Examination of Witnesses (Questions 400-419)
MR CHARLES GEORGE QC and MISS JOANNA CLAYTON.
BIRCHAM DYSON BELL and MR JOHN McGOLDRICK examined
400. LORD BRADSHAW:I am sorry, Mr Chairman,
that is because they have to work in accordance with the Noise
Insulation Regulations 1975.
401. CHAIRMAN: If you turn over the page,
I think you will find, "
in accordance with the Noise
Insulation Regulations 1975 (SI 1975/1763)".
402. MR McGOLDRICK: Sorry, my Lord.
403.BARONESS McINTOSH OF HUDNALL: Can I just
for clarification of Mr Wilkinson about the quantum of funds which
are being proposed to apply to noise insulation. I think, if
I recall, that you said, Mr Wilkinson, it was likely to be of
the order of £300,000 and I take it that that is a one-off
cost, is it?
It is indeed, yes.
404. BARONESS McINTOSH OF HUDNALL: Within
the provisions for repairs and maintenance and other operating
costs, is there any ongoing provision for noise insulation work
No. I have included a figure of £0.3 million, £300,000,
in the assumed expenditure on refurbishment costs in the financial
year 2005/06 for dealing with this problem, but nothing beyond
that for ongoing maintenance because I believed that it was outside
of the Noise Insulation Regulations.
405. BARONESS McINTOSH OF HUDNALL: So it
would be right for me to assume, would it, that £300,000
is, give or take, the total extent of expenditure anticipated
on noise insulation works?
I would ask the Committee to accept that that estimate was provided
with consultancy advice. It roughly works out at about £1,500
for each of the 200 properties which seem to be affected.
406. CHAIRMAN: Mr McGoldrick, I hope you
do not regard this as an unfair question. Could I ask where your
line of questioning on the question of noise is leading? I think
several members of the Committee have a question mark over it.
Is it your contention that the figure of £300,000 is unnecessarily
high?I am not trying to put words into your mouth, I am trying
to get a feeling for what it is you are thinking.
407. MR McGOLDRICK: In relation to the income
or spending on the tunnels the £300,000 is insignificant.
I am not quite sure how Merseytravel have arrived at that figure,
but there does not appear to have been any detailed survey done.
As the tunnel users we are not particularly objecting to spending
£300,000 or whatever it may be on noise insulation, we are
just a bit concerned about the vagueness of it.
408. CHAIRMAN: With great respect, might
it not assist all of us if you just made a most important point
of saying you do not object to this figure? Mersey Travel have
said that is the figure, it is a one-off. Might we be able to
409. MR McGOLDRICK: Yes, my Lord Chairman.
Can you tell us where the costs of the Bill are being met from?
Are they being met from tunnel tolls?
(Mr Wilkinson) The cost of the Bill
has been charged to the accounts of the Mersey Tunnels over the
period that the Bill has been progressing.
410. Is that covered by the existing powers of what
tolls may be spent on?
In the view of our legal advisers I think the answer is yes.
411. Can you tell us which particular clause that
(Mr Wilkinson) I regret that I am
not quite sure that I understand the question. I would assume,
with your permission, that it refers to the County of Merseyside
Act 1980 and the section in that Act that deals with the distribution
of tunnel income. I would assume that it would be covered by
the general references that are contained therein.
412. MR McGOLDRICK: The references are fairly
specific. I noticed Mr George and Mr Owen were looking at what
I assumed was the County of Merseyside Act 1980. Could they perhaps
tell us the answer?
413. MR GEORGE: It has been regarded as
an operating cost in section 99(1) of the Act. There is a power
in the Passenger Transport Authority to promote a Bill and if
it is a Bill which is promoted in connection with a particular
aspect of its functions, such as the tunnel, then it is part of
the general operating costs of the tunnel. That is how it has
been put. It is section 99(1)(c) in A26, page 104.
414. CHAIRMAN: Mr McGoldrick, are you leading
towards asking the question of what sum are we talking about?
415. MR McGOLDRICK: I would be interested
in knowing what the sum was for this particular Bill and the previous
Bill introduced in 1999 and withdrawn in 2000.
(Mr Wilkinson) My Lord Chairman,
I simply do not have that piece of information to hand at this
point in time.
416. Merseytravel basically wants to use the increases
in tolls to contribute towards its spending on public transport.
Can you give us some idea how much Merseytravel receives at the
moment each year in grant income or from the district councils?
I think in Exhibit B3 there is an indication of the overall turnover
of Merseytravel and a reference to the manner in which that is
financed. If I could take you to page 4 in exhibit B which indicates
in paragraph 3.1 that the turnover of Merseytravel is currently
in excess of £275 million a year which is met in almost equal
proportions by charges made by service users, by Government grants
and by levies on Merseyside's five district councils. One-third
of £275 million a year is roughly £90 million. The
Government grant is almost entirely in relation to the provision
of our local railway but it does include some small provision
under rural bus grants and urban bus grants, but the rest of the
inferred figures in that exhibit speak for themselves.
417. MR McGOLDRICK: Thank you, Mr Wilkinson,
for answering the questions.
418. CHAIRMAN: Mr George, do you want to
Re-examined by MR GEORGE
419. MR GEORGE: First of all, so far as
the classes of traffic, Mr Wilkinson, could you go to the A bundle
and A15, page 23. We have been looking at a re-categorisation
of tolls at B26 but there were some questions as to what were
the various classifications. That was set out on 28 November
1999. Do those classifications remain the same today?
(Mr Wilkinson) They do, yes.