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Lord Shore of Stepney asked Her Majesty's Government:

18 May 1999 : Column WA29

Lord Whitty: The Chief Medical Officer of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has advised that a fit individual would be exposed to no health hazard from the cabin air conditioning system in modern aircraft flying at altitude on a long distance flight.

When several hundred people are mixed together, the spread of disease is facilitated. An individual with a cold, influenza or some other infectious disease is almost certainly going to spread the condition directly to those in close proximity. This has nothing to do with the air conditioning of the aircraft but is a simple matter of personal contact.

The health of those passengers with respiratory or cardiac disease may be compromised by the reduction in pressure that takes place when an aircraft is flying at altitude, but this is also not affected by the air conditioning.

M.4: Elevated Section Speed Limit

Lord Stoddart of Swindon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the reason for lowering the speed limit from 50 mph to 40 mph on the elevated section of the M.4 motorway; and whether this is temporary or a permanent measure.[HL2469]

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Lord Whitty: The accident record on the elevated section of the M.4 motorway is a cause of concern and, given the correlation between speed and accidents, this indicates a need to reduce the speed limit. The layout of this two-lane section of the M.4 is below current standards for a 50 mph limit. Combined with the number of accidents, this explains the reason for introducing a 40 mph limit on both carriageways. The London Accident Analysis Unit has estimated the likely accident savings to be about 20 personal injury accidents in a three-year period. The speed limit reduction will be permanent.

M.4. Bus, Coach and Taxi Lane Project

Lord Stoddart of Swindon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the cost of providing the bus, coach and taxi lane between junction 3 and the elevated section of the M.4 motorway; and how it is to be financed.[HL2468]

Lord Whitty: The current estimated cost of this project is £1.9 million and is being funded from the Highways Agency's trunk road works programme, as agreed by the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions.

18 May 1999 : Column WA29



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