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15 Dec 2003 : Column 709W—continued


Mr. Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects Junction 10A of the M20 to be opened; and if he will make a statement. [140823]

Mr. Jamieson: Part of this scheme is required to provide access to development sites at Ashford. The completion date therefore depends on reaching agreement with the developers on the funding of those elements of the scheme required as a result of development, as well as the satisfactory completion of all necessary statutory and consultation procedures. The scheme is, currently, programmed to be completed by the end of the decade.

Maritime and Coastguard Agency

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what budget is available to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency for (a) ship inspections and (b) related activity, with particular reference to enforcement, in each of the last five years. [144496]

Mr. Jamieson: The Maritime and Coastguard Agency's budget for ship inspections and related activity, including enforcement in each of the last five years, is listed in the table.

Budget (£000)
Resource Accounts
Cash Accounts

The Resource Accounts figures include depreciation and capital charge, which are not included within the Cash Accounts outturns.

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Offshore Wind Turbines

Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps the Government are taking to limit the possibility of ships colliding with offshore wind turbines. [141909]

Mr. Jamieson: My Department will continue to strive to ensure that the risk of ships colliding with offshore wind turbines is kept as low as practicable. When granting consents under the Coast Protection Act 1949 my Department ensures that offshore wind turbines are not located in areas of high collision risk. When construction begins, the existence of offshore wind turbines in a specific location is made known to mariners by way of Notices to Mariners issued by the UK Hydrographic Office and, where necessary, by annotations on nautical charts. Offshore wind turbine developments are also required to be marked in accordance with guidance issued by the International Association of Lighthouse Authorities.

In considering the second round of bids for site leases, my Department is working with the Department of Trade and Industry and the Crown Estate to help direct offshore renewable energy developments towards areas of the sea associated with low numbers of ship movements. My Department wishes to obtain a full understanding of the cumulative impact on shipping caused by the potential development of the site leases and will consult the shipping and ports industries on the outcome of the Crown Estate's tender assessment panel.

There will also be further consultation by developers as the legislative consents process requires an environmental impact assessment to be made for each site. To assist developers assess the risks posed by shipping and the measures that they should take to mitigate those risks, detailed guidance has been made available by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

The Government are introducing legislative proposals in the Energy Bill for safety zones to be established around offshore renewable energy developments. The Bill, which was introduced into the other place (House of Lords) on 30 November, also makes provision for the creation of a new offence in respect of unauthorised ships entering, or breaching the restrictions on operating within, a safety zone. My officials will work closely with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and the Department for Trade and Industry in establishing safety zones, appropriate to individual offshore turbine developments, in order to further reduce the risk of collisions.

Public Transport (Disabled Access)

David Davis: : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what provision rail franchises are required to

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make for passengers who (a) are disabled and (b) have mobility problems, when deciding what rail links to maintain or discontinue. [143243]

Dr. Howells: The procedures for deciding whether to reduce or discontinue a rail service are designed, among other things, to ensure that the particular needs of passengers with disabilities or mobility problems are fully taken into account. The level of service which an operator must provide is governed by a Passenger Service Requirement (PSR) and any change requires Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) approval. Where station or line closures are proposed a statutory closure procedure, which includes consultation with passengers, must be followed. In deciding whether to approve a service reduction or closure, the SRA or statutory authorities are expected to take proper account of the implications for all affected groups, including disabled passengers.

Rail Services

Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport at how many railway stations in England and Wales platform extensions are (a) under way and (b) planned within the next two years; and where each such railway station is. [142618]

Dr. Howells [holding answer 8 December 2003]: It is understood that Network Rail has work under way at Hollingbourne, Harrietsham, Charing, and Nuneaton, and that work is planned at Sandal and Agbrigg, Wakefield Westgate, South Elmsall, Fitzwilliam, Braintree, Braintree Freeport, Cressing, White Notley, Harrow and Wealdstone, Bushey, Kings Langley, Apsley, Hemel Hempstead, Berkhamsted, Tring, Cheddington, Bletchley, Billingshurst, Portslade, West Norwood, Hampden Park, Lewes, Farnham, Virginia Water, Basingstoke, Ascot, Farncombe, Milford, Witley, Liphook, Liss, Petersfield, Bentley, Brockenhurst, Poole, Moreton, Lymington Town, Camberley, Abercynon North, Penrhiwceiber, Fernhill, Cwmbach, Aberdare, Lichfield Trent Valley, Hinckley, Narborough, South Wigston, Princes Risborough, Beaconsfield, Gerrards Cross, High Wycombe, West Ruislip, South Ruislip, Wembley Stadium, and Denham.

Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the provision of rail services in the east of England. [143527]

Mr. McNulty: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State is currently considering proposals put to him by the Strategic Rail Authority for a new Greater Anglia franchise to commence on 1 April next year. The SRA will also begin consultation on an East Coast Main Line strategy early in the New Year. This is the third in a planned series of 10 strategies and will consider the best use of the existing line and its links to other areas.

Hugh Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what plans the Strategic Rail Authority has to develop train services to and from Faversham; [143916]

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Mr. McNulty: The Strategic Rail Authority recently completed consultations on the proposed Integrated Kent Franchise. The consultation included options for domestic services on the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL) but the aim is to improve rail services throughout Kent, not only to destinations which might be served by the CTRL. Further consultations on a more detailed service pattern are planned for early in the new year and it is therefore too soon to say what the outcome might be for individual destinations.

The CTRL domestic service options set out in the consultation are, regardless of the stations they might serve, dependent on completion of the line. Section 2 is on target to open early in 2007.

Road Safety

Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent representations he has received about safety on the (a) A14, (b) A134 and (c) A140 in Suffolk; and if he will make a statement. [143528]

Mr. Jamieson: I have received one recent representation on road safety on the A14, A134 and A140. The Highways Agency (responsible for the A14) and Suffolk County Council (responsible for the A134 and A140) are committed to achieving Government targets on reducing road casualties. The Highways Agency is making good progress with two Targeted Programme of Improvement schemes for resolving accident problems on the A14 in Suffolk, at Rookery Crossroads and the Haughley Bends, and Suffolk County Council have plans for further accident reduction measures on both the A134 and A140.

Safety Camera Partnerships

Mr. Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what guidelines he has issued to the local camera safety partnerships. [142916]

Mr. Jamieson: The rules and guidelines for the safety camera netting off scheme are contained in a Handbook that has been issued to every partnership.


Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to his answer of 4 December 2003, Official Report, column 162W, on shipping, how the Government determine that ships which do not fly the red ensign but qualify for the tonnage tax regime are strategically and commercially managed in the UK. [143499]

Mr. Jamieson: The strategic and commercial management test arises from the European Commission's guidelines on State Aid in the maritime sector. As no specific EC guidance is available on the meaning of "strategically and commercially managed" the Government adopt a common sense interpretation, taking into account the various different strands of management activity that can be carried out in respect of a ship. Elements of both legs of the test must be demonstrated. Among the indicators that might be considered are:

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Strategic management:

Commercial management:

None of the indicators for strategic or commercial management will be conclusive on their own. The Government will consider the number and weight of the various indicators exhibited for both legs of the test and will expect to see real economic activity from ship operations in the UK. Greater weight will be given to the higher levels of decision making and management as opposed to day to day management.

Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to his answer of 4 December 2003, Official Report, column 162W, on shipping, how many people have been employed in the UK in each of the last 10 years as inspectors to carry out monitoring and compliance inspections of ships to ensure that security measures are properly implemented. [143500]

Mr. Jamieson: The numbers of Security Inspectors employed by the Department for Transport with responsibility for compliance inspections of ships for each of the last ten years are as follows:

In accordance with security priorities identified by my Department the inspections are carried out on passenger vessels under the provisions only of the Aviation and Maritime Security Act 1990. The Inspectors are also responsible for ensuring security compliance by the ports from which these vessels operate thereby providing a fully integrated ship/port security regime.

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