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                     |£ million          

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

OPRAF and MRG grants |2,009              

British Rail EFL     |-310               

Railtrack EFL        |-316               

EPS EFL              |177                

                                         

Total EFL            |1,560              

In setting the overall industry EFL and those for the individual businesses, we have taken account of BR's needs for additional resources-- £64 million--as a result of working capital movements which have an unfavourable impact on BR. A number of further factors have also been taken into account. These include the final apportionment, between BR and Railtrack, of the costs of the signalling dispute. The EFLs also reflect the latest forecast of the BR--Railtrack trading account; and they include upward adjustment of £87 million to grant paid by the franchising director. This adjustment to grant comprises claims submitted by BR and accepted by the franchising director to the value of £52 million, and a £35 million grant payment to BR carried over from 1993 94. There is also a £2 million downward adjustment to the total of metropolitan railway grants.

Rail Passengers

Sir Russell Johnston: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what was (a) the number of passengers travelling on sleepers from London to Fort William and Fort William to London and (b) the percentage of capacity for each month over the last three years for which figures are available.      [17302]

Mr. Watts: The number of passengers travelling on the London Fort William sleeper between 1991 92 and 1993 94 was:

1991 92: 13,500

1992 93: 14,600

1993 94: 14,600

The percentage of available capacity used during the 1993 94 winter season was 50 per cent. and during the summer season 60 per cent. Figures are not available for 1991 92 and 1992 93, or on a month-by-month basis.

Great Western Railways

Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will ensure that the tender document for the Great Western region includes a requirement to run services to and from Paddington to Castle Cary, Westbury and Pewsey, and a commitment that the Reading to Taunton rail link will remain in existence for the foreseeable future.      [17529]

Mr. Watts: The franchising director's consultation document on Great Western includes a requirement to run services to and from Paddington to Castle Cary, Westbury and Pewsey. All services in both directions stopping at Castle Cary will also be required to stop at Taunton. The consultation period finishes on 31 March, and the franchising director will announce the Great Western passenger services requirement after consideration of the responses.

Sleeper Trains

Mr. Bill Walker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he has taken to ensure that the West


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Highland sleeper trains to Fort William will be kept in service in accordance with section 37 of the Railways Act 1993 until the consultation procedures for line closure which Parliament has laid down for the protection of the travelling public under that section have been carried out.      [17496]

Mr. Watts: Section 37 of the Railways Act 1993 applies where the person providing all railway passenger services on any line or from any station proposes to discontinue all such services on that line or from that station.

I understand that the franchising director has not received from British Rail any notice of a proposal under that section relating to the discontinuance of any railway passenger services in Scotland.

Air Safety (Leases)

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what action he is taking to ensure that all aircraft granted approval for (a) wet and (b) dry leasing by United Kingdom operators are maintained to required International Civil Aviation Organisation standards.      [16297]

Mr. Norris: The leasing of aircraft by EC airlines is governed by EC Council regulation (EC) No. 1407/92. Under article 10 of this regulation, an airline licensed by a member state has to obtain the approval of its own licensing authority in order to operate a foreign registered aircraft. For the purposes of this regulation, the Civil Aviation Authority is required to approve any application by United Kingdom operators to lease foreign aircraft.

Before granting approval to UK airlines for both dry leases--the lease of an aircraft without crew--and wet leases--the lease of an aircraft with crew--the CAA is required to satisfy itself that the aircraft will be operated to acceptable safety standards equivalent to UK national standards.

For short-term wet leases, it has been agreed that, provided the foreign aircraft is registered in a state that is a signatory to the Chicago convention, prior approval is not required. This is to meet the operational requirements of UK operators where, due to unforseen circumstances, they might be unable to use their own aircraft at short notice.

Aircraft Movements

Mr. Chris Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport on how many occasions in the last year for which figures are available an aeroplane touched down on United Kingdom land having originated its journey (a) in a foreign country and (b) in a country outside the European Union.      [16671]

Mr. Norris: The Civil Aviation Authority has supplied the following in relation to full reporting airports for 1994: (a) 463, 416 and (b) 141,766. These figures do not include business and private light aircraft and military movements, which are not available, or arrivals at smaller airports, for which the statistics do not separately identify flights originating outside the EU.

Mr. David Marshall: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what consideration he has given to the statement contained in the air accidents investigation branch bulletin No. 3/95 concerning the lack of a system in place to allow the joint aviation authorities to respond


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as a body to safety recommendations raised by national investigating authorities; and what actions he is taking in response to this situation.      [16901]

Mr. Norris: The Civil Aviation Authority will be raising this matter with the joint aviation authorities next month.

Exhaust Emissions

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what has been the number of roadside checks within the Greater London area on faulty exhaust emissions on motor cars and lorries in each of the last three months.      [17233]

Mr. Norris: The number of vehicles checked at specific exhaust emissions roadside checks was as follows:


                         |December|January |February         

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

a: heavy goods vehicles  |46      |27      |22               

b: cars (including light                                     

  goods vehicles)        |74      |1       |76               

In addition, a visual assessment is made of vehicle emissions at other general roadside enforcement checks. The details for the last three months are:


                         |December|January |February         

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

a: heavy goods vehicles  |194     |131     |169              

b: cars (including light                                     

  goods vehicles)        |75      |28      |53               

Driving Licences

Mr. Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to abolish the charge to motorists over 70 years of age required to renew their driving licences.      [17649]

Mr. Norris: We have no plans to abolish the £6 fee for renewing driving licences from age 70.

ENVIRONMENT

Pollution, Doncaster

Mr. Kevin Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what information his Department has available on air quality in south Yorkshire and Doncaster, with particular reference to quantities of black smoke, nitrogen oxides and carbon dioxide.      [16706]

Mr. Atkins: The Department of the Environment undertakes continuous automatic monitoring of the pollutants nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide at Sheffield. In addition, my Department, in co-operation with local authorities, operates a number of non-automatic national monitoring networks including those measuring the levels of black smoke and nitrogen dioxide. This includes monitoring of nitrogen dioxide in Doncaster, four sites, and Rotherham, four sites; and of black smoke at Doncaster, five sites; Barnsley, four sites; Sheffield, two sites; Grimethorpe, two sites; Brampton; Cudworth; Dinnington; Goldthorpe; Hoyland Nether; Maltby; Wath- upon-Dearne; Wombwell; and Worsbrough bridge.


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A detailed summary of data covering the aforementioned pollutants at sites in south Yorkshire and Doncaster has been placed in the Library of the House.

High Sheriffs

Sir Gerard Vaughan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if high sheriffs will continue in counties proposed to be replaced by unitary authorities; what provision will be made in these counties for back-up staff for the lord lieutenant or the high sheriff; and if Berkshire will retain its title as a royal county.      [16869]

Mr. Curry: In Berkshire, although the county council will be abolished, the county area will remain. Along with its lord lieutenant, it will retain its high sheriff and its title as a royal county. As regards other areas, we have yet to take decisions on Cleveland. High sheriffs will be appointed for the new counties of Bristol and the east riding of Yorkshire, and the remaining parts of Avon and Humberside will be associated variously with neighbouring counties for ceremonial purposes. We expect that local authorities will want to continue to provide support to their lord lieutenant and high sheriffs.

Local Government Finance

Mr. Raynsford: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the total level of (a) usable and (b) set-aside capital receipts for each local authority in England; and what estimate he has made of the proportion of set-aside receipts which remain available.      [17042]

Mr. Curry: A list of the amounts of the total usable capital receipts held by each authority in England was placed in the Library of the House in response to the question of Thursday 9 February 1995 from the hon. Member for Holborn and St. Pancras (Mr. Dobson), Official Report , column 343 .

A list has also been placed in the Library of the amounts set aside by each authority as provision for credit liabilities and not yet applied. These include amounts set aside both from capital receipts and revenue. Separate figures are not available.

Carbon Dioxide Emissions

Mr. Dafis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what estimates he makes of the amount by which carbon dioxide emissions in 2000 will exceed those in 1990, in the case of (a) the USA, (b) Canada and (c) Australia.      [16951]

Mr. Atkins: My right hon. Friend has made no separate estimate of the carbon emissions of other countries in 2000. Estimates by each country are included in their national programmes submitted under the UN framework convention on climate change.

Mr. Dafis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether the Government will be supporting the alliance of small island states' proposed target for the carbon dioxide emissions of industrial countries, of a reduction of 20 per cent. of the 1990 level in 2005.      [16953]

Mr. Atkins: No. My right hon. Friend has called for developed countries to commit themselves to a challenging but achievable objective of reducing total greenhouse gas emissions to between 5 and 10 per cent. below 1990 levels by 2010 within the framework of the convention.


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Mr. Dafis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what estimates his Department has arrived at, assuming current trends for global carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions continue, of the likely date of the disappearance of the islands of (a) Trinidad and (b) Tobago.      [16954]

Mr. Atkins: We have made no such estimates.

Climate Change Convention

Mr. Dafis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether United Kingdom Government representatives at the first conference of the parties for the climate change convention will support the proposal for an interim report on the Intergovernment Panel on Climate Change work on the cost-benefit analysis of global warming to be presented to and discussed at the meeting.      [16957]

Mr. Atkins: There is no such proposal on the agenda for the first conference of the parties. The IPCC's second assessment report is not expected to be published until early 1996.

Mr. Dafis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make arrangements to discuss with the high commissioner for the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago the United Kingdom Government's stance at the first conference of the parties for the climate change convention.      [16955]

Mr. Atkins: My right hon. Friend expects to hold discussions with the representatives of many countries during the conference.

Allerton Outreach Team

Mr. Madden: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what future funding has been agreed to support the Allerton outreach team; and if he will make a statement.      [17255]

Mr. Curry: The Allerton estate is the subject of a comprehensive programme of housing and environmental improvements costing £31.9 million. It is being supported by £20.75 million estate action commitment under the single regeneration budget. We approved the first phase of work in December 1994. The Employment Service undertook to fund jointly with Bradford council, and for a limited three-month period until March 1995, the cost of outreach work to help unemployed adults access the training and employment opportunities created by the estate action programme. Discussions have been taking place with the council to explore how the scheme might be extended into 1995 96. Bradford training and enterprise council has offered to contribute £10,000 towards the cost of an outreach worker in 1995 96, and to arrange for up to £10,000- worth of guidance vouchers to be ring-fenced for use by Allerton's residents. It is hoped that the local authority will also make a contribution. These discussions are continuing.

Cash Limits

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what changes he proposes to his Department's cash limit for 1994 95.      [18062]

Mr. Gummer: I propose to make the following changes:


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a. The DOE/OES--other environmental services --non-voted cash limit will be increased by £15,828,000 from £30,390,000 to £46,218,000. This increase reflects the take-up of end year flexibility (£2,384, 000), as announced by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury on 14 July 1994, Official Report, columns 729 34 ; a transfer of £580,000 from the vote 5--central environmental services etc.--cash limit from savings there; and a technical transfer of £12,864,000 from the DOE/NT--new towns--cash limit.

b. The DOE/HC--Housing Corporation--non-voted cash limit, covering capital expenditure financed by the Housing Corporation in England, will be increased by £2,250,000 from £1,484,540,000 to £1,486,790, 000. This increase reflects transfers from vote 5 and vote 8--revenue support grant, payment of non-domestic rates, Valuation Office services etc., England--and will be used to fund additional expenditure under the corporation's approved development programme. c. The DOE/LACAP--local authority capital--non-voted cash limit will be increased by £44,000 from £2,221,200,000 to £2,221,244,000. The increase will be matched by a corresponding reduction in the DOE/NT cash limit. This results from the provision of additional supplementary credit approval resources to Wrekin district council to purchase residual rented housing stock from the Commission for the New Towns.

d. The DOE/RI--regeneration initiatives-- non-voted cash limit will be increased by £321,000 from £1,298,357,000 to £1,298,678,000. The increase will allow the issue of an all capital purpose supplementary credit approval in respect of the East Manchester regeneration programme grant expenditure. The increase reflects the transfer of £321,000 from the cash limit for class VII, vote 5, which will be reduced accordingly.

e. The DOE/NT--new towns--non-voted cash limit will be reduced by £11,280,000 from--£123,346,000 to --£134,626,000. This net reduction is the result of an increase of £1,628,000, reflecting the take-up of end year flexibility as announced by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury on 14 July 1994, Official Report , columns 729 34 ; and the reductions of £44,000, being transferred to DOE/LACAP, and £12, 864,000, being transferred to DOE/OES, resulting from additional receipts from local authorities.

f. The DOE/LGR--local government reorganisation--non-voted cash limit will be reduced by £4,435,000 from £44,660,000 to £40,225,000. The savings are due to lower than expected take-up of SCAs for the transitional costs of local government reorganisation and the delayed start -up of the Local Government residuary body, but partially offset by an increase in the granting of other SCAs.

g. The cash limit for class VII, vote 5--central environmental services, etc.--will be reduced by £2,601,000 from £437,145,000 to £434,544,000. This reduction, possible because of forecast savings will allow increases of £1,700,000 to the DOE/HC cash limit; £580,000 to the DOE/OES cash limit; and £321,000 to the regeneration initiatives cash limit to be made.

h. The cash limit for class VII, vote 8--revenue support grant, payments of non-domestic rates, Valuation Office services, etc. England--will be reduced by £550,000 from £29,633,432,000 to £29,632, 882,000. This reduction is due to a £300,000 saving on valuation tribunals and a £250,000 saving on the Local Government Commission and will allow increases of £550,000 to the DOE/HC cash limit. The increases will be offset by transfers or charged to the reserve and will not therefore add to the planned total of public expenditure.

EU Habitats Directive

Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he will commence consultations on special areas of conservation to be designated under the EU habitats directive; and if he will make a statement.


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Mr. Gummer: I am pleased to announce today that the Secretaries of State for Scotland, for Wales and for Northern Ireland and I are launching a wide-ranging public consultation on a list of areas which have been proposed as qualifying for designation as special areas of conservation under the EU habitats directive. The proposals constitute the advice of English Nature, Scottish Natural Heritage and the Countryside Council for Wales and the Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland, co- ordinated through the Joint Nature Conservation Committee to ensure UK-wide consistency. The habitats directive requires member states to submit national lists to the European Commission by 5 June 1995. The SACs will build on our existing framework of designations. I am looking at a simplification of that framework in preparing the rural White Paper. In Scotland, the Government have asked Scottish Natural Heritage to carry out a review of designations and look forward to receiving its advice.

The Government are committed to full and effective public consultation before deciding which areas to include in the United Kingdom national list. The consultation will be at both national and local level. My colleagues are writing today to national organisations inviting comments on the proposals. At the same time, site-by-site consultations of landowners and occupiers and other interests, including local authorities, are being undertaken at local level by the appropriate country nature conservation agency and DOE(NI). The views expressed in the consultation will be considered fully before any decisions are made about the list of sites to be put to the Commission.

The habitats directive, adopted in 1992, was one of the most important milestones for nature conservation in Europe. The Government played an active part in its negotiation and we have pursued implementation in accordance with its requirements. This latest step is the next phase of implementation which identifies those sites considered by the nature conservation agencies and DOE(NI) to represent an appropriate contribution from the UK to the Union-wide Natura 2000 network.

The consultation package, which I am making available in the Library of the House, includes a document which explains the way the scientific advice has been formulated. The directive requires that sites selected as SACs should be significant in terms of the biogeographical region. The habitat types and species listed for site protection are among the rarest or most threatened in Europe. The aim of the SAC network is to maintain or restore these habitat types and species at a favourable conservation status. The sites eventually selected will be those which make a significant contribution to that aim, to the coherence of the network or to the maintenance of biological diversity. The Natura 2000 network will therefore consist of sites which are the most precious in the European Union and these proposals should be considered in that context.

The sites on the list cover both land and marine areas. All land-based sites in Great Britain which are included in the consultation are already notified as sites of special scientific interest and in Northern Ireland all land-based sites are, or shortly will be, declared areas of special scientific interest. The nature conservation agencies advise that there are some habitat types and species for which SACs will, in due course, be recommended which are not yet SSSI. Further SSSI notifications are planned


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to cover, in particular, certain rivers and riverine species, active raised bogs and blanket bogs and some inter-tidal areas. This notification work will be undertaken before consultation on possible SAC designation for them takes place. The consultation list is also incomplete for certain species. Further scientific information is being sought on the freshwater pearl mussel, the great crested newt and the otter before a full range of possible sites is proposed and consulted on for these species. The Government also await further scientific advice on an additional estuarial site.

I look forward to receiving comments on the proposals. There is already a constructive dialogue between landholders on the one hand and the country agencies and DOE(NI) on the other. There is similar discussion between these statutory bodies and users of the marine environment. This present consultation continues and reinforces the dialogue which is fundamental to the co-operation and consensus we must have to secure effective and lasting conservation.

LORD CHANCELLOR'S DEPARTMENT

Judges

Mr. Redmond: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what plans he has to introduce compulsory retirement for judges (a) at age 65 and (b) at age 70 years.      [16256]

Mr. John M. Taylor: The Judicial Pensions and Retirement Act 1993, which is coming into force today, establishes a compulsory retirement age of 70 for those first appointed to full-time judicial office on or after that date, subject to provision for the service of office-holders below the level of the High Court to be extended, up to an age limit of 75, for periods not exceeding one year at a time, where the Lord Chancellor considers it in the public interest to do so. He expects to exercise this power sparingly. There are no plans to reduce the compulsory retirement age for judges to 65.

Appeals Delays

Mr. Pike: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what discussions he has had and what representations he has received in respect of delays in dealing with (a) social security benefit appeals, (b) immigration case appeals and (c) other appeals; and if he will make a statement.      [16500]

Mr. John. M. Taylor: Information is not collated in the form requested, and the question can therefore be answered only at disproportionate cost. I can confirm, however, that I received 320 letters from hon. Members during the course of 1994 relating to tribunals. The great majority of these related to immigration appeals, and many of them expressed concern about delays.

Mr. Pike: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what efforts his Department has made to reduce delays in dealing with (a) social security benefit appeals, (b) immigration case appeals and (c) other appeals; and if he will make a statement.      [16499]

Mr. John M. Taylor: The information is as follows:

(a) Additional staff have been appointed to the Office of the Social Security and Child Support


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Commissioners to deal with the increased work load. Further, the chief commissioner has introduced streamlined procedures for certain categories of appeal and a computerised case tracking system is being developed to improve administrative efficiency.

(b) In response to increased waiting times at certain centres of the immigration appellate authorities measures have been introduced to ensure that available court rooms are used as effectively as possible. Furthermore appellants at the London and Feltham centres are offered hearings at one of the regional centres, where waiting times are shorter.

(c) Additional staff have been recruited for the pensions appeal tribunals to give administrative support. Extra judicial members have also been appointed and additional tribunal sittings have been arranged to help reduce waiting times for a hearing.

Magistrates

Mr. Redmond: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department, pursuant to his answer of 24 February, Official Report , column 346 , if he will take steps to bring the political balance among magistrates in Doncaster into line with the national political opinion.      [16248]

Mr. John. M. Taylor: It is the wish of the Lord Chancellor that each lay bench should broadly reflect the community it serves. To that end, the Lord Chancellor has already asked his advisory committee for Doncaster to take appropriate steps to improve the political balance of the bench and that is being done. The Lord Chancellor would be grateful for any encouragement to this aim that the hon. Member can give locally.

Press Officers

Mr. Henderson: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many press officers there are in his Department currently, and what the figure was in 1979.      [16576]

Mr. John M. Taylor: There are currently six press officers in my Department. There were no press officers employed by the Lord Chancellor's Department in 1979.

Legal Aid

Mr. Redmond: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if he will give in each of the last five years the number of cases where the defence legal aid costs have exceeded £1 million.      [16245]

Mr. John M. Taylor: The numbers of cases where the defence legal aid costs have exceeded £1 million, including VAT, in each of the last five years, in criminal proceedings, were as follows: 1989 90: 1

1990 91: --

1991 92: 1

1992 93: 3

1993 94: 14

Mrs. Danielle Souness

Mr. John Marshall: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what is the cost


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to the legal aid funding of Mrs. Danielle Souness's case against Mr. Souness.      [16417]

Mr. John M. Taylor: No moneys have been paid from the legal aid fund.

Tribunal Staff

Mr. Pike: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what assessment he has made of the impact of staffing shortages on the time taken to deal with (a) before and (b) after the appeal itself has been held; and if he will make a statement.      [16501]

Mr. John M. Taylor: There are presently five vacant posts from a total complement of 220 administrative staff for all the tribunals run by my Department. These vacancies have not had a significant impact on the time taken to deal with cases either before or after an appeal hearing.

SCOTLAND

Secondary Education

Mr. Raymond S. Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement about the future relationship between the Scottish Examination Board and the Scottish Vocational Education Council in the light of the proposals he announced for the reform of upper secondary education in Scotland last year.      [17948]

Mr. Lang: I am pleased to announce that I am publishing a consultation paper entitled "Options for the Future Relationship between the Scottish Examination Board and the Scottish Vocational Education Council" today. The paper looks at possibilities for the future relationship between the two bodies and seeks respondents' views on the way forward. Copies of the document have been deposited in the Libraries of the House.

Registers of Scotland

Mr. Gallie: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement about the targets he expects the Registers of Scotland executive agency to achieve in 1995 96.      [18275]

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton: I have set the Registers of Scotland the following key targets for 1995 96:

to reduce the turnround time over the year for recording writs on the sasine register from 35 working days to 33 working days, with performance in any quarter not exceeding 36.5 working days; to reduce the turnround time over the year for dealings on the land register not attached to a first registration or a transfer of part from 57.5 working days to 55 working days, with performance in any quarter not exceeding 60.5 working days;

to reduce unit costs in real terms by 4 per cent. against 1994 95 target for sasines and 7 per cent. against 1994 95 target for dealings;

to continue the land register extension programme and achieve the transfer of Aberdeen and Kincardine on 1 April 1996;

to achieve trading fund status by 1 April 1996;

to recover full operating costs; and

to achieve at least 97 per cent. of customers expressing themselves satisfied with the accuracy of work and helpfulness of staff for all parts of the business.


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