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Bridleways: Harness Horse Driving

Baroness Trumpington asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Whitty : We have received nearly 2,000 responses to the consultation paper Improving Rights of Way in England and Wales. We will consider the noble Baroness's suggestion in the context of these responses.

Lead Shot Restriction Regulations

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Whitty: The Government are aware of no prosecutions under the Environment Protection (Restriction on the use of lead shot) (England) Regulations 1999 (S.I. 1999/2170). The Government will be looking at various methods of monitoring the impact on all those affected by the legislation.

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Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will place in the Library of the House a copy of the guidance issued to police forces on the enforcement of the Environment Protection (Restriction on the use of lead shot) (England) Regulations 1999 (S.I. 1999/2170).[HL4496]

Lord Whitty: The Government have not yet issued any guidance to police forces in England in relation to S.I. 1999/2170. If any guidance is issued, the Government will place a copy in the House Library.

King's Cross Partnership

Lord Freyberg asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Whitty on 28 October (WA 39-40), whether the initiatives and activities of the King's Cross Partnership meet their expectations.[HL4499]

Lord Whitty: The King's Cross Partnership has been successful in exceeding the expected public and private match-funding levels. Overall, progress against key performance indicators has been strong, particularly in respect of jobs created.

The Partnership has undertaken the physical improvements in Chalton Street and to The Scala.

Lord Freyberg asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Whitty on 28 October (WA 39-40), how much of the £163 million given to regenerate the King's Cross area has been spent by the King's Cross Partnership; whether any of that money is awaiting distribution to various projects; and if so how much.[HL4500]

Lord Whitty: The total amount spent by the King's Cross Partnership as at 31 March 1999 was £109 million. A further £12.6 million has been allocated for the current financial year.

Railway Passenger Safety

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the level of acceptable risk for the carriage of passengers by rail has changed as a result of privatisation.[HL4575]

The Minister of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston): The duty of the railway industry, under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, continues to be to reduce risks to a level that is as low as is reasonably practicable. Several new sets of regulations, intended to ensure the maintenance and,

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where necessary, improvement of existing safety standards, have been introduced since privatisation and are enforced by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). These include the Railways Safety Regulations 1999, which require the installation of train protection systems and the withdrawal of Mark 1 rolling stock. Neither the Government nor HSE regard any increase in risk to railway passengers as acceptable.

Railway accident statistics are published in annual reports of HM Railway Inspectorate, copies of which are placed in the Library.

Guide Dogs: Carriage in Taxis

Earl Attlee asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they intend to implement Section 37 of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 so that guide dogs for the blind have to be accepted by taxis and minicabs at no extra charge.[HL4497]

Lord Macdonald of Tradeston: We have planned to consult on the draft regulations to be made under Section 37 of the Disability Discrimination Act as part of the larger package of accessibility regulations covering taxis. Since that package is still some way from being finalised, and we are aware of the increasing concern being expressed about the carriage of guide dogs in taxis, we now intend to consult separately on the Section 37 provisions early in the new year.

The draft regulations to be introduced under Section 37 will only apply to taxis. To apply similar provisions to private hire vehicles (PHVs or minicabs) would require primary legislation and at this stage we have no plans to introduce any amendment in respect of PHVs.

However, there is a power available to licensing authorities outside London under Section 51(2) of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 enabling them to attach such conditions to the grant of a PHV driver's licence as they consider reasonably necessary. Bearing in mind that this power is subject to an appeals procedure, it would be up to individual councils in their capacity as licensing authorities to consider whether it could, or should, be applied in respect of guide dogs.

With regard to the situation in London, we are currently implementing provisions to regulate PHVs. The carriage of guide dogs will be considered when we consult jointly with the Public Carriage Office on proposals to regulate PHV drivers.

London Transport Services: Consultation on Changes

The Earl of Clancarty asked Her Majesty's Government:

    By what specific means the travelling public are consulted when London Transport considers

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    changes or developments which in any way affect the service on either the buses or the Underground.[HL4516]

Lord Macdonald of Tradeston : This is a matter for London Transport. However, I understand that the position is as follows.

Buses: when any significant changes are proposed to bus services, such as rerouting, renumbering, new services, withdrawals or major revisions to frequencies, London Transport is required, under Section 36 of the Transport Act 1985, to consult local authorities (as elected representatives of local people), the police and the London Regional Passengers' Committee (LRPC). In addition to these statutory consultees, Members of Parliament, Area Health Authorities and Community Health Councils are also consulted.

Underground: London Underground, on a voluntary basis, consults the LRPC and relevant local authorities when proposals are under consideration for significant changes to advertised service frequencies, changes to times of first and last trains (other than minor detailed adjustments), changes to train routing patterns, changes to station opening or closing times (also total destaffing of a station or total closure of a secondary station entrance/exit), and public toilet closures.

The Earl of Clancarty asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether there were any specific consultations, either formally or informally, between London Transport and London public passengers over the recent announcement of fare increases on the buses and the Underground; and if so whether they will furnish details of such consultations.[HL4539]

Lord Macdonald of Tradeston : These are matters for London Transport. But I understand that London Transport (LT) consulted the London Regional Passengers' Committee (LRPC) on the full detail of the new fares. A presentation was given by LT to the LRPC in early August. There were subsequent exchanges of correspondence.

Railtrack

Lord Faulkner of Worcester asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What advice they have received from Railtrack plc on the future management of the company's property portfolio in ways which are consistent with the development of an integrated transport policy, the enhancement of the rail travel experience and the encouragement of additional rail passenger business.[HL4555]

Lord Macdonald of Tradeston: Railtrack manages its property portfolio on a commercial basis but subject to oversight by the Rail Regulator to protect the public interest. Railtrack is prohibited under the terms of its network licence from disposing of land

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without the Regulator's consent where the disposal would mean that Railtrack was unable to meet its existing contractual obligations. The Regulator is considering whether the regulatory controls over Railtrack in this area are sufficient.

Lord Faulkner of Worcester asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What encouragement they have given to Railtrack plc to develop their property portfolio in ways which increase the rail travel business as well as enhance shareholder value.[HL4556]

Lord Macdonald of Tradeston: As part of his current review of Railtrack's access charges, the Rail Regulator is considering how best to reflect the value of Railtrack's property portfolio and the proceeds from its management and development.


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