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Written Answers to Questions

Tuesday 22 March 2005



Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions he has had with (a) BAA and (b) other airport companies about improving (i) the facilities and (ii) cleanliness at UK airports; and if he will make a statement. [221325]

Charlotte Atkins [holding answer 14 March 2005]: Regular meetings with BAA and other airport operators present a good opportunity to discuss a range of airport issues. However, the refurbishment of existing airport facilities and routine methods of maintaining cleanliness are primarily matters for the operators to decide, with appropriate regard to all relevant health and safety legislation.

Enforcement arrangements are subject to local arrangements at each airport but generally the Health and Safety Executive is responsible for enforcement airside, while local authority inspectors are responsible for enforcement at terminal buildings and landside activities. Local authority inspectors are also responsible for enforcing food hygiene and food safety legislation throughout airports, and they consider health, safety and welfare issues affecting employees, including provision and adequacy of welfare activities.


Geraldine Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many pensioners in Morecambe and Lunesdale he expects will benefit from free bus transport. [223475]

Charlotte Atkins: From April 2006, the Government are extending the existing statutory minimum requirement for concessionary fares so that people aged 60 and over and disabled people in England will be guaranteed free off-peak travel on their local bus services, with no charge for the pass.

In Morecambe and Lunesdale, all residents over 60 will benefit from free local bus travel. According to the 2001 census, there were then 20,223 pensioners (men aged 65 and over and women aged 60 and over) and 22,549 people over 60 in Morecambe and Lunesdale.

Congestion Charge

Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much has been spent on congestion (a) charges and (b) penalty charge notices by the Department since the commencement of the congestion charging scheme. [213825]

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Charlotte Atkins: Information on congestion charges and penalty notices incurred by vehicles provided to the Department by the Government Car and Despatch Agency is included in the response given by the Minister for the Cabinet Office on 28 February 2005, Official Report, column 957W.

The central Department has spent £1,168.87 on congestion charges incurred by civil servants on official business. This figure does not include the Department's agencies as they do not record the charges separately from other travel costs and the information could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

The Department does not usually pay congestion penalty charges, as civil servants are personally responsible for such fines. One penalty of £40 was paid soon after the charge was introduced as the penalty was incurred as the result of a payments error.


Clive Efford: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) whether a full cost benefit analysis has been made of the need for a Crossrail station at Woolwich; and if he will make a statement; [223126]

(2) what consultation has been carried out to ascertain the views of people in southeast London on a Crossrail station at Woolwich; [223127]

(3) what assessment has been made of whether a Crossrail station at Woolwich would meet the Government's integrated transport criteria for new rail schemes; [223128]

(4) if he will ensure that the merits of a station at Woolwich are properly assessed before the Crossrail Bill is presented to the House; [223129]

(5) what estimate has been made of the costs of building a station at Woolwich after the Crossrail link to Abbey Wood has opened. [223130]

Mr. McNulty: A Crossrail station at Woolwich was considered during the development of the project, but could not be justified on the current estimates of cost, passenger numbers and benefits. Crossrail will pass under Woolwich in deep tunnels and the cost of constructing an underground station would therefore be high. In view of this, powers have not been sought for a station at Woolwich in the Bill introduced into Parliament on 22 February 2005. However, the alignment of the tunnels has been designed so as to allow a station at Woolwich to be developed in the future, if it could be justified at that time. An area of land has also been safeguarded for this purpose.

No estimate has been made of the potential cost of constructing a station at Woolwich once Crossrail is operational. However, this would entail closure of the route from Custom House to Abbey Wood for a number of years, and therefore the cost would be greater than for construction before operation.

Cross London Rail Links Ltd., the company set up to develop and promote the Crossrail project, consulted widely including two 12-week rounds of public consultation on the project. During both rounds, public information centres were held at Woolwich and Abbey Wood, to provide information and seek residents' views.
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These were supported by mail drops to those potentially affected, newsletters, a dedicated website and a 24-hour telephone helpline.

Gatwick Express Service

Mr. Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what safety issues (a) at stations and (b) on trains were considered prior to the publication of the Strategic Rail Authority's Brighton Main Line Route Utilisation Study proposal to remove the all day Gatwick Express Service; [222162]

(2) what account the Strategic Rail Authority has taken of the safety report commissioned by BAA and submitted to the Strategic Rail Authority in consideration of its plans to remove the all day Gatwick Express; [222163]

(3) if he will make a statement on the changes proposed for the Gatwick Express Service set out in the Strategic Rail Authority's Brighton Main Line Route Utilisation Study; [222164]

(4) what account the Strategic Rail Authority took of the expected increase in numbers of passengers using Gatwick airport outlined in the Air Transport Policy in its Brighton Main Line Route Utilisation Study proposals to remove the all day Gatwick Express service; [222168]

(5) what assessment he has made of the expected change in road use that would ensue if proposals to remove the all day Gatwick Express Service, as set out in the Strategic Rail Authority's Brighton Main Line Route Utilisation Study, are implemented. [222177]

Mr. McNulty: The draft Brighton Main Line Route Utilisation Strategy does not propose removing the London Victoria to Gatwick airport service. It proposes keeping the fast Gatwick to Victoria services, and increasing their frequency from four to eight trains per hour. Services will be extended to cover south coast destinations. In developing the strategy the SRA reviewed a number of documents and data sources to understand future growth demands, this included The Future of Air Transport" White Paper. The SRA and Network Rail are continuing to work closely together regarding passenger handling issues at Gatwick airport station, and are considering the issues identified in BAA's safety assessment. Given that the RUS proposals aim to improve the performance and reliability of train services on the Brighton Main Line, making services more attractive to passengers, it is not expected to have an adverse effect on road congestion. The views raised in consultation will be taken into account before the final Brighton Main Line Route Utilisation Strategy is issued.

Penalty Payments

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he plans to waive penalty payments for train operating companies involved in industrial disputes. [221006]

Mr. McNulty: Penalty payments are one aspect of franchising. Under the Railways Bill, responsibility for passenger rail franchising would pass to the Secretary of State for Transport and Scottish Ministers as
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appropriate. Whether and how these specific powers will be used in the future is an issue we will want to consider once Parliament has completed its consideration of the Bill.


Mr. Gill: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many recorded (a) deaths and (b) serious injuries there were on railway lines resulting from trespass in (i)Leicester and (ii) England and Wales in each year since 1997. [222892]

Mr. McNulty: The Health and Safety Executive's Railway Inspectorate (HMRI) advises that between 1997 and 2004 there was one fatality (a confirmed suicide in 2000–01), but the provision of more specific detailed information in the form requested would entail disproportionate cost.

Details of the number of fatalities and injuries resulting from railway trespass in Great Britain since 1997 are set out in the following table. HMRI advises that the provision of trespass data for England and Wales since 1997 could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Railway fatalities: Trespass and Suicides Great Britain,1 April 1997 to 31 December 2004

Grand total

(1)Covers the period 1 April 2004 to 31 December 2004 only; and is provisional and may be subject to change.

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