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Mr. Norris: More stringent standards will be introduced into the MOT test for existing vehicles from 1996. However, it would be unreasonable to expect a vehicle to comply with more stringent in-service emissions levels than it was originally designed to meet.
Mr. Purchase: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what steps he is taking to ensure that used tyres are subjected to safety testing before re-sale;
(2) what steps he is taking to ensure that suppliers of used tyres can be readily identified in cases of tyre failure.
(3) what additional measures he is considering to protect motorists from the sale of unmarked, untested and potentially unsafe used tyres.
Mr. Norris: On 24 October, the Government went out to consultation on draft safety regulations to be made under the Consumer Protection Act 1987 which will supplement that Act by making it an offence to sell or otherwise supply in the course of business any part-worn tyre that is defective. Enforcement against suppliers will be by trading standards officers at point of sale, and the onus will be on dealers to comply.
Mr. Purchase: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will take measures to ensure that imported used tyres conform to the appropriate EU safety levels.
Mr. Norris: There are no EU standards for part-worn tyres.
Mr. Hanson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what advice his Department gives to users of lap style seat belts in order to promote their safe utilisation.
Mr. Norris: Our advice is contained in the departmental publication "Choosing Safety".
Mr. Hanson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list the figures, for the years since compulsory wearing of rear seat belts was introduced, for the rate of injury to passengers wearing lap style seat belts, where it has been shown that injury was occasioned or worsened by the seat belt.
Mr. Norris: The information requested is not available.
Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to introduce more bus lanes and to ensure they are policed effectively.
Mr. Norris: The implementation of bus lanes is a matter for the local highway authority, and their enforcement is a matter for the police. My Department has issued comprehensive advice to local authorities to encourage them to consider introducing more bus priority measures.
Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to co-operate with the oil industry and vehicle manufacturers to develop specifications for cleaner fuels.
Mr. Norris: Research on emissions, fuels and engine
technologies--the EPEFE programme--is being undertaken by the European oil and motor industries in conjunction with the European Commission. This is looking extensively into the potential benefits that future vehicle and fuel technology can play in reducing vehicle pollution. It includes an examination of a range of different fuel types. The results, which are due in 1995, will provide an authoritative basis for European discussions for determining future EU fuel and engine requirements.
Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what facilities for disabled access exist at Portland house; what measures he is taking to improve facilities for disabled access; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Norris: Ramps suitable for wheelchairs are available at the Stag place entrance and at changes in floor levels within the building. Suitable parking facilities are also available.
Mr. Meacher: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what financial gain he estimates will accrue to Blue Circle Industries as a result of his decision to locate the intermediate station for the channel tunnel fast rail track at Ebbsfleet.
Mr. Watts: I have made no such estimates.
Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list for each of the last five years the number of staff dismissed with regard to (a) reason for dismissal, (b) grade, (c) gender and (d) ethnic origin.
Mr. Norris: The numbers and grades of staff dismissed, and the reason for dismissal, over the past five years is set out below:
Year |Grade |Inefficiency|Misconduct ----------------------------------------------------------------- 1990 |AA |- |1 |AO |- |5 |TE |1 |- |DE |1 |- |BAND 4 |- |1 1991 |AA |- |<1>1+1 |AO |- |<1>3+1 |DE |- |3 |TE |- |1 1991 |SSO |- |1 |G7 |1 |- |SH/SURV |1 |- 1992 |AA |2 |5 |AO |1 |2 |EO |1 |1 |PTO |1 |- |DE |- |1 |SSO |- |1 1993 |AA |- |3 |EO |1 |- |PTO |2 |1 |HPTO |1 |- |BAND6 |- |1 |CGWO |1 |- |DE |- |1 |AVE |- |1 |SEN.CRAFT |1 |- 1994 |AA |3 |- |AO |3 |1 |TYPIST |- |1 |DE |- |1 <1> Not recorded. The further information requested could only be provided at disproportionate cost.
Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many (a) top secret and (b) secret files his Department holds.
(b) approximately 1,200
Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list the measures he is taking to implement the recommendations given in the occupational health notice received by his Department in respect of the Whitehall II study.
Mr. Norris: Occupational health notice 93/3 gave advice on approaches which Departments and agencies might address in dealing with sickness absence. The Department of Transport continues to be committed to the "Look After Your Heart" programme, to which it signed up to 1989. Smoking policy in the Department has recently been reviewed and revised. In addition, the Department has recently offered its staff a free medical examination in a nationwide health screening programme.
Mrs. Roche: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what has been the cost of introducing the Archway road red route.
Mr. Norris: The cost of the eight mile red route pilot scheme was about £5 million.
Mrs. Roche: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what has been the total cost so far of introducing red routes in London.
Mr. Norris: About £16 million including works on the red route pilot scheme and preparation for the introduction of red routes elsewhere.
Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make it his policy to introduce design standards for the construction of new bypasses that provide only for the traffic flows which will be diverted from the town or village bypassed, not for further large growth of traffic.
Mr. Watts: To achieve the planned environmental benefits, bypasses must be designed in accordance with the best available assessment of future traffic flows.
Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) how many spot checks have been carried out, how many heavy goods vehicles and public service vehicles were inspected and how many defect and prohibition notices were issued in the north-west region in the last two years;
(2) how many vehicle spot checks were carried out by the Vehicle Inspectorate in (a) the north-west region and (b) the Cheshire region in each of the last five years.
Mr. Norris: This is an operational matter for the Vehicle Inspectorate. The Chief Executive has written to the hon. Member. Letter from Ron Oliver to Mrs. Gwyneth Dunwoody, dated 21 November 1994:
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your questions about vehicle spot checks in the North West region and in the county of Cheshire. Unfortunately the Inspectorate cannot provide data on a county by county basis because the Road Transport Enforcement division is organised into 23 area groups--these do not correspond with county boundaries. However, regional data is available. Table 1 gives a breakdown of the total number of roadworthiness spot checks of heavy goods (HGVs) and public service vehicles (PSVs) in the North West region. Vehicles are subject to spot checks at the roadside and, in the case of HGVs and PSVs, at operators' premises.
Table 1 |HGV and PSV |Operator |roadside spot |licensing fleet|Car and LGV Year |checks |check |spot checks |Total ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 1989-90 |16,296 |9,442 |<1>- |25,738 1990-91 |17,890 |9,671 |<1>- |27,561 1991-92 |21,762 |12,658 |5,680 |40,100 1992-93 |29,127 |13,852 |5,341 |48,320 1993-94 |27,919 |13,008 |10,309 |51,236 <1> This information can only be provided at disproportionate cost.
The hon. Lady asked a further question on the total number of spot checks carried out on HGVs and PSVs in the north west region, and the number of prohibition and defect notices issued. The information is summarised in table 2 below.
K Table 2 Vehicle type |Number of spot|Number of |Number of and year |checks |prohibitions |defect notices --------------------------------------------------------------------------- HGVs 1992-93 |36,889 |3,902 |7,376 1993-94 |34,087 |3,634 |7,273 PSVs 1992-93 |6,090 |507 |1,289 1993-94 |6,840 |658 |1,389
I hope this information is sufficient, but if the hon. Lady has any further questions about the inspectorate's operations please contact me at the above address.
Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many health and safety committees there are (a) in each executive agency of his Department and (b) the Department as a whole.
Mr. Norris: A number of such committees exist; but my Department does not keep a central record of the safety committees in each executive agency or in the Department as a whole. Where requested, safety committees are established in accordance with legislative requirements.
Mrs. Helen Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what changes there have been over the last 10 years regarding requirements to fit bicycle bells on push bicycles; and what are the current legal requirements.
Mr. Norris: None. It is not mandatory to fit bicycle bells at present, but we shall be reviewing the situation shortly when we update the relevant safety and construction and use regulations.
Dr. Twinn: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to adopt Sustrans national cycle network as part of the Government's sustainable transport policy; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Norris: I recently attended the launch by Sustrans of its proposals for a network of recreational cycle routes. Routes of this kind will open up opportunities for people to use bicycles both for leisure and to keep fit--as well as for utility journeys. Sustrans has offered me a detailed presentation shortly; I shall then be able to see how its project could help our objectives.
Mr. McWilliam: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what proposals he has received, and from whom, to increase safety on the A1 southward from Blaydon bridge to the Washington service area.
Mr. McWilliam: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what expenditure his Department has incurred in testing and development on his Department's proposals
Column 124to produce a new route for the A1 between the Washington service area and Blaydon bridge.
Mr. Watts: This is an operational matter for the Highways Agency. I have asked the chief executive to the hon. member.
Letter from Lawrie Haynes to Mr. John McWilliam, dated 22 November 1994:
You tabled two questions about the A1 between Washington Service Area and Blaydon Bridge.
As this is an operational matter relating to the Highways Agency I have been asked to reply.
The Agency constantly monitors conditions on the A1 Trunk Road and improvement schemes are brought forward when necessary in conjunction with the Local Highways Authorities who act as our Agents.
As part of these procedures our agents Gateshead MBC produced a safety report on the A1 in their area. Subsequently a number of short and medium term schemes to improve safety have been completed. These are lane drop/merge signs, temporary warning signs, central safety fence, northbound third lane and a lighting scheme.
For the longer term schemes under consideration are junction improvements the introduction of a sign gantry at the MetroCentre, the provision of a third lane southbound at Dunston and a queue detection variable message sign system over the route.
Expenditure incurred to date on the proposed A1 Gateshead Bypass improvement scheme is £2.3 million. This figure includes the costs of working up all the route options taken to public consultation and the suggested alternatives including the Gateshead MBC proposal.
Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what is the difference in benzene emissions between leaded petrol, premium unleaded petrol and super premium unleaded petrol; and what is the source of the figures.
(2) if he will make a statement on the difference in the aromatics content of leaded petrol, premium unleaded petrol and super premium unleaded petrol; and what is the source of the figures.
Mr. Norris: Benzene in petrol is controlled at 5 per cent. maximum by EC directive and data from the Associated Octel Company show that United Kingdom fuels average some 2 per cent. to 3 per cent. with no significant trends between the various grades. The same data show that the average aromatic content of unleaded petrol in the United Kingdom is slightly higher than of leaded petrol although, in many cases, samples of leaded petrol may have a higher armomatic content than samples of unleaded petrol.
Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if his Department carries out independent analyses of the contents of leaded, unleaded and super premium
Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport in what respects the contents of petrol supplied from refineries in different areas of the United Kingdom differ; and what statistics the Government maintain on the source and content of petrol.
Mr. Norris: Information regarding the content of petrol from different refineries is not available. The Government do not routinely maintain statistics on the source and content of petrol.
Mr. Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he or his predecessors have exercised their powers under section 5(8) of the Pilotage Act 1987; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Norris: Yes. The Pilotage Act (Cessation of Temporary Arbitration Arrangements) Order and Regulations 1991--SI 1991 No. 1959--was made under section 5(8) of the Pilotage Act 1987, to have effect from 1 October 1991.
Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement indicating what is the total annual weight and volume of benzene emissions from petrol-driven vehicles for the latest period for which statistics are available; and what percentage of total atmospheric benzene such emissions represents.
Mr. Norris: The latest available figures from 1991 show that benzene emissions from vehicle exhausts account for some 39,250 tonnes per year, or 78 per cent. of total atmospheric emissions. Evaporative emissions of benzene from petrol vehicles accounts for some 3,350 tonnes per year, or 7 per cent. of total atmospheric emissions.
Mr. Rooker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the charging policy of his Department and the agencies for which he is responsible in respect of inquiries under the code of practice on access to Government.
Mr. Norris: In line with guidance on charging produced by the Office of Public Service and Science, which recognises the diversity of cost and operational structure across the range of bodies implementing the code, my Department has developed the following scheme of charges for information under the code of practice on access to Government information.
Requests which require less than half a day's work to answer are dealt with free of charge. Where a request involves more extensive work, a charge is set based on the hourly rate for the grade of officer responding and the additional time dedicated to the response.
Mr. Tyler: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to open a channel tunnel to Scotland route for piggy-back rail freight.
Mr. Watts: The development of piggy-back rail freight routes is a matter which potential operators are taking forward with Railtrack.
Mr. Tyler: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what plans he has to ensure that the structure and operation of the privatised rail industry leads to a much greater use of rail by passengers and freight;
(2) if he will make it his policy to ensure that sales of British Rail freight subsidiaries to the private sector take place on terms which create the most favourable prospects for increasing rail's share of the freight market.
Mr. Watts: Open access to the rail network for passenger and freight services will enhance competitiveness. Freight facilities grant and track access grant will enhance the competitive position of rail freight over road where environmentally justified. The rail freight businesses will be privatised by means of competitive sale. Privately owned operating companies will have greater financial freedom, more incentive to improve efficiency and respond to passengers' and customers' needs, and greater opportunity to diversify into new markets.
Mr. Tyler: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to broaden the role of the standing advisory committee on trunk road assessment to include the development of appropriate appraisal techniques to ensure consistency of evaluation methods as between the different transport modes.
Mr. Watts: The standing advisory committee on trunk road assessment's role is reviewed from time to time.
Mr. Tyler: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to promote the development of electric power for public transport or fleet vehicles which operate in urban areas.
Mr. Norris: The Department is leading a collaborative programme of trials involving electricity and other popular alternative fuels as announced by my hon. Friend the Member for Salisbury (Mr. Key) to my hon. Friend the Member for Aylesbury (Mr. Lidington) on 21 March, Official Report, column 9.
Mr. Rooker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will publish the information available to him regarding the numbers of accidents involving vehicles during the driving test giving details of vehicles written off, injuries to driving examiners and absence from work of driving examiners as a result of accidents while carrying out a driving test for the latest convenient period.
Mr. Norris: The information requested is not available.
Mr. Tyler: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make it his policy to ensure that any revenue raised from urban road pricing schemes is used to finance the enhancement of public transport.
Mr. Watts: This is one of many issues which my right hon. Friend will consider before reaching any conclusions on urban road pricing.
Mr. Tyler: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what action he is taking to ensure the continued availability of integrated travel information and timetables after the privatisation of rail and bus services.
Mr. Watts: Station operators are required by their station operators licence to provide impartial information about all services using their station. Passenger service operators will be required by their franchise agreements to
Column 127provide information about other operators services which interconnect with theirs.
Railtrack is responsible for producing a working timetable and to secure the publication of a national timetable.
The provision of bus timetables and travel information after the privatisation of London Transport's bus operating companies will remain the responsibility of London Transport. Outside London, local authorities have powers to provide co-ordinated timetables.
Mr. Tyler: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what action he is taking to ensure the continued availability of through-tickets and travelcards after the privatisation of rail and bus services.
Mr. Watts: The continuation of through-ticketing after rail privatisation is ensured through provisions in section 4 of the Railways Act 1993. The Franchising Director will require franchisees to participate in multimodal travel schemes such as travelcard so long as he is satisfied that participation will result in no new net cost falling on his budget.
The overall structure of fares and ticketing on London's buses will remain the responsibility of London Transport after privatisation, thus ensuring the continued availability of London travelcard. Outside London, bus operators are free to introduce multi-operator tickets so long as they do not amount to anti-competitive price fixing arrangements. Local authorities and passenger transport authorities also have powers to organise multi- operator travelcard.
Mr. Tyler: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what studies he has made of the desirability of high vehicle-occupancy lanes.
Mr. Norris: I have noted experience overseas, including the United States of America and the Netherlands. I am considering the scope for introducing a trial here.