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Mr. Charles Kennedy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what disciplinary action he has initiated against any of his Department's personnel involved in the arrest of Mr. John Anderson.
Mr. Soames: None. The Ministry of Defence police investigated the complaint under the supervision of the Police Complaints Authority. The investigation concluded that there were no grounds for disciplinary action.
Mr. Byers: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he plans to announce the finding of the Peat Marwick investigation into expenditure at Haymes Garth; if he will publish the findings, report and recommendations in full; whether disciplinary action is to be taken against any individual; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Soames: As I said in my answer to the hon. Member for Dorset, West (Sir J. Spicer) on 4 July 1994, Official Report , column 85 , we will make a full report to the House on the conclusion of the work which has been set in hand to look into expenditure on Haymes Garth and other official service residences.
Mr. Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he (a) reached and (b) announced the decision to site the international station at Ebbsfleet in Kent.
Mr. Watts: My right hon. Friend announced the Government's decision on 31 August, shortly after the choice was finally settled.
Mr. Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport on which occasions his Department had meetings's attended by or arranged with (a) Mr. Oliver Colville, (b) Decision Makers and (c) Blue Circle in connection with the channel tunnel link and the location of the international station.
Mr. Watts: The Department has had no meeting with Mr. Colville. Miss Maureen Tomison of Decision Makers was present on one occasion, when the Ebbsfleet promoter group made a presentation to my predecessor. The delegation was led by the hon. Members for Gravesham (Mr. Arnold) and for Dartford (Mr. Dunn); representatives of Dartford borough council, Blue Circle, Union Railways and departmental officials were also present. The Department has had numerous meetings on this subject with Blue Circle.
Mr. Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) if the channel tunnel route announced in October 1991 was compatible with the location of the international station at Ebbsfleet, Kent; (2) what were the factors that led to the revision in 1993 of the final line of the route for the channel tunnel link as announced by his predecessor in October 1991; and what consideration underlay the alterations to the location and line of the link at its crossing of the River Thames.
Mr. Watts [holding answer 1 February 1995]: The route corridor announced in October 1991 offered the opportunity for a station at several locations in north Kent, although not at Ebbsfleet. In his statement of 22 March 1993--announcing that the channel tunnel rail link would run along the Ebbsfleet valley then tunnel under the Thames, to run alongside the London Tilbury and Southend line from north of Purfleet to Barking--the then Secretary of State for Transport made it clear that this route overcame a number of engineering and environmental difficulties associated with the route published in 1991.
Mr. Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) if (a) his Department and (b) Channel Tunnel safety authority accepted the view of the inter-governmental commission into the operation of the channel tunnel with regard to fire resistant end barriers and pass doors; and if he will make a statement; (2) for what reason the inter-governmental commission into the operation of the channel tunnel objected to the request of Eurotunnel to vary the agreed width of the pass doors on the wagons carrying passengers with their cars from 0.7m to 0.6m; to whom this objection was communicated at Eurotunnel and when; and if he will make a statement;
(3) on what date Eurotunnel confirmed its acceptance of the requirement that wagons carrying passengers with their cars on the channel tunnel should have 30-minute fire and smoke-resistant end barriers and that both would have pass doors not less than 0.7m wide; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Watts: The CTSA advised the IGC on safety grounds not to accept Eurotunnel's proposed reduction in the width of pass doors. The advice was based on French and British regulations, guidelines and practice for the sizing of emergency exits. The IGC accepted the CTSA's advice and raised a formal objection to the Eurotunnel proposal. This was notified to the joint chief executives of Eurotunnel on 30 April 1990.
Eurotunnel confirmed its acceptance of the wider pass doors in a letter dated 21 March 1991 to the IGC.
Mr. Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will seek to end the constraint imposed on the inter-governmental commission into the operation of the channel tunnel that prevents it publicising any documentation used in reaching decisions on approval of safety matters relating to the channel tunnel's operation; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Watts: The requirement to maintain the confidentiality of documents passed between the different parties involved in the channel tunnel is set down in the concession agreement. It arose from the proper concern about the need for confidentiality in a commercial operation. However, Eurotunnel has published its safety case, the Channel Tunnel Safety Authority publishes annual reports on its work, and a number of technical reports has been published.
Ms Glenda Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what support officers of the British Transport police may given when they are asked by
Column 859members of the public for help in a situation outwith their current jurisdiction as a constable;
(2) what support officers of the British Transport police may give when they are asked by members of the Home Department forces for supporting action in situations away from the railway.
Mr. Watts: None, other than that which any member of the public may render to another or to a Home Department police officer.
Mr. Shersby: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he has considered the report of the working group to consider runway capacity to service the south-east; and if he will make a statement.
Dr. Mawhinney: The Government are firmly committed to enabling the development of additional airport capacity where this makes economic, social and environment sense. The economic benefits to business and industry are clear, as are the average of greater opportunities for leisure travel. The quality of airports in the South-East provides the United Kingdom and London with a vital competitive advantage and make the UK a world centre for commerce and tourism.
The Government wish to ensure that capacity can be made available in response to future demand, but in such as way that recognises and takes reasonable account of the environmental impacts, including the impacts of increased air traffic associated with additional runway capacity.
The working group on runway capacity to serve the
south-east--RUCASTE--considered a number of options of increasing runway capacity at airports in south-east England, taking account of the contribution which regional airports can be expected to make. The group considered the need for and the impacts of the provision of additional runway capacity at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stanstead and Luton. It also noted, but did not examine in detail, the suggestion for a new airport in the Thames estuary. The group's report contains no specific recommendations although it concluded that benefits to passengers would justify a further runway at Heathrow or Gatwick by 2010, or at Stanstead by 2015. This conclusion was based on an assumption about the maximum achievable passenger throughput on the existing runways. The report was published in July 1993 and was followed by a period of public consideration. I am grateful to all the participants in the group for their assistance in producing a thorough and useful report.
The Government have concluded that RUCATSE's analysis shows a strong case for additional runway capacity in the south-east; but that more work is needed to inform decisions on any proposals which operators may bring forward for that additional capacity. Our airports operate on a commercial basis and it is for the operators to bring forward proposals for development, where they see a business case, and take them through the planning processes. In doing so, they need to take account of the overall framework of the Government's airports policy, which indicates the factors that would weigh in Government decisions on such proposals. It has been suggested that the Government should seek to reintroduce traffic distribution rules in order to direct air traffic to use specific airports; the Government have considered this option and concluded that they do not wish to seek to
Column 860influence the pattern of demand for commercial passenger services by the reintroduction of these rules.
Three important new considerations have emerged since the group reported; these require more work. First, an independent study of runway capacity at Heathrow, sponsored by National Air Traffic Services, BAA plc and the airlines, has produced a report suggesting that there is greater scope for increasing the utilisation of the existing runways at Heathrow than was previously envisaged. Before reaching any decisions, I am asking the CAA, in consultation with BAA and others, to examine further the gains that might be achieved and the environmental impact involved in making better use of the existing infrastructure at Heathrow.
Secondly, I am clear that BAA should not consider the options studied in RUCATSE for a third runway at Heathrow or for a second runway at Gatwick. However, it has been suggested that there may be better, less environmentally damaging, runway options than those considered by RUCATSE. I am therefore asking BAA to examine whether there might be less damaging options for development, such as a close parallel runway at Gatwick.
The above is without prejudice to my or the Secretary of State for the Environment's role in decisions on any future planning applications.
Thirdly, it has become clear that the issue of surface access to airports in the south-east, and particularly the scope for improved public transport links to, and between, the airports need further examination. I note that BAA has initiated a study and I will be commissioning further work on this.
The Government welcome the growth of regional airports. They recognise the benefits of liberalising air services to and from the regions. They also wish to provide the opportunity for the less busy airports in the south- east to develop. In particular, the Government draw attention to the capacity available at Stansted. The Government sought to accelerate these processes recently by liberalising transatlantic arrangements for regional airports, Luton and Stansted. Even on the most optimistic assumptions, however, regional growth will have a limited effect on the demand for additional airport capacity in the south-east. The Government also recognise the valuable contribution that small airfields can play, for example in serving business aviation.
We will continue to address the global impacts of air travel through work at the international level, to meet the goals of sustainable development; but these impacts are of very limited relevance to decisions on capacity at United Kingdom airports. I expect the further work that I have commissioned to take between two and three years.
Mr. Mark Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make a statement about the passenger train collision near Kirkby Stephen on 31 January.
Dr. Mawhinney: The accident happened at about 18.56 after the 16.23 Carlisle-Leeds train was instructed to return to Carlisle because of flooding. Travelling north, the train ran into a landslide and was derailed into the path of the 17.45 Carlisle-Leeds train which was approaching on the adjacent line.
Column 861British Rail and Railtrack are conducting a joint injury into the accident. In addition, one of HM railway inspectorate's inspectors visited the scene of the accident and is investigating the circumstances.
HM coroner for the Carlisle area will be holding an inquest into the fatality that occurred, and has indicated that he wishes an inspector from HM railway inspectorate to assist in holding the inquest. The inspector's report under section 8 of the Railway Regulation Act 1871 will be made public.
Mr. Milburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will provide estimates for the total amount that has been paid to N. M. Rothschild and Sons Ltd. with respect to any work undertaken by them on privatisation programmes in which his Department has been engaged since 1979 after taking account of inflation.
Dr. Mawhinney [holding answer 31 January 1995]: The table lists the sales conducted by my Department in which N. M. Rothschild were appointed and the role to which they were appointed. The fees paid to firms
Column 862appointed within the privatisation programme are commercially confidential.
Underwriting sale as secondary underwriters
British Airports Authority--1987
Underwriting sale as secondary underwriters
Mr. Milburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list the severance payments made to special advisers in each of the last five years indicating (a) the amount and (b) the date.
Dr. Mawhinney [holding answer 1 February 1995]: The severance payments made to special advisers in the Department of Transport in each of the last five years are as follows:
Year |£ ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1990 |6,654 |December 1991 |Nil 1992 |3,197 1993 |Nil 1994 |33,180 |August/September-two individuals.