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Unmanned Crossings

Mr. David Porter: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement about the accident between a minibus and a train on the East Suffolk line at the Brampton level crossing on 21 December 1994; and what changes he is proposing to order for unmanned crossings as a consequence.

Mr. Watts: The collision between the 09.05 Ipswich to Lowestoft Sprinter train and a camper van occurred at about 10.15 am on 21 December on the automatic, open-level crossing at Brampton station, Suffolk. There was no derailment nor any injury to those on board the train. The driver of the van was seriously injured and was taken to hospital; the passengers, six children, were shaken but uninjured. The Health and Safety Executive's railway inspectorate and Railtrack are investigating the circumstances of this collision. There are no plans to alter the protection at this crossing at present. Railtrack and the Health and Safety Executive will continue to conduct publicity campaigns and research on level crossing safety.

Opencast Coal (Transport)

Mr. Dafis: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to ensure the transport of opencast coal by rail rather than road.

Mr. Watts: It is for local authorities to consider the use of rail and other alternatives to road when appraising planning applications for opencast coal extraction. The Government provide grants for the use of rail for freight where justified by environmental and other benefits.

Rail Freight

Ms Quin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what volume and value of freight was carried by British railways for each of the last 10 years.

Mr. Watts: This information is contained in tables 1.12 and 5.11 of "Transport Statistics Great Britain 1994", a copy of which has been placed in the Library.

Questions

Mr. Ainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what was the reason for the delay in replying in full to the hon. Member for Pembroke's question, tabled on 17 November 1994, for which the hon. Member received a holding answer on 23 November 1994.

Mr. Norris: A number of errors occurred in the processing of this question. I am writing to the hon. Member with full details and an apology.

Railway Station, Stratford

Mr. Campbell-Savours: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport on how many occasions and on what dates he, Ministers or former Ministers in his Department met persons in Stratford, London, to discuss matters relating to the implications of building a new railway station at Stratford.

Dr. Mawhinney: There have been numerous meetings between present and former Ministers in my Department and persons interested in the implications of providing a station on the channel tunnel rail link at Stratford. I will be


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meeting representatives of the Stratford Promoter Group shortly about their proposals for a station.

Mr. Campbell-Savours: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport on how many occasions and on what dates he or Ministers or former Ministers in his Department informally met representatives of Decision Makers Ltd. to discuss matters relating to the development of a station at Stratford.

Dr. Mawhinney: Neither I nor my ministerial colleagues have held any such meetings to discuss matters relating to the development of a station at Stratford; records of the informal meetings of former Ministers are not kept by my Department.

Mr. Campbell-Savours: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport on how many occasions in the last six months civil servants in his Department met persons representative of interests in Stratford to discuss matters relating to proposals for a new Stratford station.

Dr. Mawhinney: There have been many meetings between officials in my Department and persons whose interests include a station on the channel tunnel rail link at Stratford.

Railway Station, Ebbsfleet

Mr. Campbell-Savours: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport on what date he was personally briefed on Ebbsfleet by

representatives of Decision Makers Ltd. either formally or informally.

Dr. Mawhinney: I have received no such briefing.

Through Ticketing

Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many stations in (a) Grampian region, (b) Tayside region, (c) Highland region, (d) Scotland and (e) England will be capable of selling tickets to all destinations in the United Kingdom under the proposals published by the Rail Regulator, what is the ratio of stations to head of population for each of these areas, and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Watts. [holding answer 20 January 1995]: The number of stations capable of selling tickets to all destinations will be unchanged.

The Rail Regulator is currently consulting on a range of options for ticket retailing obligations at stations. No decisions on the number of stations required to sell through tickets will be made until the consultations exercise is completed.

WALES

Civil Servant Travel

Mr. Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales which airlines have been granted preferred carrier status for civil servant travel to overseas destinations.

Mr. Gwilym Jones: The Welsh Office has not granted preferred carrier status to any airline. The preferred carrier for any particular civil servant's travel depends on the circumstances of the journey concerned and the value for money.


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Farm Hygiene Inspections

Mr. Ieuan Wyn Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many farms were visited by Agricultural Development Advisory Service officers for the purposes of carrying out hygiene inspections in Wales in each year since 1990.

Mr. Gwilym Jones: The number of dairy farm hygiene inspection visits undertaken by ADAS in Wales is as follows--in financial years:


Year                        |Number       

------------------------------------------

1990-91                     |2,721        

1991-92                     |2,888        

1992-93                     |2,557        

1993-94                     |2,790        

1994-95-to 31 December 1994 |1,939        

Opencast Mining

Mr. Dafis: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will publish a list of all sites for which approval has been sought for opencast mining operations, or on which opencast mining is currently taking place, indicating the latest estimate of annual tonnage extracted.

Mr. Gwilym Jones: This information is not held centrally.

Mr. Dafis: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will publish the total volume of opencast coal mined in Wales for each year since 1975 together with its percentage share of the total volume of coal mined and his comparable estimates for the next five years.

Mr. Gwilym Jones: Figures for the production of opencast coal are not held centrally. However, the County Planning Officers Society has published figures from 1983 84. The figures relating to Wales are as follows:


              |Thousand     |Percentage of              

Year          |tonnes       |UK total                   

--------------------------------------------------------

1983-84       |1,547        |10.5                       

1984-85       |1,738        |11.7                       

1985-86       |2,174        |14.2                       

1986-87       |1,522        |10.4                       

1987-88       |1,677        |10.3                       

1988-89       |1,748        |9.7                        

1989-90       |2,088        |11.2                       

1990-91       |1,865        |10.2                       

1991-92       |2,402        |12.6                       

1992-93       |2,423        |13.6                       

1993-94       |2,504        |15.4                       

The future production of opencast coal in Wales will depend on the commercial plans of the coal operators and planning decisions.

Dental Services

Mr. Ainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many salaried dentists were employed by each family health service authority in Wales in December 1994; and how many unfilled vacancies there were.

Mr. Richards: On 1 December 1994 there were three salaried dentists in post in Dyfed, Gwynedd and Powys. There were three unfilled vacancies in Gwynedd.


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Mr. Ainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many dentists in Wales were providing NHS treatment in each of the family health services authority areas in each year since December 1990.

Mr. Richards: Information, relating to the number of dentists at 30 September, is given in the table:


Number of dentists providing NHS treatment<1> 

FHSA            |1990|1991|1992|1993|1994     

----------------------------------------------

Clwyd           |111 |105 |102 |114 |117      

Dyfed           |98  |101 |105 |104 |105      

Gwent           |125 |139 |135 |135 |138      

Gwynedd         |69  |65  |66  |67  |66       

Mid Glamorgan   |134 |123 |133 |126 |125      

Powys           |34  |36  |35  |34  |33       

South Glamorgan |131 |129 |127 |133 |133      

West Glamorgan  |135 |134 |128 |130 |132      

                                              

Wales           |837 |832 |831 |843 |849      

<1>Principals, assistants and vocational      

trainees. Each dentist is included in the     

FHSA in which the majority of time is spent.  

Mr. Ainger : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how much was spent on providing the services of salaried dentists, including all establishment costs, employed by each Welsh family health services authority in 1992 93, 1993 94 and to date in 1994 95.

Mr. Richards: Expenditure on salaried dentists has been incurred by three FHSAs in Wales. Details of these are as follows:


                            |1994-95                    

              |1993-94      |(to 31.12.94)              

              |£            |£                          

--------------------------------------------------------

Dyfed FHSA:   |16,553       |17,271                     

 Remuneration |66,789       |28,206                     

                                                        

 Expenses     |83,342       |45,477                     

                                                        

Gwynedd FHSA: |18,228       |18,702                     

 Remuneration |83,103       |20,231                     

                                                        

 Expenses     |101,331      |38,933                     

                                                        

Powys FHSA:                                             

 Remuneration |nil          |18,920                     

                                                        

Expenses      |nil          |14,620                     

                                                        

Wales         |184,673      |117,950                    

Sources: FHSA annual accounts for 1992-93, 1993-94,     

FHSA FIS returns for December 1994 and FHSA capital     

budgets for salaried dentists for 1993-94 and 1994-95.  

Cormorants and Goosanders

Mr. Ainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what requests he has from individuals and organisations to issue licences to shoot cormorants and goosanders on any Welsh river other than the River Wye; and what has been his decision in response to those requests.

Mr. Gwilym Jones: Very few applications have been received to kill birds on other rivers in Wales in recent years and no licences have been issued.

Mr. Ainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales when the first licences were issued for the shooting of cormorants and goosanders on the River Wye.


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Mr. Gwilym Jones: On 14 December 1994.

Mr. Ainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many cormorants and goosanders have been shot on the River Wye following the issuing of licences by his Department.

Mr. Gwilym Jones: Up until 18 January 1995, three goosanders and no cormorants had been shot under current licences.

Mr. Ainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales which organisations requested that licences be issued for the shooting of cormorants and goosanders on the River Wye.

Mr. Gwilym Jones: None. The applications were from individual fishery owners.

Mr. Ainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales when he requested advice from the Countryside Council for Wales on the issuing of licences for the shooting of cormorants and goosanders on the River Wye.

Mr. Gwilym Jones: In November 1994 as far as the current licences are concerned.

Mr. Ainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what advice was sought by his Department before issuing licences for the shooting of cormorants and goosanders on the River Wye.

Mr. Gwilym Jones: Advice and recommendations were provided by Agricultural Development Advisory Service wildlife consultants. These took account of comments by the Countryside Council for Wales and information provided by the National Rivers Authority.

A-level Students

Mr. Ainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what discussions he has had with representatives of Welsh local education authorities and further education colleges concerning competition for students wishing to follow A-level courses.

Mr. Richards: My right hon. Friend has had no discussions with Welsh LEAs or FE colleges regarding this matter.

Discretionary Awards

Mr. Ainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what consideration has been given to the Calonste Gulbenkian Foundation report into discretionary awards; and what action he proposes in the light of its findings.

Mr. Richards: I refer the hon. Member to the reply, given to the hon. Member for Oldham, Central and Royton (Mr. Boswell) on 23 November Official Report , columns 177 98 , by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Further and Higher Education.

Mr. Ainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list the maximum annual discretionary award available to (a) further education students and (b) higher education students in each of the county councils in Wales.

Mr. Richards: The amount and conditions of a discretionary awards for students on courses of further education or courses of higher education which are not designated for mandatory awards purposes are entirely a matter for local education authorities. LEAs may also make discretionary awards to students on designated courses of higher education who are personally ineligible


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to receive mandatory awards. The amount and conditions of such an award must be the same as for a mandatory award for that course.

Further Education Access Fund

Mr. Ainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how much of the total Welsh further education access fund each further education college received on behalf of its students in 1992 93, 1993 94 and to date in 1994 95.

Mr. Richards: Details of allocations of access funds to further education institutions in Wales in the years 1992 93, 1993 94 and 1994 95 are given in the following table.


Allocation of access funds                                                         

Institution                        |1992-93    |1993-94    |1994-95                

                                   |£          |£          |£                      

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

North East Wales Institute<1>      |68,218     |-          |-                      

Llandrillo Technical College       |17,045     |24,302     |32,304                 

Welsh College of Horticulture      |3,754      |3,961      |5,274                  

Coleg Llysfasi College             |1,064      |1,280      |1,705                  

Carmarthen College of                                                              

  Technology and Art               |19,155     |19,155     |24,955                 

Pembrokeshire College              |9,955      |9,955      |13,047                 

Coleg Ceredigion                   |5,504      |6,015      |8,010                  

Welsh Agricultural College<1>      |6,554      |-          |-                      

Gwent Tertiary College             |38,325     |40,976     |54,566                 

Gwynedd Technical College<2>       |5,349      |7,385      |9,835                  

Coleg Pencraig<2>                  |1,408      |2,263      |3,014                  

Coleg Meirion-Dwyfor               |2,471      |3,425      |4,560                  

Merthyr Tydfil College             |4,536      |7,385      |9,835                  

Aberdare College                   |5,881      |5,881      |7,217                  

Bridgend College of Technology     |7,033      |7,266      |9,676                  

Rhondda College                    |1,001      |1,221      |1,626                  

Ystrad Mynach College              |6,725      |8,427      |11,223                 

Pontypridd Technical College       |7,570      |9,112      |12,135                 

Pencoed College                    |1,408      |2,144      |2,855                  

Coleg Powys                        |5,067      |5,067      |5,433                  

Coleg Glan Hafren                  |10,031     |10,031     |12,631                 

Barry College                      |9,978      |9,978      |12,571                 

Swansea College                    |7,914      |7,914      |9,636                  

Gorseinon College                  |1,720      |1,727      |2,300                  

Neath College                      |5,349      |5,349      |6,464                  

Afan College                       |1,720      |1,720      |2,221                  

Coleg Harlech                      |4,723      |4,723      |5,512                  

Deeside College<3>                 |-          |11,405     |15,188                 

St. David's RC 6th Form College<4> |-          |417        |555                    

Yale College<4>                    |-          |715        |18,916                 

<1> Since 1 April 1993 NEWI and WAC have been incorporated, higher education       

institutions                                                                       

<2> Amalgamated as Coleg Menai on 1 August 1994                                    

<3> Incorporated 1 April 1993 as a result of transfer of some FE provision from    

NEWI                                                                               

<4> Joined FEFCW funded sector 1 April 1993                                        

Mr. Ainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many individual applications were made to the further education access fund in 1992 93, 1993 94 and to date in 1994 95; and which further education colleges those students were attending.

Mr. Richards: Further education colleges in Wales received a total of 2,493 applications for assistance from the access funds in academic year 1992 93. Details of the applications received by each further education college are given in the following table. Similar information for academic years 1993 94 and 1994 95 is not yet available.


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                               |Number of students                       

                               |applying for                             

Institution                    |in the academic year                     

                               |1992-93                                  

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

North East Wales Institute     |649                                      

Llandrillo Technical College   |184                                      

Welsh College of Horticulture  |28                                       

Coleg Llysfasi College         |10                                       

Carmarthen College of                                                    

  Technology and Art           |85                                       

Pembrokeshire College          |62                                       

Coleg Ceredigion               |41                                       

Welsh Agricultural College     |48                                       

Gwent Tertiary College         |353                                      

Gwynedd Technical College<1>   |88                                       

Coleg Pencraig<1>              |31                                       

Coleg Meirion-Dwyfor           |19                                       

Merthyr Tydfil College         |72                                       

Aberdare College               |63                                       

Bridgend College of Technology |57                                       

Rhondda College                |14                                       

Ystrad Mynach College          |116                                      

Pontypridd Technical College   |143                                      

Pencoed College                |11                                       

Coleg Powys                    |52                                       

Coleg Glan Hafren              |106                                      

Barry College                  |72                                       

Swansea College                |15                                       

Gorseinon College              |18                                       

Neath College                  |20                                       

Afan College                   |15                                       

Coleg Harlech                  |121                                      

                                                                         

Total                          |2,493                                    

<1> Amalgamated as Coleg Menai on 1 August 1994.                         

Mr. Ainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what criteria are used to decide if a student is eligible for assistance from the further education access fund.

Mr. Richards: The Further Education Funding Council pays grants to institutions within the further education sector in Wales so that they may provide financial help to students whose access to further education might be inhibited by financial considerations or who, for whatever reason including physical or other disabilities, face financial difficulties.

In order to be eligible for assistance from the access funds, further education students must satisfy the residence requirement, be following full-time--including sandwich--courses of further or adult education and be aged 19 or over. It is for each institution to decide its own criteria and procedures for considering applications and making payments of access funds to eligible students, subject to the terms and conditions specified by the council and any other guidance from the council.

GP Fundholding

Mr. Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what arrangements he has in mind for the review of the role and function of the fundholding project management group at the end of the first year.

Mr. Redwood: The group will conduct its own review after the end of its first year of operation. I will then consider its future in the light of that review and circumstances obtaining at the time.

Mr. Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales (1) if he will list the number, date and place of the meetings of the general practitioner fundholder steering group since 23 March 1994; what sub-committees have


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been set up and to cover which topics; and if he will make a statement;

(2) if he will list the papers and studies commissioned and actions taken to implement the recommendations of the general practitioner fundholding project management group.

Mr. Redwood: The GPFH steering group has met on three occasions at the Hensol conference centre on 10 May, 13 September and 15 November 1994. No sub-committees have been set up.

The following topics have been considered:

Steering Group Terms of Reference

Weighted Capitation

Financial Management

Survey of GP practices

Fair Purchasing

Most of this work is continuing.

Mr. Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list the initiatives by the general practitioner fundholding project management group, taken in (a) promotion of general practitioner fundholding to non- fundholders, (b) setting up a strategic planning process, (c) meeting the need for financial control and an acceptable method of determining allocations, (d) evaluating the scheme and (e) evaluating the implications of the onset of unitary authorities on the relationship with fundholders.

Mr. Redwood: The GP fundholding project management group has no executive function. Any action required in respect of views or recommendations arising from its work will be a matter for my Department.

Mr. Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will give details of the executive committee of the general practitioner fundholding project management group and its membership and functions.

Mr. Redwood: The GPFH steering group does not have an executive committee.

Mr. Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make a statement on the arrangements for the Welsh conference on general practitioner fundholding mentioned in his letter of 23 March 1994 to all general practitioner fundholders.

Mr. Redwood: The conference was held on 14 June 1994. The Under- Secretary of State, my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, North (Mr. Jones), gave the keynote address and other speeches dealt with matters relating to the scheme. GP Fundholders and representatives from DHAs, FHSAs, and hospitals responded to an invitation widely distributed in the service.

Mr. Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales (1) if he will list the percentage figures for (a) brand name and (b) generic prescribing for the average of all general practitioner fundholders in Wales in (i) the second year before they became fundholders, (ii) the year before they became fundholders, (iii) the first year after they became fundholders and (iv) the average of each subsequent year;

(2) if he will list the percentage brand name and generic prescribing ratio for the average of all general practitioner fundholders in (a) the second year before they became fundholders, (b) the year before they became fundholders, (c) the first year of fundholding and (d) the average for all subsequent years;


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(3) if he will list the average value of capital projects at the surgery premises of (a) general practitioner fundholders and (b) non fundholding general practitioners, in each of the past three years.

Mr. Redwood: This information is not held centrally.

Mr. Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list the percentage figures for (a) brand name and (b) generic prescribing for (i) general practitioner fundholders and (ii) non general practitioner fundholders in each family health service authority in Wales for each of the past three years for which figures are available.

Mr. Redwood: Information is not available in the form requested. The percentages of generic prescribing in each family health services authority in Wales is as follows:


                  |October|October|October        

                  |1992   |1993   |1994           

--------------------------------------------------

Clwyd Fundholders |40.89  |50.00  |53.66          

FHSA              |40.23  |44.28  |47.23          

                                                  

Dyfed Fundholders |50.87  |52.87  |51.62          

Mr. Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will specify the policy objectives of the general practitioner fundholding project management group, relating to the NHS in Wales and the other developments relevant to the development of the general practitioner fundholding scheme.

Mr. Redwood: I wrote to the hon. Member on 17 January about the GP fundholding project management group's terms of reference and a copy has been placed in the Library of the House.

Mr. Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make it his policy to institute a full valuation of the surgery premises at (a) general practitioner fundholders and (b) non fundholders; what estimate his Department has made of the average value of surgery premises of (i) general practitioner fundholders and (ii) non fundholders; what estimate his Department has made of the rate of change of that average capital value of (1) general practitioner fundholders and (2) non fundholders' surgery premises; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Redwood: General practitioners are independent self employed contractors in the NHS. Under their terms of service, they themselves are required to provide adequate practice premises from which to see their patients. The capital value of, and investment in, the premises they own is a matter for them, and their interest in any premises they may rent is between them and their landlord. It would not be appropriate therefore for me to institute a full valuation of their practice premises.

NHS Trusts

Mr. Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list short-term loans given to each NHS trust in Wales, since its inception, stating what the interest rate was, what the term was, if security was requested and provided and for what purpose the loan was requested; and if he will detail any requests that were refused and the purpose for which they were sought.


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Mr. Redwood: Information on short term loans to NHS trusts in Wales is as follows:


                           |Loan         |Interest rate|Term                       

Trust                      |(£000)       |per cent.    |(days)                     

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Nevill Hall and District   |220          |5.2          |10                         

                           |230          |5.3          |7                          

                           |175          |5.2          |10                         

                           |175          |5.3          |7                          

                           |175          |5.2          |12                         

                           |175          |5.3          |7                          

                                                                                   

Pembrokeshire              |150          |5.2          |14                         

                           |100          |5.3          |7                          

                           |300          |5.7          |10                         

                           |200          |5.8          |11                         

                                                                                   

Morriston                  |1,029        |5.1          |92                         

                           |1,162        |5.2          |124                        

                           |800          |5.3          |31                         

                           |850          |5.4          |41                         

                                                                                   

Gwynedd Community Health   |580          |5.0          |29                         

                           |150          |6.2          |111                        

                           |200          |6.4          |99                         

                                                                                   

Bridgend and District      |1,000        |6.2          |121                        

                           |1,000        |6.3          |91                         

                                                                                   

South East Wales Ambulance |500          |5.3          |183                        

                           |500          |6.2          |155                        

                                                                                   

North Wales Ambulance      |130          |5.1          |60                         

                                                                                   

Derwen                     |105          |5.2          |13                         

                                                                                   

Rhondda Healthcare         |300          |5.2          |14                         

                                                                                   

Clwydian Community Care    |900          |5.3          |178                        

                           |500          |6.0          |182                        

                                                                                   

Velindre                   |15           |5.2          |14                         

                                                                                   

Gwynedd Hospitals          |500          |5.3          |10                         

Security is required only in the case of commercial loans. All short term loans to NHS trusts in Wales have been provided by my Department for financial management purposes. No such applications have been refused.


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