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Mr. Hawkins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions in how many road accidents in each of the last three years subsequent analysis revealed that the driver had taken (a) cannabis and (b) other illegal drugs; how many of these accidents resulted in fatalities; and if he will make a statement. 
The Department has undertaken specific research into the incidence of drugs in road accident fatalities. This found that there was a presence of illegal drugs in some 18 per cent. of driver fatalities of which cannabis accounted for about two thirds. However, traces of cannabis remain in the body for some time after any impairing effect, and in general the presence of drugs is not evidence of impairment or accident causation. The research also showed that about a fifth of drivers killed had a blood alcohol level above the legal limit.
Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he has received the Inspector's report following the public inquiry held on 29 February 2000 in connection with the Baldock Bypass. 
Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what progress he has made in his consideration of the Inspector's report following the public inquiry held on 29 February 2000 in connection with the Baldock Bypass; and when he expects to make his decision. 
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Mr. Gordon Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) how many transfer requests from London South Region have been approved by the British Transport Police in the past 12 months; what the average waiting time for them was; and how many of them were on urgent compassionate grounds; 
(3) what the current waiting time is for a transfer within (a) the British Transport Police and (b) from London South Region to another region of the British Transport Police. 
Mr. Hill: The Chief Constable is responsible for direction and control of the British Transport Police (BTP), including the deployment and transfer of police constables. As a national force with over 2,070 constables operating throughout Great Britain, the BTP handles a large number of requests each year for transfer between its eight areas. A high proportion of these are on compassionate grounds and of an urgent nature. The BTP have advised me that they do not collate specific details or statistics regarding transfers within the force, and that the figures requested could be provided only at a disproportionate cost.
Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) what research his Department has undertaken into the impact on individuals of loss of sleep owing to aircraft noise in the vicinity of Heathrow; and if he will place a copy of the results in the Library; 
Mr. Mullin: The former Department of Transport published, in December 1992, the "Report of a Field Study of Aircraft Noise and Sleep Disturbance". This study, which was conducted by a consortium led by the CAA's Department of Safety, Environment and Engineering (now the Environment Research and Consultancy Department, ERCD), was and remains to date the largest survey of its kind in the UK. The survey sites were near Heathrow (Hounslow and Stanwell Moor), Gatwick, Manchester and Stansted airports. Sleep disturbances were detected using actimetry, the validity of which was corroborated using electro-encephalography (EEG). It was found that noise events below 90dBA SEL (equivalent to about 80dBA Lmax) were unlikely to affect average sleep disturbance rates, while events noisier than this gave a mean probability of disturbance of about one in 75, with a range of individual sensitivities around this average.
Based upon these results, illustrative estimates of disturbances owing to aircraft noise events between 11.30 pm and 6.00 am were included at paragraphs 1.37-1.39 of the Department's Second Stage Consultation on the night restrictions at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted, dated
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November 1998. These broad estimates, and the assumptions on which they rely, are carefully explained in the consultation document.
Mr. Mullin: The current night flying restrictions applying at Heathrow (and Gatwick and Stansted) were announced on 10 June 1999, Official Report, columns 378-80W, following extensive consultation. They came into effect on 31 October 1999. Consultation papers were issued on 27 February 1998 and on 17 November 1998. Copies of both were placed in the House Library. As stated in the second consultation paper,
Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what initiatives his Department will be taking as part of the Government's National Noise Strategy to reduce the impact of night flights by civil aviation on those living in rural areas under flight paths. 
Mr. Mullin: The Government intend to consult on a National Ambient Noise Strategy later this year, seeking views on how best to develop more effective and better integrated measures for tackling the impact of ambient noise from all the main sources. While the development of the Strategy is underway, we will continue to pursue policies at national and international level to reduce the impact of aircraft noise.
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Ms Julie Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what action he plans to take to put into effect the recommendations of the report entitled 'British Shipping: Charting a New Course' to safeguard the employment of British seafarers employed on contracts which are based in a foreign country. 
Mr. Hill: The Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) has statutory responsibility to keep the workings of the Race Relations Act 1976 under review. The Government publicly consulted on the CRE's recommendations for strengthening the Act following its Third Review in 1998. The CRE did not recommend any changes to the Act with regard to protection afforded to seafarers employed by British companies. The Government responded to the CRE's proposals, following public consultation, on 14 July 1999. A copy of the response was placed in the Library of the House.
The Government are alert to views that the exception for seafarers at section 9 of the Act should be repealed. 'Charting a new course' sets out an integrated strategy for Britain's shipping industry. The Government are keeping in mind the views on Section 9 of the Act as part of their on-going programme of work.
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