Previous Section Index Home Page


Mr. Goggins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) what progress he is making towards eliminating restriction on the ability of United Kingdom and foreign airlines to serve United Kingdom regional airports without the need for bilateral negotiations; [106789]

27 Jan 2000 : Column: 279W

Mr. Mullin: In June 1998 we offered to bilateral partners with whom we did not already have liberal agreements unrestricted third/fourth freedom access to all UK airports (except Heathrow and Gatwick) as long as UK airlines were also allowed to operate on the same routes. Fifth freedom rights were not included in the offer and remain subject to negotiation although in evaluating exchanges of rights we do take account of possible regional economic benefits. In the Department's response to the Select Committee on Environment, Transport and the Regions report on Access to Regional Airports we undertook to review this policy. Officials have consulted interested parties and a response will shortly be made to the Select Committee.

Mr. Goggins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what is his timetable for achieving full liberalisation of air service agreements. [106787]

Mr. Mullin: It is impossible to set a timetable for achieving full liberalisation of air services agreements as this is dependent on bilateral partners. Liberal air service arrangements are already in place with EEA States and a number of other states and officials seek to liberalise our arrangements in other air services negotiations.

Portsmouth Harbour

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions on what grounds he rejected the representations from the applicants for the proposed Portsmouth Harbour (Gunwharf Quays) (Millennium Tower) Order concerning the objections to this Order due to be received by him by 20 December; what criteria he uses to make such decisions; and how much time he will give the applicants to revise their representations. [106804]

Mr. Hill: The application by the Berkeley Festival Waterfront Company Ltd. for powers to construct the Millennium Tower is subject to the written representations procedure under the Transport and Works Act 1992. The applicants complied with the first stage of this procedure on 20 December by sending to the Department representations on each objection to their application. They did not, however, include in their representations information which had been sought by the Department concerning the proposed use of the Tower. We need to be satisfied that the essential purpose of the Tower would fall within the definition of an observation structure, in order to establish that it would be within the powers of the 1992 Act to make the proposed Order. It would not be appropriate to progress the application further until this fundamental issue has been addressed. We expect the applicants to respond shortly on this issue.

Private Finance Initiative

Mr. Jack: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions which projects relating to his Department that appeared in the Private Finance Panel's list of 29 November 1995 (a) have been completed, (b) are still pending, (c) have been dropped and (d) are being pursued by means other than a public private partnership. [105873]

27 Jan 2000 : Column: 280W

Ms Armstrong [holding answer 24 January 2000]: I refer the right hon. Member to the reply given by my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary to the Treasury on 24 January 2000, Official Report, columns 117-18W.

Trains (Deaths)

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many people were killed by trains in each year since 1995; and what estimate he has made of how many such deaths were suicides. [106704]

Mr. Hill: For the period 1 April 1995-31 March 1999, the number of people killed by trains was:

Year Total fatalitiesSuicidesPassenger fatalities in train accidents

The figures include all fatalities due to train accidents and the movement of trains reported to the Health and Safety Executive's (HSE's) HM Railway Inspectorate. However, 1998-99 was the first time in 5 years (ie since privatisation) that no passenger was killed in a train accident.

The figures for suicides are included in the total fatalities figures. The total figures also include fatalities to trespassers which have averaged well over 100 a year. The figures in this table are based on published statistics, subject to subsequent change by Coroners verdicts, which are contained in the HSE Chief Inspector of Railways' Annual Reports on Railway Safety for Great Britain, and are available in the House Library.

Private Hire Vehicles

Mr. Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what progress has been made in respect of restoring the position on private hire vehicles which existed prior to the decision in the case of Benson v. Copeland Borough Council concerning the personal use of a private hire vehicle by the spouse of the licence holder. [106464]

Mr. Hill: I refer the hon. Member to my reply to my hon. Friend, the Member for Oldham, East and Saddleworth (Mr. Woolas), on 21 December 1999 Official Report, column 521W.

Departmental Staff

Mr. Stephen Twigg: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what percentage of his Department's staff were (a) registered disabled, (b) women, (c) from ethnic minorities and (d) from (i) independent, (ii) grammar and (iii) other schools in (1) 1970, (2) 1979, (3) 1989 and (4) 1999. [106764]

27 Jan 2000 : Column: 281W

Ms Beverley Hughes: As of the end of 1999 the percentages in the Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions (including its Agencies) were 3 per cent. disabled staff, 46 per cent. women and 5.2 per cent. ethnic minority staff.

Figures for 1970, 1979 and 1989 are not available due to the merging of the former Departments of Environment and Transport in 1997 and the formation of the Agencies and Government Offices. Similarly, although records of staff members' educational qualifications and the institutions from which they attained them are now kept, no record is kept of the type of school attended.

Rail Franchises

Mr. Wigley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will take steps to ensure that Wales is placed within a single franchise area when railway franchises are next allocated. [107017]

Mr. Hill: As part of his preparations for franchise replacement, the Franchising Director has invited proposals for improved services in Wales and the North West. These need not necessarily be based on the existing franchise map. In any re-negotiations the Franchising Director will seek the best deal he can for passengers, in line with the Instructions and Guidance the Deputy Prime Minister gave him last year. The Franchising Director has consulted interested parties, including the Welsh Assembly, and will continue to do during the re- negotiation process.


Security Services

Mr. Baker: To ask the Prime Minister under what circumstances expenditure by the security services can be incurred outside the funds allocated to the Single Intelligence Vote; and if he will make a statement. [106653]

The Prime Minister [holding answer 25 January 2000]: None.

Policy Unit

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Prime Minister how many members of staff at the Number 10 Policy Unit are employed as experts on (a) non-European international affairs and (b) African affairs. [106987]

The Prime Minister: None.

Arms Exports

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Prime Minister what assessment he has made of the compliance of the export of spare parts for British made Hawk Jets with (a) criterion 4 and (b) criterion 8 of the EU Code of Conduct for Arms Exports. [107018]

The Prime Minister: Licences to export arms and other goods whose export is controlled for strategic reasons are issued by the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry acting through the Export Control Organisation (ECO) of the Department of Trade and Industry. All relevant individual licence applications are circulated by

27 Jan 2000 : Column: 282W

the DTI to other Government Departments with an interest as determined by those Departments in line with their policy responsibilities. These include the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Ministry of Defence and Department for International Development.

All applications for licences to export goods entered in Part III of Schedule 1 to the Export of Goods (Control) Order 1994, commonly known as the Military List, are assessed against the criteria announced by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on 28 July 1997, Official Report, columns 26-29W, and European Union Code of Conduct of Arms Exports, including Criteria 4 and 8.

Next Section Index Home Page