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7 Jun 2007 : Column 698W—continued


Transport

Airports: Security

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the security and safety implications of the sale in the departure sectors of airports of goods deemed unsuitable to be taken on planes. [139742]

Gillian Merron: Goods that are listed as prohibited items should not be sold in retail outlets located in the departure lounges of airports. Airport managers and Department for Transport inspectors are responsible for ensuring that shops comply with this requirement, and that supplies to shops located in the departure lounges are screened or have been kept secure, prior to being permitted into the airport.

Buses: Middlesbrough

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of whether bus companies operating in Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland are on course to meet Government targets for low-liner bus levels in their fleet of (a) 50 per cent. by 2010 and (b) 100 per cent. by 2017. [139946]


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Gillian Merron: No such assessments are made by the Department at constituency or local authority level. The latest survey shows that, as on 31 March 2005, 47 per cent. of local buses in the north-east region as a whole are low-floor, and this is likely to increase as older vehicles are replaced. The region as a whole is therefore well on course to meet the 2010 target.

By 2017 all full-sized buses used on scheduled services will need to comply with the Public Service Vehicles Accessibility Regulations. These regulations do not require low-floor construction, but many operators have chosen low-floor construction as the best way to improve buses for passengers with reduced mobility.

Compulsory Purchase: Weald Smokery

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the compulsory purchase order for the Weald Smokery in East Sussex. [140917]

Dr. Ladyman: Draft orders for the A21 schemes have not yet been published, so no properties are currently subject to compulsory purchase. However, the owner of the Weald Smokery served a Statutory Blight Notice on the Secretary of State and this was accepted. The property has therefore been acquired under the blight provisions contained in section 154(2) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. This property is now being managed by the Highways Agency’s property agents. To enable the existing business to continue to trade throughout the marketing period for a new lease, a short term lease has been provided to the Weald Smokery’s former business manager.

Departments: Publicity

Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which (a) advertising agencies and (b) other organisations supplied consultancy services for advertising campaigns for (i) his Department and (ii) its agencies in each of the last five years; and what the cost of these services was. [139446]

Gillian Merron: This information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Departments: Sovereign Strategy

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many meetings (a) Ministers and (b) officials from his Department and its predecessor held with Sovereign Strategy in each year between 1997 and 2006. [136857]

Gillian Merron: Since the Department for Transport was formed in 2002, Ministers have attended two events either solely or partly organised by Sovereign Strategy.

On 14 December 2005, the then Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, my hon. Friend the Member for Halton, (Derek Twigg) spoke at the ‘Local Government Transport conference’ which Sovereign Strategy helped organise.

On 16 May 2006 a representative of Sovereign Strategy attended a meeting between the then Parliamentary
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Under Secretary of State, my hon. Friend the Member for Halton, and the Tyne and Wear Passenger Transport Executive (Nexus).

Additionally Transport Ministers have attended other events not organised by Sovereign Strategy but at which individuals employed by them may have been present. No record is kept of such encounters.

Information regarding officials could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Departments: Telephone Services

Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what total revenue was raised by the use by agencies responsible to his Department of 0870 numbers in each year since 1997. [139846]

Gillian Merron: The total revenue raised by Department for Transport agencies since the Department was formed in 2002 is as follows:

Total revenue (£)

DVLA

2002-03

656,164

2003-04

874,965

2004-05

1,945,131

2005-06

2,423,517

2006-07

2,894,284

DSA

2002-03

(1)n/a

2003-04

(1)702,326

2004-05

(1)706,399

2005-06

(1)693,254

2006-07

(1)623,284

HA

(2)0

MCA

(2)0

VGA

(3)0

VOSA

2002-03

(1,4)n/a

2003-04

(4)10,386

2004-05

(4)63,407

2005-06

(4)72,397

GCDA

(3)0

n/a = not available
(1 )Figures only available since 2003-04
(2 )0870 service is non-revenue generating
(3 )Has no 0870 numbers
(4 )Figures only available from 2003-04. 2005-06 figure is subject to completion of audited accounts

Driving: Disabled

Paul Rowen: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what advice his Department and the Highways Agency provides to disabled drivers in the case of (a) a breakdown in a road tunnel and (b) other circumstances where they are unable to reach emergency telephones. [140732]

Gillian Merron [holding answer 6 June 2007]: The advice given to disabled people, whether they breakdown in a road tunnel or in other circumstances where they are unable to reach an emergency roadside telephone, is the same as that contained in the Highway Code (Rule 252). That is to stay in their vehicle, switch on hazard warning lights and display a ‘Help’ pennant
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or, if they have a car or mobile telephone, contact the emergency services and be prepared to advise them of their location.

Paul Rowen: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps his Department and the Highways Agency are taking to ensure that the (a) Dartford Tunnel, (b) Mersey Tunnel, (c) Blackwall Tunnel, (d) Rotherhithe Tunnel and (e) Tyne Tunnel can be used safely by people with disabilities. [140733]

Gillian Merron [holding answer 6 June 2007]: Only the Dartford crossing is the responsibility of the Highways Agency and all drivers are informed, through signage at the entrance to the tunnels, to remain in their vehicles for their safety if there is an incident.

Both tunnels at the Dartford Crossing have 100 per cent. CCTV coverage, which is constantly monitored in the control room located in the adjacent compound. In addition the crossing has its own dedicated traffic officers and regular patrols are made through each tunnel. These measures allow Crossing staff to attend an incident within five minutes to assist all drivers and passengers.

In 2005, an Accessibility Audit Report was prepared for the crossing as a whole looking at the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. Various improvements relating to the tunnels have been identified which will assist in improving safety conditions for all users. A programme of improvement works, taking into account the constraints of the tunnels, is being developed in conjunction with the EU Directive on Tunnel Safety.

In addition a live exercise is planned for later this year to test the logistics of evacuating disabled people from the tunnels. Any lessons learnt will be reviewed and if possible incorporated into improvement works.

With regard to the other crossings mentioned, these are the responsibility of (b) Merseytravel, (c) and (d) Transport for London and (e) Tyne and Wear Passenger Transport Authority. As public authorities, all these bodies are subject to the Disability Equality Duty and must ensure that the needs of disabled people are taken into account throughout all their functions and services, including provision of highway infrastructure.

The operators of these tunnels also have additional duties under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 as service providers. In particular, we would expect them to have developed detailed plans covering all eventualities in their tunnels.

Eurostar: Ashford Kent

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to authorise changes to the Eurostar train services from Ashford International Train Station. [140916]

Mr. Tom Harris: Eurostar has to set its timetables to meet its obligation to operate a sound commercial business. The Government have no formal role in this.


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Galileo Project

Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) when he expects the UK to be able to make full use of the Galileo satellite system; [140416]

(2) what proportion of the budget for the Galileo project is expected to be met by the private sector; [140626]

(3) what assessment he has made of the sharing of the risks associated with the Galileo project between (a) national governments, (b) the European Union and (c) private sector investors. [140499]

Dr. Ladyman: Following the Commission’s report of a breakdown in the public private partnership (PPP) contract negotiations the March Transport Council gave the bidding consortium a deadline of 10 May 2007 to resolve their differences and meet certain conditions to allow the resumption of effective negotiations. At the same time the Commission was requested to prepare for the June Transport Council an analysis of the consortium’s response and alternative options for taking forward the project. We have been assessing the Commission’s report.

At the June Transport Council, it is likely that Ministers will be asked to decide that the current negotiations have failed and that the Commission should explore more thoroughly the alternative options for proceeding with the project. Public sector governance will also be considered.

The timetable for the programme, its funding, risk sharing between national governments, the EU and private sector investors along with its organisation are therefore subject to these decisions. The Commission proposed date for deployment is 2012.

Heathrow Airport

Justine Greening: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the answer of 16 May 2007, Official Report, columns 750-1W, on Heathrow Airport, what estimate his Department has made of the additional number of passengers travelling to and from Heathrow Airport by (a) private car, (b) hire car and (c) taxi/minicab that would result from an increase from 480,000 movements per year to 720,000 movements per year; and if he will make a statement. [140727]

Gillian Merron [holding answer 6 June 2007]: I refer the hon. Member to my answer of 4 June 2007, Official Report, column 107W. Estimates of future trips to the airport by various modes will be given as part of the forthcoming consultation.

Graham Stringer: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects mixed mode operations to start at Heathrow. [141082]

Gillian Merron: The Government intend to consult later this year on how best use can be made of the existing runways at Heathrow through mixed mode.


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Heathrow Airport: Noise

Justine Greening: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) when his Department next intends to review its excessive noise policy on aircraft departing from Heathrow Airport; whether this review will include an assessment of noise regulation of aircraft arriving at Heathrow Airport; and if he will make a statement; [140697]

(2) what criteria are used to judge the appropriate noise limits for aircraft departing Heathrow Airport in relation to the (a) daytime limit, (b) shoulder period limit and (c) night limit; and if he will make a statement; [140725]

(3) what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of noise limits in operation at Heathrow Airport; and if he will make a statement. [140726]

Gillian Merron [holding answer s 6 June 2007]: Following consultation, the current departure noise limits were introduced in December 2000. The daytime limit (0700-2300) 94dBA (a reduction of 3dB) came into effect in February 2001. The night time limit (2330-0600) 87dBA came into effect in March 2001. The previous night-time limit of 89dBA (a reduction of 2dB) was retained for the shoulder periods (2300-2330 and 0600-0700). These limits are kept under review.

The Government’s Aircraft Noise Monitoring Advisory Committee (ANMAC) considered in 1999 the feasibility of setting noise limits for arriving aircraft. It concluded that it would not be appropriate to do so, due to the very limited discretion available to pilots once established on the final approach. ANMAC recommended the development of a code of practice for arriving flights for air traffic controllers, airlines and airport managers. The code was originally produced in 2002 with a revised edition being issued in November 2006. The code focuses on the use of continuous descent approach as the practice most conducive to noise abatement.

Annual noise contours representing noise from both arriving and departing aircraft are produced by the Civil Aviation Authority’s Environmental Research and Consultancy Division. These contours are based on data from fixed and mobile noise monitor sites installed by BAA under departure tracks at Heathrow. The data are used to monitor compliance with Government noise limits at Heathrow and is reported regularly through the airport’s Noise and Track Keeping Group and the Consultative Committee.

These contours which have been produced for many years also give the local community an indication of how many people are affected by a level of noise. The 57dBa Leq is used as the level of daytime noise marking the approximate onset of significant community annoyance.

Susan Kramer: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will introduce the Australian N/70 system for measuring noise disturbance around Heathrow airport. [140815]

Gillian Merron: There are no plans to introduce the Australian N70 noise index at Heathrow. Aircraft noise exposure around Heathrow is quantified using noise
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contours based on the 16-hour Leg noise index. This index is based on significant scientific research correlating the Leq index with noise disturbance responses. No such correlation currently exists relating N70 contours with disturbance.


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