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Airlines (Safety Standards)

Mr. Wilshire: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) whether safety standards that have to be

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met by an airline for a permit to be granted to operate in the airspace of each of the other EU and EEA member states are identical to those which have to be met before his Department will grant a British permit to operate in UK airspace; [149031]

Mr. McNulty: All airlines operating international services are required to have certificates showing that they meet the safety standards established by the International Civil Aviation Organisation. As Contracting States to the Chicago Convention, EEA (including EU) Member States are required to recognise the certificates issued by other Contracting States to their airlines unless they have reason to believe that they have not been issued in accordance with the ICAO standards.

If another Member State has issued an operating permit to an airline we would expect that airline to meet the necessary international safety standards. However, the fact that another Member State had issued a permit would not itself provide authorisation for that airline to operate to the UK. The UK reserves the right to make its own decisions on whether or not to issue a permit. Permits may also be refused, suspended or revoked for safety or other reason, as illustrated in my answer to the hon. Member of 8 January 2004, Official Report, columns 429–30W. Other Member States may also take permit action for reasons other than safety.

Airports (Scotland)

John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many responses were received to the Future of Air Transport—Scotland consultation document; and of these (a) how many expressed a view in favour of a second runway at Edinburgh airport, (b) how many expressed a view against a second runway at Edinburgh airport and (c) how many did not express a preference. [147832]

Mr. McNulty: A total of 325 written responses and 965 questionnaire responses were received to the Scottish Consultation Document. The results of the consultation are summarised on the Department's Airport White Paper website.

The stakeholder consultation response and the NOP questionnaire response both indicate that of those who expressed a view, there were significantly more consultees in favour of a new runway than against it. In the case of the public response the numbers were more evenly matched.


Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to fund the extension of CCTV cameras in London's tube and train stations. [148438]

Mr. McNulty: The Department has no plans to fund additional CCTV cameras in London at either Tube or train stations. This is an operational matter for London

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Underground, Network Rail and the train operating companies to decide, in accordance with their own needs and their responsibilities for safety and security.

Central Railway Project

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement about the Central Railway project. [148146]

Mr. McNulty: We are considering carefully Central Railway's proposals and will respond to Central Railway in due course.

Cheltenham/Gloucester Parkway Station

Mr. Nigel Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what discussions he has had with the Strategic Rail Authority on the construction of a Cheltenham/Gloucester Parkway railway station near Gloucester airport; [148533]

Mr. McNulty: The Strategic Rail Authority is carrying out a pre-feasibility study into the potential for a new parkway station near Gloucester. This work is to assess the business case for and operational implications of a new station. Several locations are being assessed including some in the vicinity of the airport. The study is due to be completed in February.

Driving Licences

Geraldine Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what information he has received from the EC Committee on Driving Licence working groups on the procedures employed to (a) assess and (b) minimise the road safety risks associated with epilepsy. [148552]

Mr. Jamieson: The appropriate working group of the EC Committee on Driving Licences has not yet met, therefore I have received no such information. I expect the epilepsy Working Group to meet three or four times during 2004, and to report back on its conclusions in about 18 months time.

Edinburgh Airport

John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many (a) households and (b) electors live within the possible new Edinburgh airport boundary as outlined in the Aviation White Paper. [147900]

Mr. McNulty: There are 33 residential properties within the possible new Edinburgh airport boundary outlined in the Aviation White Paper. We do not have information on the number of electors at these properties.

Environmental Audit Committee Report

Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will place in the Library a copy of the research referred to in paragraph 4 of the Government's response to the Environmental Audit Committee's Report (CM6063). [149023]

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Mr. Jamieson: The finding that congestion costs are over three-quarters of the full external costs of road transport can be found in Table B on page v of "Surface Transport Costs and Charges: Great Britain 1998", Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds, July 2001. The research was commissioned by the then Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions and copies have been placed in the Libraries of the House.

Hazardous Incidents

Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many people have made reports to the Confidential Hazardous Incident Reporting Programme, in each year since it was introduced. [148485]

Mr. Jamieson: Since the CHIRP was introduced on 1 December 1982 there have been a total 4,488 reported incidents for the aviation and maritime programmes.

The number of reports for the last four years for the aviation CHIRP is as follows:


The Maritime CHIRP was introduced in July 2003 and has so far received 38 reports.

Illegal Immigrants

Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list the (a) date and (b) nature of each incident involving ships in British waters assisting other vessels attempting to bring illegal immigrants to Britain since 1997; and what the names of the vessels were in each case. [148502]

Mr. Jamieson: The Maritime and Coastguard Agency co-ordinates the search and rescue of persons in distress at sea and responded to over 13,000 incidents in the last year. The Agency collects data about the nature of incidents, including the types of vessels involved in terms of whether they are commercial ships, fishing vessels or pleasure craft. However, the Agency does not collect data relating to illegal immigration.

The UK Immigration Service also does not collate the information in the format requested. However, the Service does work closely with European counterparts to identify vessels concerned with smuggling potential illegal immigrants to the UK. In addition, as part of REFLEX, the government's multi-agency task force to combat organised immigration crime, the Immigration Service co-operates with other government departments to exchange information on those suspected of involvement in maritime smuggling.

Leak Inquiries

Richard Ottaway: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list occasions on which his Department has conducted an inquiry into alleged leaks from members of staff since 1997; and if he will list the occasions on which the names of those persons accused

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of leaking information from his Department have been made public (a) by the Government and (b) by way of another source. [147192]

Mr. McNulty: The Department for Transport was formed in May 2002 and since then it has not instigated any inquiries into alleged leaks from members of its staff.

Liquid Natural Gas

Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what tax advantages are available for liquid natural gas vehicles. [147940]

Mr. Jamieson: Due to its environmental benefits, liquid natural gas (LNG) enjoys a lower rate of duty compared to conventional fuels, equivalent to 6p per litre compared to some 47p per litre for petrol and diesel. In the pre-Budget report the Chancellor announced that this differential will be held constant for a further three years.

Alternatively fuelled vehicles are also eligible for lower rates of vehicle excise duty depending on their CO2 emissions.

Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many vehicles using liquid natural gas benefited from tax advantages in the last year for which figures are available; and how many were (a) cars and (b) vans. [147941]

Mr. Jamieson: Figures published by the Natural Gas Vehicle Association for August estimate that there are 875 natural gas vehicles in the UK which will have benefited from the duty differential for natural gas. Of these 20 are estimated to be cars: there is no estimate for vans. Details of the split between vehicles using liquid natural gas and compressed natural gas were not published.

Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what Government grants are available to convert petrol cars to liquid natural gas; what the take-up has been in the current financial year; and how much is available for the remainder of the financial year. [147942]

Mr. Jamieson: Limited grants are available under the TransportEnergy programmes to offset the additional costs of purchasing clean fuelled vehicles including those powered by liquid natural gas (LNG). Grant offers have been made for 45 LNG vehicles in this financial year, which will be honoured once the conversions are completed under the terms of the grant offer letters.

The Energy Saving Trust, who administer the grant programmes for the Government, will not be issuing any new grant offer letters this financial year as they have now received applications to cover the full TransportEnergy programme budget of nearly £30 million. This is a considerable increase from the £18 million spend in 2001–02, and the Trust forecast they will provide grants for around 8,000 vehicles this year, compared with 5,000 last year. The grant programmes will resume in April 2004.

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