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25 Nov 2002 : Column 74W—continued


Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much has been spent on new investment on the railway network by Rail Track in Administration over the last year. [81259]

Mr. Spellar: Details of the amount spent on enhancements and renewals relating to the railway network by Railtrack plc (in Administration) for the period to 31 March 2002, are contained in the company's accounts published on 31 October 2002 and details of expenditure for the period including the balance of the administration, will be included in the accounts for the year ended 31 March 2003, which are expected to be published around June 2003.

Railways (Disabled Access)

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much funding his Department is allocating for the refurbishment of railway platforms to ensure full disabled persons' access. [83316]

Mr. Jamieson: No specific funding has been allocated for platform refurbishment in connection with access for disabled passengers. Access for wheelchair users between platforms and trains is currently achieved by the use of ramps.

Access to railway stations, as with other public transport infrastructure, is covered by the provisions of Part III of the Disability Discrimination Act. From 2004, station operators will have to take reasonable steps either to remove or alter impediments to access, to find ways of avoiding them or to provide the service by a reasonable alternative means.

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many London Underground stations do not allow disabled persons access to the platforms. [83317]

Mr. Jamieson: Improving the accessibility of the underground system is an essential part of the plans to modernise the system. 29 of the 253 stations owned by London Underground are currently step free, and a further eight step-free stations are served by underground services. By 2020 over 100 stations will have step free access, opening up large areas of London to many people previously unable to use the network.

Shoreham Port Authority

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which officials in his Department who were responsible for the re-appointment of board members of Shoreham Port Authority at the end of 2001 had their duties switched to deal with movement of military personnel and supplies for the Afghanistan campaign. [83262]

Mr. Jamieson: None.

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South-East Region Airfield Study

Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what consideration was given to Hullavington in the site search for the South East Region Airfield Study; and if he will make a statement. [83032]

Mr. Jamieson: Around 400 new and existing sites in southern England were considered in the SERAS preliminary site search study. Hullavington was taken forward into the latter stages of the site search study where it was assessed against a range of criteria. These included topography, obstacle limitation surfaces, airspace, noise, air quality, environment, RPG/economics, commercial demand, travel times and quality of surface access.

Hullavington and Alconbury were taken forward for more detailed appraisal into the main SERAS study as prospective sites for small-scale airport development. Following the conclusion of the first stage of the SERAS study, Ministers agreed that Alconbury should be taken forward, and that Hullavington should not.

Tourist Signs

Mr. Letwin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his policy is on brown tourist signs. [82595]

Mr. Jamieson: White and brown signs giving directional information about tourist destinations are controlled by traffic authorities as part of their statutory responsibility for securing the safe and efficient movement of traffic. The main purpose of white and brown signs is to guide visitors to their intended tourist destination along the most appropriate route during the latter stage of their journey, particularly where the destination may be difficult to find. The design of signs to direct traffic to tourist attractions and facilities, and of directional traffic signs generally, is controlled through the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions (TSRGD). Revised TSRGD, which we

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expect to lay within the next few weeks, will add to the range of symbols and designs available for traffic authorities to use.

Decisions about the provision of signs at particular locations are the responsibility of the relevant traffic authority in the light of their local circumstances and signing policies. My Department consulted earlier this year on proposals for updated guidance to local authorities and the Highways Agency on dealing with applications for new white and brown signs. We recognise the importance of getting an appropriate balance between the needs of local tourism, safety, efficient traffic management and the environment. The draft guidance has been further revised in the light of the responses to the consultation and to take account of the revisions to the TSRGD, and we expect it to be available early next year.

Traffic Lights

Mr. John Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many new sets of traffic lights have been installed in (a) London and (b) the rest of England since April 1997. [81244]

Mr Spellar Local highway or traffic authorities have powers to install traffic signals on their roads. The Department has no central record of these.

Trinity House

Dr. Naysmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether the Trinity House Lighthouse Service has been successful in obtaining further maintenance work under contract from other bodies; and if he will list contracts (a) entered into and (b) pending and their financial value. [80811]

Mr. Jamieson: Trinity House Lighthouse Service (THLS) has obtained contract work to the value of £834,688 from the organisations listed in the table.

CustomerScope of services
Anglian Water ServicesBuoy Rental
ABP—CardiffBuoy Maintenance Services
ABP—SouthamptonCasualty Attendance
ABP—SwanseaBuoy Maintenance Services
Brightlingsea Harbour CommissionersBuoy Servicing Agreement—commenced March 2002
Brighton West Pier TrustBuoy Hire Agreement—commenced November 2001
Cardiff Harbour AuthorityIntensity, range and sector checks
CEFASCharter of Vessels
Cowes Harbour CommissionersPurchase and Hire of Moorings
Environment Agency (Welsh Regions)Annual Ship Services
Falmouth Harbour CommissionersShip Services
First Corporate Shipping t/a The Bristol Port CompanyBuoy Maintenance Agreement—commenced November 1999
Harwich HavenUtilisation of Ship for Buoy Maintenance Services
Magnox Electric plcBuoy Rental
Marine Current Turbines Ltd.Supply of Fog Detector and Lantern
Maritime and Coastguard AgencyHire of Wreck Marker Buoys
Ministry of DefenceBuoy Rental
Milford Haven Port AuthorityBuoy Maintenance Services
National Power plcMaintenance Services to Navigation Light
National Wind PowerSiting of anemometry equipment on Pan Sand Beacon—commenced September 1998
Neg Micon UK Ltd. (formerly Wind Energy Group Ltd.)Siting of anemometry equipment on three existing buoy stations—commenced June 1998
NoordzeewindData Collection Agreement
Penwith District CouncilNavigation Light Maintenance Agreement—commenced April 2002
Ramsgate Royal HarbourShip Services
Scarborough Borough CouncilBuoy Maintenance Agreement—commenced April 1998
Sedgemoor District CouncilNavigation Light Maintenance Agreement—commenced September 2000
Sovereign Harbour Marina Ltd.Launch Services
States of Guernsey Ship Services
States of JerseyShip Services
Tendring District CouncilSale of Scrap Buoy and Chain
Wells Harbour CommissionersBuoy Servicing Agreement—commencing March 2002
Yorkshire Water ServicesBuoy Maintenance Agreement—commenced January 2001
The following contracts are commercial in confidence:
Commercial in ConfidenceCharter of THV Patricia 10 August 2001 to 15 August 01
Commercial in ConfidenceData Collection Services—commencing December 2002

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The contracts have utilised spare capacity in the THLS fleet and include both maintenance contracts and one-off project based contracts. THLS are working on a number of positive leads for additional work but are unable to identify at this stage if any are likely to become firm orders.

Unregistered Ships

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the conditions of work of foreign nationals on un-registered ships. [81054]

Mr. Jamieson: Merchant shipping legislation governing conditions of work on UK registered ships, such as hours of work, applies equally to all seafarers regardless of their nationality.

The working hours of all seafarers (whatever their nationality) on board UK registered ships are limited by Directive 1999/63/EC, which the UK implemented in September 2002.

Rates of pay are matters for negotiation between employers and employees, subject to the national minimum wage. Foreign nationals on UK registered ships are not covered by the national minimum wage except when in UK waters.

Employers of seafarers recruited abroad to work on UK registered ships are exempt from the employment provisions of the Race Relations Act 1976 when employing seafarers abroad.

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