of the gaps and uncertainties in available knowledge. Any available evidence on the impact of GATT on emissions would be considered as part of IPCC's review.
Mr. Rooker : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what information he has regarding the use of special companies by local authorities to accept advance payments for fuel bills for the next five years.
Mr. Steen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he will give approval to the Trunk Townstal estate action scheme, Dartmouth ; how much the scheme will cost ; and how many older council houses will be refurbished.
Sir George Young : My Department is currently processing the application and a decision will be reached shortly. The total cost of the proposed scheme is £6.7 million, including estate action resources of £1.6 million, and provides for the refurbishment of 299 units as well as 98 new houses.
Mr. Atkins : The expert panel on air quality standards, a group of independent medical and scientific experts, is considering a standard for particles--PM10--and I expect it to reach its conclusions as soon as reasonably practicable.
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the estimated cost of including the 12 towns recommended by his Department's quality of urban air review group in the enhanced urban network.
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether levels of PM10 monitored in towns in the enhanced urban network have exceeded (a) United States air quality standards and (b) World Health Organisation air quality guidelines.
Mr. Atkins : In 1992, levels of PM10 exceeded the United States air quality standard at Belfast on three days. World Health Organisation guidelines were exceeded in 1992 at Belfast on 10 days and in Birmingham on four days.
Provisional data for the first half of 1993 show that the United States standard was exceeded in Cardiff and Liverpool on one day each and that the WHO guideline was exceeded in London on two days, Belfast on seven days, Liverpool on three days and in Birmingham and Newcastle on one day each.
Mr. Atkins : Road transport is the main source of PM10 emissions in urban areas. I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to him by my hon. Friend the Minister for Roads and Traffic earlier today. Further action to reduce levels of fine particles will be considered in the light of advice from the Department of Health's independent committee on medical effects of air pollutants and the independent expert panel on air quality standards, a group of independent medical and scientific experts which recommends air quality standards to the Secretary of State for the Environment, which is currently considering a standard for particles.
Mr. Mackinlay : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what explanation was given to his Department for the financial crisis at Castle Point borough council prior to his decision to impose capping on that council for the year 1993-94.
Mr. Baldry : In its representations to the Department, the authority set out its view of both the manner in which deficits on the general fund had been incurred in 1991-92 and 1992-93 and the timing of their identification. The deficits were due, in the main, to incorrect budgeting for interest receivable and interest payable. The deficit for 1991-92 was identified by the district auditor during closure of the accounts in autumn 1992 ; the scale of the 1992-93 deficit had not been apparent until February 1993.
Mr. Tyler : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what assessment he has made as to the cost implications for Government and the water industry if an area is designated as a high natural water dispersal area ; and what is the timetable for changes in designation.
Mr. Atkins : For a high natural dispersion area to be identified, the waters must meet the criteria set out for less sensitive areas in the urban waste water treatment directive. The cost implications for water industry discharges into waters identified as HNDAs will, in each case, depend on the actual arrangements made for the treatment of sewage and the discharge of the treated
Column 113effluent. The directive requires the identification of these areas to be reviewed at intervals of not more than four years.
Mr. Spearing : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will take steps to ensure that any borough or district council using accommodation in respect of its duties to the homeless in areas of other councils will be required to inform that council of their presence and terms of occupancy.
Sir George Young : The Housing Act 1985 requires local housing authorities to have regard to the homelessness code of guidance for local authorities, third edition, issued by my right hon. Friend, which includes guidance about placing homeless households in accommodation outside an authority's own boundary. My Department is consulting on possible changes to this legislation.
Ms Harman : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will provide estimates of the number of council tenants who receive unmetered supplies of gas and electricity through local authority district heating schemes and the number of council tenants who receive metered supplies of gas and electricity through local authority district heating schemes (a) in the United Kingdom and (b) in each local authority in the United Kingdom.
Mr. Baldry [holding answer 14 March 1994] : This information is not held centrally. Estimates of the number of local authority dwellings receiving unmetered supplies of energy for heating vary widely, from about 100,000 to about 300,000.
Mr. Corbett : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will list those concessions and rebates applicable to owners of private residential homes under the Disabled Persons Act 1978 on matters relating to his Department.
Sir George Young [holding answer 18 March 1994] : I am not aware of any concessions or rebates granted by my Department to owners of private residential homes under disabled persons legislation. Matters relating to these properties are primarily for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health.
Sir Thomas Arnold : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the terms of the memorandum of understanding have now been communicated to the Belize Government ; and if he will make a statement.