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Letter from Lawrie Haynes to Mr. Harry Cohen, dated 5 May 1994 : M11 Link Road
The Minister for Roads and Traffic, Mr. Robert Key, has asked me to write to you in reply to your recent Parliamentary question about the M11.
The environmental assessment of the M11 link road was not based on any EC Directive. The European Directive 85/337/EEC on the assessment of certain public and private projects on the environment came into force in 1988 after development consent for the M11 link project was granted.
The EC Directive as implemented by section 105A of the Highways Act currently applies to Trunk Road schemes. The Directive requires that the assessment must be made in accordance with current knowledge and methods of assessment.
The assessment of the M11 link road was in accordance with practices current at the time. The environmental effects of the scheme were thoroughly assessed before the decision was taken in 1985 to authorise its construction.
Mr. Vaz : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many (a) portable telephones, (b) pagers and electronic bleepers and (c) car telephones are currently used by his Department ; what are the annual costs of operating this equipment ; and to which personnel it is made available.
Mr. Norris : The Department has 288 portable telephones, 1,946 pagers and electronic bleepers and 23 car telephones. Figures are not available for the annual operating costs. The equipment is issued to staff on the basis of operational need, especially where they have to
Column 120work away from an office. The main users of the equipment are staff in the Coastguard Agency, Highways Agency, vehicle inspectorate and air accident investigation branch.
Mr. Bayley : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many railway accidents there were in April ; where and on which date each of these accidents occurred ; and how many accidents there were in April 1993.
Mr. Freeman : The information requested is not readily available. The Health and Safety Executive collates railway accident statistics annually. The figures for 1993-94 will be published by the end of 1994 in HM railway inspectorate's annual report on railway safety in Great Britain. Equivalent information for 1994-95 will be published by the end of 1995.
Mr. Key : The numbers of goods vehicles, both new registrations and licensed stock at year end, in 1979 and 1993 is given below. However, as a result of changes in vehicle taxation regulations which occurred between the two years, the 1979 and 1993 data are not strictly comparable. The earliest year for which figures comparable to 1993 are available is 1980 and estimates for this year have been included in the table.
Goods Vehicles thousands New registrations Stock at year end |Old |Current |Old |Current |definition|definition|definition|definition ------------------------------------------------------------------ 1979 |91 |- |561 |- 1980<1> |- |55 |- |507 1993<2> |- |33 |- |432 <1> Estimated <2> Provisional
Ms Gordon : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the proposed third river crossing at Blackwall ; what proposals he has received from construction companies for the third river crossing at Blackwall ; and if he will make a statement.
Proposed Third River Crossing at Blackwall--
Steven Norris has asked me to write to you in response to your question in the House about progress on the proposals for a third crossing at Blackwall.
As you know, considerable concern was expressed about the environmental implications of the bridge option when we held a public consultation on the proposals for this scheme. A good deal of thought has to be given to the response to these before the way forward with this scheme can be decided.
Column 121I have received no formal proposals from construction companies, although there have been informal discussions. These include some which raise the possibility of private finance. If any of these ideas are developed further and brought to my attention, I will include them in the report on the public consultation which I will be submitting to the Secretary of State.
I hope this is helpful.
Mr. Cox : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list the future road building programmes for the Greater London area ; what is the estimated cost of such work ; and what are the expected dates of commencement and completion of such works.
Mr. Norris : This is an operational matter for the Highways Agency. I have asked the chief executive to write to the hon. Member. Letter from Lawrie Haynes to Mr. Tom Cox, dated 10 May 1994 : FUTURE ROAD PROGRAMME GREATER LONDON
Steven Norris has asked me to write to you in response to your question in the House about the future road building programme for the Greater London area.
You may recall the press notice sent to you at the end of March announcing the results of the review of the road programme. I enclose a further copy, from which you will see that the schemes are set out in the same grouping as in the Roads Report published at the end of March. I also enclose a copy of the tables from the report in which the London schemes are highlighted.
As you will see from the copy tables, dates for start and completion of works are not available for all the schemes. For those schemes in the early stage of planning, the start dates will depend on a number of factors, such as the progress with the statutory procedures to authorise their construction and the availability of funds when we are ready to invite tenders for the work. The stage reached with each scheme is given in the tables.
I hope this is helpful.
Mr. Cox : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what action can be taken, and by whom, against car dealers who display motor vehicles for sale on the public highway which do not display a current road fund licence disc ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Key : The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency is responsible for vehicle excise duty enforcement for all unlicensed vehicles kept or used on public roads in Great Britain. Where offences are detected and the persons responsible traced, action is taken either through out-of-court settlement or, in the more serious cases, by prosecution. This action may apply to any vehicle keeper who commits such an offence, and this includes car dealers.
Ms Ruddock : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many employees of London Transport have been subject to assaults whilst on duty in each of the last five years, and in 1994 to the latest available date ; how many of these were working on (a) London Buses and (b) London Underground at the time of the assault ; and in how many cases the assaults were recorded as being racially motivated.
Year |London Buses |London Underground ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1989 |896 |135 1990 |966 |120 1991 |1,018 |142 1992 |1,035 |141 1993 |858 |112 <1>1994 |202 |34 <1>To 31 March.
The figures for London Buses cover all assaults on staff ; those for London Underground include only criminal assaults--those involving injury and likely to lead to consideration of a prosecution. London Transport does not keep records of the number of assaults that may have been racially motivated.
Mr. Milburn : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will estimate the cost of employing consultants in connection with privatisation programmes in which his Department has been engaged since 1980.
Mr. Norris [holding answer 4 May 1994] : Gross voted expenditure on the employment of consultants on privatisation programmes sponsored by the Department since 1980, and other costs associated with these privatisations, has been £107 million. Departmental expenditure associated with privatisations is covered by the sale proceeds.
Some transport undertakings will have incurred expenditure themselves in employing consultants in the process of privatising parts of their operations, but these costs are a matter for the bodies concerned.
Mr. Norris [holding answer 9 May 1994] : In 1992-93, public investment in London Transport, Network SouthEast and docklands light railway amounted to around £1,400 million, while capital expenditure by central Government and local authorities on roads in London, excluding the M25, was about £400 million. Expenditure on NSE benefited a broader area than London alone.
Mr. Harry Greenway : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what studies his Department is making of the traffic difficulties of Northolt following the opening of the Hayes bypass ; what solutions he is proposing ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Norris [holding answer 9 May 1994] : It would be for the London borough of Ealing, as traffic and highway authority for all local roads in the Northolt area, including the northern end of the Hayes bypass, to carry out any studies of local conditions. The Department of Transport is responsible for the A40 trunk road. To reduce congestion at the westbound exit slip road from the A40 at Target
Column 123roundabout, the Department's Highways Agency will this summer be introducing traffic signals at the entry to the roundabout.
Mr. Dafis : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make it his policy to consult the Welsh Language Board and the Secretary of State for Wales regarding any proposal by the Inland Revenue for the closure or transfer of staff from any office providing a service in the Welsh language.
Mr. Dorrell : The Inland Revenue's programme of change for the whole of the United Kingdom is improving the service of taxpayers by organising work more effectively. Some offices will close. However, in Wales, this will not involve any deterioration in the Welsh language service provided.
All tax offices in Wales provide a full Welsh language service and will continue to do so. The service is supported by a Welsh language unit. This was set up in 1990 in accordance with guidelines published by the Welsh Language Board. It is available to all those who wish to correspond or converse in Welsh and can also be used by those whose tax affairs are dealt with outside Wales.
Consultation with the Welsh Language Board and the Secretary of State for Wales on changes to local offices is not needed.
Mr. Dafis : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) if he will publish for each year since 1990 for each county in Wales and for Wales as a whole (a) the total number of Inland Revenue employees and (b) the number of Inland Revenue employees who are Welsh speaking ;
(2) if he will publish for each year since 1990 for each county in Wales, and for Wales as a whole the number of Inland Revenue officers and the number of Inland Revenue officers able to provide a service in the Welsh language.
Mr. Dorrell : Information is not available in the precise form requested. The Inland Revenue monitors the number of Welsh-speaking employees each year but does not maintain an historic record. The number of Inland Revenue employees serving in Wales for each year between 1990 to 1993 was as follows :
|1990 |1991 |1992 |1993 -------------------------------------------------------- Clwyd |469 |519 |628 |629 Dyfed |257 |279 |297 |291 Gwent |283 |297 |311 |306 Gwynedd |169 |189 |198 |194 Mid Glamorgan |234 |242 |251 |255 South Glamorgan |2,504 |2,631 |2,771 |2,760 Powys |83 |91 |93 |92 West Glamorgan |237 |263 |311 |308 |-------|-------|-------|------- Total |4,236 |4,511 |4,860 |4,835
(a) The current number of Inland Revenue employees serving in each county of Wales is as follows :
- |Number ------------------------------ Clwyd |631 Dyfed |301 Gwent |309 Gwynedd |199 Mid Glamorgan |254 South Glamorgan |2,756 Powys |92 West Glamorgan |310
The total number of Inland Revenue employees serving in Wales as a whole is 4,852.
(b) The current number of Inland Revenue employees serving in each county of Wales who are recorded as Welsh speakers is as follows :
- |Number ------------------------------ Clwyd |30 Dyfed |62 Gwent |3 Gwynedd |71 Mid Glamorgan |9 South Glamorgan |55 Powys |3 West Glamorgan |22
The total number of Inland Revenue employees who are Welsh speaking is 255.
(a) All supplies of road fuel are liable to VAT on the standard rate of 17.5 per cent. VAT is due on the total value including the excise duty.
(b&c) Supplies of fuel and power for railway locomotives and of aviation fuel are also normally liable to VAT at the standard rate of 17.5 per cent. If, unusually, the supply is of a very small quantity of fuel then it may fall within the "qualifying use" criteria set out in Schedule 5, Group 7, Note (2) of the VAT Act 1983 and, as such, by virtue of Section 42 of the Finance Act 1993, is currently liable to VAT at 8 per cent.
From 1 April 1995 these supplies will also be liable to VAT at 17.5 per cent.
(c) Supplies of fuel delivered as stores direct to non-private foreign going aircraft may be zero-rated subject to meeting the stipulated conditions.
Excise duty is levied at the following rates :
(a) Motor vehicle fuel
Leaded petrol--33.14 pence per litre
Unleaded petrol--28.32 pence per litre
Diesel road fuel--27.70 pence per litre
Gas used as road fuel--16.57 pence per liquid litre
(b) Railway locomotive fuel
Rebated gas oil (diesel)--1.64 pence per litre
Electricity--No excise duty liability
Coal--No excise duty liability
(c) Aviation fuel
Aviation gasoline--16.57 pence per litre
Aviation turbine fuel (kerosene)--Nil
Mr. David Nicholson : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received suggesting that the charging of VAT on company cars should be rescinded on legal grounds ; and if he will make a statement.
Sir John Cope : None, although I understand that a number of businesses have challenged the current United Kingdom VAT regime for cars on legal grounds. Taxation of the private use of business cars is mandatory under
Column 125Community law. Since the inception of the tax in April 1973, the United Kingdom has achieved this through restricting tax recovery on the purchase of cars. The current legal basis for this simplified procedure is article 17(6) of the sixth directive (77/388/EEC).
Mr. French : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the fiscal regime in Dublin compared with that in London as an attraction to financial institutions specialising in personal savings products.
Mr. Dorrell : No blanket assessment of the attractions of different centres is possible. The tax position of personal savings products depends on the tax rules in the state of residence of the saver as well as those in the state of origin of the product, if different, on the characteristics of the product and of any assets underlying it and on the terms of any relevant double taxation agreements. The tax rules applicable to profits of the product providers will also have some influence on their choice of location. The Government seek to put in place tax rules which are consistent with widespread purchase of United Kingdom personal savings products, most recently by changes in the Finance Act 1994 to the tax rules for authorised unit trusts.
Mr. McGrady : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what plans he has to grant compensatory payments to fishermen for loss of earnings as a result of the bad weather ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Ancram : None. The level of activity of certain sections of the Northern Ireland fleet may have been curtailed due to weather at certain times but when viewed over a longer period, that has not been to such a large extent as to justify aid.
Mr. McGrady : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many recipients in each age group became eligible for top-up payments to bring them up to the income support level after 11 April at each of the social security offices in South Down.
Mr. David Shaw : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what plans his Department has (a) to utilise the Internet, (b) to make available on the Internet press releases and other departmental information to which the public may wish to have access and (c) to use the Internet as a means of increasing the openness of his Department.
Sir John Wheeler : The Department of the Environment (NI) has adopted a registered Internet addressing scheme and is in the process of building a strategic data communications network around this, initially for inter-departmental communication only. It has
Column 126no plans at present to make available on the Internet press releases or other departmental information which the public may wish to access, nor has it any plans to use Internet as a means of increasing the openness of the Department.
Internet is one of several options currently under consideration by some departments as a possible means of providing their information systems needs for the future.
Mr. Vaz : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many (a) portable telephones, (b) pagers and electronic bleepers and (c) car telephones are currently used by his Department ; what are the annual costs of operating this equipment ; and to which personnel it is made available.
(a) Portable telephones--258 ;
(b) Pagers and electronic bleepers--310 ;
(c) Car telephones--75.
The cost of operating this equipment for the 1993-94 financial year is estimated at £146,000. The equipment is used by senior management, private office staff, security personnel, press officers, car pool/official drivers and other staff whose duties require them to be frequently absent from their base and who are required to maintain contact.
Mr. John D. Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what proposals he has to improve street lighting along the roadway from Killinchy village to Balloo crossroads ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Tim Smith : Work on the Forster Green junction improvement scheme is programmed to commence in the 1995-96 financial year subject to the continuing availability of finance and the completion of the associated statutory procedures.
Mr. Tim Smith : Work on the Comber bypass : stage 2 is programmed to commence in the 1997-98 financial year subject to the continuing availability of finance and the completion of the statutory procedures.
Mr. William Ross : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is his estimate of the number of lambs lost by farmers in Northern Ireland as a result of the adverse weather conditions this year during the lambing period.