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Rail Distribution (Brighton)

Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what action (a) he and (b) the regulatory authorities propose following the disruption at Brighton Station on the evening of 20 October; and if he will make a statement. [134660]

Mr. Hill: The incident referred to occurred at 19.43 on Friday 20 October 2000 on the Mainline between Brighton and Preston Park when passengers alighted from trains which had stopped between stations after a traction failure on a Thameslink train, followed by a loss of the infrastructure traction supply. HSE is awaiting an industry report before deciding what further action to take.

Waste Recycling

Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make

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a statement on the applicability of News Release 609, "Recycling Key to Future PFI Waste Applications", to the PFI credits earmarked for use by East Sussex County Council and Brighton and Hove Council. [134621]

Mr. Mullin [holding answer 26 October 2000]: The project already agreed with East Sussex County Council and Brighton and Hove Council will not be affected by the revised criteria for PFI waste schemes announced in News Release 609. The PFI contract will need to contribute towards the overall achievement of the statutory performance standards for recycling of household waste which we announced in Waste Strategy 2000. These will require authorities, on average, to double their recycling in three years and nearly triple it in five years.

Wembley Task Force

Mr. Faber: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions on how many occasions since April 2000 the Wembley Task Force has met; and if he will list those present at each meeting. [134835]

Ms Beverley Hughes [holding answer 26 October 2000]: Wembley Task Force has met five times since 1 April 2000 and those present at each meeting were:
































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Airline Passengers (Health)

Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what advice his Department gives to airlines concerning the health of passengers on (a) short and (b) long-distance flights. [134422]

Mr. Mullin [holding answer 26 October 2000]: We are currently awaiting the results of the inquiry by the House of Lords Science and Technology Sub-Committee on the aircraft cabin environment.

The focus of existing advice is to inform airline passengers of the possible health risks posed by air travel and to allow them to take any necessary precautions. The "Health Advice for Travellers" booklet, issued by the Department of Health has been recently updated and includes references to the potential health risks of air travel, such as deep vein thrombosis. Approximately 12 million copies of this booklet are printed and made available to long and short haul travellers each year, usually through post offices, and it is also available on the internet and on CEEFAX. The "Health Information for Overseas Travel" booklet issued to all GPs is also being updated and will include advice on the risk of deep vein thrombosis.

Ann Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what recent investigations his Department has carried out into the health problems associated with long-distance travel. [135132]

Mr. Mullin: In the light of evidence given during the House of Lords Science and Technology Sub-Committee on the aircraft cabin environment, we have commissioned an independent study on passenger health on board aircraft. The study, which should be completed by next spring will cover long and short haul travel. The intention of the study is to bring together existing research with a view to identifying where there are gaps in current knowledge.

Ann Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will introduce regulations to ensure a minimum requirement of space for seating in aircraft. [135134]

Mr. Mullin: The UK already has an airworthiness requirement for minimum seat space, and is unique in this respect. The Civil Aviation Authority which is responsible for the safety regulation of UK registered passenger aircraft, has set standards for seat spacing on UK registered aircraft since 1989. There is also a limit on the number of seats in each row which determines the minimum width of seats.

Ann Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will take steps to regulate air transport to ensure that, on long-haul flights, the health of passengers is protected. [135133]

Mr. Mullin: The recent inquiry by the House of Lords Science and Technology Sub-Committee on the aircraft cabin environment looked into the health effects of travelling in commercial aircraft. We are currently awaiting the results of the inquiry and will study any recommendations it makes before considering the possibility of regulation.

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Mr. Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what assessment he has made of the risks of thrombosis on long-haul flights; and what guidance he plans to issue to the air passenger industry to reduce such risks. [134634]

Mr. Mullin: We are currently awaiting the results of the inquiry by the House of Lords Science and Technology Sub-Committee on the aircraft cabin environment.

In the light of the evidence given during the inquiry, we have commissioned an independent study on passenger health on board aircraft, including the risk of thrombosis. The study, which should be completed by next spring, will bring together existing research with a view to identifying where there are gaps in current knowledge.

The focus of current guidance on the possible risks of air travel, such as deep vein thrombosis, is to inform passengers of when there may be risks and to allow them to take any necessary precautions. The 'Health Advice for Travellers' booklet, issued by the Department of Health, has been recently updated and includes references to potential risks. The latest version was issued in September and contains advice on deep vein thrombosis. Approximately 12 million copies of this booklet are printed and made available to long and short haul travellers each year, usually through Post Offices, and it is also available on the internet and on CEEFAX. The 'Health Information for Overseas Travel' booklet issued to all GPs is also being updated and will include advice on the risk of deep vein thrombosis.


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