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8 Jan 2003 : Column 218W—continued

Lewes Bypass

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects a quieter road surface to be applied to the A27 Lewes bypass. [89097]

Mr. Jamieson: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 20 June 2002 [Official Report, column 506W].

Motorway Tolls

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his policy is on toll charging on motorways. [89102]

Mr. Jamieson: The M6 Toll (the Birmingham Northern Relief Road), which is under construction and is expected to open in 2004, is the only planned motorway where all vehicles may be tolled.

NATS

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what representations he has received

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on the reliability of the pilot controller radio communication system; and if he will make a statement; [89004R]

Mr. Jamieson: I have received a number of representations in recent months concerning NATS' systems or equipment but these are primarily matters for NATS as the service provider. I understand there were computer failures at West Drayton on 27 March 2002 and 10 April and on 17 May at Swanwick and there have been other, well-publicised, minor problems such as print size on the computer screens at Swanwick. The problems which led to the computer failures have been identified and addressed. New software, which provided revised colours and fonts on the radar displays in response to staff concerns, was successfully introduced into Swanwick on 6 November.

The CAA, as safety regulator, has remained satisfied throughout that safety has not been compromised.

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many engineers were employed by NATS on (a) 1 May 1997 and (b) 1 May 2002. [89008]

Mr. Jamieson: NATS employed 1,177 engineers on 1 May 1997 and 1,270 on 1 May 2002.

Postcodes

Mr. Truswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what use his Department and its agencies make of postcode areas for (a) the collection and publication of data, (b) devising formulae for the distribution of grants and awards and (c) the delivery of services; and when such usages were last reviewed. [87742]

Mr. Jamieson: Postcode area data are not used widely across the Department and its agencies. The contractors who carry out the Department's National Travel Survey use the 'small user' Postcode Address File as its sampling frame, although final data are only published at Government Office Region or combined county level. The Survey of Privately Owned Vans, begun in October 2002, also uses postcode areas as the basis for collecting data. The sample size is too small to enable publication at postcode level but it is planned to publish regional results.

Rail Passengers (Security)

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will establish a national strategy and standards for CCTV on stations and in railway coaches; and if he will make a statement. [88717]

Mr. Jamieson: We will be considering the effective use of CCTV surveillance on trains as part of our current joint project with the Strategic Rail Authority to improve the on-train environment for rail passengers and staff. We already encourage the effective use of CCTV as part of the secure stations scheme accreditation process.

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Rail Schemes

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which rail schemes involving new or reopened (a) lines and (b) stations the SRA will complete by 2015. [89100]

Mr. Jamieson: Details of all rail schemes involving the strategic rail authority (SRA) are in their strategic plan (copies of which are in the House Library). A revised version of that plan is due to be published early in 2003 and copies of the revised plan will also be placed in the House Library.

Road Congestion

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what work he has done to establish (a) the correlation between road space available and road congestion and (b) the impact on existing public transport alternatives along such corridors arising from the provision of extra road space. [89099]

Mr. Jamieson: The Department undertakes forecasting work for road traffic, for which available road space is an input. Forecasts were recently published in 'Delivering Better Transport: Progress Report', a copy of which is in the House Library. This forecasting work also estimates modal transfer arising from transport policies.

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what additional volume of traffic he estimates will be generated using the SACTRA model in each of the road schemes announced in his recent statement to the House. [89101]

Mr. Jamieson: The Department accepted and has implemented the recommendations of the 1994 SACTRA report XTrunk Roads and the Generation of Traffic". As a result, road schemes are designed and appraised having regard to all sources of traffic, including generated traffic. It is no longer standard practice to make separate estimates excluding generated traffic. Thus, it is not possible to provide the information requested.

St. Pancras Cemetery

Mr. Gerrard: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what representations he has received regarding the removal of graves from St. Pancras cemetery in connection with the building of the channel tunnel rail link. [89333]

Mr. Jamieson: The Secretary of State has received a small number of representations about this matter.

DEFENCE

Apache Helicopter

Patrick Mercer: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence by what date he expects the Apache AH Mk 1's UK-specific secure communications system to have the ability to share voice and data information with other UK aircraft types and ground troops. [87976]

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Mr. Ingram: The timescales for enhancements to enable Apache AH Mk 1 to share voice and data information with a range of United Kingdom aircraft and with ground forces are being defined but the aim is to introduce them as soon a possible.

Patrick Mercer: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress has been made to ensure that the Longbow fire-control radar allows the Apache AH Mk 1 attack helicopter to deal with surface threats. [87977]

Mr. Ingram: The Longbow fire control radar is being tested and evaluated, along with other sub-systems, as the Apache helicopter is brought into service. Any necessary modifications will be made to ensure that Longbow is able to deal consistently with the threats for which it was designed.

Patrick Mercer: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what actions have been taken to ensure that the Apache AH Mk 1 attack helicopter achieves its planned initial operating capability in August 2004. [87978]

Mr. Ingram: To ensure that an initial operating capability for the Apache of August 2004 is met, action is being taken along six lines of development: delivery of the equipment; development of appropriate organisation structures and infrastructure; development of concepts and doctrine for how the equipment will be used; delivery of the required training; recruitment and retention of manpower; and supporting and sustaining the new capability once the equipment has been introduced into service.

Patrick Mercer: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the problems experienced with the Apache Mk 1 attack helicopter; and when he expects each of these to be rectified. [87980]

Mr. Ingram: The report by the Comptroller and Auditor General: 'Building an Air Manoeuvre Capability: The Introduction of the Apache Helicopter' published on 31 October 2002 reflected the outstanding issues relating to the Apache helicopter. Action is in hand to address the issues highlighted in the report and to ensure the delivery of an initial operating capability in August 2004.

BAE Systems

Mr. Jack: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the discussions his Department has had with BAE Systems since 1 December; and what subject areas were discussed. [88226]

Mr. Hoon: BAE Systems is a major supplier to the Ministry of Defence. As is to be expected, numerous discussions with the company have taken place since 1 December 2002, and continue to do so, concerning a wide range of subjects.

British Nuclear Tests (Compensation)

Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what restrictions apply on the provision of the medical records of ex-servicemen or ex-military medical auxiliaries who were present at British nuclear tests conducted at Christmas and Maiden Islands. [89018]

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Dr. Moonie: There are no restrictions that apply specifically to the provision of the medical records of those ex-Service personnel who were present at the British nuclear tests on Christmas Island and Maiden Island. However, the normal restrictions on access to medical records do apply.


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