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25 July 2006 : Column 1306W—continued


Table 2: Accidents, average daily traffic flow, and accident rate per million vehicle kilometres on the A10 between where it joins the A14 in Cambridge and the junction with the A142 in Elys: 1997-2005
Accidents( 1) AADF( 2) Accident Rate( 3)

1997

55

14,656

0.4

1998

62

14,994

0.4

1999

52

14,921

0.3

2000

73

14,807

0.5

2001

67

16,360

0.4

2002

58

16,769

0.3

2003

52

16,522

0.3

2004

70

17,775

0.4

2005

53

17,353

0.3

(1) Personal Injury road accidents reported to the police
(2) Annual average dally traffic flow
(3) Accident rate per million vehicle km's.

Table 3: Accidents, average daily traffic flow, and accident rate per million vehicle kilometres on the A1307 between the junctions with A143 in Haverhill and the A1134 in Cambridge: 1997-2005
Accidents( 1) AADF( 2) Accident Rate( 3)

1997

106

14,752

0.8

1998

114

15,071

0.8

1999

96

15,279

0.7

2000

135

15,603

0.9

2001

114

15,641

0.8

2002

106

16,071

0.7

2003

97

16,372

0.6

2004

103

16,261

0.7

2005

81

15,735

0.5

(1) Personal Injury road accidents reported to the police
(2) Annual average dally traffic flow
(3) Accident rate per million vehicle km's.

Ship-to-Ship Oil Transfers

Mark Lazarowicz: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the protection offered under the Merchant Shipping (Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Co-operation Convention) Regulations 1998, in conjunction with the
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Conservation (Natural Habitats etc.) Regulations 1994, for European wildlife sites in respect of ship-to-ship transfers of oil and other cargoes in harbour authority areas. [87810]

Dr. Ladyman: In the recent case of Forth Ports' proposal to carry out ship-to-ship transfers in the Firth of Forth, the Department concluded that Forth Ports has powers to regulate (and if necessary, prevent) ship-to-ship transfers in the Firth of Forth. Forth Ports also has power under byelaws enacted under local legislation to regulate whether vessels can anchor to transfer cargo. As a competent authority under the habitats regulations, Forth Ports also must have regard to the requirements of the habitats directive insofar as they may be affected by the exercise of its functions.

Additionally, under regulation 44 of the habitats regulations, there is provision to license activities that could disturb a European protected species, or damage or destroy breeding sites or resting places. As this is for a devolved purpose, it is the responsibility of the Scottish Executive to determine whether a licence would be required for ship-to-ship transfers in the Firth of Forth.

Mark Lazarowicz: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what mechanisms are available to regulate programmes of ship-to-ship transfer of oil proposed to be carried out for commercial purposes (a) within harbour authority areas and (b) elsewhere in UK internal and territorial waters. [87812]

Dr. Ladyman: Within statutory harbour authority areas, the Merchant Shipping (Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Co-operation Convention) Regulations 1998 apply. The regulations require harbour authorities to have an oil spill contingency plan (OSCP) approved by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. These plans include a risk assessment and the provision of oil combating equipment commensurate to the identified risk. The approval of harbour authority OSCPs does not grant permission for the activities identified within the plan to take place. It is the role of the harbour authority through appropriate byelaws to decide whether to permit these activities.

Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what compensation under the Habitats Directive will be available if the proposed ship-to-ship oil transfer planning applications by Melbourne marine services in the Firth of Forth is approved. [89069]

Dr. Ladyman: The role of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, for which the Secretary of State for Transport has responsibility, is limited to amending and approving oil spill contingency plans. Article 6(4) of the Habitats Directive, which is the Article which refers to compensatory measures, does not apply in this case because the Maritime and Coastguard Agency has concluded that the submitted oil spill contingency plan covering ship-to-ship transfers in the Firth of Forth and the amendments to the overarching Clearwater Forth contingency plan will not have any adverse effects on the integrity of the relevant nature conservation sites, or on relevant species such as seals and seabirds outside those sites.


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Furthermore, under regulation 44 of the Habitats Regulations, there is provision to license activities that could disturb a European protected species, or damage or destroy breeding sites or resting places. As this is for a devolved purpose, it is the responsibility of the Scottish Executive to determine whether a licence would be required for ship-to-ship transfers in the Firth of Forth.

Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of whether the ship-to-ship oil transfer planning application in the Firth of Forth by Melbourne maritime services fulfils the criterion set out in the Habitats Directive that the project must be in the overriding public interest. [89070]

Dr. Ladyman: It is for Forth Ports, as the competent harbour authority, to decide whether to permit ship-to-ship transfers.

Furthermore, under regulation 44 of the Habitats Regulations, there is provision to license activities that could disturb a European protected species, or damage or destroy breeding sites or resting places. As this is for a devolved purpose, it is the responsibility of the Scottish Executive to determine whether a licence would be required for ship-to-ship transfers in the Firth of Forth.

Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions (a) he and (b) the Maritime and Coastguard Agency had with the (i) Scottish Executive and (ii) the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency regarding the ship-to-ship oil transfer planning application by Melbourne Marine Services in the Firth of Forth. [88581]

Dr. Ladyman: The Department and its Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) are in regular contact with the Scottish Executive and its agencies on a number of issues, including this one.

Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what consultation the Maritime and Coastguard Agency undertook with local authorities regarding the ship-to-ship oil transfer planning application by Melbourne Marine Services in the Firth of Forth. [89067]

Dr. Ladyman: The role of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) is limited to approving or amending oil spill contingency plans.

Forth Ports plc. was required, in accordance with published MCA guidance entitled “Contingency Planning for Marine Pollution Preparedness and Response: Guidelines for Ports”, to consult a range of consultees before formally submitting the oil spill contingency plans for approval. The list of consultees included the local authorities for the area concerned.

The MCA hosted a stakeholder meeting in Grangemouth on 25 July 2005 in which East Lothian Council, Fife Council, Forth Ports, Melbourne Marine Services, the Scottish Executive, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and Scottish Natural Heritage all participated.


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A public consultation was also held by the MCA to assess the implications for relevant nature conservation sites of Forth Ports’ oil spill contingency plans. A number of local authorities for the area concerned responded as consultees.

In light of the consultation responses and taking into account the advice of Scottish Natural Heritage, the statutory nature conservation authority, the MCA finalised its assessment and considered whether any amendments to the plan were required.

The MCA announced on 14 July 2006 its intention to approve the submitted plans, subject to a number of specified changes.

Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions his Department has had with the European Commission regarding the ship-to-ship oil transfer in the Firth of Forth in the context of the Habitats Directive. [89068]

Dr. Ladyman: The Department has had no such discussions with the European Commission.

Smoking Ban (Railway Stations)

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions he has had with (a) Network Rail and (b) train operators on the introduction of the ban on smoking in railway stations in 2007. [89144]

Derek Twigg: Network Rail and the Association of Train Operating Companies were among those whose views were sought as the Health Bill progressed through Parliament. The rail industry has a further opportunity to comment through a consultation (which began on 17 July) on Regulations which it is proposed will be made now that the Bill has received Royal Assent.

South Coast Study (Bristol/Bath)

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport why his Department decided to pursue a timetable specification that does not accord with the findings of the Bristol/Bath to South Coast Study. [85237]

Derek Twigg: In preparation of the Greater Western franchise specification, an assessment was made of the existing and future demand for passenger rail traffic on the Cardiff/Bristol to Southampton/Portsmouth rail corridor; this confirmed that the existing hourly train service was adequate to cater for the demand.

Staff Absenteeism

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 6 July 2006, Official Report, column 1272W, on staff absenteeism, what assessment he has made of the reasons for the increase in the average cost of an employee’s absence between 2003 and 2004. [85226]


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Gillian Merron: When comparing the years 2003 and 2004 the estimated total cost of absenteeism provided in the previous answer has actually gone down. The costs were calculated by multiplying the total number of days lost to sick absence by the average daily cost used by the Cabinet Office in the annual report “Analysis of Sickness Absence in the Civil Service”. There was a small increase in the average daily cost figure between the two years.

Street Lighting

Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the Government's policy is on street lighting remaining on after 1am. [86965]

Gillian Merron: Street lighting service levels are a matter for individual highway authorities.

The effects of reducing lighting levels or turning lights off will vary from case to case. Any cost savings from reduced energy use would have to be balanced against potential adverse effects, for example on accidents or crime.

The Department is represented on the UK Lighting Board, which has already prepared Well-lit Highways, the code of practice on highway lighting management (December 2004, TSO). The board is currently preparing additional guidance for authorities on the implications of dimming or turning off lights.

Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will estimate how many tons of carbon would be saved by switching off street lights at 1am. [86967]

Gillian Merron: There are approximately 5 million street lighting columns in England, but no comprehensive information is collected centrally relating to their energy consumption.

Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the proportion of street lights which (a) are solar-powered, (b) are wind-powered and (c) have light sensitive switches. [88821]

Gillian Merron: Street lighting is a matter for each individual highway authority. No information is collected centrally concerning the proportion of street lights which are wind-powered, whether directly or through sustainable energy contracts. There are no economically viable solar power systems available at present. Although precise figures are not centrally collected, more than 90 per cent. of English local authorities’ five million street lights are controlled by photo-electric cells, as are the great majority of those on the Highways Agency’s network.

Taxi Access

Mr. Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will introduce taxi access regulations under Part 5 of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 before 2010. [86527]


25 July 2006 : Column 1311W

Gillian Merron: The Government do not intend to bring forward the introduction of taxi accessibility regulations under Part 5 of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, ahead of the proposals announced in the House on 26 October 2003. These would see the phasing in of regulations, under Part 5 of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, in specified licensing areas from 2010 (for all newly licensed vehicles), with full compliance by 2020.

The 2010 date has been proposed to accommodate a full public consultation process, to give sufficient time for vehicle manufacturers and converters to produce new models that meet the regulations, and to give the trade sufficient time to adapt to the change.

We are currently developing the technical specification which will form the basis for the regulations.

In the period before regulations are introduced, local licensing authorities remain free to introduce their own accessibility policies and many have done so already.


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