Select Committee on Transport, Local Government and the Regions Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 438-439)


  Chairman: Those of us who have direct transport involvement should make that declaration before taking that evidence. I am a member of the Rail, Maritime & Transport Workers Union.

  Mrs Ellman: I am a member of the Transport and General Workers' Union.

  Mr Stevenson: I am a member of the Transport and General Workers' Union.

  Mr Donohoe: I am a member of the Transport and General Workers' Union.

  Miss McIntosh: I have shareholdings in Railtrack, First Group, Eurotunnel, the RAC. My husband works for an American airline.


  438. Good afternoon. I am sorry to have kept you waiting. We are very grateful to you for coming. Would you care to tell us precisely who you are?
  (Kate Timms) I am Kate Timms. I am Deputy Director General at the Health and Safety Executive responsible for policy.
  (Mr Coleman) I am Vic Coleman, Chief Inspector of Railways from the Health and Safety Executive.

  439. Do you have any remarks you would like to make to the Committee before we go to questions?
  (Kate Timms) Thank you, yes, I should like to make a very short statement. HSE is the health and safety regulator for London Underground and for other railways in Great Britain. We have provided a written statement to the Committee explaining in some detail HSE's role under the railway safety case regime. Since preparing that submission we have completed consideration of version 3.0, as was just referred to, of London Underground's safety case. On 3 December we announced that we had accepted it. A press notice reporting that decision was given to this Committee on the same day. Copies of the acceptance report and the assessment report are being made available to the Committee. The decision to accept version 3.0 of LUL's safety case does not in itself mean that HSE is guaranteeing safety on the Tube. The law requires LUL to ensure the safety of the employees and the travelling public. Our decision means that LUL has provided convincing evidence to HSE as the independent safety regulator that it is able properly to assess and control the risks that are likely to arise from its modernisation plans for the Tube network. The safety case which we have accepted relates to LUL as a public sector organisation with infrastructure companies still in the public sector. LUL must now submit to HSE a further safety case, which will be version 3.1, which will build on the work done for version 3.0 but will specifically address issues related to the transfer of the infrastructure companies into the private sector. The safety case regime which we have followed in the case of LUL is a complex one but a necessary one. Endorsement of the importance of this system for rail safety came in the recent report by Lord Cullen following the public inquiry into Ladbroke Grove. We shall be guided by Lord Cullen's recommendations on ways in which the safety regime can be strengthened.

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