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|Fatalities at (a) unmanned and (b) manned crossings from 2002 - 06( 1)|
|(a) Unmanned crossings||(b) Manned crossings||Total|
|(1) These data are based on accident notifications sent by railway companies to the Office of Rail Regulations HM Railway Inspectorate, under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations, 1995.|
Mr. Carswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what consideration of safety factors there will be before a decision is reached on the future of the manned railway crossing at Frinton-on-Sea; 
(2) what assessment she has made of the effect of changing from a manned railway crossing to an unmanned railway crossing in Frinton-on-Sea on safety; and what the evidential basis is for her assessment. 
Mr. Tom Harris: The Office of Rail Regulations (ORR) HM Railway Inspectorate (HMRI) is currently assessing Network Rails proposal to modernise Frinton-on-Sea crossing. As required by the Level Crossings Act 1983, ORRs consideration of the safety factors at level crossings must take into account the safety and convenience of all users at or near the level crossing.
At present, ORRs view is that Network Rails plans to modernise the crossing are acceptable, subject to continuing discussion and agreement as the scheme progresses. ORR plans to meet local people on Friday 16 November to discuss their representations. Essex county council has given approval in principle for the highway element of the crossing modernisation.
The existing arrangements at the level crossing are unsuitable to deal with the current volume of road traffic and rail traffic. The planned modernisation will reduce risks to all crossing users, particularly those from the local community who have disabilities. It will also reduce risks to Network Rails own staffthe current level crossing arrangements pose a significant risk to the safety of the crossing keeper.
Under Network Rails planned proposals the crossing will be monitored at all times by the railway signaller from the signal box using closed circuit television. This is a common method of operation on level crossing across Britains mainline railway network. These types of automatic barrier level crossings which are locally monitored have a very good safety record.
Mr. Newmark: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much money was spent by the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency in each of the last three years on (a) equipment used to measure the visual light transmission (VLT) standard for vehicle window tint and (b) enforcement actions related to infringement of the VLT standard by drivers. 
|(1) To date|
Mr. Newmark: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many copies of the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency leaflet Tinted Windows: Your Questions Answered have been (a) printed and (b) requested by members of the public in each of the last three years. 
Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what facilities will be put in place to ensure that commuters travelling between Liverpool Street and Chelmsford will not be affected by severe congestion during the Olympics. 
Mr. Tom Harris: The transport arrangements for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games are set out in the Olympic Delivery Authority's Olympic Transport Plan, which was published on the 23 October 2007. This includes a number of measures in and around Stratford designed to increase the number of trains on the Great Eastern Mainline out of Liverpool Street that are able to stop at Stratford, and thus reduce the likelihood of congestion on this route.
Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent assessment she has made of the standard of service on the Liverpool Street to Chelmsford line for commuters; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Tom Harris: The Secretary of State for Transport has not undertaken an assessment of the standard of service on the Liverpool Street to Chelmsford line for commuters. Passenger surveys are undertaken by Passenger Focus. The results of the latest National Passenger Survey (Spring 2007) are available on the website at www.passengerfocus.org.uk.
Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the accumulated public sector cost of the railways in the UK has been since 1997, including subsidies, loans and borrowing guaranteed by the Government. 
Mr. Tom Harris:
Historic Government support to the Rail Industry is set out in Table 6.2a of National Rail Trends which is published by the Office of Rail Regulation. Copies are available in the Library of the House. The Government also provide a financial indemnity
(FIM) to Network Rail's lenders, has issued guarantees in respect of certain bonds that have been issued to finance the channel tunnel rail link (CTRL) project and has issued a guarantee in respect of CTRL track access payments. Full details of these arrangements have been previously notified to Parliament and are set out in the Department's Resource Accounts. As at 31 March 2007, Network Rail's FIM backed debt stood at £19.8 billion, and the CTRL guarantee arrangements were valued at some £4.38 billion.
|Light rail scheme|
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport for what reason she decided not to include the Winchester to Romsey Rail Link bus service in the franchise re-awarded to South West Trains; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Tom Harris: The Winchester to Romsey Rail Link bus service was not explicitly included within the South Western franchise specification. Bidders were asked to consider transport integration within their bids, and to seek opportunities within the franchise area. The improved rail service from Romsey in recent years and the loss-making nature of the existing Rail Link bus service resulted in Stagecoach deciding that it would be poor value to continue with the service.
Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many personal injury collisions occurred at the site of each fixed speed camera in (a) Hertfordshire and (b) Dacorum in the 12 months (i) before and (ii) after installation of each. 
The information is not held in the form requested. Fixed cameras operated by the Hertfordshire Safety Camera Partnership under the national safety camera programme, which ended on 31 March 2007, reduced the number of personal injury collisions at camera sites by an average of 49 per cent. per year, comparing all the available after installation data with the three years before installation. This means
around 162 fewer personal injury collisions each year. I have arranged for tables to be placed in the Libraries of the House regarding the performance of fixed speed cameras in Hertfordshire.
Mr. Woolas: The operating authorities are encouraged to manage flood risk within a strategic, catchment-wide approach. Such works may be grant-aided by my Department if they meet our criteria and many farmers receive considerable benefit from public investment in this area. The Environment Agency also provides information on flood risk and advice to farmers on managing their land to reduce the likelihood and impacts from floods and water-logging.
Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department has undertaken to investigate the phenomena of Colony collapse disorder; and whether he intends to make more funds available for research into honey bees. 
Jonathan Shaw: DEFRA is aware of the press reports about the serious situation in the USA in respect of cases of abnormally high levels of colony loss described as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). Scientists and inspectors at the National Bee Unit (NBU) are monitoring the situation and are in contact with experts in the USA and Europe to learn about developments.
However, we do not have evidence to suggest that there is something similar happening in the UK. The very limited number of cases of high losses which have occurred this season, for which there is no ready explanation, are being investigated in depth by the NBU and bee inspectors. The causes of significant colony losses are being considered as part of the Central Science Laboratory and the NBUs horizon scanning work. Initial results indicate high levels of virus in samples taken from dead or dying colonies.
DEFRAs annual expenditure on bee health research has averaged around £200,000 since 2001. However, there is an ongoing review of expenditure on all DEFRA programmes, including bee health, and future funding will need to be considered alongside the full range of priorities facing the Department.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if the review group investigating bovine tuberculosis led by Sir David King will take steps to engage with the Independent Scientific Group on Cattle TB. 
Jonathan Shaw: Sir David King is arranging a meeting with Professor Bourne and other members of the Independent Scientific Group on Cattle TB to discuss his report on badgers and bovine tuberculosis in cattle.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans he has to introduce the use of reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction for the testing of cattle for bovine tuberculosis. 
Jonathan Shaw: Under EU regulations, the tuberculin skin test is (and is likely to continue to be) the primary diagnostic test for TB in live cattle in the field. We foresee only a minor, if any, role for non-immunological assays in the screening of cattle populations for TB.
DEFRA has been funding work using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique to develop tests for Mycobacterium bovis ( M. bovis) since 1999. This has included work to develop a reliable and rapid bovine TB screening test that can detect the presence of M. bovis DMA in infected cattle tissues. Work to date shows the value of the application of PCR techniques in certain situations, for example in cattle tissue samples from suspect cases of TB disclosed at routine slaughter, where the speed of the result is of importance.
The use of automated PCR machines has been trialled by the Veterinary Laboratories Agency for use in routine detection of M. bovis in a range of bovine tissue samples in the laboratory. A review of this and its incorporation into routine laboratory diagnostic techniques is currently being planned. However, PCR is not yet as sensitive, specific or reliable as conventional bacterial culture in detecting TB.
DEFRA is investing £1.3 million on work on PCR over the next 3 years that will allow us to tell the difference between M. bovis and similar species from environmental samples. This is not likely to be available as a field test in the short term.
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