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Mr. Watts: The Department of Transport has received 178 representations in support of retention of the Fort William sleeper. A number of letters to the Department


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of Transport were also transferred to Opraf for reply. Opraf has received 875 representations, including letters transferred by the Department of Transport. The Rail Regulator has received 1,525.

Rail Fares

Mr. Meacher: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what proposals he has to limit increases by private operators in the rail system in cases where he assesses increases to be unjustified; and if he will make it his policy to cap future increases to the rate of inflation.     [30652]

Mr. Watts: The franchising director proposes to limit annual increases in key rail fares to retail prices index for three years from 1 January 1996 and to RPI -1 per cent. for the subsequent four years.

Unlicensed Trucks

Sir Donald Thompson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent results have been obtained from checks for unlicensed trucks; and if he will now consider introducing measures to seize unlicensed operators' trucks.     [30732]

Mr. Norris: We have no reliable estimate of the number of vehicles operated illegally. A special series of roadside checks by the vehicle inspectorate in 1993 indicated that up to 9 per cent. of vehicles checked were not on an operator's licence. In a similar exercise in 1994 in the south-east, 7 per cent. of vehicles checked were suspected of being operated illegally outside the operator licensing system. However, these exercises, as is normal for such checks, were targeted on areas where offenders were thought most likely to be and vehicles stopped were also those thought most likely to be offending. These figures cannot, therefore, be taken as representative of the commercial vehicle population as a whole. In a recent cross-check of goods vehicles involved in accidents recorded by the police, no operator's licence could be traced for 24 per cent. of the vehicles. But this figure also cannot be taken as representative as the total included many vehicles below the limit for operator licensing, and also others exempt from operator licensing for another reason. It may also include vehicles "on the margin", that is, being used legally under the arrangements whereby operators have up to one month to notify licensing authorities of newly acquired vehicles.

We are currently looking at ways to obtain a better indication of the extent of the problem. We are also keeping under review a number of possible new measures against illegal operations, including impounding of vehicles.

Port and Harbour Police

Mr. George: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which local authorities are legally empowered to establish or operate ports or harbour police; and what is the statutory basis for each force.     [30093]

Mr. Norris: The information requested could be provided only at disproportionate cost.


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Rail Track Closures

Mr. Meacher: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many miles of rail track were closed in each year since 1980; and what percentage this represented of the total track network in each year.     [30451]

Mr. Watts: Information on miles of track closed since 1980 is not available.

Ferry Evacuations

Mr. Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to his answer of 15 June, Official Report , column 614 , what is the difference in procedure for passengers embarking on to survival crafts from roll-on roll-off ferries and catamarans.     [30302]

Mr. Norris [holding answer 26 June 1995]: This is an operational matter for the Marine Safety Agency. I have asked the chief executive to write to the hon. Member.

Letter from R. M. Bradley to Mr. Paul Flynn, dated 28 June 1995 : The Secretary of State for Transport has asked me to reply to your Question about differences in evacuation procedure between roll-on-roll-off ferries and catamarans.

The evacuation procedures for passengers embarking into survival craft are governed by the systems in place. For roll-on-roll-off ferries, the main systems are davit launched liferafts or lifeboats, or marine evacuation systems. On some vessels, overside ladders may also be used to reach inflated liferafts if access cannot be gained directly from lower decks.

In the case of catamarans, the same options are available, but, due to lower deck levels, it is unlikely that davit launched liferafts or lifeboats would be used.

A40-M40 Link

Mr. Soley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects to announce the start date and the completion date of the work on the A40-M40 link between Shepherd's Bush and Ealing Acton.     [31152]

Mr. Norris [holding answer 27 June 1995]: This is a operational matter for the Highways Agency. I have asked the chief executive to write to the hon. Member.

Letter from Lawrie Haynes to Mr. Clive Soley, dated 28 June 1995:

As you know, the Minister for Transport in London, Mr. Steven Norris, has asked me to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking the Secretary of State for Transport, when he expects to announce the start date and the completion date of the work on the A40/M40 link between Shepherd's Bush and Ealing Acton.

We have assumed you are referring to the improvements of the A40 trunk road at Gypsy Corner in the London Borough of Hounslow and at Western Circus in the London Borough of Ealing. These schemes are expected to start in 1996 and take 30 months to complete.

Until tenders are received and have been assessed, it will not be possible to announce a more exact start date.

Road Construction

Mr. David Marshall: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what studies his Department has made into the possibility of using channel tunnel construction methods to build roads in urban areas; and if he will make a statement.     [30958]


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Mr. Watts: This is an operational matter for the Highways Agency. I have asked the chief executive to write to the hon. Member. Letter from Lawrie Haynes to Mr. David Marshall, dated 28 June 1995:

Mr. John Watts has asked me to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about the possibility of using Channel Tunnel construction methods for building roads in urban areas.

The notable success of the civil engineering construction on the UK side of the Channel Tunnel project included the performance of the full-face boring machines that were used to excavate and line the main running tunnels and the service tunnel that link the UK with mainland Europe, the construction of a huge underground cross-over chamber by means of excavation and ground support techniques known as the New Austrian Tunnelling Method (NATM) and extensive cut and cover construction at the terminals. The full-face boring machine techniques and cut and cover construction are well established and already used to construct urban roads where appropriate.

NATM is a relatively new, very flexible and economic form of tunnelling that promises to be of particular benefit in the construction of the comparatively short lengths of tunnel required in most urban developments (i.e. less than 1 km long). The technique has been a topic of research and development commissioned by the Agency. NATM has already been adopted for two recently constructed twin trunk road tunnels (A20 Round Hill 390 m and A27 Southwick 490 m) both of which were constructed in chalk. Experience gained from studies carried out at both of these projects has shown that NATM could be well suited to the demands of underground construction in urban areas. Work is continuing to justify this assumption.

DEFENCE

Duke of York's Royal Military School

Mr. Sykes: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what key targets have been set for the Duke of York's Royal Military School in 1995 96.     [31905]

Mr. Soames: The key targets for the Duke of York's Royal Military School in 1995 96 are as follows:

Curriculum

To achieve at least 98 per cent. of GCSE passes at grades A to G in August 1995. To achieve at least five GCSE passes at grades A to C for 74 per cent. of pupils in August 1995. To achieve 85 per cent. of A-level passes at grades A to E in August 1995. To achieve 3 A-level passes at grades A to E for 80 per cent. of candidates in August 1995. To achieve 20 per cent. of A-level passes at grades A and B in August 1995. To achieve 100 per cent. award rate for BTEC national diploma courses in August 1995. To implement key stage 3 modifications to national curriculum programmes of study by September 1995. To achieve places in higher education for 70 per cent. of sixth form leavers by October 1995. To extend staff appraisal of all teaching staff in a two-year cycle by September 1995.

Pastoral

To ensure Marlborough house is prepared as a girls' senior house by September 1995. To ensure Kitchener house is prepared as a boys' senior house by September 1995. To expand involvement of girls in representative games by September 1995. To develop a school concert band--on-going.

Finance and Administration

To reduce pupil per capita costs to £11,081--at 1994 prices--by April 1996. To generate income of £400,000 by April 1996. To introduce phase 2 of new pupil billing system by September 1995.


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Review

To assist MOD with agency review during 1995. To achieve 200 applicants for September 1996 intake by April 1996. To update school prospectus and poster by July 1995.

Territorial Army

Mr. Duncan Smith: To ask the Secretary for Defence if he will make a statement on senior appointments in the Territorial Army.     [31904]

Mr. Soames: Territorial Army officers regularly command TA units at lieutenant colonel level and there are at present 39 TA officers at colonel level in staff appointments. At brigadier level, there is currently one dedicated TA post at Headquarters Land Command. Following consultation with senior military advisers, we intend that in future suitably qualified TA officers should have the opportunity to be considered for a range of staff and certain command appointments at brigadier level. Specifically, and subject to the availability of candidates of the appropriate calibre, we shall be establishing a post of brigadier (TA) development and doctrine within the Army's directorate of development and doctrine from 1996, to be filled by a TA officer. We also intend, probably from 1997, and subject again to the availability of suitable candidates, that the post of director reserve forces and cadets in the central staff of the Ministry of Defence, currently filled by a regular officer, should be filled by a one-star officer from the volunteer reserves of one of the three services.

I know that this will be welcomed by all reservists as further evidence of our commitment to the reserve forces.

Departmental Property

Ms Maddock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library a list of the sites of his Ministry's residential properties in the counties of (a) Dorset, (b) Hampshire, (c) Isle of Wight, (d) Berkshire and (e) Wiltshire; and if he will give for each site both the total number of properties and the number which are currently unoccupied.     [30220]

Mr. Soames: As at 31 March, my Department owned the following properties in the areas shown:


              |Stock    |Vacancies          

--------------------------------------------

Dorset        |1,631    |327                

Hampshire     |8,880    |1,162              

Isle of Wight |1        |0                  

Berkshire     |1,625    |303                

Wiltshire     |6,819    |1,103              

Of the vacant properties, 86 in Dorset, 25 in Hampshire, 72 in Berkshire and 168 in Wiltshire were in the process of being sold. Many of the vacant properties were undergoing or awaiting major maintenance work, held for unit deployments, already allotted to families due to move in shortly or formed part of the management margin needed to ensure that accommodation is available for entitled service families.

Information on individual sites is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.


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Royal Navy Trainees

Mr. Hicks: To ask the Secretary of State of Defence if he will outline the sequence of events that occurred on 15 June involving two Royal Navy sea helicopters which dropped and later collected a party of Royal Navy trainees at the China Fleet Club, Saltash; what was the training purpose of this exercise; what the total cost involved; how long the Royal Navy trainees stayed at the club; what they did there; and if he will make a statement.     [30017]

Mr. Soames: RN Sea King aircraft of 848 squadron based at RNAS Yeovilton are used for the training of operational aircrew. Two of these aircraft were tasked to carry out operational training on 15 June involving low level navigation and formation flying. To enhance the training value, the opportunity was taken to load the aircraft to operational all-up-weight with a group of off-duty maintenance ratings. These individuals were dropped at the China Fleet Club in Saltash from where they were retrieved five hours later by aircraft with different crews who were also carrying out operational training. No additional cost to public funds were incurred as a result of these individuals being transported.

Insurance

Ms Rachel Squire: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the application of personal insurance schemes for military personnel who are killed or injured on or while travelling in military property.     [30603]

Mr. Soames: It is a matter for individuals as to whether they take out insurance and what company, policy and level of cover they choose. My Department will refund a proportion of a life premium loading for hazardous duty. Application to travelling in military property would depend on the terms and conditions of the insurance policy chosen by the individual.

Isle of Lewis

Mr. Macdonald: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what military personnel were present on the Isle of Lewis on 20 June; whether any were members of the special forces; and if the presence of any military personnel was connected to the attempt to dump the Brent Spar at sea.     [30696]

Mr. Soames: The following military personnel were present on the Isle of Lewis on 20 June:

Elements of the Territorial Army company based in Stornoway. The permanent RAF detachment based at RAF Stornoway.

Personnel manning the permanent RAF transmitter station at Aird Uig.

Personnel from the sub-aqua clubs at RAF Lyneham an RAF Leuchars, carrying out adventurous training.

None of these personnel was connected in any way with the disposal operation for the Brent Spar oil platform.

French Nuclear Tests

Dr. Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what are the implications of the French decision to resume nuclear testing for the successful negotiation of a comprehensive test ban treaty.     [30518]


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Mr. Soames: The decision by France to undertake a short programme of tests before signature of a comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty is not incompatible with the goal of an indefinite CTBT. The Government believe that it should be possible to conclude negotiations on such a treaty by the end of 1996 and will continue to work actively for that end. All the nuclear weapons states--including France--have expressed similar sentiments.

Research and Development

Mr. Colvin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is his budget for the current financial year for industrial research and development.     [30523]

Mr. Freeman: This year, we plan to spend some £630 million on research and £1.6 billion on development, the greater part of the latter being with industry. The annual publication "UK Defence Statistics" analyses expenditure by recipient sectors over recent years. The 1995 edition is planned for publication this July.

Dr. David Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what are the figures at current prices for Government-funded defence research and development over each of the last 10 years.     [31258]

Mr. Freeman: The figures at constant 1993 94 prices for Government- funded defence research and development based on table 3.2 of "Forward Look 95" are as follows:


             |Total amount             

Year         |£ million                

---------------------------------------

1985-86      |2900.5                   

1986-87      |2847.2                   

1987-88      |2802.4                   

1988-89      |2584.4                   

1989-90      |2632.6                   

1990-91      |2462.2                   

1991-92      |2372.2                   

1992-93      |2139.0                   

1993-94      |2299.0                   

1994-95<1>   |2431.4                   

<1> Estimate only.                     

These figures update those previously published in "UK Defence Statistics 1994" by retrospectively applying to the earlier years' statistical-- including Frascati--adjustments made in 1992 93 and 1993 94.

Trident

Mr. Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will give a breakdown of the estimated lifetime decommissioning costs of (a) Trident and (b) Polaris.     [30624]

Mr. Freeman: As part of an exercise to determine the lifetime operating and support costs, the comprehensive costs of both decommissioning and eventual disposal of the Trident submarines were estimated--at 1992 93 prices--at £150 million. No revision of this estimate has been made pending greater experience of Trident operations. Although no similar estimates are available for the Polaris submarines, the approximate decommissioning cost--covering defuelling, decommissioning and lay-up preparations--of HMS Revenge, the one Polaris


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submarine fully to have undergone this process, was £18.7 million. The cost does not include the costs of final disposal.

Mr. Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is his latest estimate of the costs of the Trident works programme at Faslane and Coalport.     [30645]

Mr. Freeman: The latest estimate of the cost of the Trident works programme, including projects at the Clyde submarine base, Faslane, and the royal naval armament depot, Coulport, is £1.956 billion.

Mr. Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence to what extent (a) inflation and (b) the exchange rate have been taken into account in estimating the current costs of the Trident programme.     [30622]

Mr. Freeman: The current estimate of the cost of the Trident programme, where past expenditure is included at the prices and exchange rates incurred, with future spend expressed at today's prices and exchange rates, is £9,770 million. With past expenditure revalued to current levels, the current Trident cost estimate is £11, 682 million, which also takes into account inflation and exchange rate variations since the original 1981 estimate.

Mr. Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what disciplinary action (a) has been taken and (b) is proposed to be taken against individuals as a result of cost overruns of the Trident works programme; and if he will make a statement.     [30623]

Mr. Freeman: The original 1984 estimates for the Trident works programme were based on the best advice available at the time. The subsequent increase in costs is much regretted, but neither the Ministry of Defence's own internal review nor the Comptroller and Auditor-General's report suggested any culpability by individuals which would warrant disciplinary action.

Mr. Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what was the estimated original cost of all the works at AWE Aldermaston for the Trident programme; and what are the present estimated costs of these works.     [30643]

Mr. Freeman: The information is not readily available in the format requested. However, the current estimated total of the major programme of capital works at AWE Aldermaston which includes work in support of Trident is £1.2 billion compared to the original estimate of £974 million at 1987 economic conditions.

Devonport Nuclear Refit Facility

Mr. Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the concerns that the nuclear installations inspectorate have expressed over the siting and construction of the new works at the Devonport nuclear refit yard.     [30631]

Mr. Freeman: Her Majesty's nuclear installations inspectorate has expressed no concerns over the siting or construction of the new works at Devonport.

Mr. Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence in what circumstances construction would take place in respect of the new Trident refit facility at Devonport, before a design has been agreed with all regulatory bodies, including the nuclear installations inspectorate.     [30628]


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Mr. Freeman: Construction will not commence until both Her Majesty's nuclear installations inspectorate and the MOD nuclear safety authority are satisfied that the proposed design is safe and meets all the current standards and regulations.

Mutual Defence Agreement

Mr. Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many times employees of the Atomic Weapons Establishment have travelled to the United States under the auspices of (a) the 1958 mutual defence agreement and (b) the Trident sales agreement in each of the last five years.     [30630]

Mr. Freeman: The following table gives the number of occasions on which one or more employees of the Atomic Weapons Establishment have travelled to the United States under the aegis of the 1958 mutual defence agreement in each of the last five financial years.


Financial years |Visits                         

------------------------------------------------

1990-91         |110                            

1991-92         |129                            

1992-93         |127                            

1993-94         |129                            

1994-95         |136                            

These figures include visits on duties relating to the Trident sales agreement as these are invariably arranged through 1958 agreement channels.

Explosives and Propellants

Mr. Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement about the explosives, propellants and related products agreement with Royal Ordnance.     [30507]

Mr. Freeman: The explosives, propellants and related end products agreement between the Ministry of Defence and Royal Ordnance plc--now the Royal Ordnance division of British Aerospace Defence Ltd.--was signed on 28 July 1988. Under EPREP, the Ministry of Defence had to purchase 80 per cent. of its requirements for certain natures of ammunition and explosives from Royal Ordnance during the five-year period from 1 April 1988 to 31 March 1993.

The agreement was part of the arrangements for the sale of the Royal Ordnance factories to British Aerospace. The guarantee of a core work load over the five-year period assisted in establishing the newly privatised company as an efficient competitor and provided a guaranteed source of supply to the Ministry of Defence during what would otherwise have been a period of instability.

The value of the orders placed with Royal Ordnance under the EPREP agreement was £560 million and covered over 40 types of ammunition.

BMARC

Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on what date General Donald Isles passed a copy of the BMARC contract agreement for naval guns for Chartered Industries Singapore to his Department.     [30089]


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Mr. Freeman: In the absence of any specific information, my Department is unable to find any trace of such a contract being passed to it.

Capital Spending

Mr. Betts: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the expected capital spending figure for his Department for 1994 95; and what is the latest budget figure.     [30888]

Mr. Freeman: The present estimated capital spending for defence for 1994 95 is £759 million for central Government's own expenditure and £46 million for public corporations' expenditure. The planned capital spending for defence in 1995 96 is £110 million for central Government's own expenditure and £42 million for public corporations' expenditure.

Private Finance Initiative

Mr. Betts: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) by how much Government spending has changed in 1994 95 as a result of the private finance initiative; what is the estimated effect in 1995 96; how many jobs are to be created by schemes approved to date under the initiative and how many have been lost as a consequence in the public sector; and what is the forecast of transfer of employment from public to private sector over the last five years because of the initiative;     [30853]

(2) how many schemes and to what value have been approved in 1994 95 under the private finance initiative; what are the estimates for the current financial year; how many schemes are currently being considered and at what value; for how long they have been considered and how many have been in the assessment process for over (a) six months and (b) 12 months; and what was the average length of time taken to assess schemes so far approved.     [30852]

Mr. Freeman: The Ministry of Defence is fully committed to the private finance initiative and is actively pursuing potential opportunities. To this end, we have identified a range of prospects with potential for private finance including a number of PFI "Pathfinder" projects in areas such as information technology, works and logistics. It would be premature at this stage to attempt to predict spending or the impact on employment, which will be determined by the development of individual projects.

Attack Helicopters

Dr. David Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he had made of the financial cost of attack helicopter marinisation; and if he will make a statement.     [31259]

Mr. Freeman: The ability to sustain continuous operations in a harsh maritime environment was not a requirement of the attack helicopter competition invitation to tender. However, bidders were asked a range of questions designed to establish their contender's ability to operate occasionally from ships in support of amphibious operations, together with costs for a number of specific modifications. Their responses have been considered together with many other factors as part of the overall assessment process. It would not be appropriate to comment on the details of individual bids.


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HEALTH

School Nurses

Mrs. Beckett: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many school nurses there were in each of the last five years.     [30420]

Mr. Sackville: The information is shown in the table.


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