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15 Mar 2007 : Column 466W—continued


Satellites

Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what assessment his Department has made of the potential cost of UK armed forces taking part in the Blue Force Tracker programme; [126182]

(2) what funding he plans to allocate to the Blue Force Tracker programme being developed by the United States military. [126183]

Mr. Ingram: Free standing Blue Force tracking systems are available largely off the shelf using US based technology and are deployed on operations in Iraq and Afghanistan to supplement the initial capability provided by Bowman ComBAT (Common Battlefield Application Toolset), Infrastructure and Platform Battlefield Information System Application (CIP). In the longer term we are looking mainly to more advanced versions of Bowman CIP and to Tactical Data Links to provide positional information. The joint US-UK Coalition Blue Force Situational Awareness demonstrator is helping to develop ways of exchanging data between Bowman CIP and US Blue Force tracking systems. It is too early to say what the resource implications would be.

Transport

A21: Pembury

Greg Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many road traffic (a) accidents and (b) fatalities have occurred at the A21 junction with Henwood Green Road, Pembury in each year since 1997. [126043]

Dr. Ladyman: The following table gives the Highways Agency’s record of road traffic accidents and casualties, including fatalities that have occurred at the A21 junction with Henwood Green Road, Pembury in each year since 1997.


15 Mar 2007 : Column 467W
Number of casualties
Total number of accidents Slight Serious Fatal

1997

0

0

0

0

1998

2

4

0

0

1999

1

1

0

0

2000

0

0

0

0

2001

2

5

0

0

2002

2

2

4

0

2003

3

1

2

0

2004

0

0

0

0

2005

0

0

0

0

2006

0

0

0

0

2007

1

1

0

1


Aircraft: Air Conditioning

Mr. Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he has received evidence of aircraft engine testing which has confirmed the presence of organophosphates in the engine bleed air. [127360]

Gillian Merron [holding answer 14 March 2007]: No. The Department for Transport (DFT) has asked the Department of Health (DH) to undertake an independent scientific review of data submitted by the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA). BALPA submitted data relating to organophosphates, the cabin air environment, ill-health in aircraft crews and the possible relationship to smoke/fume events in aircraft. Consideration continues in the Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (COT). The next meeting of the COT is on 20 March 2007. The relevant papers can be found on the internet at:

Mr. Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport by what procedures pilots should report any contaminated air events on a UK registered commercial aircraft. [127361]

Gillian Merron [holding answer 14 March 2007]: Pilots are required to report contaminated air events to the Civil Aviation Authority, where they meet the criteria for a Mandatory Occurrence Report. The definition of a reportable occurrence is contained in Article 142 of the Air Navigation Order.

In addition, airlines have their own reporting systems for non-mandatory occurrences for their pilots to follow.

Aviation: Air Pollution

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the carbon emissions produced by international air traffic movements using UK airspace without landing in the UK. [127530]

Gillian Merron: None. The information requested can be obtained only at disproportionate cost.


15 Mar 2007 : Column 468W

East Coast Railway Line: Standards

Mr. Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what performance targets he has set for GNER for the East Coast Main Line franchise; and what assessment he has made of performance against those targets since December 2006. [126216]

Mr. Tom Harris: Improving performance on the route is a key output in the current franchise, and continues to be so under the Management Agreement in place since December 2006. The key performance indicators to improving performance are reviewed and discussed at monthly Franchise Performance Meetings. GNER remains committed to improving both its reliability and punctuality on the route and is working with Network Rail to identify improvements. Other performance enhancements which are ongoing are:

Motor Vehicles: Excise Duties

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport at what point after entering the UK vehicles being driven in the UK but registered abroad are required to have vehicle excise duty paid on their behalf. [125970]

Dr. Ladyman: Vehicles from a European Union member state may be used or kept in the UK for up to six months in any 12-month period without vehicle excise duty (VED) being due.

In accord with international rules in place since 1975, vehicles from outside the European Union may be used or kept in the UK for up to 12 months without VED being due. In order for vehicles to qualify for this exemption from paying VED, the vehicle must be properly registered and taxed in its home country.

Railways: Pennines

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what work has been undertaken to enhance capacity on Trans-Pennine rail routes since 1997. [125983]

Mr. Tom Harris: The First Transpennine Express (TPE) franchise commenced on 1 February 2004. Since that time, the franchise has delivered capacity improvements in excess of 18 per cent. Much of this was due to an increase from three trains/hour to four trains/hour over the core Leeds—Manchester section in December 2004, but the introduction of new Class 185 trains to the route, completed in January 2007, has brought further capacity benefits.

Roads: Accidents

Mr. Jeremy Browne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many accident blackspots he has identified in (a) Taunton constituency and (b) Somerset; and what steps his Department has undertaken to reduce the number of accidents in those locations. [127464]


15 Mar 2007 : Column 469W

Dr. Ladyman: The Department has made no assessment of accident cluster sites in either Taunton or Somerset. As the local highway authority, the duty to investigate accident cluster sites lies with Somerset county council.

Mr. Jeremy Browne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many road traffic accidents occurred in
15 Mar 2007 : Column 470W
Taunton constituency in each year since 1996, broken down by the day of the week on which the accident occurred. [127465]

Dr. Ladyman: The number of reported personal injury road accidents in the parliamentary constituency of Taunton by day of the week in each year since 1996 is given in the following table:

Number of reported personal injury road accidents by day of the week : Constituency( 1) of Taunton 1996-2005
Day of week
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday Total

1996

57

55

51

69

57

51

43

383

1997

76

63

61

65

66

53

42

426

1998

58

52

73

74

73

60

44

434

1999

68

56

43

60

60

53

42

382

2000

69

58

74

62

87

61

40

451

2001

67

73

70

72

74

58

43

457

2002

62

69

62

59

69

51

37

409

2003

50

58

64

64

56

52

43

387

2004

59

56

53

62

66

60

42

398

2005

58

69

57

71

76

42

52

425

(1) Based on 2004 constituency boundaries

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