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3 Jul 2000 : Column: 85W
he has made of the impact of the Draft Programme on Climate Change on the additional costs which would fall on (a) air conditioning manufacturers and (b) consumers in the United Kingdom from a ban on the use of HFCs; and if he will make a statement on the draft programme's impact on the international competitiveness of UK air conditioning manufacturing. 
Mr. Meacher: No assessment has been made of the additional costs that would fall on air conditioning manufacturers and consumers from a ban on the use of HFCs because the Government have not proposed such a ban.
The draft climate change programme includes a policy statement on HFCs that sends a clear signal to industry and users not to use HFCs where more environmentally acceptable, safe, technically feasible and cost-effective alternatives exist. At the same time we recognise that HFCs are necessary to replace ozone-depleting substances in some applications, and that HFC emissions reduction strategies should not undermine commitments to phase out ozone-depleting substances under the Montreal Protocol.
The Government have made it clear that they aim to put in place a climate change programme that safeguards and enhances UK competitiveness. We recognise the concern business has expressed about the implications of action on climate change for the UK's international competitiveness, but believe that the measures in the draft programme are consistent with that aim.
Mr. Pollard: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what action his Department is taking to ensure that Railtrack provide the signalling infrastructure, as part of the West Coast Mainline Upgrade, to give the train operating company holding the franchise for the St. Albans Abbey to Watford Junction line the ability to operate through services to London from St. Albans Abbey station. 
Mr. Hill: Trains from St. Albans Abbey can operate at present onto the main line at Watford Junction with special permission, although not for regular services. As part of the current plans for the West Coast Main Line Upgrade a new island platform, which can take eight car trains, will be constructed at Watford Junction to replace platform 11 currently used by St. Albans Abbey trains. The associated new signalling will allow trains to pass to and from the London Euston lines on a regular basis. It would then be a matter for the franchise operator to discuss with interested local stakeholders the need for and viability of through services between London Euston and St. Albans Abbey via Watford Junction.
Mrs. Ray Michie: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions, pursuant to his answer of 2 May 2000, Official Report, columns 3-4W, on seat belts, if he will list the Scottish local authorities participating in the public consultation exercise on draft regulations regarding the fitting of seat belts; and if he will make a statement. 
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Mr. Hill [holding answer 29 June 2000]: As the proposals concerned the national implementation of European Directive vehicle construction provisions, only those local authorities which had previously expressed a specific interest in the issue were consulted, which included no Scottish authorities.
Ms Beverley Hughes: Planning Policy Guidance note 3: Housing, issued in March, provides guidance on planning for housing. One of its main objectives is to ensure that better use is made of previously developed land and buildings for additional housing, particularly within urban areas. PPG3 has introduced a sequential approach which requires previously developed land and buildings in urban areas to be considered for development in preference to greenfield sites.
Sir Paul Beresford: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what account he takes of local objections when deciding on planning applications for building incinerators. 
Ms Beverley Hughes: When my right hon. Friend decides any planning application he does so after having looked carefully at all the relevant considerations, including all representations made to him, whether in favour of the proposed development or against it.
Sir Paul Beresford: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what guidance he gives on the desirability of siting waste incinerators near to principal sources of waste where the proposed site is (a) rural and (b) urban; and if he will make a statement. 
Ms Beverley Hughes: Guidance to local authorities is given in Planning Policy Guidance Note 10 (Planning and Waste Management), published in September 1999. This states that the "proximity principle" is one of the key principles on which waste management decisions should be based, namely that waste should generally be managed as near as possible to its place of production, because transporting waste itself has an environmental impact. This holds good equally for rural and urban locations.
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Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what plans he has to integrate the A130 into a second London orbital road; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Hill: The A130 forms a major North-South route through Essex linking the towns of Great Dunmow and Chelmsford with South East Essex and Basildon. It carries a substantial volume of traffic, passing through communities with consequent environmental and safety problems for the residents.
The A130 Improvement, South of Chelmsford, is being constructed as a local bypass for some of these communities and to relieve them of the effects of the traffic. It is not intended that this or any length of the A130 should become part of a second London orbital road.
Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what representations he has made in relation to the Montreal Convention to ensure UK passengers will be able to claim compensation for psychiatric injury caused by air accidents; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Hill: Damages for mental injury caused by air accidents are already recoverable in the UK when associated with physical injury. In preparation for the Diplomatic Conference held in Montreal in May 1999, at which the Convention was signed, the UK supported a proposal by Sweden for a separate head of claim for mental injury. Prior to the Conference, however, that proposal was withdrawn from the draft text of the Convention. Our position was that a separate claim for mental injury could be advocated only if there was sufficient support to gain global agreement. There was not
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sufficient support so, in the interest of securing the best deal for the UK, it was decided to support the text of the Convention without a separate reference to mental injury. The Conference "travaux preparatoires", nevertheless, indicate that damages for mental injury can be recovered in certain states and that jurisprudence in this area is developing.
Mr. Hill: Primary legislation in the form of a new Carriage by Air Act is required before the UK can ratify the Montreal Convention. We aim to introduce that legislation as soon as parliamentary time allows. The Convention requires ratification by 30 states before it can come into force. To date, three states have deposited instruments of ratification.
Mr. Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many (a) property and (b) violent crimes were recorded by the British Transport Police at (i) railway stations and (ii) coach and bus stations in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. 
The BTP's crime database does not allow the figures for crime locations to be extracted easily and providing the figures for railway stations alone could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. The tables include figures for property and violent crime over the last five years on the whole railway network.
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|Theft passenger property/goods||20,766||21,206||18,625||19,381||19,099|
|Theft railway property/burglary||8,472||7,986||7,138||6,098||6,619|
|Notifiable violent offences||1,735||1,571||1,547||1,639||1,751|
|Notifiable sexual offences||578||603||675||756||680|
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Mr. Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many and what proportion of railway stations have become accredited as secure stations; what standards have to be met to achieve the accreditation; what measures he is taking to ensure more stations are so accredited; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Hill: There are currently 61 stations accredited under the Secure Stations Scheme (out of approximately 2,800 stations in Great Britain). The Secure Stations Scheme, which was launched in April 1998, is designed
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to improve and standardise good security practices at all overground and underground stations. To become an accredited Secure Station, each station operator needs to work with their local British Transport Police Crime Prevention Operator to ensure that their station meets the national standards on design and management to cut down crime. The standards relate to such measures as staff training, Help Points, CCTV, lighting and information. Operators also have to conduct an independent passenger survey to see whether passengers feel safe at the station and provide evidence that crime rates are low.
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We are aware that a number of stations are currently working towards accreditation and we are hopeful of having around 100 stations accredited by the end of the year. We will continue to work with the rail industry to encourage further accreditations.
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