Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page

7 Jul 1999 : Column WA103

Written Answers

Wednesday, 7th July 1999.

Fire Regulations: European Directive

Lord Grantchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When regulations will be made to give effect to their decision to take the necessary steps to meet the concerns expressed by the European Commission about the United Kingdom's implementation of the general fire safety provisions of the European Council framework directive.[HL3551]

The Minister of State, Home Office, (Lord Williams of Mostyn): Today, my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department laid before another place regulations to amend the Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations 1997 to the necessary extent to address the Commission's concerns about meeting the terms of the directive in full. The regulations, as amended, apply throughout Great Britain. A regulatory impact assessment is attached to the regulations showing that the estimated costs to employers attributable to these regulations is expected to be between £2.3 million and £28.2 million. We are satisfied that the balance between cost and benefit is the right one in the circumstances. Copies of the regulations and the regulatory impact assessment have been placed in the Library.

There are two main changes to the 1997 regulations. First, the deletion of most of the exceptions from the application provisions of these regulations (among them, one for fire certificated premises) to meet the Commission's concerns. Second, in the light of the views expressed in response to the public consultation exercise we conducted, we have also taken this opportunity, for reasons of consistency, to provide the regulations with a criminal sanctions only regime that is in line with existing fire safety and health and safety legislation. The regulations, in their amended form, come into force on 1 December 1999. This, we hope, will give everyone sufficient time to prepare for their introduction.

We expect to publish fresh guidance for employers on 22 July to help them to meet their fire safety responsibilities in the workplace. To complete the picture, new guidance on the enforcement provisions and other requirements of the amended regulations will be issued to fire authorities this autumn after consultation of interested parties.

Schools: Religious Education

Lord Patten asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What steps they intend to take in order to ensure that all primary and secondary schools have a daily act of worship.[HL3365]

7 Jul 1999 : Column WA104

The Minister of State, Department for Education and Employment (Baroness Blackstone): All maintained schools must provide RE and daily collective worship for all registered pupils and promote their spiritual, moral and cultural development. These requirements are set out in DfEE circular 1/94. The requirements are underpinned by Ofsted inspections which report on the extent to which schools are meeting their statutory requirements, including those in relation to collective worship. Schools whose provision has been criticised following Ofsted inspection can seek support from their local standing advisory committee on religious education. In addition, there is a statutory complaints procedure under which any individual can raise concerns about provisions relating to the school curriculum, including religious education and collective worship. Complaints must be dealt with by the local education authority, with ultimate right of appeal to my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Education and Employment.

Historic Steam Vehicles: European Directive

Lord Inglewood asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What plans they have to ensure that owners of historic steam vehicles, part of the country's heritage, do not suffer disproportionate costs to satisfy legislation introduced under the Pressure Systems Directive 97/23/EC.[HL3156]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Sainsbury of Turville): The Pressure Equipment Directive (97/23/EC) will apply to pressure equipment and assemblies when they are placed on the market or put into service in the EU for the first time. Its purpose is to remove barriers to trade in pressure equipment. As these barriers affect UK manufacturers more than those in other member states, it has in general been welcomed and considered long overdue. When negotiating the directive our aims were to maintain the existing high standards of health and safety and to reflect current industrial practice whilst imposing the least possible costs on all affected businesses. We believe we have been successful. The UK has a responsibility to implement the directive faithfully and fully, and all types of pressure equipment that fall within it, including those in the steam heritage movement, must meet the essential safety requirements.

It is important to be clear, however, that no existing steam locomotives and traction engines already in service in the UK or other member states before 30 May 2002 will be affected by the directive. Similarly, the UK's implementing pressure equipment regulations will not prevent new steam traction engines and locomotives from being made as accurate replicas, using historic designs and standards, provided the design and manufacture meet the essential safety requirements in the regulations.

We do not therefore believe that the historic steam preservation movement will face disproportionate costs. Indeed, hardly any of the day-to-day activities of this movement, which provides such a valued contribution to

7 Jul 1999 : Column WA105

maintaining our engineering heritage, will be affected by the proposed regulations. In recognition of the concerns expressed by this sector, we shall be giving instructions to notified bodies, which will be appointed to have responsibility for conformity assessment procedures under the regulations, to take into account wherever possible the need to use historically compatible methods of design and construction for historic steam vehicles. Additionally, the regulations have been drafted to make it clear that they will not apply where someone is importing for own use otherwise than in the course of business. It is likely that this will exempt the majority of traction engines, as we understand that these are largely owned and run for personal leisure use only.

London Underground Penalty Fares

The Earl of Clancarty asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What are the total costs of administering the London Underground penalty fares regime, with a detailed breakdown of such costs, including such costs as those borne by the London Regional Passengers Committee in dealing with representations concerning penalty fares.[HL3183]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Lord Whitty): It is estimated that the total overall costs of administering the London Underground penalty fares regime in the financial year 1998-99 is as follows:

    The cost to the London Regional Passengers Committee of considering representations, £20-25,000.

    The costs incurred by London Underground in the consideration of penalty fare cases including the associated computer contract is £1.65 million. This figure does not include the costs of revenue protection staff for whom the issue of penalty fare notices is but part of their overall responsibility.

The Earl of Clancarty asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether their review of the London Underground penalty fares regime will include a review of the criteria for levying penalty fares.[HL3241]

Lord Whitty: Yes. The review looked at a number of issues including the criteria.

The Earl of Clancarty asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When the review of the London Underground penalty fares appeals procedure will be announced; whether the details of this review, in particular the criteria for the judgment of appeals against penalty fares, will be made public; and whether a copy of the report of the review including such criteria will be placed in the Library of the House.[HL3182]

Lord Whitty: A copy of the report of the review, including the appeals criteria, has been placed in the Library.

7 Jul 1999 : Column WA106

Airport Transport and Access Consultation: Responses

Lord Cadman asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many responses have been received following the recent consultation by the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions into airport transport forums and airport surface access strategies; and from whom those responses have come.[HL3417]

Lord Whitty: There have been 61 responses to the recent consultation by the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions into airport transport forums and airport surface access strategies. The respondents are:

Kirklees Metropolitan Council,
Government Office for London,
South Derbyshire District Council,
London Regional Passengers Committee,
Flintshire County Council,
Birmingham International Airport,
Local Government Association,
the Institute of Highways and Transportation,
Central Rail Users Consultative Committee,
Christchurch Borough Council,
Technical and Property Services,
Heathrow Area Transport Forum,
Docklands Light Railway Limited,
South West Transport Network,
Humberside International Airport Limited,
Confederation of Passenger Transport UK,
Bournemouth Borough Council,
Air Transport Users Council,
Leeds Bradford International Airport,
the Institute of Civil Engineers,
Newcastle International Airport Ltd.,
Broadclyst Parish Council,
North Lincolnshire Council,
Trafford Metropolitan Borough Council,
Heathrow Airport Consultative Committee,
British Helicopter Advisory Board,
Rev. Dr. P. R. Long,
London City Airport,
Harpenden Town Council,
Terence O'Rourke plc,
Blackpool Airport,
Institute of Directors,
Tandridge District Council,
Surrey County Council,
East Midlands Airport,
Dorset County Council,
BAA plc,
Manchester Airport plc,
British Airways,
Peel Holdings plc,
London Luton Airport,
Airport Operators Association,
Sheffield City Airport,
Leeds City Council,
Restormel Borough Council,
Devon County Council,
the Railway Forum,
Chester City Council,
Airports Policy Consortium,
Birmingham City Council,
British International Planning Officers Society,
Tyndallwoods Solicitors,
Regional Airports Limited,
Borough of Macclesfield,
the Royal Town Planning Institute,
Metro-West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive,
Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Authority,
BCP (on behalf of Gatwick and Manchester Parking Associations and other individual car parks),
the Chartered Institute of Transport in the UK,
and South West Regional Planning Conference.

Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page