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6 Nov 2008 : Column 644W—continued

These figures are for all the cars owned by GCDA on 30 October 2008, including the ministerial fleet, senior officials' fleet, green cars and short-term hire fleets, training vehicles and cars leased to other Government Departments. CO2 figures are not available for the Ford Sapphire and Daimler Limousine.

6 Nov 2008 : Column 645W


Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the merits of hovercraft travel; if he will provide assistance to transport companies and allocate funds for the development of hovercraft transport routes; and if he will make a statement. [233851]

Jim Fitzpatrick: Hovercraft have provided a useful means of travel in the UK in the past but at present there seems to be little commercial interest in setting up such facilities. Consequently there has been no need to do an assessment of hovercraft travel.

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what legislation governs hovercraft travel; what (a) statutory instruments, (b) departmental circulars and (c) other documents he (i) has issued in the last 12 months and (ii) plans to issue in the next 12 months consequential to the provision of such legislation; and if he will make a statement. [233852]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The legislation specifically addressing the safety and operation of Hovercraft is as follows:


Principal Act

1968 Ch 59

Hovercraft Act 1968

Statutory Instruments

1972 No: 674

Hovercraft (General) Order

1972 No: 971

Hovercraft (Application of Enactment)Order

1972 No:1531

Hovercraft (Birth, Deaths and Missing Persons) Regulations

1986 No: 1305

Hovercraft (Civil Liability) Order

1987 No: 1835

Hovercraft (Civil Liability) (Amendment) Order

1989 No: 1350

Hovercraft(Application of Enactment) Order

1996 No: 3173

Hovercraft (General) (Amendment) Order

1997 No: 320

Hovercraft (Fees) Regulations

2004 No: 302

Merchant Shipping (High Speed Craft) Regulations, amended by 2004/2883, 2005/2114, 2006/2055

If the vessel carries more than 12 passengers then a number of standard passenger shipping Regulations are also applicable, addressing matters such as Passenger Counting, International Safety Management Code and tonnage.

In addition merchant shipping environmental regulations on Anti-Fouling Paint systems, Oil, Air Quality, Garbage and Sewage Pollution Prevention apply as to other vessels.

If the hovercraft is of 500 gross tonnage or over then it will require a Safe Manning Document.

If on international voyages then the International Ship and Port Facilities Security Code applies.

In addition the following Departmental Guidance is applicable:

These address High Speed Craft in general, and apply to larger hovercraft built after 1996.

6 Nov 2008 : Column 646W

(a) Statutory Instruments :

(b) Departmental Notices:

(c) Other Documents:

Metronet: Contracts

Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the effects of Metronet going into administration upon the delivery of its commitment under its public-private partnership contract. [231555]

Jim Fitzpatrick: Following the PPP administration of Metronet on 18 July 2007, both Metronet companies transferred to Transport for London on 27 May 2008. Transport for London, together with London Underground and the Government, are currently considering the future structure for the lines previously the responsibility of Metronet. A key consideration is to ensure that the major upgrades due to be completed on the Victoria, Metropolitan, Circle, District and Hammersmith and City lines are not significantly affected by Metronet’s failure.

The comprehensive spending review 2007 settlement sets out the expected levels of Transport for London’s grant and borrowing to 2017-18. This generous funding package worth some £40 billion over the next 10 years makes provision for the continued modernisation of the underground and costs arising from Metronet’s administration. Government will continue to work with London Underground and Transport for London to ensure that these upgrades can be delivered.

Passenger safety remains of paramount importance. London Underground has always retained overall responsibility for passenger safety on the network and the Office of Rail Regulation regulates health and safety on the underground.

Motor Vehicles: Accidents

Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether his Department has undertaken research comparing accident rates among young drivers in the UK with other European countries. [232432]

Jim Fitzpatrick: Yes. The most recent comparisons are in an OECD report ‘Young Drivers: The Road to Safety’ published in October 2006. The Department for Transport participated in its preparation. A summary of that study is available online at

6 Nov 2008 : Column 647W

Recent casualty statistics for Great Britain are available from the Department's website at

Motorway Service Areas: Repairs and Maintenance

Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport with reference to the letter from his Department, dated 30 June 2008, on Newport Pagnell Services, what recent correspondence the Highways Agency has had with Welcome Break Ltd regarding the repair of the access barrier from the service station to Little Linford Lane; and for what reasons the promised repair has not been carried out. [233860]

Paul Clark: Following the receipt of complaints from Newport Pagnell Town Council regarding the rear access barrier at Newport Pagnell Motorway Service Area (MSA), the Highways Agency (HA) wrote to Welcome Break on 3 July 2008. Welcome Break responded on 7 July 2008 to confirm that the barrier had been re-instated and that it was fully operational. However, following this, Welcome Break wrote to the HA on 11 July 2008, to highlight that the barrier had been vandalised again by traffic trying to access the local road network. I understand that Welcome Break has recently implemented a more robust barrier system which is now fully operational.

During regular liaison meetings, the HA and MSA operators have discussed various options to provide a longer term solution to unauthorised use of rear access roads at MSAs and are currently considering options.

Official Cars

Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which Government Ministers are provided with a ministerial car; and what the cost of providing ministerial cars was in the last 12 months. [232344]

Jim Fitzpatrick: I refer the hon. Member to the written ministerial statement made by the Secretary of State for Transport on 22 July 2008, Official Report, columns 116-118WS.

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the cost was of providing Government cars in each of the last five years for which figures are available. [232469]

Jim Fitzpatrick: Information about the cost of providing the Government Cars Service has been published each year since 1998 in the annual report and accounts of the Government Car and Despatch Agency, copies of which are available in the Libraries of the House.

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what criteria are used to determine eligibility (a) for a Government car and (b) for access to a vehicle supplied by car and driver contractors. [232471]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The Prime Minister sets out who is entitled to an official car and driver in the ministerial code and the Government Car and Despatch Agency (GCDA) provides cars and drivers in line with this guidance.

6 Nov 2008 : Column 648W

It is for GCDA to decide how best to meet and resource the demands for official transport for ministers and others. There are no set criteria for using outside contractors; each request for GCDA’s services is dealt with individually.

All the contractors used have been appointed through an open competition run under OJEU procurement procedures. Once appointed, all private contractor drivers must obtain security clearances to the same level as GCDA’s own drivers.

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many (a) Ministers and (b) permanent secretaries have chosen not to make use of a Government car. [232482]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The Government Car and Despatch Agency (GCDA) does not provide permanently allocated official cars and drivers to eight Ministers and nine Permanent Secretaries.

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if will make it his policy to ensure that British-built cars are purchased to add to the Government fleet. [233039]

Jim Fitzpatrick: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 30 October 2008, Official Report, column 1205W.

Port of Hull

Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what proportion of (a) imports and (b) exports passed through the Port of Hull in the latest period for which figures are available. [232599]

Jim Fitzpatrick: In 2007 the port of Hull handled 3.3 per cent. of UK seaborne imports by weight, and 1.8 per cent. of seaborne exports. (Approximately 96 per cent. of all UK imports and exports are carried by sea.)

Ports: Non-domestic Rates

Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 21 October 2008, Official Report, column 144W, on ports, if he will place in the Library a copy of the assessments that have been made of the financial impact on ports of the retrospective increases in business rates. [231853]

John Healey: I have been asked to reply.

The Valuation Office Agency have a duty to maintain correct rating lists and where inaccuracies are identified in the list they have a duty to correct them. They do not, and are not required to, undertake impact assessments as part of their statutory functions.


Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment his Department has made of the necessary capacity increases which will be needed on the rail network in each of the next eight years in order to reach the goal of doubling the level of demand rail can accommodate by 2016, as stated in his Department’s White Paper, Delivering a Sustainable Railway. [232015]

6 Nov 2008 : Column 649W

Paul Clark: “Delivering a Sustainable Railway” sets out the level of demand to be accommodated on the railway in terms of passenger kilometres per route, and peak demand in London and other urban areas by 2013-14. This equates to an increased demand to be accommodated of 22.5 per cent. by 2013-14. This has not been expressed as an annual incremental target, because the timing of the additional capacity will depend on commercial negotiations which are in progress.

River Thames: Freight

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans he has to promote use of the River Thames for (a) passenger and (b) freight traffic; what recent representations he has received about this issue; and if he will make a statement. [233849]

Jim Fitzpatrick: Passenger services on the Thames, and their promotion, are a matter for Transport for London and the Mayor of London. As far as freight is concerned, the Department for Transport has a number of initiatives to stimulate the greater use of water for freight transport. In particular, it currently provides start-up support to the Sea and Water Organisation, an industry-led body that actively promotes the use of water for freight. In addition, the Department’s Sustainable Distribution Fund provides financial incentives to stimulate the greater use of water for freight transport through the Freight Facility and Waterborne Freight Grant schemes.

Road Traffic: Greater London

Lyn Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the effect of the proposed Thames Gateway Bridge on levels of traffic congestion in East and South East London. [232927]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The Thames Gateway Bridge is a Transport for London (TfL) led project and it is therefore for them, in the first instance, to make an assessment of traffic impacts. The Department for Transport reviewed the evidence presented at the Thames Gateway Bridge public inquiry in summer 2006 to confirm the deliverability of the scheme and the need to make funding provision. Since then, no further assessment has been carried out by the Department.

Rolling Stock: Procurement

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many of the 1,300 new railway carriages, that the Government committed itself to making available in the High Level Output Specification, have been ordered by train operating companies. [232022]

Paul Clark: Train operators have so far ordered 423 new carriages.

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