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10 Dec 2002 : Column 206Wcontinued
Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he will announce a decision about the report by the Strategic Rail Authority on Central Railways' freight proposal; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress has been made on the High Speed Channel Tunnel Link between the tunnel entrance and Fawkham Junction; what the expected date is of completion of this section; and when services will begin operating. 
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Mr. Jamieson: Cross London Rail Links Ltd. (CLRL) has been established jointly by the Strategic Rail Authority and Transport for London to develop proposals for Crossrail. CLRL are currently examining a number of potential routes as well as developing the business case for the project and appraising the economic and other impacts of the options. Cost analysis will form part of this work.
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many recent representations he has received from (a) hon. Members and (b) members of the public regarding disabled persons' difficulties in accessing (i) train station platforms and (ii) London Underground platforms. 
Mr. Jamieson [holding answer 9 December 2002]: Since April this year the representations I have received about the difficulties experienced by disabled people accessing station platforms are as follows:
|From MPs||From the public|
|Train station platforms||5||4|
Also, railway stationsand other transport infrastructureare covered by the part III provisions of the Disability Discrimination Act. From 1 October 2004 station operators will have to take reasonable steps to remove, alter or find reasonable ways of avoiding physical features which make it impossible or unreasonably difficult for a disabled person to access the service.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment his Department has made of the role and success of the EQUASIS database in reducing the number of sub-standard ships registered by flag states; and what further action is planned. 
Mr. Jamieson: The EQUASIS database provides the industry with freely accessible safety-related information on the quality of the world's merchant fleet, so answering calls for greater transparency. The database receives approximately 100,000 hits per month.
10 Dec 2002 : Column 208W
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what financial support has been provided by (a) his Department and (b) Transport Direct for schemes relating to the integration of transport for (i) ticketing, (ii) timetabling and (iii) marketing (A) in total and (B) for each scheme supported, for each year since 1997; what the projected support is under the 10-year-plan; and what assessment has been made of the role and success of the schemes. 
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list the (a) number of, (b) location of and (c) number of passengers using each scheme relating to the integration of transport for (i) ticketing, (ii) timetabling and (iii) marketing between modes in each year since 1997. 
Mr. Jamieson: The Department does not keep a record of individual integration schemes. These are generally the responsibility of transport operators working in co-operation with each other, the SRA and/or local authorities or PTEs.
The Department has encouraged the work of the Journey Solutions organisation to deliver a national integrated rail/bus ticket. The scheme, PlusBus, provides a simple add-on bus option to rail rickets at one or both ends of a train journey. It is currently available at 35 stations across the National Rail network, and will be available at a further 120 stations by May 2003.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment has been made by his Department since 19 January 2001 of the (a) safety and maintenance standards and (b) works of the local authority ports at (i) Whitby, (ii) Gillingham, (iii) Torquay, (iv) Ramsgate New Port, (v) Sunderland, (vi) Scarborough, (vii) Bristol Royal Docks, (viii) Bridport, (ix) Portsmouth Commercial Port and (x) Weymouth Harbour; what financial support has been provided by the Department in each case; and what improvements have been achieved. 
Mr. Jamieson: Supplementary Credit Approvals (SCA) are available for local authority run ports to help to fund essential safety and maintenance work. The following SCA allocations been made to those listed in the question:
|Ramsgate New Port||206,250|
|Portsmouth Commercial Port||244,625|
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|Ramsgate New Port||75,000|
|Portsmouth Commercial Port||30,000|
|Ramsgate New Port||262,500|
|Portsmouth Commercial Port||34,250|
Since January 2001 Health and Safety Executive inspectors have visited the ports at Portsmouth, Scarborough, Sunderland, Ramsgate New Port, Torquay, Weymouth and Bristol. These visits were conducted as part of HSE's planned inspection programme, or to investigate accidents or complaints, and not directly related to the SCA funding.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to his answer of 3 December 2002, Official Report, column 673W, whom he has appointed; what facilities he has at his disposal; and what budget he has. 
(b) The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) provide him with an office and administrative support for day to day running. During incidents, specialised offshore counter pollution and salvage equipment is available at the MCA's depots at Milford Haven and Burnt Island.
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There are now also four Emergency Towing Vessels stationed all year in strategic locations around the United Kingdom. These are available to be directed by SOSREP. Aerial surveillance can also be provided by the MCA.
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