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3 Dec 2002 : Column 669Wcontinued
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what help the UK Government have made available to (a) the Spanish and (b) the Portuguese authorities to help tackle the environmental repercussions of the Prestige oil disaster. 
Mr. Jamieson: The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) received a request on 13 November from the Spanish embassy via the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for offers of assistance for an at-sea clean-up operation, following an oil spill from M/V Prestige.
An offer of immediate salvage and counter pollution advice and equipment was passed to the Spanish embassy. This request was repeated on 14 November by the European Commission's Civil Protection and Environmental Accidents Unit, which was assessing availability of equipment for collective help to Spain.
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utilised in this incident. This offer was enhanced on the 19th with information about an oil spill recovery vesselthe Sefton Supporter owned by Gulf Offshore that operates in the Irish Sea.
On 21 November the MCA received a further request from the European Commission's Civil Protection Co-operation Mechanism, on behalf of Spain and Portugal, for information on the availability, costs/hire charges and mobilisation time of specialised equipment for the recovery of heavy oil. On 24 November MCA's offer of assistance was accepted and, after discussion with the Spanish Authorities, three Artic lorries with specialist equipment and one flat bed lorry equipped with a 10ft crane was sent by ferry, due to arrive in La Coruna 28 November. The MCA are also sending five trained personnel to operate and help deploy this equipment.
The Spanish Authorities also contacted Gulf Offshore directly requesting the services of the Sefton Supporter, which arrived in La Coruna on 27 November.Defra's Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science has also contacted the scientists working on impact assessment and offered any technical assistance they may find helpful.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will press the European Commission to bring forward the date on which the use of EU waters by single hull oil tankers will be forbidden. 
Mr. Jamieson: The recent amendment to the MARPOL Convention agreed in the International Maritime Organization, and implemented within the EU by regulation No. 417/2002, has just come into effect. Single hull tankers having no additional protection, such as the Prestige, must be phased out in order of age between 2003 and 2007. Single hull tankers fitted with partial protection must be phased out in order of age between 2003 and 2015. Each category of single hull tanker will have to satisfy an additional requirement for a rigorous condition assessment survey to be able to operate after 2005 and 2010 respectively. The use of waters of EU member states is regulated in accordance with compliance with the United Conventions on the Law of the Sea.
Mr. Jamieson: There is no evidence that reducing the size of oil tankers would lead to an overall improvement in safety. The implication of using smaller tankers is that more voyages would be needed to carry the same volume of oil and related cargoes.
Mr. David Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions he has had with (a) EU transport ministers, (b) Commission officials and (c) the Council of Ministers, on the common application of public service obligations across Europe. 
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Mr. Jamieson: We have already indicated to the Commission and other member states in Council working groups on the Commission's proposals for amending Regulation 95/93 that we believe that there is a case for amending Regulation 2408/92 on public service obligations.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many miles of new rail passenger line, exluding refurbishment of existing lines, have been opened in each year since 1972; and how many miles have been closed in each of the corresponding years. 
|Year||Route open for traffic|
Mr. Hurst: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many (a) injury and (b) non-injury road accidents have been reported since 1990 on the A12 road in Essex between Witham and Marks Tey. 
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Mr. Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if the Government will oppose proposed measures by the EU to make motorists' insurers liable, without regard to fault, in all cases of accidents involving motorists and cyclists. 
Mark Tami: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the cost of individuals failing to pay road fund licences in the UK in the last year for which figures are available. 
Mr. Jamieson: The national roadside survey of vehicle excise duty evasion which took place in June 1999 showed the level of evasion as 3.9 per cent. of revenue due which equated to £191 million in 20012002. This was offset by £110 million recovered through enforcement activities.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many applications for roadworks were received by each English local authority from utility companies in each year from 199596 to 200102; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Jamieson [holding answer 27 November 2002]: This information is not held centrally. However streetworks are a serious growing problem and I believe that the current legislation needs to be improved. My Department is currently considering the options.
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Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he has taken in pursuit of the recommendations to appoint a Secretary of State Representative, made in Lord Donaldson's Report of March 1999 on Command and Control, a Review of Salvage and Intervention. 
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