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Written Answers to Questions

Thursday 9 January 2003


Parliamentary Security

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the hon. Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire, representing the House of Commons Commission pursuant to his answer of 5 December 2002, Official Report, column 980W, what arrangements are in place to ensure best value in the provision of security arrangements within the parliamentary estate. [87867]

Sir Archy Kirkwood: Regular monthly meetings are held between officials of both Houses and Metropolitan Police Administration to review costs, staff overtime and attendance.

Contracts for physical arrangements are let following the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply's recommended procurement practices and Government recognised best practice. Contracts below the EC threshold are subject to competitive tender and value for money considerations. Contract management procedures are to be reviewed across the House next year to ensure the arrangements deliver the quality, service and cost benefits identified in business cases.

The House's Audit Committee, chaired by the right hon. Member for Bromley and Chislehurst (Mr. Forth), is charged by the Commission with having general oversight of the work of internal audit and review, with particular emphasis on promoting economy, efficiency and effectiveness.


Air Traffic Control

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the comparative level of investment by the United Kingdom in national air traffic control equipment with that of the EU average. [89007]

Mr. Jamieson: There is little financial information available from national air navigation services providers across the EU on the magnitude of investment in air traffic control equipment. Even if comparative information were available, it would be difficult to make a meaningful assessment because the level of investment by any service provider depends where that provider is in its investment cycle, for example whether or not it is currently introducing major new facilities as NATS has recently done at Swanwick.

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what co-operation there is between British and Dutch air traffic controllers; and what form this takes. [89002]

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Mr. Jamieson: The Civil Aviation Authority has proposed new arrangements for the upper airspace over the North Sea and, as part of these changes, a small area of UK airspace amounting to less than 0.1 per cent. of North Sea airspace will, from 20 March 2003, be serviced by the Dutch national authorities. Co-operation between national air traffic control authorities is widespread and routine across Europe and is effected under the auspices of Eurocontrol and—in the case of the UK—the Civil Aviation Authority. The co-operation takes the form of one national authority handling traffic which is in the national airspace of another state where this will facilitate the most expeditious movement of air traffic.

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many air traffic controllers were employed by NATS on (a) 1 May 1997 and (b) 1 May 2002; and how many hours of training was provided to air traffic controllers annually in the year ending (a) 1 May 1997 and (b) 1 May 2002 [89005]

Mr. Jamieson: NATS employed 1,735 air traffic controllers on 1 May 1997 and 1942 on 1 May 2002. These figures include trainee controllers. I am informed by NATS that trainee controllers received 145,054 hours of training in the year ending 1 May 1997 and 235,346 hours of training in the year ending 1 May 2002. Information about continuing in-service training of qualified controllers is not readily available.

Miss Anne McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what assessment he has made of the level of staff morale at NATS; and if he will make a statement; [89000]

Mr. Jamieson: Staffing issues are matters for NATS, as the employer. NATS inform me that on 1 May 1997, 112 staff were absent out of a total of 5,142 (2.18 per cent.). On 1 May 2002, 102 staff were absent out of a total of 5,294 (1.93 per cent).

Heathrow (Runway Alterations)

Martin Linton: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will publish the results of the two-year trial, beginning August 2000, to extend night period runway alternation at Heathrow to the hour between 6 am and 7 am; and if he will make a statement. [89536]

Mr. Jamieson: The trial was expected to run for about two years. During 2002 it was affected on approximately 35 per cent. of mornings by engineering works, including replacement of the instrument landing systems (ILS), runway resurfacing and replacement of runway lighting. Completion of the resurfacing work on the southern runway has also been delayed, and will resume in April. Consequently it is not possible at this stage to draw any firm conclusions from the trial, which will need to continue for a sustained period following the completion of the engineering works later this year.

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Major Road Schemes

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which major road schemes in the local transport settlement for 2002 were (a) accepted, (b) provisionally approved, (c) considered work in progress and (d) rejected. [89535]

Mr. Jamieson: The Mansfield-Ashfield Regeneration Route was fully accepted in the 2002 Local Transport Settlement announced in December.

The following schemes were provisionally approved. It will now be for the relevant local authorities to progress the schemes through the remaining statutory procedures.

Insufficient information was available for a decision on the following schemes which are now classified as 'work in progress'. The schemes will be reconsidered when the local authorities concerned provide sufficient further information.

No schemes were rejected.


Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his estimate is of the level of CO2 emissions from road transport in (a) 2005 and (b) 2010. [88438]

Mr. Jamieson: Our latest forecasts suggest that in 2010 CO2 emissions from road transport in England could be in the range 29.3 to 30.2 million tonnes of carbon. We do not currently have interim forecasts for levels in 2005, but will produce these shortly.

Seaports and Harbours (Security)

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to improve security at small seaports and harbours to prevent (a) acts of terrorism and (b) importation of material for use in terrorism; and if he will make a statement. [89248]

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Mr. Jamieson: The United Kingdom already has a comprehensive security regime in place covering ports and harbours which service international ferries and cruise ship calls. In addition, the three border agencies, police Special Branch, HM Customs and Excise and the Immigration Service, control the movement of passengers and goods through small ports. Their presence at the ports is determined by a risk assessment.

This national regime will be augmented by July 2004 with the implementation of the recently agreed International Maritime Organisation's (IMO) global maritime security regime. This agreement requires signatory nations to develop and implement maritime security procedures. All ships over 500 tonnes engaged in international voyages and all ports which service such ships will be party to the security requirements.

Transport (Newcastle)

Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what was the Local Transport Plan budget for Newcastle City in (a) 2001–02, (b) 2002–03 and (c) 2003–04; what the spending was in 2001–02; whether spending is likely to be reached in 2002–03; and what action was taken over underspending. [89105]

Mr. Jamieson: Capital funding for local transport is provided by Government in two main ways: for maintenance and schemes costing below #5 million, as a block of funds over which local authorities have discretion; and for major schemes costing over #5million, as scheme-specific funding. In recent years, up to and including 2001–02, authorities had permission to carry over their 'block' funds from one financial year to the next.

Newcastle city council were provided with the following allocations:

In 2001–02, #3.938 million was spent on maintenance and schemes costing below #5 million; and #3.210 million was spent on major schemes. Newcastle city council have taken advantage of the flexibility available to carry funds forward into 2002–03 and plan to spend their full allocation in the current year. Outturn spending figures for 2002–03 will be available in July 2003. Ministers have made clear to all transport authorities the importance of having effective spending programmes and of making progress towards the targets and objectives set out in their local transport plans.

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