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4 Dec 2003 : Column 157Wcontinued
Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps his Department is taking to improve lifeboat safety; and what plans he has to introduce requirements for (a) minimum launching system standards and (b) common operating procedures. 
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Mr. Jamieson: The UK has adopted and fully supports international standards for life saving appliances, as required by the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS). Standards have been developed by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and are contained in the publications "International Life Saving Appliance Code (Res. MSC.48(66))" and "Testing and Evaluation of Life Saving Appliances (Res. MSC.81(70)", which incorporate the requirements for launching systems and operating procedures.
International standards continue to be reviewed by the IMO's Design and Equipment sub-committee (DE), which is made up of delegations from participating marine administrations. The last meeting of DE in March 2003 established a working group to undertake a comprehensive review of the standards and guidelines which currently apply to the launching and operation of lifeboats.
John Thurso: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what the annual budget of (a) the Trinity House Lighthouse Authority, (b) the Commissioners of the Irish Lights and (c) the Northern Lighthouse Board was in each of the last five years; 
Mr. Jamieson: The expenditure requirements of the three General Lighthouse Authorities are met from the General Lighthouse Fund. The annual expenditure from 199899 to 200203 is set out in the following table.
|Trinity House Lighthouse||Northern Lighthouse Board||Commissionersof Irish Lights|
Mr. Jamieson: The Secretary of State will determine the light dues to be levied in 2004/05 taking account of the General Lighthouse Authority Corporate Plans and investment in new depots and ships and of the level at which the General Lighthouse Fund Reserve should be maintained to underpin the operation and pension arrangements.
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1996 could be provided only at disproportionate time and cost. London Underground has provided the following:
|Waterloo and City||91||9||47||14||55||34||238|
|Hammersmith and City||542||267||303||343||517||||636|
|Total number of cancellations||9,847||6,101||10,789||7,951||14,088||11,451||18,440|
Mr. Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the average percentage of scheduled train kilometres operated on the London Underground was in each year between 1990 and 2003, broken down by line. 
Mr. McNulty: London Underground (LU) transferred from Central Government to Transport for London on 15 July. The information for the years before 1996 could be provided only at disproportionate time and cost. London Underground has provided the following:
|Waterloo and City||94.5||98.2||96.9||98.4||96.8||98.1||88.1|
|Circle and Hammersmith||90.9||93.0||91.4||89.7||81.8||86.3||86.0|
|Average all lines||94.5||95.5||93.6||94.3||91.6||92.9||91.1|
Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the change in (a) total trade, (b) tanker trade, (c) container trade and (d) dry bulk trade in UK ports in each of the (i) next and (ii) last five years. 
|(a) Total trade(35)||(b) Tanker trade||(c) Container trade||Dry bulk trade|
|Million tonnes||Annual % change||Million tonnes||Annual % change||Million tonnes||Annual % change||Million tonnes||Annual % change|
(35) Includes Ro-Ro traffic and other general cargo
Mr. Robathan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what systems are in place to ensure that road renewal schemes are prioritised for funding according to the number of people who suffer greater than 65 decibels levels of noise. 
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Mr. Jamieson: Local roads are a matter for the relevant local authority. As far as the strategic road network in England is concerned low noise surfaces will generally be used as a matter of course when maintenance is due. And the Secretary of State announced to the House on 1 April 2003 that we expect quieter surfacing to have been installed on over 60 per cent. of the trunk road network, including all concrete stretches, within the period of the 10 year plan. Following consultation, we announced that four criteria would be used to prioritise the resurfacing of concrete roads. They are:
Priority will be given to those sites where treatment would benefit the greatest number of people;
The works will be carried out in such a way as to minimise disruption to the general public and other users of the network; and
Priority will be given to roads opened since June 1988 where actual noise levels have turned out to be significantly higher than predicted at the time of the public inquiry.
Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what studies his Department has (a) conducted and (b) commissioned to assess the effect on road safety of removing white lining on rural roads; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Jamieson: The Department's view is that road markings make an important contribution to road safety on inter-urban rural roads by clearly defining the path to be followed, by separating conflicting movements and by delineating the road edge on unlit roads at night.
The Department has collaborated in a joint European project on road markings and their effect on driver behaviour, in which 15 countries pooled their research resources. This established, among other findings, that drivers on inter-urban rural roads find it difficult to steer accurately at night if they cannot see the road markings sufficiently far ahead.
With regard to rural villages, the Department commissioned TRL to monitor a traffic management scheme in Stiffkey, Norfolk which included the removal of centre lines. We have also commissioned the "Drivers and Traffic Calming" project to examine the effect of psychological (non-physical) traffic calming measures in both urban and village locations, some of which involve the removal of white lines.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what research the Government has undertaken into the (a) cost and (b) safety-effectiveness of different types of crash barriers to prevent cross-over accidents. 
Mr. Jamieson: Extensive research was undertaken during the 1980s, which contributed to the decision to introduce central reserve barrier onto the trunk road network in 1986. The majority of product placed on the network at that time was tensioned steel barrier. More recently, different types of barrier have been placed on the network, including wire-rope and concrete barrier. Data obtained from the in-service performance of these
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products over time is now being used to support research into the cost and safety-effectiveness of different types of central reserve barrier.
The research is considering the performance characteristics of different barrier types, as well as the whole life construction, maintenance, repair and replacement costs, including traffic delay costs and safety risks to operatives carrying out the work. This research is expected to be completed in early 2004 and will help in the understanding of how to prevent cross-over accidents.
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