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Lord Lamont of Lerwick asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Lord Macdonald of Tradeston: This incident is currently the subject of an official investigation, a summary of the results and recommendations arising from which will be published by London Underground in due course. A factual account of the timescales of the operation follows.

On 4 September, a train broke down at Liverpool Street Station. Two further trains, containing approximately 2,100 passengers, became blocked in the tunnel behind it. The process began with the first blocked train being moved up to the defective train, as soon as it was apparent that the latter could not move under its own power. The initial intention was to couple the trains so that the defective train could be pushed forward, enabling the first blocked train to move up to the platform and its passengers simply to disembark there.

However, after approximately 20 minutes it became clear that, due to the angle of the trains in the tunnel, coupling would not be possible. The decision was taken to commence a "through train" evacuation. This involves running the trains up to each other and the passengers walking through both trains until they reach the platform. This evacuation began as soon as all required safety precautions could be put in place.

The first train, containing 1,147 people, was evacuated in 35 minutes in this way (one passenger every 1.8 seconds). Once the first train was empty, the evacuation of the second blocked train began, taking passengers through all three trains. Approximately 1,000 people were thus evacuated at a similar rate to those on the first train.

Lord Lamont of Lerwick asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the breakdown on the Central Line of the London Underground on 4 September, in which 2,100 people were trapped in a tunnel for up to two hours, indicates defects in the management of London Underground; and what steps they propose to take in consequence; and[HL3936]

    Whether, given that on 4 September a blown fuse on a new £3 million train on the Central Line of the London Underground could not be repaired for two hours, the management of London Underground are competent to handle new investment.[HL3966]

Lord Macdonald of Tradeston: The incident is currently the subject of an official investigation, carried out by London Underground and monitored by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Railways. London Underground will publish a summary of results and recommendations arising from this investigation in due course.

Lord Lamont of Lerwick asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether in the light of the numerous failures of new escalators on London Underground, including the Jubilee Line, London Transport managers are performing adequately.[HL3963]

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Lord Macdonald of Tradeston: London Underground management operates in accordance with procedures agreed by the Health and Safety Executive and carries out rigorous, routine checks on all its escalators as part of its programme of continuous safety monitoring. Where equipment is found to be defective, London Underground will, where necessary, take such equipment, including escalators, out of service so as to avoid hazard to its passengers. This is an appropriate and responsible management response. Most escalators thus taken out of service are not new ones. Where defects have occurred on recently installed escalators, such as on the Jubilee Line extension, London Underground has undertaken careful analysis of faults to identify any recurrent trends or problems, which are then addressed in conjunction with the manufacturer and the Health and Safety Executive.

Lord Lamont of Lerwick asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How the Minister of Transport can evaluate the efficiency of the London Underground if he does not use it every day.[HL3965]

Lord Macdonald of Tradeston: London Underground Limited has been set challenging performance targets in respect of capacity, reliability and customer satisfaction to be achieved by the end of 2000-01. Performance against these, and other, measures is regularly monitored and reported to me, and other ministerial colleagues.

Aerodrome Protection

Lord Rotherwick asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What revision of the planning guidance they are considering in reference to the wish of the Civil Aviation Authority to relinquish their responsibility for safeguarding all types of aerodrome.[HL4002]

Lord Macdonald of Tradeston: We propose that those aerodromes which are currently safeguarded by the Civil Aviation Authority should instead be safeguarded by the aerodrome operators themselves. The role of the authority would become one of overseeing and auditing aerodrome operators' performance of their task.

Local planning authorities are currently required to consult the authority on development proposals which may have consequences for the safe operation of those aerodromes. We shall be consulting local government and others on the revision of the departmental circular and of the statutory direction to local authorities.

Road Accidents and Burglaries: Incidence

Viscount Simon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether or not a reduction in road traffic accidents and reported burglaries took place during the recent petrol shortage.[HL3923]

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Lord Whitty): No information is yet available regarding the level of road accidents or reported burglaries during the recent petrol shortage.

Outdoor Advertising

Lord Judd asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What action they are taking to ensure that the proposals by the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions to relax planning controls on outdoor advertising from next year are not at the expense of their commitment to preserve the character of rural Britain from disfiguring developments.[HL3907]

Lord Whitty: We would not expect our proposals to have an adverse effect. At the end of June, following consultation on a range of measures to improve the control of outdoor advertisements, we announced our proposal to limit the geographical scope of Areas of Special Control of Advertisements (ASCAs) to land within National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Broads, Sites of Special Scientific Interest and conservation areas.

Areas of the countryside which would no longer be included within ASCAs would still be subject to the Control of Advertisements Regulations. Applications to display an advertisement would be considered by local planning authorities on the basis of amenity and public safety, taking account of national planning policy guidance. This makes clear that poster advertising is out of place in the open countryside and should not normally be allowed.

There are good reasons why local planning authorities should decide these matters at local level, just as they decide other important planning matters. We are, nevertheless, giving careful consideration to representations received about ASCAs since the June announcement before coming to a final decision.

The proposals relate only to England.

Millennium Dome

Lord Jopling asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the acreage of the land occupied by the Dome at Greenwich, together with its ancillary buildings and vacant land.[HL3946]

Lord Whitty: The Dome itself covers an area of 20 acres. The Dome and the adjoining land to the north of the North Greenwich transport interchange covers 48 acres. The Dome, the adjoining land, and the piazza area above the underground station, coach and transit turnaround comprise 63 acres. The total site occupied by the New Millennium Experience Company including backup, service areas and the coach park covers 120 acres.

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Lord Jopling asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many tons of soil were removed in the process of dealing with pollution at the Dome site; how and where it was treated; what were the minimum and maximum depths of soil removed, together with percentages of soil removed per metre of depth; and[HL3947]

    What recommendations were received, when the site was acquired for the construction of the Dome complex, to deal with pollution; how much of the soil on the site was treated for pollution by means other than removal; and how much soil, and how much of the total acreage, still remains to be dealt with for pollution so that industrial, office or domestic development could be carried out on the site.[HL3948]

Lord Whitty: Remediation of the site has been carried out in stages. British Gas, the original landowner, carried out the statutory remediation, removing all substances which could be a danger or harmful to health.

The second phase has been carried out by English Partnerships to make the site fit for known planned developments. This has involved either the removal of any remaining contaminated material or works to contain and isolate it. Approximately 1.3 million m 3 of soil has been affected by earth moving operations on the Greenwich Peninsula, of which 260,000m 3 of fill has been removed by English Partnerships from the New Millennium Experience Company site, and 230,000m 3 from the southern site.

The remaining 850,000m 3 was deemed suitable for retention on site, in some cases after treatment. Approximately 30,000m 3 of material has been subjected to "soil washing" to remove the finer, more contaminated material; and about 245,000m 3 of crushed concrete and similar material has been recycled for use on site.

The depth to which materials were removed and treated varies across the site. In some areas material was removed to a depth of 14 metres, with the deepest area of bulk excavation being approximately 8 metres under the English Partnerships contracts.

The containment of any residual contamination after treatment has involved the construction of surface and vertical barriers. Such barriers vary according to the end use but in landscape areas, for example, they are typically about 1.5 metres thick. In other areas, particularly areas used for coach parks and other uses which incorporate a hard solid capping layer themselves, the depth of material used in construction and as a barrier is approximately 450 mm thick.

Both British Gas and English Partnerships employ WS Atkins as their remediation consultants, who secured the agreement of the Environment Agency and the Environmental Health Department of the London Borough of Greenwich to the remediation solutions which were carried out on site.

The whole of the 300 acre Greenwich Peninsula site has been remediated fit for its purpose. Any further

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remediation will depend upon the final use to which the land is to be put and will relate to the form of construction used, for example, where piles and/or other foundations may need to break through the barrier layer they will have to be treated in accordance with the regulatory bodies' standards to ensure the integrity of the capping layer.

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