Mr. Boris Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what assessment she has made of the likely effect on (a) emissions of all major pollutants and (b) noise of (i) the realignment of the M4 spur to the east, (ii) the proposed reconfiguration of local roads and (iii) the A4 passing in a tunnel under the taxiways linking the existing airport to the new runway and terminal as suggested in the consultation on Heathrow expansion; 
(2) what estimate she has made of the number of people who would experience an increase in (a) emissions of all major pollutants and (b) noise due to (i) the realignment of the M4 spur to the east, (ii) the proposed reconfiguration of local roads and (iii) the A4 passing in a tunnel under the taxiways linking the existing airport to the new runway and terminal as suggested in the consultation on Heathrow expansion. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: Estimated emissions and noise effects of future development at Heathrow are set out in the consultation Adding Capacity at Heathrow Airport and the supporting technical reports. Emissions effects are attributed to sourcesaircraft, roads and otherand do not separately identify those arising from potential changes in road layouts around the airport. Chapter 7 of the accompanying technical report on Surface Access includes some assessment of noise impacts on surrounding roads under certain options.
Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether she has carried out studies comparing noise insulation schemes at Heathrow with other airports (a) in the UK and (b) elsewhere in the world. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: No studies have been carried out. However the Future of Air Transport White Paper introduced an improved benchmark for providing insulation at all the larger airports including Heathrow. This means that since 2003 airport operators have been expected to:
Offer households subject to high levels of noise (69dBALeq or more) assistance with the costs of relocating; and
Offer acoustic insulation (as applied to residential properties) to other noise-sensitive buildings, such as schools and hospitals, exposed to medium to high levels of noise (63dBA Leq or more).
In addition, as part of the consultation on the night flying restrictions at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted in 2006, the Secretary of State outlined possible criteria for a noise insulation scheme to mitigate for night noise. Following consultation, the Secretary of State decided that the boundary of the scheme should be based on the noise footprint of the noisiest aircraft regularly operating at the airports and the policy should be implemented on a voluntary basis initially.
Jim Fitzpatrick: In the White Paper The Future of Air Transport, we asked UK airport operators to consult on details of voluntary schemes to address generalised blight, to offer acoustic insulation to noise sensitive buildings such as schools and hospitals that are exposed to medium-to-high levels of aircraft noise, and to offer home relocation assistance to households subject to high levels of aircraft noise.
BAA has put in place two schemes to mitigate the impacts of blight arising from a proposed third runway at Heathrow, and two schemes to mitigate the impacts of current aircraft noise. The two blight compensation schemes would be triggered at the point BAA decided to apply for planning permission to build a third runway. The two noise compensation schemes are currently active and eligible properties and community buildings have been contacted directly about how the schemes affect them. There are no plans to change these existing voluntary arrangements.
Early next year BAA will go out to public consultation on airport noise action plans, and as part of this process, they will engage with local communities to seek their views on how the effectiveness of existing noise mitigation and compensation schemes can be improved.
The Department does not collect annual statistics on the proportion of people accessing Heathrow airport by public transport. However, our recent discussion document Improving the Air
Passenger Experience shows that the public transport share of journeys for 1996 and 2006 was around 35 per cent., while the proportion of trips by private car fell from 38 per cent. to 34 per cent. over the period. The same document goes on to describe improvements planned or under consideration, including Crossrail, the AirTrack scheme and enhancements to the Piccadilly line services.
Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what decision she has made on road demand management measures (a) on the M4 and M25 in relation to Heathrow access and (b) in relation to local roads around Heathrow; 
Jim Fitzpatrick: Our consultation Adding Capacity at Heathrow Airport and the supporting Surface Access technical report describe a range of possible demand management measures, including congestion charging, which were examined in the course of assessing the options for further Heathrow development. No such measures are thought necessary in order to ensure that local air quality limits are met in the vicinity of an expanded airport, if, after consultation, policy approval for airport expansion is confirmed, it would be for the airport operator, as part of a comprehensive transport assessment, to work with the Highways Agency and local authorities to identify the extent of any action to be taken.
Justine Greening: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what meetings her Department has had with trade unions in the past three years in relation to expansion of Heathrow, broken down by (a) trade union and (b) date of meeting; and if she will make a statement. 
Jim Fitzpatrick [holding answer 11 December 2007]: Ministers and DfT officials have had a number of meetings with unionson an individual basis or as part of a wider groupin the last three years to discuss a range of issues. I met TUC, T and G, GMB, Amicus, Balpa and Unite on the 22 November 2007 as part of a series of stakeholder briefings that day to launch the Heathrow consultation.
Helen Southworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment she has made of the safety of longer heavier vehicles (LHVs) on (a) motorways and (b) other roads in relation to road traffic incidents involving other road users; and what assessment she has made of the effect on safety of left-hand drive LHVs using British roads. 
[holding answer 29 November 2007]: The safety of such vehicles is currently being assessed in a study commissioned in December 2005 by the then Minister of State for Transport, the hon. Member for
South Thanet (Dr. Ladyman). The study is due to report shortly, but the Secretary of State has previously made clear that it would take a great deal of persuasion for the Government to allow longer, heavier vehicles in the UK.
Mr. Tom Harris: To date, a centralised method has not been available to monitor the compliance of Highways Agency traffic officers with working time regulations. However, the agency recognises the need to implement a method of assessment which facilitates both local and central monitoring.
As it moves towards implementation of Shared Services with Department for Transport and its other agencies, it is exploring in more detail how an electronic solution might best assist in the management and monitoring of working time. To that end, the agency is to implement a standard timesheet across the Traffic Officer Service by February 2008. By implementing the new timesheet the agency will be able to monitor working time in more detail.
Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what pay comparability studies have been undertaken in respect of traffic officers in the Highways Agency; and what the results have been. 
The results of the review were largely inconclusive in that, at the time, the roles within the HA were relatively new and many regions were still developing towards full service. As such, it was difficult to identify valid external comparators.
Mr. Tom Harris: Terms and conditions of employment for Traffic Officers have been subject to on-going development in full consultation with the trade unions since the implementation of the service in 2004.
Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what representations the Prospect Union made on behalf of its traffic officer members in this years pay talks; and what the Highways Agencys response was to each such representation. 
Mr. Tom Harris: Representations by Prospect at this years pay talks have focused on their aim to achieve an award for their members that at least matches RPI inflation, the level of shift allowances, the methodology used to determine pay levels at the inception of the Traffic Officer Service and the pay differential between control room operators (mainly represented by the PCS Union) and on-road Traffic Officers, represented by Prospect.
The Highways Agency has responded that is it obliged to comply with Government policy on civil service pay and has to work within the pay remit approved by HM Treasury. It believes the offer for Prospect members in the Traffic Officer Service is the best that can be achieved within that policy and the approved remit. Higher shift allowances are not achievable except at the expense of the pay award for other Highways Agency employees. The Agency is undertaking a strategic review of its reward package and aims to review the pay and allowances for Traffic Officers as part of that work.
Mr. Tom Harris: In the last 12 months a total of 48,289 hours overtime has been worked by 1,011 control room operators and on-road Traffic Officers. This equates to around four hours per person per month.
Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the health and safety arrangements are in respect of traffic officers within the Highways Agency; and what recent assessment she has made of the effectiveness of those arrangements. 
Mr. Tom Harris: The design of the Health and Safety arrangements in respect of Traffic Officers is compliant with the requirements of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, its subordinate legislation, guidance and codes of practice, and the Highways Agencys own Health and Safety Policy. The Traffic Operations Director has recently written to senior managers in the Traffic Officer Service to remind them of their responsibilities in relation to health and safety.
Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the average pay increase given to traffic officers in the Highways Agency in each annual pay round since the formation of their grade was; and what the retail price index inflation rate at the end of those pay years was. 
|As at August each year
|Staff in post