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Rolling Stock Companies (Safety Compliance)

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions, pursuant to his answer of 1 December 1998, Official Report, column 115, concerning rolling stock companies, what responsibility the ROSCOs have to comply with the requirements of the Health and Safety Executive. [63413]

Ms Glenda Jackson [holding answer 14 December 1998]: Rolling Stock Companies (ROSCOs) have a responsibility to comply with the requirements relating to them under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974

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and its statutory provisions. The Health and Safety Executive monitors and enforces compliance with these requirements.

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions, pursuant to his answer of 1 December 1998, Official Report, column 115, concerning rolling stock companies, what responsibility the Franchising Director has to the franchisee if the HSE's requirements in respect of rolling stock change during the life of a franchise. [63412]

Ms Glenda Jackson [holding answer 14 December 1998]: Under the terms of the Franchise Agreement there are arrangements in place for the Franchising Director to meet up to 95 per cent. of the costs falling on a train operating company for modification to rolling stock which is required to be made under any applicable law, any Government authority or any directives from Railtrack relating to safety. These directives could relate to Acts of Parliament and/or directives originating from Railway Group Standards. Railway Group Standards are rules, regulations, instructions and procedures which are produced as mandatory operational and engineering standards and all relate to safety aspects of the operation of railways and are set and enforced by Railtrack.

New Housing Development

Mr. Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when he plans to issue guidance on a sequential approach to selecting locations for new housing development and sites. [64151]

Mr. Caborn: Guidance on the approach to the selection of locations and sites for housing will be included in the draft new planning policy guidance note on housing (PPG3) which will be issued early next year.

A14

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what change in traffic levels on the A14 in Cambridgeshire is predicted as a result of the opening of the A1(M) south of Peterborough. [63534]

Ms Glenda Jackson [holding answer 14 December 1998]: The upgrading of the A1 to motorway status between Alconbury and Peterborough is not expected to result in any increase in traffic levels over and above that due to general growth in traffic on the A14.

Ethnic Monitoring

Mr. McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what plans he has to include Irish as a category in his Department's ethnic monitoring of staff recruitment. [63870]

Mr. Meale: The over-riding principle of Civil Service recruitment procedures is that they should be fair, and selection should be on merit at each stage. Monitoring in this area is based on ethnic origin rather than nationality. The categories monitored by my Department are based on those used in the 1991 census, which did not include an Irish category. The categories will be reviewed in the light of any suggested changes for the 2001 Population Census.

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Road Traffic Targets

Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will list the representations he has received which opposed the setting of specific targets to reduce road traffic volumes. [63384]

Ms Glenda Jackson: My Department does not maintain a detailed central record of the views expressed on particular issues in all written and oral representations made to the Secretary of State. A comprehensive answer to the hon. Member's question could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

We have, however, extracted the following information on opposition to national road traffic reduction targets from our database of the responses to the Government's August 1997 consultation on developing an integrated transport policy. (A summary report on those responses was published in July 1998). Five respondents indicated that they did not support national road traffic reduction targets. Of these, one was a member of the public and the remaining four were:



    The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders Ltd.


    Environmental Transport Association


    Civil Engineering Contractors Association.

Copies of all the written responses, except those where confidentiality was requested, are available for inspection by arrangement at the Department's library at Ashdown House, 123 Victoria Street, London SW1E 6RB.

Aircraft Emissions

Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what is the Government's target for percentage reduction in emissions from aircraft; and what proportion of the Government's planned 20 per cent. reduction in carbon emissions this constitutes. [63641]

Ms Glenda Jackson: The Government are currently consulting on options to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases and meet their climate change targets. Our consultation paper looks at a wide range of options. It does not propose targets for particular sectors. Our aim is to develop a balanced climate change programme where all sectors play a part.

Only the emissions from domestic flights, beginning and ending within the UK, are included in our national inventory. These account for around 11 per cent. of total emissions from UK originating air traffic. The UK is working within the International Civil Aviation Organisation, which was given the responsibility under the Kyoto Protocol, on ways of reducing emissions from international aviation.

Railway Stations

Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what steps he will take to ensure that improvements carried out to stations on behalf of, and at the expense of, train operating companies are not subject to excessive charges by Railtrack. [63631]

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Ms Glenda Jackson: The Rail Regulator is responsible for setting the access charges which meet Railtrack's costs of maintaining and repairing station infrastructure. The Regulator is presently reviewing all Railtrack's access charges and is required to publish his final conclusions by July 2000. In addition, the Regulator's approval is required for any changes to station access charges which Railtrack may agree with a train operator as a result of investment in station improvements. On 5 December, the Regulator issued guidelines to the industry designed to ensure that any such changes to meet Railtrack's additional costs from enhancing station facilities are justified and calculated in a fair, consistent and transparent manner.

Aviation Fuel

Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what (a) discussions and (b) studies his Department is supporting in respect of the taxation of aviation fuel; and if he will make a statement. [63642]

Ms Glenda Jackson: The UK supported the Community Resolution of 9 June 1997 which asked the European Commission to study the environmental and economic effects in Europe of a tax on aviation fuel. The study report is expected early next year.

The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) agreed a work programme for its Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection in October this year. This includes the need to identify and evaluate the role which a range of market based options, including fuel taxes, might play in reducing aviation emissions. My Department will continue to play a leading role in this work programme which must be completed before the next ICAO Assembly in 2001.

British Rail

Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions, pursuant to his answer of 7 December 1998, Official Report, column 36, what the reasons were for the size of the increase in the external finance requirement for the British Railways Board between 1996-97 and 1997-98. [63905]

Ms Glenda Jackson: The increase in the British Railways Board's external finance requirement between 1996-97 and 1997-98 reflects the combined effects of large changes in the Board's finances. In particular, as a result of privatisation, the Board's turnover fell from £3,397 million in 1996-97 including grants of £1,507 million, to just £231 million in 1997-98 including grants of £51 million.

A26 and A27

Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what plans he has to introduce safety improvements to (a) the A26 Beddingham-Newhaven and (b) the A27 Lewes- Polegate. [63558]

Ms Glenda Jackson: The Highways Agency has introduced a number of safety improvements on the A26

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between Beddingham and Newhaven and the A27 between Lewes and Polegate respectively and has plans to introduce more. These are:



    South Downs Way Crossing--a study is underway with a view to providing a signal controlled pedestrian/cycle/equestrian crossing.


    Beddingham Warning Sign--'Queues Likely' sign is about to be erected to the south of Beddingham roundabout.


    Itford Farm Layby--study is in progress with a view to providing a layby in the vicinity of the South Downs Way.


    Resurfacing--the skidding resistance of most of the carriageway from north of the Beddingham landfill sites to the Tarring Neville junction is programmed to increased early in the new year.


    (b) A27 Lewes to Polegate


    Lewes--Polegate--a study of the double white lining system has currently been completed and improvements are due to be implemented shortly.


    Willington Cross Road--a scheme to provide a right turn facility is being prepared and subject to land acquisition, is expected to be implemented in the next financial year. If SUSTRANS opts for National Cycle Route at this point on the trunk road the scheme will include a light controlled 'Toucan' pedestrian crossing.


    Aberdale Road, Polegate, Cycle Crossing--a SUSTRANS sponsored National Cycle Route Crossing of the trunk Road involving the provision of a light-controlled 'Toucan' pedestrian crossing is programmed in the current financial year.


    Southerham to Ranscombe Lane Cycle Route--a scheme is in preparation and is expected to be implemented during the next financial year.


    Beddingham Footways--a study is in hand to establish the provision of footways between laybys on either side of the railway level crossing and crossings telephones.


    A22 Junction (South)--consideration is being given to upgrading the traffic signals at this busy junction and to linking them with the A22 Wannock Road signals.


    Firle Cycle Track--a study is underway with a view to providing a cycle track between the Glynde junction and Middle farm, programmed for this financial year.


    Southerham Roundabout--a study is in hand to provide dedicated lanes at this very busy junction.


    Sameston--a lower speed limit is planned for early in the new year and crash protection for 'Corner Cottage' is currently being designed.


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