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Rail Incidents (Road Vehicles)

Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many incidents of vehicles leaving the road and encroaching onto railway tracks were recorded (a) each week and (b) each month in the last year for which figures are available; what measures are in place to protect railway passengers and staff; and if he will request the Highways Agency to investigate such incidences and the efficacy of motorway barriers. [158831]

Mr. Hill: For the period 1 April 2000-31 March 2001, there were 15 incidents of road vehicles leaving the road and ending up on railway lines. Details of these incidents appear in the table.

Incidents of Motorists leaving the road and ending up on railway line

2000-01Number
April1
May3
June0
July5
August1
September1
October0
November1
December2
January0
February1
March0

The figures are based on notifications forwarded by Railtrack to HSE's Railway Inspectorate. Data are not available on a weekly basis.

I announced on 12 March 2001, Official Report, columns 466-67W, that following the accident at Selby, the Deputy Prime Minister had asked that two working groups be established. Alan Cooksey, the Deputy Chief Inspecting Officer of Railways (HSE), will chair the first group. Its remit is to prepare a report to the Health and Safety Commission on the risks arising to railway traffic from road traffic, in particular incidents where road vehicles have blocked railway lines, and recommend how those risks can best be controlled. The Chief Highway Engineer at the Highways Agency, John Kerman, will chair the second group. Its remit is to review the standards

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for provision of nearside safety barriers on major roads in the light of recent accidents and make recommendations to the Highways Agency. The reports of both these groups will be presented to the Deputy Prime Minster in the autumn.

Housing Costs

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions, pursuant to his answer of 10 April 2001, Official Report, column 504W, on housing costs, how many of the responses (a) supporting the exclusion of some or all housing costs in the calculation of households' income, (b) supporting the inclusion of housing costs in the calculation of income, (c) which offered other suggestions and (d) making no comment were submitted on behalf of more than one organisation or individual; and if he will list the total number of organisations or individuals who expressed support for each of the four categories listed above. [159038]

Mr. Meacher [holding answer 26 April 2001]: A total of 252 responses to the consultation document were received. The breakdown of responses is as shown:





A copy of the full analysis of the consultation responses was placed in the Libraries of the House in November 1999.

Some organisations submitted an individual response as well as appending their names to a response from an umbrella organisation in the area. No separate record is available of how many were submitted on this basis.

The consultation draft of the UK Fuel Poverty Strategy sets out the Government's approach of displaying the number of fuel poor according to the two main definitions:



This consultation provides a further opportunity to comment on this aspect of the fuel poverty definition.

Heavy Vehicles

Mr. Norman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) what studies have been undertaken by his Department into the driving of vehicles over 3.5 tonnes in weight by drivers under the age of 21 years; [159198]

Mr. Prescott: None.

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Mr. Norman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many accidents have been recorded by his Department involving drivers of vehicles in excess of 3.5 tonnes in weight in each of the last 10 years. [159200]

Mr. Prescott: The table shows the number of road accidents in Great Britain resulting in personal injury, which involved goods vehicles with gross vehicle weight in excess of 3.5 tonnes between 1990 and 1999.

Number of accidents involving goods vehicles with gross vehicle weight over 3.5 tonnes: Great Britain: 1990-99

YearNumber
199015,063
199113,622
199213,020
199313,174
199413,184
199512,618
199612,433
199713,132
199813,278
199913,951

US Visit

Mr. Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what the purpose and itinerary of his recent visit to the USA was; which officials accompanied him; what the total cost to public funds was; which members of the United States Administration he met; and if he will make a statement. [159225]

Mr. Prescott [holding answer 27 April 2001]: I visited the United States from 16 to 21 April.

On 17 April I held bilateral talks on transport issues in Washington with Norman Mineta, the United States Secretary of State of Transport; Jane Garvey, the Administrator at the Federal Aviation Administration, and Congressman James D. Oberstar.

In New York I attended the United Nations Commissions for Sustainable Development from 18 to 20 April, during which I had meetings with EU and other Ministers on climate change. I attended on 21 April high level consultations on climate change chaired by Jan Pronk, the Dutch Chairman of COP6, in which about 35 key countries participated.

I was accompanied by three officials from my Department and one Special Adviser. My costs for the visit were approximately £8,800. Total Government expenditure on Ministerial visits in 1999-2000, the latest year for which figures are available, was £4.6 million, compared to £7.9 million for the last year of the previous Administration.

Waste Management

Mr. Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will list by (a) location, (b) year, (c) tonnage, (d) source and (e) specific end-use the sites which used incinerator ash, waste lime or dust, for the purposes described in Waste Management Licensing Regulations Schedule 3, paragraph 7, referring to the spreading of waste for the

8 May 2001 : Column: 30W

benefit of land between 1990 and 2001; what the nature of the ash was; and if he will provide associated test results produced by his Department. [159488]

Mr. Meacher [holding answer 30 April 2001]: Paragraph 7 of Schedule 3 to the Waste Management Licensing Regulations 1994 provides an exemption from waste management licensing for the spreading of certain types and quantities of waste where the activity results in benefit to agriculture or ecological improvement. The list of waste types subject to the exemption includes waste lime but does not include incinerator ash or dust.

The Environment Agency has a duty, under regulation 18 of the 1994 Regulations, to maintain a public register for each establishment or undertaking carrying on an exempt activity which shows:




This information is available for inspection locally by members of the public, but detailed information of the kind requested by the hon. Member on the use of waste lime under the exemption is not held centrally by the Environment Agency. No associated test results have been produced by my Department on incinerator ash, waste lime or dust.

Energy Efficiency Savings

Dr. Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions, pursuant to his answer of 10 April 2001, Official Report, column 499W, if he will place in the Library information on improvements reported by each local authority in England on a population weighted basis. [160115]

Mr. Meacher: The information requested is not available. All details of energy efficiency improvements reported by energy conservation authorities were given in my written answers on 30 November 2000, Official Report, columns 757-58W, 26 January 2001, Official Report, column 731W, and 10 April 2001, Official Report, column 499W.

Dr. Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what the overall figure is for savings on energy efficiency for England based on the returns reported by individual local authorities under the Home Energy Conservation Act 1995. [160116]

Mr. Meacher: Details of reported energy efficiency improvements in England, including an overall figure of just over 6 per cent. for the period 1 April 1996 to 31 March 2000, are included in four summary reports that were placed in the Libraries of the House following my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Nottingham, South (Mr. Simpson) on 26 January 2001, Official Report, column 731W.


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