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17 Jan 1996 : Column WA47

Written Answers

Wednesday, 17th January 1996.

Transport Research Laboratory: Purchaser

Viscount Montgomery of Alamein asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Which of the shortlisted bidders they have selected as the purchaser of the Transport Research Laboratory.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Transport (Viscount Goschen): The Government have selected the Transport Research Foundation as the preferred purchaser for the final negotiations on the sale of the Transport Research Laboratory. The foundation includes members of TRL's existing management and is seeking to acquire TRL as a non-profit distributing company. Although the competing bid from the consortium of Pell Frischmann Consulting Engineers Limited, Mouchel Associates Limited, the Automobile Association and the Royal Automobile Club was strong, the foundation's bid was judged better to meet the objectives for the sale announced by my right honourable friend the then Secretary of State on 14 March 1995.

We expect to complete the sale of TRL by the end of February.

A.12 Road Improvement

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they can now give a date for the publication of the report from the public inquiry held in March 1995 into the improvement of the A.12 trunk road between the Wickham Market and Saxmundham bypasses.

Viscount Goschen: No. The report will be issued when the Secretaries of State announce their decision on the scheme.

Road Schemes in Preparation: Current Status

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will list those road schemes in Table 8: Schemes in Preparation: Longer Term of the Department of Transport press release 370 of 28 November 1995, which have already been considered at public inquiry indicating in each case whether the report of the public inquiry inspector has been published.

Viscount Goschen: The information requested is given below. An inspector's report on a public inquiry is published when my right honourable friends the Secretaries of State for the Environment and Transport announce their decision on the scheme in question. No inquiries have been held for the other schemes listed in Table 8.

17 Jan 1996 : Column WA48

Inquiry held and report published
A.5Nesscliffe Bypass
A.10Wadesmill High Cross-Colliers End Bypass
A.23Coulsdon Inner Relief Road
A.35Chideock Morcombelake Bypass
A.435Studley Bypass
A.449/A.456Kidderminster, Blakedown and Hagley Bypass
Inquiry held, report not published
M.20J3-5 Widening
A.1(M)Leeming-Scotch Corner
A.12Wickham Market-Saxmundham Improvement
A.23Handcross-Warninglid Improvement
A.46Alcester-Stratford Improvement
Inquiry held, report awaited
A.259Dymchurch-M.20 J11 Improvement
A.259St. Mary's Bay and Dymchurch Bypass
A.259New Romney Bypass
A.5225Wigan-Westhoughton Bypass

Former Yugoslavia: Protection of British Troops

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they can confirm the reports in a recent "World in Action" television programme that the Serbs have stockpiles of chemical nerve agents and possibly of biological agents and what protection they will be offering to British troops who are to serve in the area against deliberate or accidental release of these agents.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Earl Howe): Although we regard the threat as being low, as part of sensible contingency planning all necessary measures are being taken to protect British troops, though it would not be appropriate to go into detail.

Employee Protection against Unfair Dismissal

Earl Russell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What legal protection is available to an employee without the length of service to qualify for protection against unfair dismissal who is dismissed for refusing to drive a vehicle on the grounds that it is faulty or unsafe.

The Minister of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Fraser of Carmyllie): All employees, regardless of length of service, have the right not to be unfairly dismissed or subjected to any other detriment for taking appropriate steps to protect themselves in the face of danger that they reasonably believe to be serious and imminent. An industrial tribunal would consider all the circumstances in deciding whether or not the complaint was covered by these provisions.

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