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Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions under what statutory provisions a competent harbour authority is required to ensure the safe provision of a pilotage service. 
Mr. Jamieson: A competent harbour authority has a duty under section 2 of the Pilotage Act 1987 to keep under consideration whether any and, if so, what pilotage services need to be provided to secure the safety of ships navigating in or in the approaches to its harbour.
Mr. Jamieson: The legislative authority of the code comprises the legal duties and powers of harbour authorities relating to marine safety. It was agreed with the representative bodies with whom the code was developed that it did not need to create new legal duties for harbour authorities, and it has been implemented without the Government having to takeor confer on harbour authoritiesany new powers for that purpose.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what assessment he has made of the impact on freight transport movements of the closure of the facilities at Sangatte over the weekend of 8 to 10 March. 
Mr. Jamieson: The Sangatte centre did not close, nor did the nearby rail freight terminal at Fréthun operated by SNCF (the French railway company). Rail freight services to the UK through the channel tunnel are however currently severely disrupted as a result of the actions of would-be illegal immigrants trying to board the trains at Fréthun. SNCF are currently not accepting new traffic bound for the UK through the tunnel, while the backlog of trains in transit is cleared.
We are continuing to press the French Government at the highest levels to ensure that sufficient police resources are made available as soon as possible to enable the normal level of freight services to resume, free from disruption.
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Mr. Jamieson: The Government are a strong supporter of the Single European Sky as we consider that it offers the best route to overcoming delays and congestion caused by the structural problems in Europe's Air Traffic Management (ATM) system. It should also improve safety, and provide the necessary framework for future air traffic growth.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if it was the intention of the Transport Bill of 2000 to make an air traffic controller personally responsible for accidents resulting from misreading the alpha-numeric data on the display screens. 
Mr. Lazarowicz: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what standards airport operators in the United Kingdom are required to meet regarding waiting time for passengers to pass through (a) security and (b) ticket checks, broken down by (i) airport and (ii) airport operator. 
Mr. Jamieson: There are no statutory requirements for airport operators with regard to waiting times for passengers passing through security and ticket checks. 20 UK airports and 10 UK airlines have, however, signed up to the Voluntary Commitments on Air Passenger Rights, which were launched at a Council of Europe ceremony in Strasbourg on 14 February. These contain non-legally binding commitments to deliver defined standards of service to air travellers, and waiting times and measures to speed up check-in are included within them.
Mr. John Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will meet representatives of UK registered airlines to discuss the reduction of air flow by pilots in aircraft cabins. 
Mr. Jamieson: The issue of the reduction of airflow by pilots in aircraft cabins will be placed on the agenda for discussion at the next meeting of the Aviation Health Working Group, when representatives of UK registered airlines will be present.
Mr. John Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (1) what assessment he has made of the effect of a significant reduction in cabin air pressure on the health of airline passengers; 
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Mr. Jamieson: In 2001 the Government commissioned the Building Research Establishment Ltd. to undertake a review of the current state of research in a number of key areas of the aircraft cabin environment. BRE reported that some research has been carried out into the effects of cabin air ventilation rates on the health of passengers, but the report identified a number of areas where further research was needed. The inter-departmental Aviation Health Working Group is expected shortly to finalise a proposal for some of this work to be carried out.
Mr. John Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will undertake an assessment of the extent to which pilots reduce air flow in passenger aircraft cabins and the reasons for doing so; and if he will issue guidelines on this issue. 
Mr. Jamieson: It is normal for air conditioning packs to be in operation during a flight. This is reflected in the manufacturers' instructions to crews and repeated in operators' manuals. On many aircraft it is possible to reduce the flow to a low setting, which is about 80 per cent. of the normal flow rate. However, there would be clear guidance in the operating manual that this setting should only be used when the aircraft is carrying significantly fewer passengers than the maximum. Figures would be specified.
In the event of a problem with an air conditioning pack in flight, the problem pack can be switched off. The remaining pack(s) have the capacity to maintain cabin pressure and adequate conditioned air.
Mr. Martyn Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will make a statement on what emergency aid schemes have been authorised to compensate UK airlines for losses caused by the closure of airspace between 11 and 14 September 2001. 
Mr. Jamieson: On 13 December my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced a package of up to £40 million in financial assistance designed to compensate UK airlines for the closure of US, Israeli and central London airspace in the period immediately following the terrorist attacks. Twelve claims for assistance under this scheme have been received and these are currently being examined. The European Commission authorised this scheme on 12 March and we expect to make payments shortly.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what discussions his Department had after 18 January concerning whether Swanwick should be taken into operation on 27 January. 
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Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will publish the letter dated 8 January from HM Inspector of the Health and Safety Executive to the General Manager, NATS(En-Route)Ltd., concerning breaches of the Display Screen Equipment Regulations 1992. 
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what assessment has been made of the compliance of the new en-route centre at Swanwick with the (a) Display Screen Equipment Regulations 1992 and (b) BSEN 292413/ISO 92413. 
Mr. Jamieson: HSE inspectors and HSE's expert on display screen equipment visited the new en-route centre at Swanwick on 18 January. The purpose of this visit was to begin assessing NATS (En-Route) Limited's compliance with the Display Screen Equipment Regulations 1992. Since the visit NATS have provided HSE with further information about the display screen equipment in use at the Swanwick centre and this has been used to complete HSE's assessment of compliance. HSE's expert took BSEN 292413/ISO 92413 into account in making the assessment.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions for what reason the Health and Safety Executive considered issuing an enforcement order in respect of the equipment at the new en-route centre at Swanwick; for what reason the order was withdrawn; and what is being done to resolve these outstanding issues and improve safety at Swanwick. 
Mr. Jamieson: HSE's inspectors considered the working conditions at Swanwick against the Health and Safety Commission's expectations for enforcement and did not consider it appropriate to serve an enforcement notice. Therefore there is no question of a notice being withdrawn.
HSE wrote to NATS on the 18 January summarising its concerns. HSE's expert on display screen equipment is finalising a detailed report on his findings. HSE will present that report to the management and employees' representatives at NATS shortly, and will require an action plan to address any matters which are outstanding at that time within an appropriate timescale.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if the Government intend to charge NATS public private partnership interest on tax proceeds from the Airland Group deferred sale; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Jamieson: As part of the PPP, the Government received £35 million of deferred sales proceeds by way of a loan note from NATS. Interest has accrued, and will continue to accrue, on these notes since the date of sale. No tax is outstanding on which interest could be claimed.
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Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (1) if the CAA commissioned a formal ergonomic evaluation of the display screen equipment at the new en-route centre at Swanwick prior to granting approval for the equipment; 
(3) what assessment has been made of the implications for air safety of the display screen equipment at the en-route centre at Swanwick. 
(3) if he will require NATS Ltd. to publish the management reports relating to the display screen equipment at the new en-route centre at Swanwick. 
Mr. Spellar: I refer right the hon. Member to the answer given by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Mr. Jamieson), on 11 March 2002, Official Report, column 741W to the hon. Member for Cotswold (Mr. Clifton-Brown). Of the £23 million referred to since the creation of the Public Private Partnership, on 26 July 2001, the residual balance of £200,000 has been paid to National Air Traffic Services.
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