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Railway Accidents

Mr. Colman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will list the railway accidents in each year between 1989 and 1999, giving the numbers of fatalities and those injured in each accident. [100188]

Mr. Hill: The information is not available in the form requested.

Comprehensive statistics relating to all railway accidents in Great Britain can be found in the Health and Safety Executive's HM Chief Inspector of Railways' Annual Reports on Railway Safety. Latest statistics for 1998-99 are due to be published on 2 December. These figures include an analysis of the number of train accidents, by causation, and the total number of fatalities and injuries each year. The analysis of fatalities and injuries is by type of accident and identity of the person involved, e.g. passenger, member of railway staff. Arrangements are being made for copies of the Annual Report to be available in the House Libraries once published. Copies of previous Annual Reports are already in the House Libraries.

Bus Services (Regulation)

Mr. Dobbin: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what plans he has to introduce regulation for bus services. [99866]

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Mr. Hill: We will be including measures in the forthcoming Transport Bill to fulfil our manifesto commitment to the proper regulation of buses at the local level. We expect to make a further announcement shortly.

Railway Maintenance Staff

Mr. Nigel Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will list for each year since 1979 for which figures are available the number of maintenance staff who were (a) killed and (b) injured on the railway network. [100058]

Mr. Hill: The information is not available in the detail requested, although there are statistics on the total number of railway staff killed and injured in the period in question, as set out in the table. "Railway staff" includes all rail workers (drivers, station staff etc.) as well as maintenance staff.

Casualties to all railway staff in the last 20 years

Year FatalitiesMajor injuriesMinor injuries
197943(4)6,122
1980326114,591
1981271924,591
1982271373,816
1983281613,010
1984251272,544
1985251662,551
1986161752,733
1987162382,672
1988162733,022
1989182772,858
1990223063,051
1991-92172783,226
1992-93112843,348
1993-9482623,590
1994-9592523,411
1995-9652254,144
1996-9723101,842
1997-9833512,088
1998-9943762,070

(4) Major and minor injuries combined in 1979


Track Identification

Mr. Nigel Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will assess the advantages and disadvantages in terms of rail safety of changing the system of track identification from the current up and down system to numbering each track. [100060]

Mr. Hill: The convention adopted for identifying railway tracks varies from location to location and is the result of historic custom and practice. While it may seem attractive to impose a rationalised uniform system of identification, the risks involved in the transition could outweigh the benefits of the change. Safe operation of the railway often depends on drivers, signallers and other workers correctly identifying tracks; acquiring the necessary knowledge of the geography and layout of the railway is an important part of ensuring their competence. Change to well-established names could well increase the probability of errors.

Victorian Parks

Mr. Fearn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what plans he

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has to take action to improve the state of Victorian parks in Britain, in response to the Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Committee's report of Session 1998-99 on Town and Country Parks (HC 477). [100281]

Ms Beverley Hughes: We welcome the recent report from the Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Committee on Town and Country Parks. We share the Committee's concern about the quality and future of Victorian parks. We will publish our full response to the report in the new year.

Carbon Dioxide Emissions

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what are the Government's carbon dioxide emission targets for (a) 2011, (b) 2012, (c) 2014, (d) 2016, (e) 2018 and (f) 2020. [100481]

Mr. Hill: Following Kyoto in 1997, the UK has a target to reduce a basket of 6 greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, by 12.5 per cent. below 1990 levels by 2008-12. The Government also have a domestic goal to cut emissions of carbon dioxide by 20 per cent. by 2010. The Kyoto protocol requires international discussions about targets beyond 2012 to begin by 2005 at the latest.

The Government will shortly be publishing a draft UK climate change programme for consultation. The draft programme will recognise that Kyoto is only the start of the process and that greater cuts in emissions will be needed over time. It will therefore set out our policies and measures directed at our current commitments, but also to help prepare the UK for more challenging targets in the future.

Gipsy Caravans

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) how many gipsy caravans were counted in each local authority area in the January and July counts of (a) 1997, (b) 1998 and (c) 1999; and how many of those caravans were parked on unauthorised sites; [100485]

Mr. Mullin: The figures for the latest five counts of gipsy caravans broken down by local authority are routinely placed in the Libraries of both Houses as soon as they become available. They include details of the numbers of gipsy caravans on authorised (public and private) sites and on unauthorised sites in every local authority area. Figures for January 1997 to January 1999 are included in the table which was published in May this year, and the figures for July 1997 to July 1999 are included in the table which was published in October this year.

At the time of the count of gipsy caravans in July this year, there was a total of 13,399 gipsy caravans on authorised (public and private) sites and on unauthorised sites in England. Gipsies are defined in legislation as


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The Department does not keep records of the number of vehicles belonging to other travellers who do not fall within that definition.

Correspondence

Sir Brian Mawhinney: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when he will reply to the letter of 26 July from the right hon. Member for North-West Cambridgeshire on behalf of his constituent Mrs. Montgomery. [100400]

Ms Armstrong: We have no record of receiving the right hon. Members' letter dated 26 July. If he would like to forward a further copy it will be dealt with promptly.

Westminster Underground

Mr. Ottaway: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when Westminster underground station will be open to Jubilee Line services. [100438]

Mr. Hill: London Transport aim to open the Jubilee Line station at Westminster shortly before Christmas. It is, however, a very deep and highly complex station, being constructed on an extremely constricted site. LT cannot therefore guarantee the opening date at present. By early December it should be possible to be more precise.

Farm-based Tourism

Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what recent guidance he has issued to planning authorities with regard to farm-based tourism and other farm diversification projects; and when such guidance was issued. [100274]

Ms Beverley Hughes: Planning Policy Guidance (PPG) note 7 on the Countryside recognises the importance of farm-based diversification in a changing rural economy and gives guidance on development related to agriculture and to farm diversification, including tourism. The guidance takes account of the research report "Planning for Rural Diversification", published in 1995, which was accompanied by a good practice guide.

Rating Revaluation

Mr. Fearn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what steps he is taking to ensure that, during the revaluation of non-domestic properties from 1 April 2000, unqualified rating advisers are not able to conduct business. [100268]

Ms Beverley Hughes: Non-domestic ratepayers must remain free to engage the services of anyone they wish. However, they should be aware that unscrupulous operators are active in this field and may not offer a fully professional service.

Members of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), the Incorporated Society of Valuers and Auctioneers (ISVA) and the Institute of Revenues Rating and Valuation (IRRV), are regulated by rules of professional conduct designed to protect the public from misconduct, and are required to hold adequate professional indemnity insurance.

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Before employing a rating adviser who is not a member of one of these bodies, ratepayers should satisfy themselves that he or she has the necessary knowledge and experience, as well as appropriate indemnity insurance.

My Department will be strongly reinforcing this message in the run up to the revaluation. It will be included in the information that we intend should be sent to all ratepayers early next year.


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