Previous Section Index Home Page


Extinct Species

Mr. Nigel Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will list the species which have become extinct in the UK over the past decade. [46700]

Angela Eagle: There is only one confirmed extinction of a species within the UK during the last ten years. This is of the Greater mouse-eared bat (Myotis myotis), which has been extinct since 1990.

Freight

Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what steps the Government will take to encourage the movement of freight within the United Kingdom by coastal shipping. [46709]

Ms Glenda Jackson: The Government will be setting out their proposals for encouraging the movement of freight within the United Kingdom by coastal shipping in the White Paper on Integrated Transport to be published shortly.

Road Traffic Reduction Legislation

Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when sufficient data will be available to enable an assessment to be made of the success or otherwise of recent road traffic reduction legislation; and if he will make a statement. [46708]

23 Jun 1998 : Column: 436

Ms Glenda Jackson: The Road Traffic Reduction Act 1997 is not yet in force. However, guidance to local authorities on implementing the Act was issued in draft earlier this year for consultation. This stated that local traffic authorities would be expected to produce, by 31 July 1999, reports containing assessments of levels of local road traffic in their area and forecast growth in those levels, together with targets for reducing those levels or their rate of growth. The draft guidance also stresses the importance of local authorities monitoring traffic levels in order to determine whether they are on course to achieve any such targets. It is too soon to judge when it will be possible to assess the likely impact of the Act on traffic levels.

Unauthorised Camping

Mr. White: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what representations he has received about problems with unauthorised camping. [46498]

Mr. Raynsford: My Department receives representations from Members of Parliament, members of the public, and from local authorities about unauthorised camping on a regular basis.

Mr. White: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many prosecutions (a) have been made and (b) have been successful under the Police and Criminal Justice Act 1994 broken down by the relevant authority against unauthorised camping. [46499]

Mr. Raynsford: The information requested is not collected centrally.

Road Accidents (Costs)

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what estimate he has made of the average cost to public funds of road accidents involving a single fatality. [46519]

Ms Glenda Jackson: The value attributed to the avoidance of a fatal road accident in 1996 was £983,700. This takes account of medical costs, lost production, human costs based on willingness to pay, the costs of police and courts, insurance administration, and property damage. Included in this value is a sum of £5,200 for the cost to public funds for medical costs and the costs of police and courts. The lost production element includes social security costs but these are not separately estimated.

Local Authority Development Plans

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions, pursuant to his oral answer of 9 June 1998, Official Report, column 859, if he will list the local authority development plans in respect of which he has confirmed the housing requirements put forward by local planning authorities since 23 February. [46965]

23 Jun 1998 : Column: 437

Mr. Raynsford: The following development plans, or alterations to existing development plans, have been adopted by local authorities since 23 February this year:




















In all cases the plans reached adoption without the Secretary of State having to use his reserve powers of direction in respect of the housing provision proposed by local planning authorities.

M6

Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what extra funding will be provided for increasing the capacity of the M6 following the decision to proceed with the Birmingham Northern Relief Road. [46845]

Ms Glenda Jackson: Decisions on increasing the capacity of the M6 are independent of the decision to proceed with the Birmingham Northern Relief Road. More generally, funding for investment in trunk roads is being considered in the Roads Review and in the Comprehensive Spending Review. I cannot anticipate decisions in either of these Reviews.

Carbon Dioxide Emissions

Mrs. Brinton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will estimate the quantity of carbon dioxide emitted annually by a representative sample of 1.5 million cars. [47075]

Ms Glenda Jackson: The total car fleet in the UK emitted 19.33 million tonnes of Carbon in 1996. Given that the total car fleet was made up of 22.24 million cars, this translates into an average of 0.87 tonnes of Carbon per car in that year.

The quantity of Carbon emitted by each car in practice will depend on a number of factors, including: the type of fuel used, the size of the engine, the driving conditions, driving behaviour and the maintenance of the vehicle.

Bathing Water (Cliftonville)

Mr. Gale: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions for what reason the Environment Agency has not adopted (a) Palm Bay

23 Jun 1998 : Column: 438

and (b) Kingsgate Bay in Cliftonville as designated areas for Beachwater Microbiological Assays of Pathogens. [47248]

Angela Eagle: No applications have been received by my Department for Palm Bay and Kingsgate Bay to be identified as bathing waters under the Bathing Water Directive, which would in turn require regular water quality sampling by the Environment Agency. I understand that neither bay is likely to fulfil the Directive's definition of a bathing water, which is where bathing is traditionally practised by a large number of bathers, nor do they possess facilities associated with popular bathing areas.

Rail Safety

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) if any trains operating on the Virgin West Coast Mainline are of the same design as the Great North Eastern Railway trains recently found to have faults in their wheels; [47313]

Ms Glenda Jackson: None of the trains operating on the West Coast Main Line is of the same design as the Great North Eastern Railway train which was derailed on 16 June. The immediate cause of the incident appears to have been a fractured wheel, although the Health and Safety Executive's (HSE's) Railway Inspectorate's investigation is still on-going.

Immediately after the derailment on 16 June, in which the last coach of a high speed train operated by Great North Eastern Railway (GNER) was derailed at Sandy, Bedfordshire, Railtrack sent out notices to all other train operating companies giving details of the nature of the failure and advising them what action should be taken.

In addition, the Railway Inspectorate has written to all the train operating companies reminding them of their duties under the relevant health and safety legislation. These require them to identify whether there are similar features on their rolling stock and take appropriate action to ensure safety.

I am informed that Virgin Trains are inspecting all their vehicles. The bogies and wheelsets involved in this accident are unique to Mark 4 rolling stock which, in the UK, is used only by Great North Eastern Railways (GNER).

English Partnerships

Mr. Ennis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what are his plans for English Partnerships following the creation of regional development agencies. [47438]

Mr. Caborn: The work of English Partnerships (EP) is to be carried forward in the main by the Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) as part of the Government's commitment to put decision-making on regeneration and economic development at the regional level. Regeneration will be part of the RDAs' integrated regional strategies. The roles and functions of EP are to move to the RDAs as they are established; the assets will

23 Jun 1998 : Column: 439

transfer from EP to the RDAs; and regional EP staff will transfer to the RDAs in April 1999 (and the following year for London).

This is a major organisational change and it will take time for the RDAs to get to grips with their new tasks and establish themselves as influential and credible organisations on the regional, national and international scene. Ministers envisage that there will be a transitional period of about five years when the experience and expertise of EP's remaining national capability will be critical in providing the continuity on some major projects and should also prove useful to RDAs as they bed in.

I am placing a copy of a note in the Library which sets out the background to the changes, the work remaining with EP, and the merger of EP and the Commission for the New Towns in 2000, which I have already announced. The note has been issued today to the Government Offices for the Regions and to EP staff.


Next Section Index Home Page