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respect of any of the above any reason for declining to act other than the claim that no further or significant evidence had been drawn to his attention which had not already been contained, or dealt with, in the report from his marine accident investigation branch.      [19771]

Mr. Norris [holding answer 18 April 1995]: This information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Mr. Spearing: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if, in the light of the recommendations made by the jury at the completion of the inquest into the death of persons aboard the Marchioness on 20 August 1989, he will reconsider his refusal to initiate a review of the rescue arrangements on the Thames by an independent person as recommended by John W. Haynes Esq., in his report to him of July 1992, Cm 1991.      [19770]

Mr. Norris [holding answer 18 April 1995]: Thames rescue arrangements have been kept under review since the Marchioness disaster and we do not propose to initiate a further independent review. The London emergency services liaison panel has recently published new procedures for dealing with major incidents on the River Thames, with the police as co- ordinators of the emergency response. The river users liaison safety sub- committee of the London district marine safety committee has also completed a review of craft available for rescue throughout the tidal Thames and made recommendations for the provision of lifesaving appliances, grab-chains and warning signs along the river banks. We are giving urgent and careful attention to the recommendations made by the jury at the Marchioness inquest.

Mr. Spearing: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if, in respect of the activity of the inspector primarily responsible for investigating the collision between the Marchioness and the Bowbelle near Southwark bridge on 20 August 1989, he will list (a) the witnesses interviewed at the initiative of the inspector, (b) those who directly or indirectly approached his marine accident investigation branch, and (c) others who have given evidence in any court and inquest relating to this event; and, in relation to those named in lists (b) and (c) , if he will give the occasion and date on which they made the approach or gave evidence.      [19772]

Mr. Norris [holding answer 18 April 1995]: The MAIB inquiry team obtained evidence either orally or in the form of written statements from well over 100 people.In the case of most of the survivors, the statements were those made to the police. It is not normal practice to provide a list of witnesses. My Department does not have any responsibility for keeping records of those who have given evidence in courts which are outside the jurisdiction of my Department.

Mr. Spearing: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport at what times the operations manager of South Coast Shipping and the officers of the Metropolitan police boarded the dredger Bowbelle on 20 January 1989, as referred to in his answer of 11 January 1994, Official Report , column 133 ; by what means; and if those times were recorded in the ship's log.      [19780]

Mr. Norris [holding answer 18 April 1995]: The exact time at which such persons boarded Bowbelle and by what means is not known to my Department except that it was while the vessel was anchored in Gallions reach.

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She was at anchor between 03.25 hours and approximately 04.45 hours on 20 August 1989. There is no record in the ship's official log book nor in the deck log book of such persons boarding Bowbelle on 20 August 1989.

Marine Accident Investigation Branch

Mr. Spearing: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what are the statutory bases of the marine accident investigation branch; when, for what reason and by whom it was proposed that it replace some of the functions of the surveyor general's organisation; who was consulted about the change; and what documents relating to its creation were placed before Parliament for information or approval prior to, or at the time of, its inception.      [19760]

Mr. Norris [holding answer 18 April 1995]: The marine accident investigation branch was established under section 33 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1988 and operates under the Merchant Shipping (Accident Reporting and Investigation) Regulations 1994. The then Secretary of State for Transport proposed its establishment in the Merchant Shipping Bill published in 1987. The reasons for this proposal were set out in paragraphs 47 to 52 of "Merchant Shipping: Legislative Proposals," Cm 239, published in October 1987. Parliament was consulted about the change, and the relevant legislation--including the Merchant Shipping (Accident Investigation) Regulations 1989, since superseded--was placed before it.

Navigation Byelaws

Mr. Spearing: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what agreement, regulation or similar instrument of the International Maritime Organisation prohibits, with or without specific application, the introduction of local navigation byelaws, additional to international arrangements otherwise in force, for those parts of ports or navigable waterways possessing acknowledged and particular hazards to safe navigation.      [19768]

Mr. Norris [holding answer 18 April 1995]: None. Harbour authorities have powers to regulate navigation in waters within their jurisdiction.

Road Schemes

Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport in respect of the trunk road schemes which have been assessed by the use of the cost- benefit analysis method since 1979 and which have now been constructed what was (a) the capital cost of the scheme as included in the COBA assessment submitted to the public inquiry, (b) the net present value of the scheme as calculated in that assessment, (c) the actual capital cost of building the scheme and (d) the net present value of the scheme of the COBA assessment submitted to the public inquiry, if it had used the actual capital costs of the scheme in the calculation.      [17786]

Mr. Watts: This is an operational matter for the Highways Agency. I have asked the chief executive to write to the hon. Member.

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Letter from Lawrie Haynes to Ms Joan Walley, dated 19 April 1995:

As you know, Mr. John Watts, Minister for Railways and Roads, has asked me to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question askingfor a list of those road schemes assessed by COBA since 1979 and which have now been constructed; in each case giving (a) the capital cost estimate submitted to the public inquiry, (b) the net present value estimated at the public inquiry, (c) the actual cost of building the scheme and (d) the estimate of the net present value had the actual final cost been used in the calculation.

I regret that the information you asked for is not held centrally by the Agency and given the number of schemes involved a file search to extract it could only be done at disproportionate cost.

However, I can say that a recent study of 6 schemes has indicated that the overall post-construction net present value is very close to that predicted prior to public inquiry on those schemes.


Serious Fraud Office

Mr. Campbell-Savours: To ask the Attorney-General what investigation the Serious Fraud Office has made or is carrying out into Robertson Associates or Robertsons Research.      [14528]

The Attorney-General: The Serious Fraud Office is investigating the affairs of Butte Mining plc, and the circumstances under which the company was floated on the stock exchange in October 1987. The circumstances surrounding the issue of listing particulars for a further share issue in April 1988 are also under consideration. This involves scrutiny of several other companies, but it is the practice of the Serious Fraud Office not to give operational details of continuing investigations.


Market Testing

Mr. Hinchliffe: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what was the capital asset value of the computing and information technology services included in the market testing--competitive tendering programme for each regional health authority for 1994 95 (a) as recorded on asset registers at 31 March 1994, (b) at project net book value as at 31 March 1994 and (c) as identified in the statement of services requirements of assets likely to be transferred to the successful supplier.

Mr. Moss: Nil.

Bridge Programme

Mr. William Ross: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what sums have been expanded on the bridge strengthening programme in Northern Ireland; what are the estimates for 1995 96; when he expects the programme to be completed; and if he will list the bridges replaced, the cost of each bridge, the original estimate and which bridges and at what cost have still to be replaced; and if he will list the number of sites where replacement work is in progress.

Mr. Moss: In the last three years, expenditure on the bridge assessment and strengthening programme has been as follows: 1992 93: £1,850,000

1993 94: £5,072,000

1994 95: £6,249,000

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Information prior to 1992 93 is not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. The provisional allocation for the 1995 96 financial year is £5,000,000.

It is planned that the assessment programme will be completed by 31 December 1988. The timing of the completion of the associated strengthening works will depend on the volume of work identified by the assessments and the availability of finance.

The bridges replaced in the period 1992 93 to 1994 95 were as follows:

Road Service                     |Bridge                          |Estimatedcost                   |Actualcost                                                       

Division                                                          |£000                            |£000                                                             


Ballyemena                       |Aldergrove                      |420                             |410                                                              


Belfast                          |Lower WindsorAvenue (Footbridge)|230                             |207                                                              


Coleraine                        |Faughan                         |181                             |219                                                              

                                 |Swanns                          |1,100                           |not finalised                                                    

                                 |Rascahan                        |84                              |78                                                               

                                 |Cahery                          |43                              |42                                                               

                                 |Park                            |10                              |12                                                               

                                 |Mullarts                        |45                              |41                                                               

                                 |Lisdillon                       |13                              |12                                                               

                                 |Drumrankin                      |20                              |29                                                               


Craigavon                        |Tartaraghan Road                |4.5                             |4.1                                                              

                                 |Aguill                          |70                              |62                                                               

                                 |Drumgaw Lane                    |41                              |36                                                               

                                 |Lisdrumburghas                  |23                              |21                                                               

                                 |Brootally                       |25                              |19                                                               

                                 |Coolsallagh<1>                  |41                              |26                                                               

                                 |Ballynacor Lane                 |7                               |8                                                                

                                 |Crossdened                      |24                              |25                                                               

                                 |Hanslough                       |25                              |22                                                               


Downpatrick                      |Ballydrain Road                 |15                              |15                                                               

                                 |Tullybrannigan                  |97                              |127                                                              

                                 |Carson's Lane                   |11                              |11                                                               

                                 |Ballydugan Road                 |22                              |22                                                               

                                 |Peartree Road                   |8                               |8                                                                


Omagh                            |Meenacloy                       |50                              |40                                                               

                                 |Moher                           |35                              |45                                                               

                                 |Ligfordrum                      |30                              |30                                                               

                                 |Flood Lodge                     |15                              |15                                                               

                                 |Carnony                         |30                              |25                                                               

                                 |Formil                          |40                              |45                                                               

                                 |Glenhull                        |30                              |30                                                               

                                 |Dromore Culvert                 |35                              |40                                                               

                                 |Claggan                         |20                              |20                                                               

                                 |Greencastle                     |40                              |30                                                               

                                 |Green                           |35                              |40                                                               

                                 |Trillick                        |65                              |65                                                               

<1> Scope of scheme reduced after initial estimate.                                                                                                                  

A further 20 small bridges in Omagh division have been replaced by pipes at a total cost of £205,000.

The bridges which have so far been identified as requiring replacement are as follows:

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Roads Service                          |Bridge                                |Estimated cost £000                                                          



Ballymena                              |Ballee                                |71                                                                           

                                       |Number 289                            |58                                                                           

                                       |Number 290                            |24                                                                           

                                       |Number 336                            |10                                                                           

                                       |Number 340                            |10                                                                           

                                       |Moss                                  |11                                                                           

                                       |British                               |60                                                                           

                                       |Barn Halt                             |320                                                                          

                                       |Downshire                             |970                                                                          

                                       |Chapel                                |16                                                                           


Belfast                                |King's                                |1,900                                                                        

                                       |Ballymacarret Flyover                 |800                                                                          


Coleraine                              |Coshquin                              |98                                                                           

                                       |Rallagh                               |66                                                                           

                                       |Altinure                              |50                                                                           

                                       |Chathamhall                           |15                                                                           

                                       |Stroan Middle                         |15                                                                           

                                       |Movenis                               |23                                                                           


Craigavon                              |Gosford Forest                        |50                                                                           

                                       |Captain's                             |75                                                                           

                                       |Carcullion                            |20                                                                           

                                       |Kernan Underpass                      |100                                                                          

                                       |Drumnagoon                            |100                                                                          

                                       |Clare Glen                            |80                                                                           

                                       |Derrynoose                            |100                                                                          

                                       |Uminavore                             |30                                                                           

                                       |Acton                                 |25                                                                           

                                       |Tavanagh                              |80                                                                           

                                       |Carnbane                              |140                                                                          

                                       |Charles Doyle's                       |45                                                                           

                                       |Madden Railway                        |240                                                                          

                                       |Derrykernan                           |20                                                                           

                                       |Derrycughan                           |96                                                                           

                                       |Miller's                              |42                                                                           

                                       |Tullysarran Road                      |20                                                                           

                                       |Keadymore                             |120                                                                          

                                       |Mowhan                                |72                                                                           

                                       |Waterie Lane                          |42                                                                           

                                       |Lisnafeedy Road                       |15                                                                           


Downpatrick                            |M1 over Stockman's Lane (2 bridges)<2>|2,000                                                                        

                                       |Crumlin Road, Glenavy                 |450                                                                          

                                       |Tullynakill Road                      |300                                                                          

                                       |A21 South Street<2>                   |125                                                                          


Omagh                                  |Ardtrea                               |350                                                                          

<2> A final decision to replace these bridges has not yet been made. Replacement is the favoured option.                                                    

The bridge replacement schemes currently on site are as follows: