Previous Section Index Home Page


Air Traffic Control

Mr. Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when he expects the NATS system at Swanwick to be assessed as fit for purpose. [63605]

Ms Glenda Jackson: There are a number of steps to progressively assess the Swanwick system's fitness for purpose. The Technical Transfer, which represents the confirmation that the system is technically ready for operation, is expected in late 2000. NATS will also have to demonstrate the safety of the system to the CAA's Safety Regulation Group before the system can come into operation.

Correspondence

Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make it his policy to ensure that all letters from his Department and its agencies use the titles of addressees; and if he will make a statement. [63460]

Mr. Meale: The Department seeks to ensure that all correspondence is correctly addressed to recipients, and includes titles where appropriate.

Public Transport

Mr. Jack: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what studies his Department has made to determine the proportion of private road and freight journeys which could be achieved on an equal basis by public transport. [63357]

Ms Glenda Jackson: Studies of the potential for modal shift are usually carried out to inform decisions on investment in major public transport projects and to

15 Dec 1998 : Column: 431

monitor the effects. Examples of these and other recent studies carried out by the Department or in which it has been involved include:



    Manchester Metrolink Monitoring Study (December 1996)


    Sheffield Supertram Monitoring Study (expected 1999)


    The Trans-Pennine Rail Strategy Study (January 1992)


    Impact of Transport Policies in Five Cities (November 1994).

In relation to the potential for shifting freight journeys from road to rail, the Office of the Rail Regulator commissioned the following study:


In addition, the environmental benefits of reducing lorry journeys are taken into account in assessing applications for freight grants.

Departmental Staff (Kandola Report)

Mr. McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) what assessment he has made of the report by Pearn Kandola in relation to discrimination in his Department on grounds of (a) race and (b) gender; [63351]

Mr. Meale: The Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions is committed to equality of opportunity. All DETR staff have a right to fair treatment throughout their careers regardless of race, ethnic or national origin, age, religion, gender, marital status, disability or sexual orientation.

15 Dec 1998 : Column: 432

As part of our commitment to equality of opportunity, my Department monitors and compares the annual performance and promotability of its staff by gender, ethnicity, disability and part/full-time working. When the analysis of performance reports for staff in the central Department for the year to 31 March 1998 was carried out, a number of statistically significant differences were identified in relation to gender, ethnic and other groups: the performance marks for women were significantly higher than those for men in administrative grades, and white staff received higher marks than ethnic minority staff at Executive Officer and Personal Secretary level.

In the light of these findings, Pearn Kandola, a firm of occupational psychologists, were appointed to carry out an independent study of the appraisal system.

The Pearn Kandola report was completed in the first week of December. It concluded that overall, from the evidence looked at, the appraisal system on balance appeared to be fair. The specific cause or causes of the differences in report markings could not be identified. The report made a number of recommendations on how the system could be improved which the Department will be acting on.

The cost of the study was £32,000.

I have placed copies of the full report in the House of Commons Library.

The issues raised by the report are currently under consideration.

Departmental Responsibilities

Mr. Wigley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions which UK-wide or Britain-wide programmes will be the responsibility of his Department after the establishment of the National Assembly for Wales and the Scottish Parliament; and what is the forecast level of expenditure on such programmes in 1998-99. [63481]

Mr. Meale: The Government of Wales Act 1998 provided for a Transfer of Functions Order to be made to transfer Ministerial functions to the National Assembly for Wales. The order was published in draft for public consultation on 12 November 1998. Work is continuing within Government to finalise the text of the Order and until work is completed, it is not possible to state with certainty what functions will transfer to the Welsh Assembly. Similarly, the functions which will be devolved to the Scottish Parliament under the Scotland Act 1998, depend in part on secondary legislation which has yet to be passed. My Department is reviewing its programmes to establish whether any programme expenditure relates to the functions which are being devolved and to assess the need for any consequential transfer of funds to the Welsh Assembly and Scottish Parliament.

Detrunked Roads

Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what his policy is in respect of the maintenance of detrunked roads, where that maintenance is currently subject to a DBFO agreement. [63557]

15 Dec 1998 : Column: 433

Ms Glenda Jackson: The A30/35 Exeter to Bere Regis project is the only DBFO project affected by detrunking proposals. The Highways Agency will discuss the implications of detrunking this road with all the interested parties, to ensure that it continues to be maintained to proper standards.

Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what formula he will apply to determine the funding to be transferred to highway authorities in respect of detrunked roads. [63383]

Ms Glenda Jackson: My right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport has made it clear that there will be a fair re-allocation of resources to reflect the financial responsibilities which local authorities will assume when roads are actually detrunked. The arrangements for achieving this objective are currently the subject of consultation with the Local Government Association.

Emission Targets (Kyoto)

Mr. Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement on the progress made in achieving the CO 2 reduction targets agreed at Kyoto for the United Kingdom. [63614]

Mr. Meale [holding answer 14 December 1998]: On 26 October 1998, the Government published a consultation paper on climate change. The paper describes progress to date in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the UK and sets out a variety of policy options for meeting our climate change targets. It covers both the UK's legally binding target from Kyoto of a 12.5 per cent. reduction in a basket of six greenhouse gases by 2008-2012 and our domestic goal of a 20 per cent. reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2010. Following the consultation period, we will develop and consult on a new UK climate change programme.

Action has already been taken to reduce the UK's emissions of greenhouse gases. For example, the Government have introduced their integrated transport policy; we have increased the fuel duty escalator to an average of 6 per cent. above inflation per year; the European car industry has negotiated a voluntary agreement to reduce emissions of CO 2 from new cars by an average of 25 per cent.; Lord Marshall has reported on the scope for using economic instruments to improve business's use of energy; we have launched a review of what would be necessary and practicable to deliver 10 per cent. of electricity demand from renewable sources by 2010; and we have increased resources for energy efficiency.


Next Section Index Home Page