Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list for the last five years the locations of any coastguard stations which have been closed.
Mr. Norris: In the last five years the following coastguard rescue centres have been closed: Peterhead in 1989 and Ramsey in 1989.
Mr. Spearing: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what additional works would be necessary to accommodate on the Ironbridge spanning the River Lea, on the A13 at Canning Town, the eight traffic lines of the adjacent Canning Town flyover at its slip roads.
Mr. Norris: As this is an operational matter for the Highways Agency, I have asked the chief executive of the agency to write to the hon. Member.
Letter from Lawrie Haynes to Mr. Nigel Spearing, dated 17 October 1994:
Steven Norris, the Minister for Transport in London, has asked me to write to you about your question in the House on the A13 Ironbridge at Canning Town and the additional work which would be necessary for the bridge to accommodate eight lanes.
The existing bridge is not wide enough to carry eight lanes to current standards. There is no satisfactory way of modifying the existing structure to provide the necessary width. New bridges on each side of the existing structure were, therefore, included in the published proposals for the A13 Ironbridge to Canning Town Improvement and these were examined at the public inquiry in June this year. It is now for the Secretaries of State for the Environment and Transport jointly to decide whether the proposals should proceed.
Mr. Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what provision his Department has made in its 1994 95 budget for increased site security on its construction projects.
Mr. Watts: This question relates to the operational matters of the Highways Agency. I have asked the chief executive, Mr. Lawrie Haynes, to write to the hon. Member.
Letter from Lawrie Haynes to Mr. John Spellar, dated 17 October 1994:
The Minister for Railways and Roads, Mr. John Watts, has asked me to write to you in reply to your Parliamentary Question about the provision made in 1994 95 budgets for increased site security on construction sites.
We have made no specific provision within the Agency budget for this year for any possible increased security measures that may be necessary at our road construction sites. This of course, does not mean that we fail to recognise that there have been and will continue to be problems arising out of certain actions by anti-road protestors. We accept that some sites may pose difficulties. For instance in the
Column 174case of the proposed Newbury Bypass we advised tenderers that they should allow a provisional sum of £1 million for security precautions when submitting their bids.
We shall of course advise tenderers of the need for any special security provisions at other sites where we consider this to be necessary.
Mr. Spearing: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what action he has taken to review the regulations concerning the adequacy of the attachments between the main hulls and opening bow doors of roll-on- roll off vessels, other than those part of or related to their hinge or lifting mechanisms; and under what current International Maritime Organisation requirements such doors and their fittings are constructed.
Mr. Norris: An urgent precautionary examination of the operating, locking and securing mechanism of all bow doors on roll-on-roll-off passenger ferries is being carried out. If that evaluation or any other evidence shows that the requirements are inadequate then a review of the regulations will be undertaken. Regulations 10, 20, and 23 2 of chapter II- 1 of the international convention on the safety of life at sea 1974, and regulation 1 of the international convention on load lines 1966, apply to bow doors.
Mr. Spearing: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will take action to ascertain the proportion of private cars moving on the M25, at (a) normal and (b) peak flows where overall costs are met, in whole or in part, by means other than the taxable income of their owners or drivers.
Mr. Watts: This information is not available from the Department's travel survey data in the form requested. Relevant statistical information on company assistance with travel is available from both the 1991 London area travel survey and the national travel survey. In both cases, however, information is collected from household surveys and is generally used in the form of percentages of persons or households receiving such assistance.
The LATS survey results enable the identification of company car trips using the M25 during the course of the trip, but only for cars owned by London residents, who account for a third of car driver trips using the M25. This cannot be converted into proportion of M25 traffic flows. There are no current plans to collect this information.
Mr. Barnes: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will publish the research conducted by the Transport Research Laboratory into the effectiveness of side-impact bars in motor vehicles.
Nr. Norris [holding answer 21 July 1994]: The Transport Research Laboratory presented papers on its extensive work on side impact at several conferences between 1987 and 1989. None related specifically to side impact bars but a very stiff-sided car was tested and was not found to be the best solution. I will arrange for copies to be sent to the hon. Member.
Mr. Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what is the Government's policy in respect of maximising the underused capacity of Stansted airport.
Mr. Norris [holding answer 21 July 1994]: The Government wish to see best use made of Stansted's capacity by airlines able and willing to use the airport. There are substantial traffic rights for flights to and from Stansted, but decisions on which services to provide must be a question for airlines based on their own commercial judgment. The Government recently announced that they were opening up Stansted further to transatlantic flights by United Kingdom and United States airlines to any point in the US.
Mr. Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) if he will make available the consultation document entitled "Civil Enclave at RAF Northolt" and other related statements relating to the facilities and possible wider civil use of RAF Northolt to the inspector who is conducting the inquiry into the application by the British Airports Authority for an additional terminal at Heathrow; (2) if he will publish the consultation document entitled "Civil Enclave at RAF Northolt";
(3) to whom the consultation document entitled "Civil Enclave at RAF Northolt" has been circulated and made available.
Mr. Norris [holding answer 21 July 1994]: The consultation document on a civil enclave at RAF Northolt was circulated to business aviation interests who expressed an interest in use of RAF Northolt, and to business aviation organisations. It was made available to all other interested parties for information and a copy of the document was placed in the House Library. The consultation period ended on 19 August.
If the inspector at the terminal 5 inquiry considers it relevant, my Department will naturally provide a copy of the consultation document.
Mr. Alfred Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) pursuant to his answer of 6 July, Official Report, column 256 , if the Minister's letter on the subject to the chief executive of Manchester airport of 14 July was drafted before the parliamentary reply; what representations there have been from Manchester airport about the Minister's letter; and if he will make a statement; (2) when he now expects to respond to the third report of the Transport Committee HC (1993 94) 47 in regard to liberalising access to Manchester airport and other airports outside the south-east of England; and if he will make a statement;
(3) what further representations his Department has had from the chief executive of Manchester airport in regard to liberalising access to the airport; what action he will be taking; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Norris [holding answer 21 July 1994]: I have written to the right hon. Member.
Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many people are currently employed by (a) the Driving Standards Agency, (b) the Vehicle Inspectorate, (c) the Transport Research Laboratory, (d) the Coastguard Agency and (e) the Marine Safety
Column 176Agency; and how many jobs have been lost in each of those agencies in each year since 1979.
Dr. Mawinney [holding answer 21 July 1994]: Figures for manpower in each year since the agency concerned was set up are shown in table A1.2.2 of "Transport Report 1994".
Mr. Spearing: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport in relation to paragraph 13 of his departmental explanatory memorandum to the proposal COM (94) 106 of the Commission of the European Economic Community for a system for trans-European transport networks under which article of the treaties, under which voting rules, and in which Council of Ministers decision will be made as to the level of financial support for particular parts of the designated networks.
Dr. Mawhinney [holding answer 21 July 1994]: Financial support for projects on the trans-European transport network may be provided under a number of existing Community instruments, including the structural and cohesion funds, where appropriate, and via the European Investment bank and European investment fund, as well as from national Government and private sector sources. Specific provision for the funding of projects of common interest on the network was made in article 129c of the treaty on European union. Under this provision the Commission has put forward a draft financing regulation covering projects in the telecommunications and energy sectors as well as transport. This is now under consideration in the Council. As currently proposed, voting in the Committee of Member States to be established by the regulation, and where necessary in the Council, would be by qualified majority.
Mr. Pike: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what action his Department is currently taking to survey (i) road directional signs and (ii) other road signs in relation to their condition and clarity on (a) motorways, (b) other trunk roads and (c) other roads; and if he will make a statement.
Mr Watts: As this is now an operational matter for the Highways Agency, the chief executive will write to the hon. Member. Letter from Lawrie Haynes to Mr. Peter Pike, dated 18 October 1994:
You asked the Secretary of State for information on the maintenance of road signs. As this is now an operational matter for the Highways Agency, I am replying to your question.
The routine inspection and maintenance of traffic signs on the motorway and trunk road network are undertaken by the Highways Agency's agent authorities - mainly county councils - acting on its behalf. Standards are set by Codes of Practice issued by the Department and the Agency.
The Highways Agency has produced a Road User's Charter which specifically states that road signs will be cleaned and maintained in order to be clear and visible at all times. Levels of performance by our agents in applying the standards are therefore monitored against the objectives of the Charter and the terms of the formal agency agreements.
For other roads the responsibility rests directly with the local highways authorities. Neither the Department nor the Agency has any powers to instruct them how to maintain their road signs but
Column 177they are encouraged to keep signs in good order and clear, especially in winter.
I hope this information is helpful.
Mr. Illsley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to his answer of 28 June, Official Report , column 479 , what is the average costs assessed by his Department of (a) building one mile of new dual carriageway trunk road, (b) building one mile of new single carriageway trunk road, (c) equipping one mile of dual carriageway trunk road with safety barriers, (d) equipping one mile of single carriageway trunk road with safety barriers, (e) equipping one mile of dual carriageway trunk road with lighting, (e) equipping one mile single carriageway trunk road with lighting, (g) a single case of serious injury requiring temporary hospitalisation caused by a road accident, (h) a single case of serious injury requiring permanent hospitalisation caused by a road accident and (i) a single case of death caused by a road accident; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Watts: This question relates to operational matters of the Highways Agency. I have asked the chief executive, Mr. Lawrie Haynes, to write to the hon. Member.
Letter from Lawrie Haynes to Mr. Eric Illsley, dated 18 October 1994:
The Minister for Railways and Roads, Mr. John Watts, has asked me to write to you in reply to your recent Parliamentary Question concerning road construction and accident costs.
The road construction cost information is shown below at 1993 prices
Road Type |Average Building|Safety Fencing |Lighting |cost -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 2 lane dual all purpose |£5.5 million |£44,000 |£86,000 Single carriageway |£2.2 million |£10,000 |£50,000
The cost of building a road varies from site to site and is dependent on the standard of provision. The above figures are average costs per mile including safety fencing and lighting but do not include the cost of design or VAT. The total length of safety fencing provided varies from scheme to scheme, depending on the type of barrier, type of scheme and obstacles crossed; the costs given are based on average cost of providing safety fencing in the past. The information on the cost of injuries is not available in the format you requested; however, there are standard monetary values for use in valuing the savings of accidents and these cover fatal, serious and slight injuries. A fatal injury is defined as one which results in a death within 30 days of a road accident. A serious injury is one which results in the person involved being detained as an "in-patient" or sustaining fractures, crushings etc. requiring medical treatment, including those causing death after 30 days of a road accident. A slight injury is defined as one which is other than those classified as fatal or serious.
The values for these injuries at 1992 prices are given below:
Injuries --------------------------- Fatal |£715,330 Serious |£74,480 Slight |£6,080
Ms. Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list those sites of special scientific interest which
Column 178fall within section 28 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 in respect of which he has informed the Nature Conservation Agency of road building proposals.
Mr. Watts: This question relates to the operational matters of the Highways Agency. I have asked the chief executive, Mr. Lawrie Haynes, to write to the hon. Member.
Letter from Lawrie Haynes to Ms. Joan Walley, dated 18 October 1994:
The Minister for Railways and Roads, Mr. John Watts, has asked me to write to you in reply to your Parliamentary Question about the list of Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) in respect of which the Nature Conservation agency has been informed of road building proposals.
The statutory body with responsibility for SSSIs is English Nature. They are consulted during the development of all schemes in the Trunk Road Programme and all trunk road improvement schemes which may affect a SSI. English Nature have been informed that the SSIs on the list at Annex A may be affected by the announced preferred route.
Mr. Robert Banks: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many times repairs and works have been carried out on that section of the A1 known as the Doncaster bypass during the last 10 years; and on which dates disruption to traffic flows was necessitated.
Mr. Watts: This is an operational matter for the Highways Agency and I have asked the chief executive to write to my hon. Friend. Letter from Lawrie Haynes to Mr. Robert Banks, dated 18 October 1994:
The Minister for Railways and Roads, Mr John Watts, has asked me to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about road works during the last 10 years on the Doncaster Bypass. This is an operational matter for which the Highways Agency is responsible.
I have taken the Doncaster Bypass to be the 17 mile motorway stretch of the A1 between Blyth and Redhouse which was built about 30 years ago and has been undergoing phased reconstruction since 1987 to ensure that it remains safe to carry the large volumes of traffic which use it and, in some places, to deal with the effects of mining subsidence.
The stages in this reconstruction work were planned to maximise the life of the carriageway while limiting the length under repair at any one time so as to minimise disruption to traffic flows. The stages have been as follows:
J34 J35 (Blyth to Wadworth)
1985 86--southern section, southbound carriageway resurfaced to extend its life;
June--October 1990: southern section, northbound carriageway reconstructed;
December 1991--April 1992: central section reconstructed and June 1992-- November 1992: northern section reconstructed. J35 (Wadworth)
June--August 1991 short section reconstructed near the intersection.
J35 36 (Wadworth to Warmsworth)
October 1990--May 1991: reconstructed.
June--November 1989: southern section reconstructed;
June--October 1994 northern section reconstructed. This contract was completed three weeks early on 15 October.
Column 179J37 J38 (Marr--Redhouse)
December 1987--May 1988: reconstructed
May--August 1990: repairs to Leys Hill Bridge.
Two further contracts will be needed later this financial year to complete the programme of reconstruction and repair on the Doncaster Bypass. These are:
J34 J35: southern section, southbound carriageway reconstruction (starting February 1995); and
J36 J37: reconstruction of Albert Road Bridge (starting December 1994).
In the second case, all traffic lanes will be kept open by using the hard shoulder.
In all cases these essential maintenance and repair works have been planned and carried out to minimise disruption to traffic flow. We also publicise schemes in advance so that road users can plan their journeys to avoid any likely delays, especially at peak times. For your information, I enclose a copy of our current leaflet about road works in Yorkshire and Humberside.
Mr. Spearing: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what plans he has (a) to modify or amend the Gas Acts that require gas undertakings to maintain a specified standard of service and safety and (b) to make changes to the standards themselves.
Mr. Eggar: The Government intend, subject to the availability of parliamentary time, to introduce legislation to provide the basis for the new regulatory system for gas supply to come into operation by April 1996.
We envisage requiring all gas suppliers to adhere to certain core standards of service. These would include codes of practice for providing special services for older and disabled customers, debt and disconnection procedures and the provision of energy efficiency advice. Safety procedures are separately regulated by the Health and Safety Commission.
Dr. Godman: To ask the President of the Board of Trade (1) if he will list the designated shipyards which are able to seek financial assistance by way of the European Community's seventh directive and the shipbuilding intervention fund;
(2) if he will list the United Kingdom shipyards which have received financial assistance by way of the European Community's seventh directive on the shipbuilding intervention fund since 1 January 1993; what were the amounts paid to each yard; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Eggar: To be eligible for shipbuilding intervention fund assistance, a yard must be a merchant shipbuilder and have built merchant ships of 100 gross registered tonnes or more during the three years prior to the date of an application. There is no designated list of eligible yards, but certain yards designated as warship yards and sold by British Shipbuilders prior to 1987 are excluded from assistance. DTI Ministers obtained the European Commission's approval exceptionally for intervention funding for the Swan Hunter warship yard for the construction of commercial vessels.
Column 180To provide the names of those shipyards which have received assistance, and the amounts paid to them, would breach the Department's commercial confidentiality rules.
Shipbuilding intervention fund payments to United Kingdom merchant shipyards since 1 January 1993 amount to nearly £22 million.
Mr. Devlin: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what level of support he has offered the West of England development agency.
Mr. Eggar: I am pleased to announce that in addition to the grants for the regional development organisations announced on 17 March and 17 April, I offered on 26 August £100,000 of grant in aid to the new West of England development agency for its overseas inward investment activities, covering the west of England--Avon, Dorset,
Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire. The grant in aid is linked to the performance of specific inward investment promotion activities on behalf of the Invest in Britain bureau.
The West of England development agency is an initiative by the West of England Partnership to establish for the first time an inward investment agency for the West of England. The centre is being set up with support from county economic partnerships of Avon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire, covering local authorities, training and enterprise councils, chambers of commerce, the Confederation of British Industry, the Trade Union Congress and the private sector, and my Department. Its aims are to attract inward investment on behalf of the five counties and to promote the west of England to enhance economic prosperity throughout the region.
Mr. Devlin: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what targets he has set his Department's radiocommunications agency for 1994 95.
Mr. Heseltine: The targets I have set my Department's radiocommunications agency for 1994 95 appear on pages 13 and 14 of its annual reports and accounts for 1993 94, which were laid before the House yesterday.
Mr. Devlin: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what targets he has set his Department's accounts services agency for 1994 95.
Mr. Heseltine: On 11 February 1994, Official Report, columns 505-6 , my hon. Friend, the Minister for Industry and Energy announced that the services provided to the Department by its accounts services agency were to be contracted out. To ensure that it has a range of targets to focus on whilst this process is being completed, I have set it the following targets for 1994 95. They also appear in the agency's annual report and accounts for 1993 94 which were laid before the House on 13 July 1994 (HC523):
To continue to recover its full costs from income for customer work;
To fulfil its operational commitments without calling on the Department to provide a net cash requirement in vote terms;
Column 181To achieve a 4 per cent. unit cost reduction over last year based on a mix of services that are provided. The percentage reduction achieved by 30 September to be at least two per cent.;
To make 97 per cent. of all payments within three working days of receipt of the authorisation to pay;
To bank all cheques within 36 hours of receipt by the agency, with at least 75 per cent. of cheques being banked within eight hours of receipt.
At the end of each month to ensure that all notified transactions are properly recorded on the Department's financial management information system by the start of the fifth working day of the following month; that operating statements are produced and despatched by the start of the sixth working day of the following month.
In addition, I expect the chief executive of the agency to continue to reply within 10 working days to all letters from Members of Parliament delegated to him for reply.