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Strategic Rail Authority

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions, pursuant to the answer of 23 January 2002, Official Report, column 863W, on the Strategic Rail Authority, how much money has been allocated in total; and on what basis it will be allocated and in which financial year. [31536]

Mr. Spellar [holding answer 30 January 2002]: I refer the hon. Member to my answers to him on 8 January 2002, Official Report, columns 323–24W and 4 February 2002, Official Report, column 729W.

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The Strategic Rail Authority has discretion, within its total funding provision, to allocate funds to mitigate commercial risk. The total funds used for that purpose will not be known until individual negotiations on special purpose vehicles are concluded.

Coastguard Helicopters

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how many helicopters are based at each coastguard station south of a line from the Wash to Liverpool Bay; and what the target response times are for coastguard helicopters. [31802]

Mr. Jamieson: Declared Search and Rescue (SAR) helicopters are strategically located around the United Kingdom according to coverage requirements; they are not based at coastguard stations although some are based close to them. South of a line from the Wash to Liverpool Bay, SAR helicopters are based at:

BaseHours standby
Wattisham, SuffolkMOD—RAF24
Lee on Solent, HampshireMCA—HMCG24
Portland, DorsetMCA—HMCG(6)12
Culdrose, CornwallMOD—RN24
Chivenor, DevonMOD—RAF24
Valley, North WalesMOD—RAF24

(6) 0900–2100 standby


At each base there is a primary helicopter and crew prepared for emergency response. In addition, at RAF SAR helicopter units, when available, a second aircraft and crew maintains a one-hour standby from 0800 to Evening Civil Twilight or 1800, whichever is the later, but not later than 2200 local time.

The criteria for SAR helicopter coverage require that a SAR helicopter should take off as quickly and safely as possible, normally within 15 minutes by day and 45 minutes by night, from receiving notification of the incident by the appropriate Rescue Co-ordination Centre. SAR helicopters should be capable of reaching all very high and high risk areas and 75 per cent. of all medium risk areas within the UK Search and Rescue Region within 60 minutes of take-off.

London Underground

Mr. Randall: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will list the meetings he has had in the last 10 months with the Health and Safety Executive to discuss safety on the London underground. [32170]

Mr. Jamieson: Ministers and officials meet the Health and Safety Executive on a regular basis to discuss a range of issues including safety on the London underground.

Paul Holmes: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if the PPP contracts as drafted will allow lowering of the current standards of disabled access being provided by London Underground Ltd. when carrying out new building and refurbishments. [33784]

Mr. Jamieson: The PPP contracts will require the infrastructure companies to comply with all London Underground standards, including for disabled access,

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when carrying out new building and refurbishments. The PPP will result in real improvements to the accessibility of the Underground.

Paul Holmes: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions why the new draft public-private partnership contracts grant the infrastructure companies the right to challenge London Underground Ltd.'s implementation of its obligations under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, Part 3, access to goods and services. [33783]

Mr. Jamieson: London Underground and the Government remain committed to improving accessibility of the Underground and the modernisation plans will result in real improvements. The contracts require the infrastructure companies to comply with the Rail Vehicle Accessibility Regulations and to carry out other works specified by London Underground to improve accessibility. London Underground can also require the companies to carry out additional improvements, which could have significant cost implications.

The contract therefore provides for London Underground and infrastructure companies to agree on such plans. In the event of disagreement, London Underground can require the work to be done unless the infrastructure company can show that no reasonable person could interpret the requirements of the DDA in the way proposed by London Underground.

Mr. Mark Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what assessment he has made of the effect on revenue to London Underground of delay in implementing the proposed public-private partnership; and if he will make a statement. [34043]

Mr. Jamieson: London Underground does not believe that the timing of the implementation of the public-private partnership has had any effect on revenues.

Road Schemes

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions, pursuant to the written answer of 30 October 2001, Official Report, column 578W, if he will list (a) road schemes included in the first full local transport plans which have an element of private capital, (b) road schemes included in the first annual progress reports which have an element of private capital and (c) roads in the targeted programme of improvements which has an element of private capital. [32911]

Mr. Jamieson: None of the schemes in the three categories listed currently has an element of private capital.

Motorway Accidents

Mr. Terry Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how many motorway accidents involving heavy goods vehicles there were in each of the last five years; and how many of such accidents involved foreign-owned and operated vehicles. [33268]

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Mr. Jamieson: The number of personal injury motorway accidents involving heavy goods vehicles is as follows.

Injury road accidents on motorways(7) involving HGVs(8)

YearNumber
19961,796
19972,000
19982,109
19992,342
20002,416

(7) Includes motorway standard A roads

(8) Goods vehicles over 3.5 tonnes


Reliable information on the number of accident involving foreign heavy goods vehicles is not available.

Channel Tunnel Rail Link

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what plans he has for the provision of additional tracks between Borough Market Junction and Metropolitan Junction on the channel tunnel route from Charing Cross to Orpington; and what is the (a) status of, (b) start date of and (c) expected completion date for such works. [32994]

Mr. Byers: The Thameslink 2000 project includes the provision of two additional tracks between Borough Market and Metropolitan Junction thus relieving the two track bottleneck over the Borough Market viaduct.

Railtrack have applied for powers under the Transport and Works Act 1992 to carry out this project and the inspector's report is currently under consideration. Until I have taken my decision on that application it would be inappropriate for me to comment on likely future start and completion dates.

However, Railtrack estimate that the project would take about five years to complete.

Television Sets

Mr. Yeo: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how many (a) integrated digital and (b) analogue television sets have been bought by his Department in each of the last 24 months; and if he will publish the guidance given to officials making decisions on television purchases. [33232]

Dr. Whitehead [holding answer 4 February 2002]: There is no central register kept of all television purchases. The Department and its agencies have purchased 39 analogue televisions and six digital televisions over the last 24 months.

There is no central guidance on the purchase of televisions; it is for the purchaser to adhere to central purchasing procedures and achieving best value.

National Rail Summit

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions for what reason no National Rail Summit took place in 2001; and when the next National Rail Summit is due to take place. [33926]

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Mr. Jamieson: Two summits were held in 1999 and 2000 but there was never any intention to hold them on an annual basis. There are no current plans to hold further National Rail Summits.


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