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Ladbroke Grove Rail Inquiry

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when the next progress report on the Ladbroke Grove rail inquiry part I will be published; and if he will make a statement. [66307]

Mr. Jamieson: On 29 April 2002, the Health and Safety Commission (HSC) stated that in future it will report progress on all 295 public inquiry recommendations in a single report under eight broad headings. This will include the Southall inquiry, so far as it is still relevant, the joint inquiry into Train Protection Systems, and the two Ladbroke Grove inquiries. The HSC plan to publish this report in November 2002.

The HSC and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) will continue to track action on each recommendation to ensure that none are overlooked. The HSC believes that presenting the information in this format will help everyone involved to gain a better appreciation of the overall safety benefits being delivered as well as sharpening focus on the key issues.

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Bus Services

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what (a) guidance has been given to local authorities and (b) legislation is in place covering (i) uncompetitive practices, (ii) improving integration and timetabling, (iii) regulation and de-regulation and (iv) quality partnerships for local bus services; and if he will make a statement. [66004]

Mr. Jamieson: My Department's guidance to local authorities on Local Transport Plans covers many of these matters. It emphasises the need for bus policies and provision to be integrated with other transport policies and encourages through-ticketing, better connections and co-ordination of services. Good practice guidance notes on quality bus partnerships and on public transport interchange have been produced on our behalf by consultants. The Office of Fair Trading will shortly be issuing guidance on the ticketing schemes block exemption and the application of the competition test contained in the Transport Act 2000, for the benefit of both local government and bus operators.

The relevant legislation is Part II of the Transport Act 2000, chapter I of Part I of the Competition Act 1998 and the Competition Act 1998 (Public Transport Ticketing Schemes Block Exemption) Order 2001 (SI 2001 No. 319). Other legislation on the regulation of buses is in the Public Passenger Vehicles Act 1981 and the Transport Act 1985.

Secure Stations Scheme

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list the stations which are not accredited under the secure stations scheme, indicating the total number of passengers using those stations used by more than 100,000 passengers each year; and if he will make a statement. [66003]

Mr. Jamieson: The secure stations scheme is voluntary.

Currently 143 stations are accredited under the scheme. Approximately one third of annual national rail passenger journeys involve these stations. Some TOCs are committed to seeking accreditation for all their stations.

Quiet Lanes

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to his answer of 25 June 2002, Official Report, column 775W, on quiet lanes, what the total length of roads designated as quiet lanes is for each local authority; and what proportion of these roads is within each road classification. [66065]

Mr. Jamieson: The information required to answer the question is not recorded centrally.

London Underground

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport for what reason preferred bidder status was conceded to contractors for the London Underground PPP before closing major parts of the deal; and if he will assess the costs and benefits of reducing competition before final agreements were reached. [65480]

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Mr. Jamieson: The negotiation of the PPP contracts is a matter for London Underground. However, I understand that, in line with guidance from the Office of Government Commerce, preferred bidder decisions were taken at the time they were because it was judged that the advantages to be gained from maintaining competitive tension were outweighed by the disadvantages of higher procurement costs and an increased risk of bids being withdrawn.

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) whether the seven-and-a-half-year review of the 30-year PPP contract for the London Underground is an upwards only review; and what extra costs may fall on his Department for cost overruns; [65482]

Mr. Jamieson: In line with the provisions of the GLA Act 1999, the Secretary of State for Transport intends to appoint an independent arbiter. At periodic reviews, the arbiter has the power to set prices at a level appropriate for an economic and efficient infrastructure company. Prices set by the arbiter at these reviews could be either higher or lower than those currently expected. At this stage, it is not possible to say either by how much or in which direction they might vary.

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much will be invested in the tube under the London Underground PPP; how much of this comes from the private sector; and how much of the private sector contribution the Government have guaranteed to pay back. [65484]

Mr. Jamieson: Under our plans for modernising the London Underground, private sector infrastructure companies will carry out an investment and maintenance programme that is expected to amount to at least £16 billion over the first 15 years of the contracts. This will be funded through a combination of private finance and payments from London Underground. The payments London Underground make will vary in line with the level of performance the infrastructure companies deliver. In total, we expect some £6.2 billion in private finance to be raised in the first 15 years.

The Government will not guarantee any private sector finance. However, the Secretary of State does intend to issue a letter of comfort in relation to the London Underground PPPs. This is intended to clarify his role in relation to the Greater London Authority and Transport for London, including his intentions towards providing funding for London Underground. This letter of comfort was reported to Parliament using the Minute procedure on 20 March 2002.

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the rate of return the private consortia will earn on the London Underground PPP; and what assessment he has made of the fees earned by the financial and legal consultants engaged on developing the PPP. [65485]

Mr. Jamieson: I refer my hon. Friend to the answers given to the hon. Member for Carshalton and Wallington (Tom Brake) on 14 May 2002, Official Report, columns 522–23W.

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Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which business men advised the Government to adopt the structure chosen for the tube PPP; which companies they worked for; and who they work for now. [66495]

Mr. Jamieson: The Government sought a wide range of views before deciding to proceed with the manifesto commitment to modernise the underground through a Public Private Partnership.

Public Transport (Safety)

Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what safety requirements are imposed on (a) bus operators and (b) train operators to secure luggage to avoid it hitting passengers when (i) braking and (ii) cornering. [65634]

Mr. Spellar [holding answer 1 July 2002]: (a) Regulation 100 of the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986 requires that the load carried by a motor vehicle shall at all times be so secured, if necessary by physical restraint other than its own weight, and be in such a position, that neither danger nor nuisance is likely to be caused to any person or property by reason of the load or any part thereof falling from that vehicle.

The Public Service Vehicles (Conduct of Drivers, Inspectors, Conductors and Passengers) Regulations 1990 require that anyone taking a cumbersome or bulky article or one that may cause an annoyance to another passenger shall place it on the vehicle where either the driver, inspector or conductor recommend.

(b) The Health and Safety Executive's (HSE) Railway Safety Principles and Guidance includes guidance on railway construction to ensure that luggage is sufficiently secured to avoid hitting passengers when braking and cornering.

Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment his Department has made of evidence received as to whether seat belts would (a) save lives and (b) limit injuries in (i) train and (ii) bus crashes. [65638]

Mr. Spellar [holding answer 1 July 2002]: The use of seat belts in buses for non-urban operation is estimated by the Department to reduce fatal and serious injuries to seated passengers by 30–40 per cent.

The Department has made no such assessment on the fitting of seat belts to trains. However, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which is responsible for monitoring and enforcing safety on the railways, advises that although the use of properly fitting seat belts could in certain circumstances protect passengers in a train accident, it is not persuaded that the fitting of seat belts in trains is a reasonably practicable safety precaution. While some passengers may use seat belts voluntarily, there would be little point in fitting them without reasonable expectation that they would be relatively widely used.

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