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Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions, pursuant to his answer of 8 January 2002, Official Report, column 584W, on departmental consultants, if he will set out the criteria for determining that contracts let to (a) Arthur Andersen, (b) Ernst and Young, (c) Mercers Management Consulting and (d) Schroder Salamon Smith Barney, on matters relating to Railtrack should not be subject to open competition. 
Mr. Lazarowicz: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions, pursuant to his answer of 15 January 2002, Official Report, column 208W, on piracy, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of (a) shipping and (b) port security measures in the United Kingdom. 
The basis of this security regime is the Aviation and Maritime Security Act (AMSA) 1990, which enabled mandatory measures to be introduced for the maritime industry. These measures are formally required by Directions served on the industry covering a range of security issues, including searching of passengers and vehicles, the establishment of Restricted Zones (in which only passengers and other authorised persons are allowed) and pass wearing.
Inspectors from my Department undertake a continuous and comprehensive system of compliance visits to passenger ports and also undertake ship inspections, to ensure that effective security regimes, in accordance with the Directions, are maintained. They are empowered to take enforcement action against harbour/ship operators if the required standards are not being met.
25 Jan 2002 : Column 1104W
Following the events of 11 September 2001, the UK's maritime passenger industry was required to operate in accordance with increased levels of security requirements. These increased measures are kept under constant review.
Consideration has also been given to additional initiatives. This work has been undertaken within Whitehall and has included, for the first time, offering general security advice to non-passenger ships and non-AMSA ports.
Mr. Simon Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will make a statement on the condition of railway lines leading to nuclear power stations. 
Mr. Jamieson: Maintenance of railway track leading to nuclear power stations which forms part of the Railtrack controlled infrastructure is the responsibility of Railtrack. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), through its HM Railways Inspectorate (HMRI), regulates health and safety on the railways. HMRI currently has a focus on track maintenance issues as one of its mandatory inspection programmes. HSE has advised me that HMRI is not aware of any specific problems at present with the condition of track leading to nuclear power stations.
Mr. Simon Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what the requirements are for local authorities to prepare emergency plans for incidents involving trains carrying nuclear materials. 
Mr. Jamieson: The responsibility to prepare emergency plans for transport of nuclear material by rail rests principally with the train operator, facility owner and infrastructure controller. They have a duty under The Packaging, Labelling and Carriage of Radioactive Material by Rail Regulations 1996 (RAMRail) to have emergency arrangements and to co-operate with each other so as to ensure effective co-ordination of their respective safety systems and procedures. Also under the Radiation (Emergency Preparedness and Public Information) Regulations 2001 (REPPIR), carriers are required to prepare emergency plans and to consult with appropriate local authorities. Some types of consignment are exempt from these regulations, however, including material in packages which are designed and tested to meet severe accident conditions, and small quantities of material which present a very limited risk.
Mr. Simon Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how many incidents there have been where flasks carrying radioactive material on trains have been found to be over the permitted radiation level, broken down by location and level of radiation. 
Mr. Simon Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will list the incidents in which trains carrying (a) radioactive material and (b) other nuclear materials have been involved which resulted in release of their materials in the north-west of England in the last six months. 
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Mr. Simon Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what the Department's definition is of 'no significant radiological safety implication', as used in the report, Radiological Consequences Resulting from Accidents and Incidents involving the Transport of Radioactive Materials in the UK-200 Review, published in October 2001. 
Mr. Jamieson: There is no formal definition of "significant" in the context of this report. A significant radiological consequence would be if radiation exposures approach or exceed the statutory limits. The radiological consequences listed in the report are much lower than this and are therefore not considered significant.
Mr. Jamieson: Train protection systems are operational on all train services using Paddington station. First Great Western and Heathrow Express services are fitted with Automatic Train Protection (ATP) and Virgin Cross Country and Thames Trains services are fitted with the Train Protection and Warning Systems (TPWS).
Andy King: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how many officials responsible for the policy for council tax enforcement in his Department have, as part of their training and information gathering, (a) visited a money advice centre, a magistrates court and the High Court when they are hearing cases for committal for council tax arrears and (b) discussed the difficulties with council tax application forms with the applicants. 
Dr. Whitehead: No such visits have been made. However, officials are in regular contact with the Lord Chancellor's Department, the Local Government Association and local authorities about enforcement matters. Last November, officials also met with representatives of the Zacchaeus 2000 Trust to discuss committal for local tax debts and are happy to meet other organisations and advice centres to discuss such matters.
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Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what recent guidance his Department has issued on the publication of statutory notices by local authorities in the local press. 
Mr. Byers: None. We issued general guidance about planning notices in Circular 15/92, "Publicity for Planning Applications". This includes advice on the categories of planning application that must be advertised in local newspapers. Separate requirements to advertise planning appeals and called-in planning applications are set out in secondary legislation. The Government's recently published planning Green Paper "Planning: Delivering a Fundamental Change" indicates our intention to retain the requirement on planning authorities to advertise certain applications in the local press. However, we will review the requirement to publicise planning appeals and called- in planning applications with the aim of encouraging greater community participation.
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