Previous Section Index Home Page


M4

Mr. Tim Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what is the status of the M4 junction 4B-8/9 widening scheme under the revised national roads programme; and if he will make a statement. [3501]

Mr. Norris: The scheme is one of a number identified for review to establish whether smaller-scale proposals would meet the objectives. The proposals for new all-purpose trunk roads alongside the M4 put to public consultation will not be pursued. My right hon. Friend is asking the Highways Agency to consider a range of lower-level solutions, including traffic management, and to have early and extensive consultation with local authorities about options.

British Transport Police

Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what provision is made for the budget of the British Transport police in the current financial year and in each of the next three financial years; and if he will make a statement. [2885]

Mr. Watts: The British Transport police's budget is determined by its police committee. In 1995-96, the BTP revenue budget is £101.2 million and the force will also undertake capital expenditure of some £2.4 million. The revenue budget for 1996-97 has been set at £101.2 million, and it is envisaged that the capital expenditure next year will be the same as this year. No decisions have yet been made on budgets for subsequent years.

Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if his Department has had further discussions with the Home Office about the jurisdiction of the British Transport police; what was discussed; and what was the outcome. [2886]

Mr. Watts: Discussions are continuing between my Department and the Home Office about the jurisdiction of the British Transport police. The Department remains in close touch with the force's senior management over developments.

29 Nov 1995 : Column: 785

Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what is the current manpower of the British Transport police by rank; what it is forecast to be in each of the next three years; and if he will make a statement. [2888]

Mr. Watts: The strength of the British Transport police was 2,180 officers as at 11 November 1995. Staffing levels by rank were as follows:

RankNumbers
Chief constable1
Deputy chief constable1
Assistant chief constable3
Superintendents21
Chief inspectors30
Inspectors127
Sergeants303
Constables1,694
Total2,180

Manpower levels in future will reflect the resources available to the force. The force is currently rationalising the supervisory ranks and, where possible, increasing constable posts.

Great Western Rail Franchise

Mr. Dafis: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the selection of Resurgence Railways as preferred bidder for the Great Western franchise. [2846]

Mr. Watts: No. The franchising director has not announced bidders. He expects to announce the award of the Great Western franchise in December.

Mr. Dafis: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions he has had with the Director of Passenger Rail Franchising on matters relating to the Great Western rail franchise; what information on the bidding franchise he receives from the Director of Passenger Rail Franchising; and if he will make a statement. [2845]

Mr. Watts: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State is briefed regularly by the franchising director on franchising issues including the progress being made towards offering the Great Western franchise to private sector bidders.

"Safer Ships Cleaner Seas"

Dr. Godman: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) if he will list the organisations and other interested parties which received and responded to the consultation paper referred to in the second paragraph on page 47 of "Safer Ships Cleaner Seas"; and if he will make a statement; [2043]

Mr. Norris: The consultation paper referred to has not yet been published. It is hoped that this will be possible by around the end of the year. Until the consultation exercise has been carried out, we cannot say what proposals we expect to bring forward.

29 Nov 1995 : Column: 786

Dr. Godman: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list the recommendations contained in the report "Safer Ships Cleaner Seas", Cm 2560, which (a) have been accepted, (b) have been implemented and (c) are awaiting implementation by his Department; and if he will make a statement. [2044]

Mr. Norris: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Stoke on Trent, North (Ms Walley) on 16 October, Official Report, column 85.

Departmental Targets

Ms Armstrong: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what is the published recommended response times within which his Department is expected to reply to letters from the public. [3003]

Mr. Norris: The Department of Transport aims to respond to correspondence from the public within a 15-working day period. This target is published in a publicly available leaflet "Serving the Public".

A249

Sir Roger Moate: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement about progress with construction of the new dual carriageway for the A249 between the M2 and Kingsferry Bridge. [2438]

Mr. Watts: I have asked the chief executive of the Highways Agency to write to my hon. Friend.

Letter from Lawrie Haynes to Sir Roger Moate, dated 29 November 1995:


Rail Users' Consultative Committee

Mr. Chris Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many applications for the post of chairman of the Rail Users' Consultative Committee his Department has received; what are the criteria for selection; and when he will announce the appointment. [2125]

Mr. Watts: Some 147 applications for the post of chairman of the Rail Users' Consultative Committee were received in response to the advertisement published in March. An additional 235 applications were received in response to the further advertisement published in September. The advertisements made clear to applicants the criteria needed for the post. An example of the advertisements is held in the House Library. Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed shortly and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State expects to announce the appointment of the new chairman early in 1996.

29 Nov 1995 : Column: 787

Pleasure Craft

Mr. Dover: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to introduce safety regulations relating to leisure craft following the deaths in Lyme bay. [2291]

Mr. Norris [holding answer 24 November 1995]: The Government have no plans to introduce national legislation for the compulsory regulation or registration of pleasure craft. The national marine safety steering committee concluded that a satisfactory system would be prohibitively difficult to devise and enforce. However, on behalf of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Employment, the Health and Safety Commission is currently consulting interested parties on proposed regulations to implement the Activity Centres (Young Persons' Safety) Act 1995. The proposals would introduce a licensing scheme for certain adventure activity providers, including those using canoes and most sailing craft.

FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH AFFAIRS

European Intergovernmental Conference

21. Mr. Ieuan Wyn Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the deliberations of the reflections group as part of the process leading up to the European intergovernmental conference in 1996. [875]

Mr. David Davis: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave in the House today to the hon. Member for Neath (Mr. Hain).

Ms Rachel Squire: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the Foreign Ministers of the other European Union countries about the preparations for the 1996 intergovernmental conference. [863]

Mr. David Davis: I frequently meet my European counterparts to discuss a wide range of topics, including the intergovernmental conference.


Next Section Index Home Page