4 Nov 2008 : Column 239W

Written Answers to Questions

Tuesday 4 November 2008


Departmental Training

Mr. Hands: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what personal training courses at public expense he has undertaken since his appointment. [230948]

Mr. Jim Murphy: None.


A12: Essex

Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many road accidents there were on the A12 in Essex in each of the last 10 years; and how many of these accidents resulted in (a) death and (b) serious injury. [233137]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The numbers of reported personal injury road accidents on the A12 in Essex and the number of these accidents resulting in (a) death and (b) serious injury are shown in the table, for each year from 1998 to 2007.

All injury accidents Fatal accidents( 1) Serious accidents( 1)









































(1) Accidents are classified according to the severity of the most severely injured casualty; some fatal accidents will also have seriously injured casualties.

Aircraft: Oxygen

Mr. David Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his policy is on airline companies' obligations with regard to allowing people with a lung condition to (a) access oxygen provided, (b) take their own (i) portable oxygen cylinders and (ii) portable oxygen concentrator on board flights; and what guidance he has issued on this matter. [231699]

Jim Fitzpatrick: European Regulation 1107/2006 on the rights of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility when travelling by air, came fully into force in
4 Nov 2008 : Column 240W
July 2008. It imposes a number of obligations on airlines with respect to the services they provide, including an obligation to carry passengers' medical equipment free of charge. However, there are no specific obligations to carry or provide oxygen in the cabin.

To help the air transport industry to comply with its obligations under the regulation, the Department for Transport has published an updated version of its code of practice ‘Access to Air Travel for Disabled Persons and Persons with Reduced Mobility’. The code includes a section on oxygen which advises that air carriers may approve the carriage of gaseous (not liquid) oxygen or air cylinders required for medical use, but notes that carriers will wish to ensure that these do not pose a risk to security. The code also recommends that portable oxygen concentrator devices should normally be allowed if battery powered. Where air carriers wish to supply medical oxygen to passengers on request, the code acknowledges that it would be possible to make a charge for this service to cover the provision of the oxygen.

Blue Badge Scheme

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent steps the Government has taken to reduce abuse of blue badges for disabled parking. [232226]

Paul Clark: In October 2007 we introduced legislation to change the design of the badge to include an anti-fraud hologram and a new serial number to help prevent fraud and aid enforcement.

In January 2008 we revised local authority guidance to improve administrative consistency and enforcement and launched a £0.5 million local authorities centres of excellence fund, designed to promote good practice in administering and enforcing the scheme.

In March 2008 we began a pilot experiment of new tamper proof laminates designed to further enhance badge security.

Most recently, on 20 October 2008, the Department for Transport published a Comprehensive Blue Badge (Disabled Parking) Reform Strategy. This strategy contains a number of commitments to fight fraud and abuse of the Blue Badge Scheme.

Departmental Staff

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many employment agency staff work in each of his Department’s bargaining units on a (a) headcount and (b) full-time equivalent basis. [231747]

Mr. Hoon [holding answer 30 October 2008]: The central Department and its agencies had a headcount (a) of 523 agency staff, as at end of September 2008. This figure excludes the Government Car and Despatch Agency.

4 Nov 2008 : Column 241W
Department for Transport Headcount of staff

DfT (Central)


Driving Standards Agency


Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency


Highways Agency


Maritime and Coastguard Agency


Vehicle Certification Agency


Vehicle and Operator Services Agency




An accurate full-time equivalent (b) figure could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Driving: Safety

Meg Munn: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what research his Department is undertaking into the effects of fatigue on drivers; [232323]

(2) what recent discussions he has had with his European counterparts on the effects of (a) fatigue and (b) obstructive sleep apnoea on drivers. [232324]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The Department is conducting research on the potential use of fatigue risk management systems with the object of developing guidance for their use by those who employ drivers. The research is expected to be completed in the first half of 2009. Early indications from the project suggest that such systems offer considerable potential as a more effective method of managing fatigue than compliance with hours of work limits alone. They encourage employers to identify fatigue-related risk factors within their business and to consider the full range of potential contributors to fatigue, both work-related (e.g. work practices, shift patterns) and individual (e.g. lifestyle, medical conditions).

At the European level, our researchers were most recently involved with the IMMORTAL project (Impaired Motorists, Methods of Roadside Testing and Assessment for Licensing). This project, which concluded in 2005, included a workshop on Fatigue (Fatigue, Sleepiness and Reduced Alertness as Risk Factors in Driving) with a particular focus on obstructive sleep apnoea and other sleep disorders. A departmental research manager was a co-author of the report arising from this workshop. That is online at:

There have been no more recent discussions with European counterparts.

Heathrow Airport

Adam Afriyie: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) whether there are plans for National Air Traffic Services to undertake additional public consultation before any introduction of (a) mixed-mode and (b) a third runway at Heathrow airport; and if he will make a statement; [232320]

(2) what procedures would be followed if BAA sought permission to introduce mixed-mode (a) within the 480,000 cap and (b) exceeding the 480,000 cap. [232321]

Jim Fitzpatrick [holding answer 3 November 2008]: The “Adding Capacity at Heathrow Airport” consultation closed on 27 February and we expect to announce a decision on the future development of Heathrow by the end of the year.

4 Nov 2008 : Column 242W

If mixed-mode operations are supported (either within the current movements cap or with additional movements), it would be for the airport operator to bring forward plans and obtain the necessary planning approvals. It would also be the responsibility of the airport operator and National Air Traffic Services to further assess the indicative airspace and air traffic control arrangements presented in the consultation to meet the statutory requirements of the Civil Aviation Authority. This could include further consultation, where appropriate, in accordance with the CAA’s Airspace Change Process.

London Airports: Smoking

Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many times evacuations of (a) the concourses, (b) the security and passports areas and (c) the airside areas of (i) Heathrow, (ii) Gatwick and (iii) Stansted airports have occurred following an alarm being triggered by a passenger smoking in a toilet in the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement. [231638]

Jim Fitzpatrick: We have been advised by BAA that it is unable to provide detailed information on how many evacuations have been carried out over the last 12 months due to a fire alarm being triggered without detailed analysis. As this is an operational matter for BAA, I suggest the hon. Member directs his inquiry to the chief executive of BAA.

Network Rail: Standards

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 29 October 2008, Official Report, column 1040W, on Network Rail: standards, what improvement notices have been served on Network Rail by the Office of the Rail Regulator in the last 12 months. [233179]

Paul Clark: The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) has served a total of 19 improvement notices on Network Rail in the last 12 months. Details of 18 of these notices have been entered on the public register. They can be found on ORR’s website at:

One notice, served on Network Rail in June 2008, relating to the joint between non-adjustable stretcher bar brackets and switch rails, has been appealed by Network Rail and therefore has not been entered onto the public register.

Piracy: Gulf of Aden

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what steps he is taking to counter the incidence of piracy on the high seas, with particular reference to the Gulf of Aden; [226715]

(2) how many British seafarers are being held hostage as a consequence of piracy incidents on the high seas; and what steps he is taking to secure their release. [226716]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The Department for Transport is not aware of any British seafarers being held hostage as a consequence of piracy incidents. The Government are acutely aware of the dangers being faced by seafarers on board ships transiting the Gulf of Aden and abhor the loss of life incurred to date.

4 Nov 2008 : Column 243W

The UK is supportive of the IMO's efforts which calls for states interested in the safety and security of maritime activities to take part actively in the fight against piracy and armed robbery against ships off the coast of Somalia.

The Department has issued advice to seafarers on the measures that can be taken to prevent acts of piracy and armed robbery in Marine Guidance Note 298. We have also urged Masters to obtain up to date information about pirate attacks in order to plan their passage through the Gulf of Aden. This advice can be obtained from the Royal Navy's UK Maritime Trade Operation based in Dubai. The shipping industry has also been informed of the Maritime Security Patrol Area (MPSA) established by the Combined Maritime Forces. The MPSA does not eliminate the risk of criminal activity and shipping has been warned to exercise extreme caution and vigilance.

Piracy is an international problem that requires an international solution. The Government are playing their full part by pressing for effective international action to address the issue by tackling the problem at its roots on land. The Government are very concerned by increasing numbers of piracy and armed robbery attacks in and around Somali waters and we have noted the expressed concerns from industry. We are working proactively with our EU, NATO and Coalition Task Force 150 partners to counter the menace.

Railways: Crime Prevention

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what recent steps the Government has taken to reduce the level of crime on railways; [232222]

(2) what recent steps the Government has taken to improve police resources to prevent crime committed on railways. [232223]

Paul Clark: The total number of offences reported to the British Transport Police (BTP) reduced by 12 per cent. between 2006-07 and 2007-08 and crime remains low relative to the over one billion passenger journeys made each year. We nevertheless continue to work closely with the industry and the police to secure further improvements. Last year, the budget for the British Transport Police (BTP) increased by 5 per cent. and, at £271 million, is at more than twice the level it was six years ago. BTP numbers at London Underground and mainline stations have increased too and there are now 2,813 officers and 262 community support officers in the force.

Railways: Freight

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress has been made towards the target of increasing rail freight by 80 per cent. by 2010 as stated in his Department's Transport Ten Year Plan of 2000; what the baseline year is against which this target is being measured; and how much rail freight there was in each year since 2000. [232008]

Paul Clark: The potential rail freight growth figure of up to 80 per cent. quoted in the Department for Transport's 10 year plan of 2000 was not a target. It was always recognised that actual growth would depend on a number of factors—in particular, the success of private sector rail freight operators in delivering improvements in performance and efficiency.

4 Nov 2008 : Column 244W

Detailed rail freight statistics covering the years from 2000 to 2008 are published in the Office for Rail Regulation's Rail Trends document on its website:

and by the Department for Transport in its Transport Statistics for Great Britain document on its website:

Next Section Index Home Page