Previous Section Index Home Page


Avon Ring Road

Mr. Berry: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what action he is taking to ensure the early completion of stage II of the Avon ring road. [3409]

Mr. Watts: The Avon ring road is a local road scheme which is being promoted by South Gloucestershire council who succeeded Avon county council as a result of local government reorganisation. The project was first approved for transport supplementary grant in the 1994-95 local transport capital settlement. The Department of Transport allocated £4 million to the scheme in 1996-97. This funding is conditional on the satisfactory completion of statutory procedures. The Secretaries of State for Transport and for the Environment's decision to confirm the orders and grant the certificates for the Avon ring road on 12 October 1995 are currently the subject of a legal challenge; the dates for the proposed High Court hearing of that challenge are 21 and 22 November. Progress on the scheme will depend on the outcome of that challenge.

Health Professionals (On-duty Car Signs)

Mr. Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what representations he has received regarding provision of on-duty car signs to non-GP health professionals in the NHS; what plans he has to widen the provision of such signs; and if he will make a statement. [2727]

Mr. Watts [holding answer 7 November 1996]: There are some schemes under which the police and traffic wardens exercise discretion where doctors and others involved in the provision of emergency or primary health care, such as midwives, are forced to park illegally when making home visits in the course of their work. I understand that local agreements to this effect, recognised by the British Medical Association, but with no formal status in road traffic law, exist in some parts of England and Wales. Participants are issued with a badge for display in their vehicle. The Government receive occasional correspondence on the subject, but are not involved in the establishment of such schemes. Their scope is a matter for local consideration.

11 Nov 1996 : Column: 62

Compulsory Purchase Orders

Sir John Stanley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to his recent letter to the right hon. Member for Tonbridge and Malling, which are the clauses in the Channel Tunnel Rail Link Bill that disapply the provisions of the Compulsory Purchase Act 1965, regarding the serving of blight notices in relation to properties over tunnels. [2909]

Mr. Watts [holding answer 7 November 1996]: The relevant provisions are set out in paragraph 6(4) of schedule 4 to the Channel Tunnel Rail Link Bill, which provides that section 8(1) of the Compulsory Purchase Act 1965 is not to apply where the compulsory purchase powers in clause 4(1) of the Bill are exercised only in relation to the subsoil or under-surface of the land.

Section 8(1) of the 1965 Act provides that no one is obliged to sell part of a property if he is willing and able to sell the whole of it, unless the lands tribunal is satisfied that part of the property can be taken without material detriment or without affecting the amenity of the property.

If, after the Bill passes into law, an owner of a property over a tunnel serves a blight notice, the Secretary of State may serve a counter notice claiming that he proposes to acquire part only of the property--the subsoil--and the owner could then refer the matter to the lands tribunal. Although in non-CTRL blight cases, the lands tribunal would have to consider material detriment under section 166(2) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, that section is disapplied because of the reference to section 166(1) (b) of that Act and section 8(1) of the 1965 Act.

Shadow Toll Payments

Mr. Chidgey: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list the annual estimated cost to public funds of the shadow toll payments to the successful bidders in respect of tranche 1A let by the Highways Agency. [2010]

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 Chidgey, dated 11 November 1996:


11 Nov 1996 : Column: 63

Rail Privatisation

Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which Doncaster-based British Rail businesses are in the programme for privatisation; what is the number of employees in each of these businesses; what is the expected date for the sale of each business; and what are the expected receipts from each sale. [2719]

Mr. Watts: Railpart UK Ltd. which has its headquarters in Doncaster, is expected to be sold in about two months. The company employed 272 staff as at 31 March 1996. It would be inappropriate for commercial reasons to speculate on possible receipts.

Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what was the date of privatisation of each of the Doncaster-based British Rail businesses which have been privatised to date; what was the number of employees in each business at the time of privatisation; and what was the amount of money received for each business. [2739]

Mr. Watts: The following British Rail businesses, whose headquarters were based in Doncaster, have been sold as at 6 November 1996.

Business soldDate sale completedNumber of employees at time of saleGross proceeds (£ million)
Doncaster Rail Maintenance Ltd.5 June 1995575 (on 1 April 1995)--(19)
BPE Mechanical and Engineering Consultancy Ltd.15 September 199532 (including branch offices)0.25
Loadhaul Ltd.24 February 19961,659--(20)

(19) Doncaster Rail Maintenance Ltd. was one of the three former BR Maintenance Ltd. businesses which were sold together for a single lump-sum price.

(20) Loadhaul Ltd. was one of the three former BR trainload freight companies which were sold together for a single lump-sum price.


Road Congestion (North-east)

Mr. William O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) if he will publish his forecasts of future congestion on trunk roads in Yorkshire and the north-east, with particular reference to key links on the motorway network in these regions; [3058]

Mr. Watts: Maps showing existing and predicted congestion levels on motorways and trunk roads in the Yorkshire, Humberside and north-east regions have been placed in the Library. The Department does not produce similar maps for other main roads.

Traffic Calming

Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the advantages of taking further substantial traffic-calming measures in conurbations; and if he will make a statement. [3193]

11 Nov 1996 : Column: 64

Mr. John Bowis: My Department is providing £55 million in 1996-97 to fund local authorities' local safety schemes, mostly in urban areas. Many of these schemes involve traffic calming measures, which are very effective at reducing road accident casualties. The recently published transport research laboratory report--number 215--which reviewed traffic calming schemes in 20 mph zones found that accident frequency fell by 60 per cent. Pedestrian casualties fell by 61 per cent. and child pedestrian and child cyclist casualties fell by 67 per cent. There are now about 300 20 mph zones and more are likely to be created. The Department has ring fenced £1 million from within the 1997-98 budget to fund the construction of 20 mph zones specifically targeted at child pedestrian casualties.

It is for local highway authorities to choose whether to introduce further traffic calming measures and 20 mph zones funded from their own resources in addition to those supported by the Department. I am pleased to say that many do so.

Digital Selcall

Mr. Barry Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions he has had with the Department of Trade and Industry to ensure British manufacturers are licensed to provide digital selcall radios to the United Kingdom marine market. [2571]

Mr. Bowis: I have asked the chief executive of the Marine Safety Agency to write to my hon. Friend.

Letter from R.M. Bradley to Mr. Barry Field, dated 11 November 1996:

The Secretary of State for Transport has asked me to reply to your Question about discussions with the Department of Trade and Industry to ensure British manufacturers are licensed to provide Digital Selcall radios to the United Kingdom marine market.



Next Section Index Home Page