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Mr. Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) if he will impose on train operating companies either a (a) mandatory modification of existing train horns or a (b) retrofitting of alternative train horns to reduce the decibel output of such horns to meet the Rail Safety and Standards Board's recent reduction in the minimum volume requirements in order that the train operating companies can recover the costs of such work; 
(2) what discussions his Department has had with train operating companies regarding (a) modification of existing train horns and (b) retrofitting of alternative horns in response to the reduction by the Rail Safety and Standards Board of the minimum decibel volume required for such horns. 
Mr. McNulty: There have been no discussions between the Department and train operating companies on the issue of train horns. The Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) is responsible for specifying the requirements for when and where train horns must be used and Network Rail is responsible for deciding how train operators comply with them.
Mr. McNulty: The Train Protection and Warning System and the Automatic Warning System are both fitted on a comprehensive basis across Network Rail's infrastructure. In addition, versions of British Rail's automatic train protection system are fitted on sections of the Great Western and Chiltern lines. The European Rail Traffic Management System is under development and scheduled to be trialled on the Cambrian line in 200708.
Mr. Hood: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the outcome was of the Transport Council held on 9 to 10 December; what the Government's stance was on the issues discussed, including its voting record; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. McNulty: A transport session of the Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council met in Brussels on 9 and 10 December. I represented the UK, together with Nicol Stephen of the Scottish Executive.
Following a debate on liability and compensation for damage from oil pollution at sea, the Presidency drew Conclusions. These incorporated wording which I had proposed, stressing the need to ensure that effective financial responsibility is exercised on the part of those involved in transportation of oil by sea, and the need for appropriate revision of the relevant provisions of the 1992 Civil Liability Convention (CLC) and the 1992 International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund (IOPCF). The UK wording was supported in the Council by several other member states.
The Commission presented a revised proposal for a Directive on market access to port services. I joined a number of other Ministers in expressing strong reservations about this proposal, which replaces the one rejected by the European Parliament following Conciliation. I pointed out that, while the UK welcomes liberalisation and market opening, some aspects of this new proposal would not help the port sector's development. It is far less satisfactory than the Conciliation text in a number of key areas. The proposal will have a major impact on the ports and shipping sectors, and there is a compelling case for further consultation with stakeholders and an extended impact assessment. These issues will be pursued in the detailed negotiation by the Council Working Group, which will now begin.
The Council reached Political Agreement on a Regulation introducing uniform application of the International Safety Management Code in EU member
20 Dec 2004 : Column 1361W
states, and reached a General Approach on a Directive on recognition of seafarers' certificates. Both are acceptable to the UK. The latter corrects an imbalance between EU member states' recognition of certificates issued by other member states and the procedure required under the Convention of the International Maritime Organisation.
The Council reached a General Approach on a draft Directive on train driver licensing. The agreed compromise text allows individual member states to seek a 10- year derogation (which can be extended) from the licensing system for drivers working only on domestic routes in that State, should a cost benefit analysis show that its application to such drivers would not be worthwhile. This compromise reflects concerns, which I and others had expressed, regarding its application to those drivers98 per cent. of the UK total. With those concerns met, I was able to accept the proposal.
The Council agreed Conclusions formalising the outcome of the Ministerial Conference on road safety held in Verona in October. The Conclusions, which are acceptable to the UK, stressed the need for co-operation and exchange of best practice between member states. The Commission informed the Council that it would review progress on the EU road safety action plan in 2005.
The Council reached a partial Political Agreement (Articles only) on a proposal for a Directive amending technical standards for inland waterway vessels, including passenger vessels. The agreed text is acceptable to the UK. When the Annexes have been agreed the Council can reach a Common Position on the proposal.
The Council agreed Conclusions on the movement to the deployment and operational phases of the Galileo satellite navigation programme. The Conclusions confirm the services to be developed within the programme. They also confirm: that Galileo should be a civil system under civil control; and that final agreement on the deployment and operational phases should be subject to a risk allocation, including final costs, which is acceptable to the public sector. The UK, supported by Austria, entered a minutes statement, stressing the importance for Council of giving its considered opinion on the results of the negotiations, in particular on the balance of risk allocation between public and private sectors, before the final contract is signed (probably in late 2005). In the expectation that Council's views would be taken into account, the UK was able to accept the Conclusions.
The Council reached a partial Political Agreement (the Articles and Subparts O and Q of the Annexes) on a draft Regulation on harmonising technical requirements and administrative procedures in the field
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of civil aviation (EU OPS). Subpart O covers cabin crew training requirements and Subpart Q covers Flight Time Limitation rules. The agreed texts were acceptable to the UK. A Common Position can be adopted after agreement on the remaining Annexes.
Subject to a minutes statement that member states can improve their existing bilateral air service agreements, the Council agreed mandates for the Commission to open air transport negotiations with certain Western Balkan countries and with Morocco. These mandates are acceptable to the UK.
Mr. Letwin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent assessment he has made of (a) the terms of the Young Persons' Railcard and (b) the utility to young people seeking training or education of the Young Persons' Railcard. 
Mr. McNulty: None. The Young Person's Railcard offers one third off a range of rail tickets and travelcards. A minimum fare applies in the morning peak. There are no current proposals to extend the scope of this Railcard or to introduce special arrangements for students. Local authorities can and do facilitate local schemes with the train operating companies for student travel to schools and colleges.
Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many day care places by each type of provider there were in the city of Newcastle upon Tyne in each year from 1996 to 2001; and how many registered child care places by each type of provider there were in (a) April 2003, (b) April 2004 and (c) October 2004. 
Margaret Hodge [holding answer 8 December 2004]: The information is not available in the form requested. The available information on child care places and nursery education places is shown in the tables. The available information on child care places, for Newcastle upon Tyne local authority area, is shown in Tables 1 and 2.
|Type of care||2003||2004|
|Full day care||1,400||1,800|
|Sessional day care||1,300||1,200|
|Out of school day care||1,700||1,900|
|Creche day care||700||700|
|Type of provider||1997||1998||1999||2000||2001|
|Playgroups and pre-schools||1,300||1,300||1,300||1,300||1,300|
|Out of school clubs||700||600||1,100||1,800||900|
|Holiday schemes(9)||1,100||1,200||1,200||5,100||(10) 3,600|
The figures for child care places for 2003 and 2004 are not directly comparable with the day care figures for 19972001. The figures for 2003 and 2004 were derived from the Ofsted database of registered child care providers. The figures for 19972001 were derived from the Children's Day Care Facilities Survey, which was discontinued in 2001. There are no figures for 2002.
With the introduction of the National Day Care Standards and the transfer of responsibilities for registration and inspection of child care providers from Local Authority Social Service Departments to Ofsted in September 2001, child care places were classified according to the type of day care provided: full day care, sessional day care, childminder, out of school day care or crèche day care. Ofsted have produced figures based on this classification on a quarterly basis from March 2003. Their latest figures were published on 21 October 2004 in their report "Registered Childcare Providers and Places, 30 September 2004", which is available on their website, www.ofsted.gov.uk/publications.
Up until March 2001, child care providers were classified according to the type of provider: day nurseries, playgroups and pre-schools, childminders, out of school clubs and holiday schemes. Figures based on this classification were published in a series of Statistical Bulletins, which are available from the Department's website, www.dfes.gov.uk/statistics.
All four-year-olds in England have been entitled to a free part-time early education place since September 1998. All three-year-olds in England have been entitled to a free part-time early education place since April 2004. The latest figures on early education places for three and four year olds in England were published in Statistical First Release 39/2004 "Provision for children under five years of age in EnglandJanuary 2004 (final)", which is available on the Departments website www.dfes.gov.uk/rsgateway/.
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