Home Page

Column 509

Written Answers to Questions

Wednesday 31 October 1990

ATTORNEY-GENERAL

Offences (Court Officials)

Mr. Stern : To ask the Attorney-General if he will publish in the Official Report a table showing the number of road traffic or other offences of which people who were at the time of the offence a recorder, county court or circuit judge or member of a higher court have been found guilty in the last 10 years for which figures are available ; and if he will also indicate whether such offenders were guilty of more than one offence and, where applicable, of how many offences.

The Attorney-General : This information is not available in the form requested, and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. In the very few cases where a serving member of the judiciary has been convicted of a minor offence, and has remained in office, this information will be recorded on that individual's personal file. No central records are kept, however, and figures for the past 10 years could only be produced by examining the individual personal files of all serving and recently retired members of the judiciary.

TRANSPORT

British Rail

151. Mr. Holt : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he last met the chairman of British Rail to discuss the transportation of goods by rail ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Freeman : My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport and I met the chairman of British Rail on 15 October when we discussed a variety of railway issues. The Department expects to conclude its review of section 8 grants for freight transfer from road to rail shortly and British Rail will also shortly conclude its review of rail freight distribution operations and plans.

Cyclists

Sir Geoffrey Finsberg : To ask the Secretary of State of Transport if he will meet the Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis to discuss action to stop the abuse of road traffic regulations by pedal cyclists who disregard one-way street signs and traffic lights, and ride on pavements.

Mr. Chope : I shall write to the Commissioner, passing on my hon. Friend's concerns.

Toxic Chemicals

Mr. Harry Barnes : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will review the safety arrangements for the road carriage of toxic chemicals.


Column 510

Mr. Chope : They are reviewed regularly by the Health and Safety Executive in consultation with the Department of Transport.

Channel Tunnel

Mr. Tony Lloyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the working of the Channel Tunnel Safety Authority.

Mr. Freeman : The Channel Tunnel Safety Authority is an independent bi-national body established by the channel fixed link treaty. The authority's role, working practices and an account of major safety issues considered, were set out in its annual report for 1988-89, copies of which were placed in the Library of the House. I understand that the authority is preparing its annual report for 1989-90.

Airport Development

Mr. Wilkinson : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what steps he is taking to ensure that the concerns and views of corporate aircraft owners and operators are adequately represented in his working group to consider the advice proffered to him by the Civil Aviation Authority in CAP 570 on airport development ; (2) whether he will list the representatives, corporate bodies, interests and individuals who have been selected by him to participate in his working group to consider the Civil Aviation Authority's advice to him in CAP 570 on airport development ; (3) what consideration he has given to inviting the representative body for owners and operators of United Kingdom registered corporate aircraft based in Britain to participate in his working group to consider the advice submitted to him by the Civil Aviation Authority in CAP 570 on airport development.

Mr. McLoughlin : Since my right hon. Friend's announcement on 17 July we have been pursuing in more detail the membership and terms of reference of the working group which will consider the CAA's advice on runway capacity in CAP 570. We have had it in mind that the group should be properly constituted to examine all the relevant wider aspect of airport development, without becoming so large as to inhibit its effectiveness.

Many organisations, including representatives of business aviation interests, have sought a place on the working group and we are considering those requests in the light of the aim that I have described. My right hon. Friend expects to be able to make a further announcement soon.

Select Registrations

Mr. Gwilym Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on progress on the select registrations scheme.

Mr. Chope : The select registrations scheme started on 1 October. This allows motorists to purchase an entitlement to any registration number from the range H1-20 for almost all possible three-letter combinations. About 11,000 registrations were sold producing an income of £5.6 million in the past two weeks. Over 200,000 numbers are still available for purchase.


Column 511

M1

Mr. Madel : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he will publish the report of the Health and Safety Executive after it has completed its inquiry into the accident on the M1 in Bedfordshire on Tuesday 23 October involving heavy goods vehicles ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Chope : Reports by inspectors of the Health and Safety Executive are internal and generally not written with a view to publication. In this case I shall ask to see the internal report and consider whether the production of a report appropriate for publication will be justified.

Mr. Higgins : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will set up an inquiry to establish the cause of the accident which blocked the M1 motorway on Tuesday 23 October ; whether the packages containing the acid which spilt were safe for use on a vehicle using the motorway ; whether he has powers to claim compensation for the damage caused ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Chope : As with any major road traffic accident the police will investigate and consider whether to bring charges against anyone involved. Health and Safety Executive inspectors are investigating whether there was a breach of the regulations covering the transport of dangerous goods.

The Secretary of State has no express statutory powers to claim compensation for the damage to the motorway but he does have a common law right to sue a responsible party for damages in negligence.

Mr. Higgins : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will estimate the cost to public funds of the blockage on the M1 motorway on Tuesday 23 October.

Mr. Chope : I do not yet have full details of the cost of the blockage but I will write to my right hon. Friend as soon as these are available.

Mr. Higgins : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport why no steps were taken to divert southbound traffic from the M1 on Tuesday 23 October so that it did not get trapped between the blockage and the last exit which remained open ; who is responsible for co-ordinating action by the police, local authorities and his Department so that unnecessary delays and expense are avoided when a motorway is blocked ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Chope : On his question relating to the diversion of southbound traffic, I refer my right hon. Friend to the answer I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Aldridge-Brownhills (Mr. Shepherd) on Tuesday 30 October at column 466 .

The police are responsible for the operational control of traffic on the road network and for co-ordinating on site the actions of local authorities, the Department and emergency services in the event of a motorway blockage.

Severn Bridge

Mr. Murphy : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what contractors are being used to repair the Severn bridge ; and whether their contracts specify completion date, with penalties for late completion.

Mr. Chope : The contractor for the strengthening of the Severn crossing is Laing Industrial Engineering


Column 512

Construction. The main works were substantially completed in April 1990, within the provisions of the contract. Liquidated damages are imposed when applicable for late completion.

Resurfacing of the crossing is being carried out by Balfour Beatty Construction. The completion date for this contract is August 1991. Again liquidated damages may be imposed when applicable for late completion.

Mr. Murphy : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when the repairs on the Severn bridge are due to be completed.

Mr. Chope : Strengthening work was substantially completed in April 1990. The resurfacing contract is due to be completed by August 1991.

Mr. Murphy : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what has been the impact on the rate of accidents on the Severn bridge of the introduction of narrow lanes.

Mr. Chope : Narrowed lanes and associated safety measures such as a 40 mph speed limit were introduced in 1985. In the five years from 1985 the volume of traffic has increased by nearly 40 per cent. while the annual number of accidents has varied between 65 and 31. There is no evidence of a significant change in the rate of accidents since the introduction of narrow lanes.

Mr. Murphy : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress has been made in the investigation into the cause of the recent fatal accident to workmen involved in painting the Severn bridge.

Mr. Chope : Investigations are continuing.

Mr. Murphy : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he intends to investigate the introduction on the Severn bridge of automatic toll-charging facilities.

Mr. Chope : We are continually reviewing the scope for improved tolling facilities at the Severn bridge. When Severn River Crossing Ltd takes on the present bridge and the provision of a new bridge, it will be responsible for methods of tolling.

Motorways (Blockages)

Mr. Higgins : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will reconsider his decision not to install appropriate traffic signals and gates at suitable intervals on the central reservation of motorways so that the gates can be opened by the police and vehicles trapped on a blocked carriageway can escape using the one running in the other direction.

Mr. Chope : No. Safety fences can already be removed in extremis as shown by the incident on the M1 on 23 October.

Vehicles (Pollution Control)

Mrs. Ann Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to extend roadside spot-checking of vehicle exhaust emissions to include cars and light vans ; which emissions will be measured ; what equipment will be used to measure emissions ; and by whom measurements will be undertaken.


Column 513

Mr. Chope [holding answer 24 October 1990] : We are already consulting on proposals for an emissions standard to be applied as from next year to vehicles in use. Compliance checking will be undertaken both at the time of the MOT test, and also at roadside enforcement spot-checks. The check will involve measuring with gas analysing equipment the volume of carbon monoxide in exhaust emissions. Measurement will be made either by trained MOT testers or by vehicle examiners from the vehicle inspectorate executive agency.

EDUCATION AND SCIENCE

Special Needs Education

Mr. Battle : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science, pursuant to his reply to the hon. Member for Leeds, West on 23 October, Official Report, column 158, if he will list the ways in which the local management of schools offers local education authorities the flexibility to take account of the resources needed in schools to support all pupils with special education needs.

Mr. Fallon : Under local management of schools, LEAs have freedom to decide the following. The numbers in parenthesis refer to paragraphs in LMS circular 7/88.

whether to delegate provision for pupils with statements or to manage it centrally ; (75)

how large specialist central support teams should be, and what range of specialisms they should cover ; (81)

what variations to recognise between schools in the incidence of pupils with special needs but without statements ; (115 ; and S33(3)(b) of the Act)

by what means additional resources are to be allocated to take account of these variations ; (115)

how much to allocate to individual schools and in total ; (115) what additional provision to make from contingency funds in-year where there are large unforeseen changes in pupil numbers or characteristics (such as special needs) ; (87(a)(i))

by what means school's success in identifying and providing for their pupils will be monitored. (151-154)

Macmillan College

Mr. Devlin : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what recent representations he has received from Macmillan college about the teaching of music ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Fallon : The Department has received one recent representation from Macmillan city technology college about the teaching of music. It suggests that peripatetic music teachers employed by Cleveland LEA may find that they lose their work for the LEA if they also do work at Macmillan CTC. We would be very disturbed if this was the case and the Department is investigating the matter urgently. We would expect Cleveland LEA to be able to provide an assurance that no such discrimination is practised.

Librarians

Mr. Fisher : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what information he has on the number of qualified chartered librarians working (a) in primary schools, (b) in secondary schools, (c) in further education colleges and (d) in higher education colleges, polytechnics and universities.


Column 514

Mr. Fallon : The information requested is not available centrally.

City Technology Colleges

Mr. Straw : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will list every sponsor of a city technology college with the amount promised and the city technology college concerned, in each case.

Mr. MacGregor : The principal sponsors of the city technology colleges announced to date are as follows :

Kingshurst

Hanson Industries-£1 million

Djanogly, Nottingham

Mr. Harry Djanogly-£1 million

Macmillan College, Teeside

BAT Industries-£1 million

Bradford

The Dixons Group plc-£1.1 million

Emmanuel College, Gateshead

The Reg Vardy Foundation-£1 million

Harris, Croydon

The Philip and Pauline Harris Charitable Trust

-£1.25 million

Leigh, Dartford

Mr. G. N. Leigh- £1 million

Britschool, Croydon

The British Record Industry Trust-£1.1 million

Bacons, Southwark

Southwark Diocesan Board of Education

-£1.5 million

Haberdashers' Aske's, New Cross

The Robert Aske Charity-£3.45 million

Corby

Mr. H. de Capell Brooke-£1.1 million

Derby

The Landau Foundation-£1.5 million

Telford

The Mercers' Company and Tarmac plc

-£1 million each

Wandsworth

ADT- £1 million

Bristol

Cable and Wireless and The Wolfson Foundation

£1 million each

Total of principal sponsors' contributions-£20.75 million. In addition, more than 100 companies/individuals have pledged an additional £11 million to the programme as a whole. This brings the total sponsorship to over £31 million. Discussions are continuing with other prospective sponsors, and I am confident that these talks will lead to further sponsorship.

Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science (1) whether parents whose children are refused admission to a city technology college have the right of appeal to be heard by (a) an appeal body drawn up by the governors of a city technology college, (b) the Secretary of State, (c) the local commissioner and (d) any other independent body ;


Column 515

(2) if he will publish the admissions procedures that have been agreed for Bacon's city technology college ;

(3) if he will make it his policy to ensure that parents whose children are refused admission to a city technology college are entitled to an appeal hearing.

Mr. Fallon : Details of the admissions policy and procedures for the Bacon's city technology college are available, free of charge, from the Bacon's project office, units 42/43, City Business Centre, Lower road, London SE16 2XB. A copy has been placed in the Library of the House. It is for the principal of each CTC to take full responsibility for the careful selection of the most suitable pupils for that school, using criteria agreed with my right hon. Friend. My right hon. Friend does not require CTCs to establish appeals procedures. The admissions procedures of CTCs are not subject to scrutiny by any independent body. However, if a CTC failed to apply the criteria agreed with him, this matter would be pursued by my right hon. Friend.

Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what grants he intends to make to Bacon's city technology college in (a) 1990-91, (b) 1991-92 and (c) 1992-93.

Mr. Fallon : My right hon. Friend has made provision for grants amounting to circa £7.1 million to be available to the Bacon's city technology college in this financial year. These relate to the management of the project and initial capital costs. The level of expenditure for the following financial years has not yet been agreed.


Next Section

  Home Page