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TRANSPORT

Newbury Bypass

Mr. Rendel: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what has been the total cost since 29 February to the sheriffs of enforcing eviction orders against protestors camped on the route of the Newbury bypass; and how much of this cost is expected to be recovered from the protestors who have been evicted. [21270]

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

Letter from Lawrie Haynes to Mr. David Rendel, dated 19 March 1996:


Sir Peter Fry: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the levels of congestion which would apply to the A34 around Newbury by (a) 2005 and (b) 2015 if the current bypass project was not constructed. [20895]

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

Letter from Lawrie Haynes to Sir Peter Fry, dated 19 March 1996:


19 Mar 1996 : Column: 101

Transport Research Laboratory

Mr. Whittindale: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he now expects to complete the privatisation of the Transport Research Laboratory. [21765]

Mr. Norris: Negotiations with the preferred bidder, the Transport Research Foundation, are continuing. I expect the sale to be completed shortly.

Rail Privatisation

Mr. Evennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he has issued any further guidance to the franchising director. [21970]

Sir George Young: I have today written to the franchising director confirming that I am content for him to correct a minor error in the passenger service requirement for the InterCity east coast franchise. I am placing a copy of my letter in the Library of the House.

19 Mar 1996 : Column: 102

Ms Short: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what research he has commissioned into the effects of rail privatisation on the number of passengers using the national rail network; and what was the cost of that research. [20779]

Mr. Watts: None.

Vehicle Emissions

Mr. French: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) if he will list the vehicles which are currently exempt from the emissions test of the MOT; [21251]

Mr. Norris: The emissions test has been suspended simply in relation to a number of car models registered on or after 1 August 1992. Full details are contained in "Special Notice 2/96", issued to authorised testing stations by the Vehicle Inspectorate, a copy of which has been placed in the Library of the House. This includes some or all relevant models from: Alfa Romeo, Aston Martin Lagonda, Caterham, Coleman Milne, Daihatsu, Fiat, Ford, HMC Sportscars, Isuzu, Jaguar, Lada, Lamborghini, Lancia, Mazda, Mercedes Benz, Nissan, Porshe, Renault, Rover, Saab, Subaru, Toyota, TVR, Vauxhall.

We intend very shortly to consult on the necessary amending regulations for reintroducing the test for all affected vehicles.

Sea Empress

Mr. Wigley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what directions were given (a) by him and (b) by officials of his Department to the harbourmaster dealing with the Sea Empress on the day on which the disaster first occurred; and if he will make a statement. [21580]

Mr. Norris: None.

Mr. Allen: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if the pilot on the Sea Empress had been subject to routine drug and alcohol testing before he boarded the vessel. [18584]

Mr. Norris: There is no statutory requirement for routine drug and alcohol testing of harbour pilots. The investigation into the incident by the marine accident investigation branch will consider whether alcohol or drugs had a bearing on the incidents.

Departmental Staff (Working Hours)

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many persons in his Department worked in excess of 48 hours per week in any of the last 52 weeks; and what percentage of the staff employed this represents. [21515]

Mr. Norris: All civil servants in the Department work conditioned hours--that is, 36 hours per week net of lunch breaks in London and 37 hours elsewhere.

19 Mar 1996 : Column: 103

Staff in senior grades down to and including grade 6 are not entitled to compensation in respect of hours worked in excess of conditioned hours. The Department holds no records which would identify which individuals in these grades had worked more than their conditioned hours or how many hours had been worked.

Staff in grades up to grade 7 are entitled to take time in lieu or to claim overtime in respect of extra hours worked. No records exist in respect of those staff who have made arrangements with their line managers to take time in lieu. Where staff have claimed overtime payments, records are held by the Chessington Computer Centre. Although an analysis of records could be undertaken by the Chessington Computer Centre, this would be at disproportionate cost.

Airport Development

Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to his answer of 6 March, Official Report, column 212, if he will make a statement on the action taken by the BAA to investigate the possibility of less environmentally damaging options for runway development. [21379]

Mr. Norris: I understand that BAA plc is currently engaged in the first phase of this work, focusing on the technical feasibility of a close parallel runway at Gatwick.


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