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7 Nov 2002 : Column 459W—continued

Dual-use Pathogens

Mr. Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what mechanisms there are to allow the Government to monitor, regulate and ensure the security of the transport of dual-use pathogens (a) within the UK, (b) within the EU and (c) from the UK to third countries. [79197]

Mr. Spellar: The land transport of infectious substances within Great Britain is regulated by the Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Rail Regulations 1996 (SI 1996 No 2089) (as amended), the Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road Regulations 1996 (SI 1996 No 2095) (as amended) and the Carriage of Dangerous Goods (Classification, Packaging and Labelling) and Use of Transportable Pressure Receptacles Regulations 1996 (SI 1996 No 2092) (as amended). These regulations are made under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and enforced by the Health and Safety Executive, with support from the police and the Vehicle Inspectorate. Mirror arrangements apply in Northern Ireland. Council Directives 96/49/EC (for rail transport) and 94/55/EC (for road transport) apply to transport between EU Member States, respectively, the provisions of the RID and ADR Agreements governing the international transport of dangerous goods, including infectious substances. Transport between the UK and third countries who are contracting parties to RID or ADR is governed by the detailed requirements set out in those Agreements. The Agreements are reviewed biennially in response to technical progress. Similar provisions apply in air and sea transport through application of the ICAO Technical Instructions and the IMO IMDG Code respectively.

The United Kingdom is at the forefront of an international initiative to draft provisions to enhance the security of dangerous goods in transport, which will apply particularly to the more dangerous infectious substances. We hope that by the end of the year we will see these provisions adopted in the UN's global multi-modal Model Regulations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods and by the European Commission, and included in due course in the provisions of the aforementioned Directives.

Congestion Charging

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what information is collated by his

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Department on average traffic speed in central London between 07.00 and 18.30 in each of the past five years; and what estimates he plans to make on the impact of congestion charging from February 2003. [79637]

Mr. Jamieson: Surveys of average traffic speeds were carried out in London until the year 2000 by the Department for Transport. Central, Inner and Outer London were surveyed in turn, and Central London was covered in 1997 and 2000. Figures are not held specifically for the period 07:00 to 18:30. However, in Central London the average morning peak (07:45 to 09:15) speed during 1997 was 10.0 mph and in 2000 it was 9.9 mph.

Since 3 July 2000, Transport for London have taken over responsibility for running the London speed surveys, as well as estimating the impact of congestion charging on traffic speeds in London from February 2003.

Matlock-Buxton Railway Line

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to re-open the railway line from Matlock to Buxton; and if he will make a statement. [79632]

Mr. Jamieson: A feasibility study, funded by Derbyshire County Council, the East Midlands Development Agency, the Countryside Agency and the Strategic Rail Authority, is currently considering the potential for re-opening the line. No decisions have yet been made.

Bletchley-Bicester Railway Line

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to bring into use the railway line from Bletchley to Bicester; and if he will make a statement. [79631]

Mr. Jamieson: The East-West Consortium has submitted a Rail Passenger Partnership bid to the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) for the re-opening of this section of line. The SRA is currently evaluating this bid and anticipates that a decision will be made shortly.

Cycling (London)

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimates he has made of the (a) number of regular cyclists and (b) number of cycle miles travelled in Greater London in each year since 1997. [79633]

Mr. Jamieson: In our National Travel Survey over the period 1999–2001, about 10 per cent. (700,000) residents of Greater London said they cycled at least once a week and about a further 7 per cent. (500,000) said they cycled at least once a month. Figures are not available for single years.

Estimates for pedal cycle traffic in London for the years 1999 to 2001 are estimated to be 340, 320 and 320 million vehicle kilometres respectively. Estimates for 1997 and 1998 will be available by mid-2003.

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Rail Franchises

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what plans he has to change the number of trains operating companies in the South West; [80313]

Mr. Jamieson: The Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) announced on 6 November its intention to create a new Greater Western rail franchise by no later than 2006. The new franchise will combine the current Great Western Trains, Thames Trains and Wessex Trains franchises into a single franchise. This decision follows extensive consultation with key stakeholders including the South Western Assembly. The SRA also announced a way forward to 2007 for the South West Trains franchise.

Central Railways

Mr. Malins: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects to (a) complete and (b) publish his response to the Central Railways proposed freight line. [79823]

Mr. Jamieson: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 23 October 2002, Official Report, column 304W, to the hon. Member for Chesham and Amersham (Mrs. Gillan).

Better Public Buildings Initiative

Ms Shipley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will name the projects the departmental design champion has sponsored as part of the Better Public Buildings initiative; and if he will make a statement on the extent of his personal input in respect of each. [80334]

Mr. Jamieson: The sponsored projects are the New Government Building, Leeds and the Highways Agency's Stonehenge Improvement Project.

Motorway Accidents

Helen Southworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what data is collated by his Department on the incidence of motorway traffic accidents involving left-hand drive heavy goods vehicles; and what proportion of accidents involved the vehicle changing lanes. [80210]

Mr. Jamieson: This information is not available.

Helen Southworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will commission research on safety aspects of the use of left-hand drive heavy goods vehicles on motorways, with particular reference to resolving problems resulting from their blind spots. [80209]

Mr. Jamieson: UK research into heavy goods vehicle visibility was used in preparing an amendment to the EU Directive on Rear View Mirrors. This will require new heavy goods vehicles over 7.5 tonnes registered

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within the EU to be fitted with a ''close proximity'' blind spot mirror on the passenger side. We believe that this will go a long way towards addressing safety concerns over blind spots with left-hand-drive HGVs operating on UK roads.

Uckfield Railway Line

Sir John Stanley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will place in the Library a copy of the B003 Allen Report on the electrification of the Uckfield line through Edenbridge. [79910]

Mr. Spellar: A summary of this report has been placed in the Libraries of the House.

Special Advisers

Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, on how many occasions between 31 March 2001 and 31 March 2002 (a) departmental and (b) non-departmental special advisers have travelled abroad in an official capacity; what places were visited; and how much each visit cost. [80360]

Mr. Jamieson: The Department for Transport was only set up on 29 May 2002.

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for ransport, how many (a) parliamentary questions and (b) letters to him from hon. Members in this Session remain unanswered, broken down by those which are (i) one month old, (ii) two months old, (iii) three months old, (iv) four months old and (v) over six months old. [79946]

Mr. Jamieson: The information provided is in respect of the period since the formation of my Department on 29 May 2002.

No parliamentary questions remain unanswered.

The Cabinet Office publishes a report to Parliament on an annual basis, setting out the volume of Members' correspondence received by Departments. The Report for 2001 was published on 24 May 2002, Official Report, column 677W. Copies of previous reports are available in the Library of the House.

At 6 November 2002, my Department had received 3,649 letters from hon. Members, of which 23 remain unanswered after one month from date of receipt, where (i) 12 were between 1 and 2 months old from the date of receipt and (ii) 11 were between 2 and 3 months old from the date of receipt.

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what public consultations have been commenced by his Department in each month since 20 July; and what the (a) start date, (b) closing date and (c) website address of each were. [80276]

Mr. Jamieson: A list of the public consultations by the Department since 20 July 2002 is listed below, including the closing dates for responses and the website address of each document. The list is based on central records and reflects the public consultations undertaken within the areas for which the Department is currently responsible.

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SubjectTitleStart dateClosing dateWeb site
AviationThe Future Development of Air Transport in the United Kingdom: A National Consultation23 July 0230 Nov 02
AviationProposals for implementing European Directive 2002/30/EC on rules and procedures for introducing noise-related operating restrictions at Community airports31 July 0231 Oct 02
RailwaysCreating a regulatory board for railways2 Oct 026 Nov 02
Road, Vehicles and Road SafetyRestructuring and increase in fees for PSV international operations29 Oct 0210 Jan 03
Road, Vehicles and Road SafetyMobile Phones and Driving—Proposal for an offence of using a handheld mobile phone while driving20 Aug 0225 Nov 02
Road, Vehicles and Road SafetyRetreaded and Part Worn Tyres Proposed Amendment to the Motor Vehicle Tyres (Safety) Regulations 199423 Aug 0225 Nov 02
Road, Vehicles and Road SafetyAmendment to the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986 to permit the use of longer buses in the UK in accordance with EC Directive 2002/7/EC23 Aug 0215 Nov 02
Local TransportBus Lane Enforcement—Public Consultation on the Proposed Bus Lane Contraventions24 July 026 Sept 02
Local TransportThe Flexible Future A consultative paper on changes to local bus service registration and bus service operators grant requirements to allow more flexibly routed services9 Aug 021 Nov 02
Local TransportReview of Bus Subsidies: Consultation Paper6 Aug 0225 Oct 02
Street WorkDiversionary Works Code Consultation25 July 0218 October

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