|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. Peter Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what representations he has received from the Isle of Man authorities regarding the timing of the publication of the MAIB report into the Solway Harvester. 
Mr. Jamieson: The Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions has had no representations from the Isle of Man authorities regarding the timing of the MAIB report into the Solway Harvester.
Mr. Peter Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what discussions he has had with the police in the Isle of Man on the timing of the release of the MAIB report into the sinking of the Solway Harvester. 
Mr. Jamieson: The Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions has had no discussions with the Isle of Man police regarding the timing of the MAIB report into the Solway Harvester.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will publish the most recent figures for the number of (a) second residences which are entitled to the 50 per cent. council tax rebate and (b) holiday residences taxed as such for business purposes broken down by (i) parish, (ii) district, (iii) unitary authority and (iv) county for the nations and regions of the UK, expressed (A) numerically and (B) as a percentage of the housing stock. 
(a) We estimate that approximately 220,000 second homes (defined as furnished and no-one's main residence) in England were entitled to the 50 per cent. council tax discount as at October 2000. This represents 1.0 per cent. of the total domestic housing stock in England. Comparable figures for each parish, district and county/unitary area in England are not available.
(b) 15,507 premises in England were subject to non-domestic rates and let as self-catering holiday homes at 1 January 2002. While many of these premises are individual self-catering holiday homes, some whole sites of holiday homes are counted as a single premises for rating purposes, even though they contain many individual homes. The figures do not include premises where it is not intended that the property is let as holiday accommodation for more than 140 days in a year as these are subject to council tax and not to non-domestic rates. Nor do the figures include bed and breakfast accommodation that is liable to non-domestic rates.
The figure mentioned is equivalent to the 0.07 per cent. of the total domestic housing stock in England, as recorded at 1 April 2001 on the 2001 HIP Housing Strategy Statistical Appendix. Although the HIP figures include holiday residences, it is possible that they are not counted in the same way as they are for non-domestic rating purposes.
12 Feb 2002 : Column 239W
Mr. Letwin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what assessment he has made of the impact of section G(1) of the Immigration and Nationality Act 1971 on the employment without work-permits of non-EU pilots as crew for UK-based airlines. 
Mr. Jamieson: My officials have discussed the working of immigration legislation in the aviation field regularly with colleagues in the employment and immigration services. In principle I am not opposed to non-EU pilots directly employed by UK airlines having to obtain work permits, but I could not support any proposals for changing current arrangements which would create operational difficulties for UK airlines in terms of their ability to wet-lease foreign aircraft to meet emergency situations or seasonal fluctuations in demand, or for other acceptable reasons within the terms of the EU legislation governing the use of foreign registered aircraft by community airlines.
Mr. Letwin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what steps he has taken to encourage other EU countries to validate UK national pilot licences on the same basis as the UK validates the national licences of other EU member states. 
Mr. Jamieson: The matter of validation of national pilot licences within the EU is addressed by EC Directive 91/670/EEC. The Directive requires EU member states to recognise those licences issued by other member states but allows an individual state to require additional requirements if there is reasonable doubt as to the equivalence of the licence. In compliance with the Directive, the UK requires all applicants for licence validation to pass an examination in national aviation law and in some circumstances further proficiency checks. Other EU member states similarly impose additional requirements for the validation of other states' licences, including UK pilot licences. These additional requirements are required to meet the national legislation of the state and are in accordance with the terms of the EC Directive 91/670/EEC.
Hugh Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions further to his answer of 31 January 2002, Official Report, column 457W, on speeding signs in Bredhurst, if he will grant authorisation for the installation of interactive speeding signs in Kent where the sites have been approved and the parish councils are willing to pay for their installation. 
Mr. Jamieson: The decision to seek approval to install speed activated signs rests with the local authority responsible. In this case Kent county council. If Bredhurst parish council believe their village is suitable for these signs they would need in the first instance to approach
12 Feb 2002 : Column 240W
Kent county council. The council would need to consider whether the site is appropriate and seek approval from my Department.
My Department is currently considering the findings of a report prepared by TRL on the effectiveness of speed activated signs in reducing vehicle speeds. We hope to start preparing guidance for local authorities with a view to authorising those signs which the report has found to be effective later in the year.
Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what steps he is taking to increase the number of people becoming trainers of maritime professionals; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Jamieson: Recruitment is a matter for the individual shipping companies themselves. There are Government measures, however, to assist and encourage the training and employment of British seafarers. We provide financial support for seafarer training through the Support for Maritime Training (SMarT) scheme. Following a review of SMarT in autumn/winter 2000 and the receipt of EU State Aid clearance, additional courses will be included in the scheme and levels of funding will be increased. We introduced the tonnage tax option as part of the Finance Act 2000, a key feature of which is a minimum training obligation. This feature is unique to the UK, and requires each shipping company opting for the tonnage tax to recruit and train one officer trainee each year for every 15 officer posts in its fleet and also give consideration to employment and training opportunities for ratings.
Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what assessment he has make of (a) safety and (b) working conditions on board ships; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Jamieson: Marine surveyors from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) carry out inspections which include an assessment of compliance with health and safety requirements and other regulations which safeguard working conditions on board ships, and take any necessary action where deficiencies are found. On foreign ships in UK ports these inspections are carried out as part of a co-ordinated inspection regime with European partners.
Owners and operators of ships have a duty to provide a safe working environment for those on board ship, and employers on UK ships are required to use risk assessment to comply with health and safety legislation.
12 Feb 2002 : Column 241W
Mr. Jamieson: Exact figures are not available. However, the latest available estimates are that there are about 15,000 active UK seafarer officers employed at sea assuming a retirement age of 65, or about 13,000 assuming a retirement age of 57.
Mr. Tyler: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will list the international studies and investigations of exposure to organophosphates in aviation engine lubricants, with particular reference to pilots and flight staff, which are under review in his Department; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Jamieson: There are a number of investigations under way into episodic contamination from aviation engine lubricants that include, but are not confined to, the possibility of cabin air contamination by 'organophosphates'. This includes work in the UK involving the relevant aeroplane and engine manufacturers, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Recent research sponsored by the CAA, and conducted by DSTL Porton Down, made a specific toxicological review of the products liberated from pyrolysed aviation engine oil. Further follow up work by the CAA is in progress. International studies into the quality of cabin air supplied to crew and passengers are being conducted by several bodies of repute. These include the US National Academy of Sciences, the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Aviation Propulsion Lubricants Committee, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) and two EC Fifth Framework projects.
This research, together with that produced by CAA and industry itself, will be considered by a new specialist group involving the FAA, the Joint Aviation Authorities and industry representatives, tasked with reviewing the Joint Aviation Requirements (JAR) and Federal Aviation Requirements (FAR) design requirements for cabin ventilation and pressurisation. This Department will continue to monitor the outcome of research into episodic contamination through the aviation health working group.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|