Previous Section Index Home Page

Road Safety

Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) if he will list the statutory duties of local authorities in respect of road safety; [148198]

Mr. Hill: Local authorities have a duty under section 39 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 both to promote road safety, and to study road traffic accidents in their areas and take appropriate remedial measures.

It is for local authorities to decide how to discharge these duties, including decisions on staffing levels and recruitment. However, the Road Safety Strategy, "Tomorrow's Road--Safer for Everyone", recorded the value we place on the contribution that can be made by Road Safety Officers (RSOs), and encouraged National Vocational Qualifications for these officers. We require local authorities to describe, in their Road Safety Strategies, the Education, Training and Publicity programmes being undertaken by their RSOs.

There are twice yearly Departmental meetings with the local authority Road Safety Officers Association and the Association of London Borough Road Safety Officers,

5 Feb 2001 : Column: 381W

which provide RSOs with guidance on Government policy. The last meeting was in December last year. We also liaise with RSOs over publicity campaigns, so they can carry out complementary activity. Literature of relevance to RSOs is distributed to them as and when it becomes available.

The role of Environmental Health Officers would not be expected to have a focus on road safety.

London Underground

Mr. Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when he expects to announce the future financial and operational arrangements for the London Underground; and if he will make a statement. [148560]

Mr. Prescott: I was pleased to announce last Friday that I have agreed with Bob Kiley, Commissioner of Transport for London, that we will work together and with London Underground on modifications to the Public Private Partnership (PPP). If we can agree mutually acceptable changes then the PPP bidders will be asked to submit revised proposals. The Government, London Underground and Transport for London will jointly evaluate any revised proposals to decide whether they are acceptable to both parties.

The Commissioner and I have confirmed our determination to reach the best deal for Londoners and secure the long-term increased investment the Tube needs without delay.

Flight Paths (Walthamstow)

Mr. Gerrard: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what change has occurred in the last three years in the number of aircraft on flight paths above Walthamstow. [148500]

Mr. Robert Ainsworth: The number of aircraft that overfly Walthamstow and adjoining areas depends on the direction of operations at Heathrow which itself is dependent on wind direction and strength and so can vary from day to day. Due to the prevailing westerly winds, on average Heathrow operates in a westerly direction about 77 per cent. of the time, but this can vary considerably from year to year. The proportion of westerly operations at Heathrow in each of the last three years for which data are available was 1997--74 per cent., 1998--89 per cent. and 1999--66 per cent. As during any period of westerly operations approximately 50 per cent. of arriving aircraft approach Heathrow by overflying north London, it is possible (after adjusting for the proportion of westerly operations in each of the last three years) to give a rough estimate of the numbers of aircraft (including traffic using London City airport) that overflew Walthamstow or adjoining areas: the estimates are 1997--89,000, 1999--107,000 and 1999--84,000.

Mr. Gerrard: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what changes in flight paths into Heathrow have taken place within the last three years which have affected flight paths above Walthamstow. [148499]

Mr. Robert Ainsworth: None. Walthamstow along with adjoining parts of north London is situated beneath the radar manoeuvring area used during westerly

5 Feb 2001 : Column: 382W

operations for the tactical integration of arriving traffic descending from holding positions (stacks) located in the vicinity of Lambourne (Essex) and Bovingdon (Bucks). There are no fixed routes for arriving aircraft during this phase of their approach to Heathrow Airport, but they tend to follow a regular pattern that has not changed in any significant respect for many years. Departures from Heathrow during easterly operations may overfly the area once above an altitude of 4,000 ft. Traffic using London City Airport also overflies the area.

National Air Traffic Services

Mr. McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) if Mr. Douglas Andrew will participate in advising his Department on the choice of the strategic partner for the National Air Traffic Services; [148557]

Mr. Robert Ainsworth: Mr. Douglas Andrew is the head of the Economic Regulation Group of the Civil Aviation Authority and he was appointed in that capacity initially by the previous Administration in 1997. He was re-appointed as head of the Economic Regulation Group in 2000.

Mr. Andrew's role in advising the Government on the future of National Air Traffic Services has been limited to matters regarding the economic regulatory and licensing regime for the NATS public/private partnership. In this context, Mr. Andrew has participated in working groups run by my Department at official level. The Economic Regulation Group was also asked to advise the Government on a detailed economic regulatory regime and price cap for NATS PPP. There have been no meetings between Mr. Andrew and Ministers on these matters.

I shall be happy to place copies of the CAA's advice on the charge control for the PPP in the Library of this House. The CAA has already placed the advice on its own website, but I am aware of no other statements made by Mr. Andrew in the media relating to the PPP.

5 Feb 2001 : Column: 383W

Mr. Andrew will not participate in advising on the choice of the strategic partner for the PPP. He and other senior CAA personnel have had meetings with all three potential strategic partners during the bidding process.

I understand that the previous Administration took proper steps to satisfy itself that Mr. Andrew was the most appropriate person for the post of Director of Economic Regulation. Details of his references are personal and confidential.

Offshore Contracts

Ms Julie Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what steps he has taken to protect those in the shipping industry who are employed on offshore contracts. [148501]

Mr. Hill: The Government have issued guidelines on the use of offshore contracts for employing seafarers. DETR is examining with its industry partners whether any amendment to employment rights legislation is needed.

Public Transport

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how much has been allocated in local transport plans for each year from 2001-02 to 2005-06 for (a) individual public transport schemes costing over £5 million that have received approval, (b) individual public transport schemes costing less than £5 million that have received approval and (c) integrated transport measures that have received approval. [148589]

Mr. Hill [holding answer 2 February 2001]: My right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister announced on 14 December 2000, Official Report, column 202W, details of the local transport capital settlement for 2001-02.

The settlement provided firm allocations to authorities in England outside London for 2001-02 and for highway maintenance also for 2002-03. Allocations for the period 2002-03 to 2005-06 are indicative, and will be reconsidered each year in the light of actual scheme costs and annual progress reports submitted by authorities.

The allocation for 2001-02 made to major public transport and integrated transport schemes costing over £5 million which have received full approval was £85.5 million.

We earmarked an additional £6.3 million for 2001-02 for provisionally accepted major public transport and integrated transport schemes which will be made available on satisfactory completion of the outstanding issues such as statutory procedures.

We have indicated to authorities the total Government contribution for each major transport scheme; future annual allocations will be made each year subject to reported progress on the scheme and its costs.

Transport schemes costing less than £5 million are not subject to individual approval by central Government. Authorities are provided with a single block allocation for smaller scale measures and highway maintenance which they have discretion to spend in line with the objectives and priorities set out in the local transport plans. The total block allocation for 2001-02, including reserves, was £1,103 million.

5 Feb 2001 : Column: 384W

In order to provide greater certainty over future allocations authorities were provided with an indication of the likely levels of funding they could expect to receive for smaller scale measures for 2002-03 to 2005-06, and for highway maintenance for 2003-04 to 2005-06. The announcement envisaged that the annual totals to be allocated for these measures would be as follows:

£ million

(8) Includes firm allocations for highway maintenance

As with major schemes, the future block allocations to individual authorities are subject to confirmation or revision each year in light of progress reported by the authorities.

Next Section Index Home Page