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15 Oct 2002 : Column 720W—continued


Dr. Naysmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he has exercised his powers under Section 218 (2) of the Merchant Shipping Act 1995 to change the format of the General Lighthouse Fund's accounting records; what Accounts Direction he has issued to the General Lighthouse Fund on generally accepted accounting practice and additional disclosure requirements; and whether these requirements will be applied in the 2002 GLF report and Accounts. [73394]

Mr. Jamieson: The Secretary of State is responsible for the preparation of the General Lighthouse Fund Accounts. These accounts consolidate the accounts of the three General Lighthouse Authorities with those of the Fund. The format of the Accounts is agreed with the National Audit Office (NAO) having regard to generally accepted accounting policy and Treasury guidance. An accounts direction is under discussion with the NAO for agreement later this year. The 2002-03 accounts will be prepared to the new format.

Dr. Naysmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the annual financial contribution in euros has been from the Irish Government under the terms of an agreement reached in 1985 for the sharing of certain costs incurred by the Commissioners of Irish Lights in the Republic of Ireland. [73395]

Mr. Jamieson: The contribution from the Irish Government in 2000/01 was 2,110,825 million euros and in 2001/02 is forecast to be 3,214,780 million euros.

The amount given is for each financial year, that is from April to March, and not each calendar year.

Dr. Naysmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress has been made in discussions between the General Lighthouse Authorities and the Ministry of Defence on the transfer to the GLAs of the MoD's navigation buoys in the UK waters; and if he will make it his policy that the residual costs to the GLAs of maintaining the buoys be met by the MoD if the transfer takes place. [73397]

Mr. Jamieson: The maintenance and funding of the aids to navigation required by the Ministry of Defence is a matter for the Secretary of State for Defence. Under Section 197(8) of the Merchant Shipping Act 1995 as amended, the General Lighthouse authorities are

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empowered to undertake buoy work for other bodies. Any agreement to carry out work for MOD or any other organisation would be subject to contractual negotiations. There are no plans to take on the MOD aids at the current time.

National Air Traffic Services

Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the financial status of the NATS; when he expects the CAA to make a decision on the funding of NATS; what NATS have asked Her Majesty's Government to contribute; and if he will make a statement. [74468]

Mr. Spellar: I expect the CAA to publish and consult on its decision on the price cap review later this month. As a responsible shareholder, the Government working with the other parties concerned to prepare a package to ensure that NATS has a robust financial structure for the foreseeable future. The Government have said that they are prepared, on the appropriate terms, to match new private sector investment to this end.

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions have taken place between his Department and the British Airports Authority on the possible investment by BAA in National Air Traffic Services. [74739]

Mr. Jamieson: The parties concerned are having continuing discussions about the financial position of National Air Traffic Services Ltd (NATS), including BAA's proposed investment in the company. I shall make an announcement in due course.

Mr. Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the level of National Air Traffic Services debt levels; and if he will make a statement. [73734]

Mr. Jamieson: As a responsible shareholder the Government, together with the other parties concerned, are preparing a package to ensure that NATS has a robust financial structure for the foreseeable future.


Mr. Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the estimated cost is of the plans to add a new airport and increase the number of runways in the UK. [73728]

Mr. Jamieson: The series of consultation documents, The Future of Air Transport in the United Kingdom, published on 23 July 2002 set out a number of possible options for new airport capacity including a new airport near Cliffe in North Kent and other options for additional runways at existing south east airports, options in the Midlands for an additional runway at Birmingham and East Midlands airports or a possible a new airport (to replace Birmingham), and an option for a new runway at either Glasgow or Edinburgh airport. The estimated capital costs of each option (# billion in

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today's prices), including where relevant the airport's share of associated road and rail access improvements, are:

Heathrow (one new runway)4
Stansted (one, two or three new runways)4–8
East Midlands1.2
Midlands new site6.9

Not all these options would go forward, as many of them are alternatives. The purpose of the consultation process is to establish how much airport capacity is needed up to 2030 and where any new capacity should be located.

Airport Security

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what measures he has taken to improve the security arrangements of private companies operating at the UK's airports. [74737]

Mr. Jamieson: My Department is consulting with industry on the implementation of procedures for creating a list of approved providers of aviation security services. Such companies will have to meet certain criteria, set down by my Department, before they can deliver services at UK airports.

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State Transport what measures he has taken or has planned for improving the arrangements for the security vetting of staff working in secure areas within the UK's airports. [74738]

Mr. Jamieson: Counter Terrorist Checks have been extended in relation to security staff, and a requirement for security managers to undergo such a check was introduced in May. My Department is also working to introduce Criminal Record Checks for all new and existing holders of permanent passes to airport restricted zones.

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent action he has taken to review the security arrangements at UK airports. [74763]

Mr. Jamieson: Aviation security remains at an enhanced level following the attacks on 11 September last year. Many of the additional measures introduced by other states following those attacks had long been in place in the UK, but we nonetheless ordered an immediate review and identified a package of additional security measures, including for raising security on the ground at airports. These have been taken forward with the industry. In addition, my right hon. friends the Secretary of State for Transport and the Secretary of State for Home Affairs earlier this year commissioned Sir John Wheeler to conduct a study of airport security, including the threat from serious and organised crime, with particular reference to the role of the police service. Sir John's report was recently received, and is now being considered.

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Airport security standards are kept under constant review, with my department's inspectors carrying out regular and frequent inspections to check and when necessary enforce them.

Alconbury Airfield

Mr. Djanogly: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if the proposals concerning Alconbury Airfield set out in the national consultation, the Future Development of Air Transport in the United Kingdom: South East, will be capable of being progressed in the event of him determining in favour of the planning application of ADL concerning the Alconbury Airfield. [74226]

Mr. Jamieson: The Future Development of Air Transport in the United Kingdom (South East) main consultation document is seeking views on a range of options, one of which is a small-scale airport development at Alconbury. Responses to this consultation will inform Minister's decisions on the policies to be published in the air transport White Paper.

It is inappropriate to comment on any planning appeal ahead of the Inspector's report and subsequent decisions.

Heathrow Airport

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many graves at Harmondsworth Church will need to be exhumed if the third runway is permitted at Heathrow Airport. [74735]

Mr. Jamieson: The South East and East of England Regional Air Services study (SERAS) is still subject to consultation.

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the levels of compensation will be for those residents affected by the possible construction of a third runway at Heathrow (a) if their homes are demolished and (b) if their homes are affected by (i) noise and (ii) air pollution. [74736]

Mr. Jamieson: The principal Acts covering compulsory purchase and compensation are the Land Compensation Acts of 1961 and 1973, the Compulsory Purchase Act 1965 and the Acquisition of Land Act 1981.

For people whose property is required to allow for a proposed development, compensation is payable on the basis that they should be no worse off in financial terms after the acquisition than they were before. This means that they receive compensation for the value of their property based on its open market value if there had been no proposal to acquire their property compulsorily plus the reimbursement of any actual costs and losses incurred as a result of having to move.

In addition, both owner-occupiers and tenants who are displaced from their home as a result of a compulsory purchase, and have occupied the property as their main residence for a year or more, will be entitled to a home-loss payment. In the case of tenants this is currently #1,500 while owner-occupiers receive 10 per cent. of the value of their property subject to minimum and maximum thresholds which are currently set at #1,500 and #15,000. However, both the flat rate

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payable to tenants and the thresholds for owner-occupiers are currently being reviewed, including proposals for increasing the payments above the present #15,000 ceiling. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister published a consultation document about this on 27 September, inviting comments by 6 January 2003.

People whose property does not need to be demolished may be entitled to compensation to cover depreciation in the value of their land due to physical factors caused by the use of a development, such as noise, smell, smoke and fumes. In this case, compensation for the loss in value would be based upon prices current on the first claim day, which is 12 months after the first use of the public works.

In addition to these rules, the consultation on The Future Development of Air Transport in the South East is seeking views on additional mitigation and compensation measures for people who might suffer noise impacts as a result of an airport development option. These measures are outlined in paragraphs 16.49–16.58 of the main consultation document.

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