Previous Section Index Home Page

9 Nov 2004 : Column 573W—continued

Fair Trade

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether it is his policy to ensure that hospitality within his Department is sourced from Fair Trade producers wherever possible within the boundaries set by the public procurement rules. [197058]

Charlotte Atkins: At the Department's headquarters building, Great Minster House, the hospitality arrangements include the provision of Fair Trade bulk brew filter coffee and Down to Earth Fair Trade enveloped tea. The restaurant also serves the above as well as Fair Trade sweets and chocolate.

Heathrow Airport

Tom Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what criteria are used to made decisions on changing airport flight paths into London Heathrow airport. [196534]

Charlotte Atkins: Routes within UK airspace are subject to regulation by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and changes are agreed by the CAA against criteria set out in its Civil Air Publications 724 and 725, available on the CAA website. These include consideration of the operational, environmental, economical and safety impacts of any changes. Under section 66 of the Transport Act 2000, the Secretary of State for Transport has issued Directions to the CAA requiring it to take account of environmental and other considerations and to seek his approval in certain circumstances.

There are no set routes for arriving aircraft between the point where they leave a holding "stack" and the point where they join the Instrument Landing System for final approach. Aircraft are individually directed by Air
9 Nov 2004 : Column 574W
Traffic Control who ensure safe traffic separation, but they are also required whenever practicable to follow "continuous descent approach" with a view to minimising noise impacts.

Aircraft departing Heathrow are required to follow specific paths called noise preferential routes which are designed as far as possible to minimise over-flight of built-up areas.

Motorcycle Casualties

Mr. Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the evidential basis is of his statement that there is an increase in motorcycle casualty rate per mile at 33BHP. [195999]

Mr. Jamieson: We have made no such statement. However, we are aware of reports attributed to the Government that we would like motorcyclists to have experience on a 125cc motorcycle for two years before gaining access to a larger motorcycle. We certainly believe that some motorcyclists who gain their licence via Direct Access arrangements, allowing them to ride large motorcycles without earlier experience on a smaller machine, are at risk, simply through inexperience of riding a powerful motorcycle.

The Advisory Group on Motorcycling (AGM), amongst other things, concluded that since the majority of novice riders choose to pass their test via the Direct Access route, as a relatively fast route to big bike riding, it is timely for the Government to consider its effectiveness (a copy of the report is lodged with the House). We will do so, in the context of wider ranging AGM suggestions and recommendations for the future of motorcycling. Should that review lead to proposals for change, we would consult before implementing them.

Road Schemes (Birmingham)

Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the likely effects of the Birmingham Northfield Relief Road project in relation to (a) transport movements in the area and (b) regeneration of South West Birmingham. [196718]

Charlotte Atkins: The Northfield Relief Road was given provisional approval for funding under the Local Transport Programme in December 2000 in the light of an appraisal carried out by Birmingham city council which included consideration of the contribution the scheme would make to improved transport movements and regeneration of the area it serves. The appraisal included benefits such as improved journey times, improved access for pedestrians and buses and improving the vitality and viability of the Northfield shopping area. Following completion of statutory procedures an updated appraisal was received in July 2004 in support of a request from Birmingham city council for full approval of this scheme which is currently being considered.


Patrick Mercer: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what measures have been taken to protect the security of railway tunnels and bridges since 2001. [196308]

9 Nov 2004 : Column 575W

Mr. McNulty: The Department for Transport, British Transport Police and other central Government agencies support the rail industry in security matters affecting operations and infrastructure. It would be inappropriate to provide details of the specific measures taken for obvious reasons

Uninsured Drivers

Tom Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps his Department has taken in conjunction with the Metropolitan police to reduce the number of uninsured drivers on the roads of Greater London. [196536]

Mr. Jamieson: The steps already taken to deal with the problem of uninsured driving include a review of motor insurance arrangements in the UK by Professor David Greenaway and, following publication of his report on 11 August, the setting up of an implementation board to see that action follows.

Working jointly with the insurance industry we now plan to introduce legislation, improve procedures and design education, publicity and enforcement programmes to drive down uninsured driving. These measures will be available to all police forces in Great Britain.


Aircraft Emissions

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the projected improvement is in emissions from aircraft engines over the next 25 years on which Government predictions of emissions are based. [195088]

Charlotte Atkins: I have been asked to reply.

In February 2004, the Government published technical reports in support of the Air Transport White Paper that include projections of improvement in aircraft engine emissions. The report "Aviation and Global Warming" includes assessments of fleet renewal, fuel efficiency improvement and emissions improvement. The report Air Quality Assessments Supporting the Government's White Paper "The Future of Air Transport" focuses more on prospects for engine improvements in emissions of oxide of nitrogen (NOx ). Technology projections relate to different timescales up to 2030 and span a range of emissions performance given uncertainty over proving technologies and bringing them to market. These technical reports are available at

Animal By-products Regulations

Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether carcases of horses and donkeys may be buried on the owner's land under the Animal By-products Regulations. [196270]

Mr. Bradshaw: The regulation allows member states to apply for various derogations regarding the disposal of animal by-products, and, among others, we have
9 Nov 2004 : Column 576W
applied the derogation to permit the burial of dead pet animals. However, this does not automatically mean that all horses and donkeys may be buried.

The definition of a pet animal given within the regulation is: any animal belonging to species normally nourished and kept, but not consumed, by humans for purposes other than farming.

The situation with regard to equines is complicated. Although it can be argued that humans within the UK do not consume members of the equine family, the UK does export horses/ponies which may be used for human consumption. Under a strict interpretation the EU regulation would, therefore, ban the burial of pet equines but we would expect local authorities, who enforce the legislation, to take a sensible approach to the burial of horses that are clearly pets.


Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much funding the Government have given to the National Bee Unit for the current financial year; how many bee inspectors there are; what estimate has been made of the number of bees under serious threat from the varroa mite; and what advice and assistance is given by the National Bee Unit to beekeepers in the South West. [194159]

Alun Michael: In the current financial year the National Bee Unit will receive funding of £1,235,000 from Defra and £283,000 from the Welsh Assembly Government.

There are 45 bee inspectors in England and Wales of whom 36 are part-time, seasonal bee inspectors.

It is estimated that there are 250,000 honey bee colonies in England and Wales, maintained by some 37,000 beekeepers. Since varroa is now endemic throughout almost the whole of the United Kingdom, its presence is a challenge to all beekeepers but this can be managed through good bee husbandry.

In addition to the statutory inspection programme, which has given rise to over 900 visits and the inspection of almost 4,000 colonies in Devon, Cornwall and Somerset between April and September 2004, the NBU provides laboratory diagnoses, the destruction or treatment of colonies infected with European Foul Brood, and a testing programme for varroa resistance to treatment with pyrethroids. Over 2,500 beekeepers attended advisory lectures, field demonstrations and liaison meetings provided by NBU in the South West in 2003–04. Beekeepers in the region also have access to a national telephone help-line, advisory leaflets and the NBU website.

Next Section Index Home Page