Supplementary memorandum by the Health
and Safety Executive (FOR 122A)
THE FUTURE OF THE RAILWAYS
The Committee asked for additional information.
This is set out below:
The net resource outturn of the Health and Safety
Executive for the operating year 2002-03 was £203,628,000.
Within that total, expenditure on Rail activities amounted to
£11.5 million, of which £6.2 million was recovered from
the industry through charging for aspects of HMRI's work. In turn
the industry recovers a substantial amount of its expenditure
from taxpayers through SRA. Funding for HSE's support to the Channel
Tunnel Safety Authority (£300,000 of the above) is provided
to HM Treasury by Eurotunnel. Further details can be found in
the HSC Annual Report and HSC/E accounts for 2002-03 (Schedule
2, on page 163 of the report): http://www.hse.gov.uk/aboutus/reports/ar0203.pdf
TPWS FITMENT AND
Mr Armitt's response to Q 1687, in which he
said that HSE additionally wanted all signals on the network protected
by TPWS and that this increased the capital cost by £300
million, is incorrect. We will be writing to Mr Armitt to address
this misunderstanding. The Regulatory Impact Assessment for the
Railway Safety Regulations 1999 covered the types of TPWS fitment
consulted on by HSC in 1998 and subsequently required by the Regulations,
although the full scope of the Railtrack fitment programme was
not required to be agreed until the beginning of 2000. HSE did
not require additional TPWS installation work to be carried out
beyond those types included in the RIA. Railtrack indicated to
HSC in 1998 that it was content with the Regulations as drafted,
though there remained some areas of technical contention where
it disagreed with HSE. Although the requirements in the Regulations
are absolute, the exemption provision was made wide-ranging to
enable low safety benefit and high costs to be taken into account.
In 2001 CulIen recommended that the industry should use this provision
and apply for exemption where justified. This was taken up by
Network Rail and during 2003 HSE has granted two key exemptions
on TPWS fitment as an overspeeding risk mitigation measure, covering
about 12% of the original programme. These resulted in savings
of around £64 million. HSE took full account of cost and
risk and consulted widely before granting these exemptions. Further
information is listed at: http://www.hse.gov.u k/railways/rollst/index.htm
There was an escalation in the costs of fitting
TPWS beyond the original estimates but this was not attributable
to any additional requirements by HSE. On the contrary HSE has
been sympathetic to cases for exemption where a robust evidence-based
case has been made.
Currently, level crossings (LCs) are the second
highest risk on the mainline railway. Network Rail calculates
that they account for 23% of train accident risk. LC incidents
may result in the death of individuals involved, and can also
lead to an incident involving many rail and road-related fatalities
(eg Hixon, 1968 and Lockington, 1986).
HSE approves the protective arrangements for
each modernised public crossing through a statutory Level Crossing
Order, on behalf of the Secretary of State for Transport. This
is based on a specification from Network Rail in which Network
Rail applies the industry's own Railway Group and Network Rail
Line Standards. The police and highway authorities have responsibilities
related to road user safety. Enforcement against road traffic
offences at level crossings is by British Transport Police and
others. Highway authorities fund alternatives to level crossings,
such as bridges.
Network Rail has developed a strategy for improving
level crossing safety, on which HSE was consulted and which HSE
supports. The overriding principle of this strategy is to ensure
that new permanent crossings are opened in only exceptional circumstances,
and existing crossings are closed where feasible.
HSE also supports the Network Rail's risk-based
programme of upgrades. Automatic Open Level Crossings have the
highest rate of accidents. Conversion of one of these to a barriered
crossing meeting the industry's own standards costs £750,000
to £1.25 million. Automatic Half Barrier Crossings can also
generate an increased risk when traffic patterns change. Upgrading
of these costs £1-£1.5 million. HSE is encouraging Network
Rail to examine cheaper methods of level crossing protectionNetwork
Rail currently has three trials nearing completionand also
supports the provision of enforcement cameras at high risk crossings.
Increases in road crossing usage caused by local
developments often require Network Rail to seek an Order from
HSE to upgrade a crossing. HSE has only once exercised its powers
in the Level Crossings Act 1983 to require a change in level crossing
protection. This was to permit a delay in an upgrading by Network
Rail because of difficulties on the part of the local Highway
Like Network Rail, HSE recognises that crossing
user misuse is the primary cause of most level crossing (LC) incidents.
Solutions to this are not straightforward, in part because of
behavioural aspects. HSE was instrumental in the setting up last
year of the National Level Crossing Safety Group, which brings
together everyone with an interest and is very actively supported
by Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB), Network Rail and others.
This group considers a whole range of relevant issues, including
how best to tackle misuse, and will be producing a report with
This has not been published. An executive summary
has been provided to all those who took part in the survey and
to members of the HSC's Rail Industry Advisory Committee.
THE DRP/HMRI INTERFACE
This report was never finalised. It was discussed
at a senior management meeting where it was agreed to proceed
with some of the recommendations, such as placing more emphasis
on project and programme working.
I hope this provides the information the Committee
needs. If you would like any further details please contact me.
Director of Rail Safety
16 January 2004