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Coal-fired Electricity Generation

Lord Hardy of Wath asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Whitty: The Government do not plan to amend the regulations relating to coal-fired electricity generation. The relevant system is that of integrated pollution control ("IPC"), established through the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and the regulations made under that Act.

IPC requires that operators apply the best available techniques not entailing excessive cost (BATNEEC) for pollution control to their processes. The Environment Agency has carried out a review of the IPC authorisations issued to operators of coal-fired power stations that did not have flue gas desulphurisation equipment fitted. If the operator was

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unable to present a good BATNEEC justification for not using the abatement, they were limited to a 40 per cent load factor in 2001 and 2002. The next principal review of these authorisations is likely to be carried out in 2003–04 to secure further reductions in emissions of sulphur dioxide in 2004–05. This review will consider how to avoid commercially disadvantaged power stations that are equipped to burn coal cleanly, and to avoid benfiting power stations that are not.

The system of IPC is being superseded on a sector by sector basis by that of integrated pollution prevention and control established by a European directive of the same name. This requires operators to apply best available techniques (BAT) for pollution prevention and control. Large power stations will transfer to it in 2006.


Lord Baker of Dorking asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What plans they have to provide a dual carriageway on the A27 between Lewes and Polegate; and[HL3719]

    What plans they have to reduce congestion and delay on the A27 at Arundel; and[HL3720]

    What plans they have to provide a northern bypass to Worthing from the A27.[HL3721]

Lord Davies of Oldham: On Wednesday 9 July my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Transport made a Statement in another place announcing the Government's response to the south coast multi-modal study. The bypass schemes recommended by the study for reducing delays on the A27 at Worthing, Arundel, and at Selmeston and Wilmington were not supported in the form proposed. Each of these schemes would have significant environmental impacts. Taking them forward as proposed would not be consistent with the Government's policy presumption against new or expanded transport infrastructure that would adversely affect environmentally sensitive areas and sites. The Highways Agency has been asked to work with local authorities and statutory environmental bodies to identify less damaging options, including management measures which reduce the need for major road construction while recognising the importance of finding solutions which are capable of delivering planned housing and economic growth.

Railways: Bi-directional Working

Lord Bradshaw asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What mileage of double track of main line railway has been equipped for bi-directional working; and[HL3769]

    What mileage of double track of main line railway is used regularly for bi-directional working.[HL3770]

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Lord Davies of Oldham: Network Rail advises that the information is not readily available and can only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Stranraer to Cairnryan: Transport Links

The Earl of Mar and Kellie asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether, in the light of Stena's translocation from Stranraer to Cairnryan, they will insist on the railway being extended from Stranraer to Cairnryan.[HL3775]

Lord Davies of Oldham: Local rail services in Scotland and the consideration of transport links from Stranraer to Cairnryan are devolved matters for the Scottish Executive.

Speed Cameras

Lord Palmer asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the cost to date of the installation of speed cameras in the United Kingdom; and who bears this cost.[HL3780]

Lord Davies of Oldham: Information on installation costs is not held centrally. Local authorities and police forces pay for the speed cameras and the camera housings. Those areas participating in the netting-off scheme have their camera installation and operating costs reimbursed from fixed penalty fine revenue.

Compulsory Pilotage

Lord Mackenzie of Culkein asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether, following the sinking of the "Jambo" near to the entrance to Loch Broom, they will now consider compulsory pilotage through the Minch for all large ships and for all ships with hazardous cargoes.[HL3816]

Lord Davies of Oldham: This incident—and whether the cargo was hazardous—is still being investigated. The vessel was not a large ship. The Government have taken various measures to reduce risks to the Minches from shipping. These are actively monitored and a further vessel traffic survey is planned in the coming 12 months. A designated deep water route to the west of the Hebrides is recommended for laden tankers. An emergency towage vessel is stationed nearby. The imposition of compulsory pilotage has been looked at carefully on a number of occasions—in particular following the report of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Donaldson, Safer Ships Cleaner Seas—and it has been concluded that it would be neither a practical or appropriate measure for managing risk.

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Bull Bars

Lord Mackenzie of Culkein asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the construction and use regulations permit the fitting of bull bars to (a) conventional cars and vans; and (b) off-road vehicles; and whether there are any plans to ban the fitting of these bars.[HL3817]

Lord Davies of Oldham: The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986 do not specifically ban the fitting of bull bars to these vehicles.

The most effective way of controlling bull bars is via technical standards in European legislation. We have submitted a technical proposal, based on UK research, to the Commission setting out how this could be achieved. We expect the Commission to bring forward its proposals on controlling bull bars later this year.

In the meantime we welcome the commitment by vehicle manufacturers to stop fitting rigid bull bars to new cars from 2002.

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Airlines: Over-booking

Lord Renfrew of Kaimsthorn asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Which government agency monitors the extent of over-booking by British Airways and other international airlines; and whether there has recently been an increase in over-booking by such airlines for flights departing from the United Kingdom.[HL3832]

Lord Davies of Oldham: No government agency monitors over-booking by airlines. However, in connection with its proposal for a regulation establishing common rules on compensation to air passengers in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long delay of flights, the European Commission estimated that in 1999 some 250,000 passengers were denied boarding on scheduled services by the main European Community carriers, equivalent to around 1.1 per 1,000 passengers. Figures showing a similar level of passengers denied boarding were produced by the Assocation of European Airlines in 2001.

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