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Written Answers to Questions

Friday 14 October 2005


Ports (Access Directive)

Mr. Brazier: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will publish the regulatory impact assessment for the EC Directive for Access to Ports; and if he will make a statement. [16326]

Dr. Ladyman: Our initial regulatory impact assessment of this draft Directive has been passed to the Scrutiny Committee of both Houses, and a summary has now been published on the Department's website.

Our assessment concludes that the Commission's initial proposal would probably have an adverse impact on the continued efficiency and effectiveness of UK ports which would not be adequately balanced by any compensating advantage to the sector or its stakeholders. It is the Government's view, therefore, that significant improvements are needed in many aspects of the directive if it is to benefit UK ports and a thorough assessment of potential impacts across Europe will be needed before the European Parliament and Council are in a position to adopt a text.

Flight Paths (Hornsey and Wood Green)

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many of the (a) London Heathrow airport, (b) London Luton airport and (c) London Stansted airport standard instrument departure and arrival routes pass over the Hornsey and Wood Green constituency; and if he will make a statement. [17002]

Ms Buck: No standard instrument departure route from any of the three airports crosses directly over Hornsey and Wood Green, although the edge of one noise preferential route lies approximately three kilometres to the west. This is used when aircraft take-off to the east from Heathrow. There are no fixed routes for arriving aircraft as Air Traffic Control require considerable operational flexibility to maintain safe separation between landing aircraft.

Heathrow Airport

Mr. Pelling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will estimate the number of airplanes using the Biggin Hill stack for Heathrow in each of the last five calendar years. [16406]

Ms Buck: This information is not held by my Department. I have asked the Chief Executive of National Air Traffic Services Ltd. to write to the hon. Member.

Low Level Flying

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the rules
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governing low level flying above residential areas in North London; and what measures are in place to monitor and enforce the rules. [16992]

Ms Buck: Low flying is governed by the Rules of the Air (Amendment) Regulations 2005 (S.I. 2005/1110). The prohibitions which are relevant to flying above residential areas in North London are:

Any reported breach of these regulations is investigated by the Civil Aviation Authority, who are responsible for the enforcement of aviation legislation within the UK.

Newly Qualified Drivers

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what research has been undertaken to determine whether the Government should restrict the speed or power of cars that newly qualified drivers may use. [17089]

Dr. Ladyman: I refer to the hon. Member to my answer of 10 October 2005, Official Report, column 90W about graduated licensing.

The on-line reference to the report mentioned in that reply has changed following recent revisions to the TRL Ltd. website. It is now: list.asp?pid=211 &pno=4&searchtext=

The scheme in Northern Ireland which requires new drivers to display an "R" plate and restrict speed to 45mph for their first year of driving has been evaluated. This concluded that there is little firm evidence of effectiveness in relation to accident prevention, compliance or offence rates.

The consultation document and decision letter mentioned in my answer of 10 October also considered options for restricting the speed of newly qualified drivers or the power of cars that they may use. The Department concluded that the disadvantages of a lower speed limit for new drivers outweighed the advantages and that it would not be effective to restrict newly qualified drivers to low-powered cars. Even small-engined cars can be driven at speeds well above 70mph and certainly faster than is suitable for many road conditions. The Department considered that the way forward was to focus on improving the educational environment so that learners were better trained and that driver training services were of high quality.

Private Car Park Operators

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the effects of allowing private car park companies access to vehicle keepers' personal details held by the Driver and Vehicle
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Licensing Agency; and what checks are in place to ensure practice is consistent with the Data Protection Act 1998. [17146]

Dr. Ladyman: There is no statutory obligation on the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency to assess the effects of the release of information to private car parking enforcement companies. These companies have a right of access to the information under regulations because they are able to demonstrate "reasonable cause" to receive it.

Companies that receive vehicle keeper information have a duty to comply with the guiding principles of the Data Protection Act. They are also invited to sign-up to the Agency's voluntary code of practice which encourages best practice in the use of adequate signs and ticketing arrangements. The code is currently under review.


Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment has been made of the viability of re-opening passenger rail stations at (a) Desborough and (b) Burton Latimer in Kettering constituency. [17247]

Derek Twigg: My Department has made no such assessment. Any assessment made by the promoter of a reopening scheme would need to take account of a number of factors including any impact on franchise costs and the availability of network capacity.

Railways (Overcrowding)

Clive Efford: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the rates of overcrowding on (a) South East trains, (b) Network Southeast and (c) national network trains were in each of the last 12 months for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. [15269]

Derek Twigg: The latest figures available are those from 2004. South Eastern Train's count shows that the am peak figure was 2.4 per cent., and the pm peak figure 0.4 per cent. Both results are well below the acceptable 4.5 per cent. level of PIXC. The overall total for all London commuter TOCs was 2.9 per cent.; again this was within the acceptable levels.

TOCam 2004am 2003pm 2004pm 2003Overall 2004Overall 2003
Total London4.

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Road Safety Cameras

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will take steps to use revenue from road safety cameras to fund advanced driver training and education; and if he will make a statement. [17080]

Dr. Ladyman: Drivers should continue to develop their skills after they have passed the test and we recommend that they consider taking refresher training, particularly if they need to drive as part of their job.

The Safety Camera Programme however has a specific purpose, provided for in the Vehicles (Crime) Act 2001, Section 38 "Unified power for the Secretary of State to fund speed cameras etc". The programme provides police forces and highway authorities with extra resources to support the deployment and operation of safety cameras, from the fines for speeding and red light offences detected, over and above their main funding. The resources provided through the programme cannot be used for other purposes, not provided for in the Act.

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