|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much money has been set aside as part of (a) the SRA Plan and (b) the 10-Year Plan for the implementation of the EU directives on interoperability on the high speed network. 
Mr. Jamieson: Neither the 10-Year Plan or the SRA Strategic plan identify specific sums for implementing the high speed interoperability directive which does not, in itself, require projects to be initiated. However, new high speed projects will have to comply with the Directive and the cost of implementation will be taken into account when those projects are developed.
Mr. Jamieson: I refer the hon. Member to the regulatory impact assessment produced in support of the Railways (Interoperability) (High-Speed) Regulations 2002 implementing the high-speed interoperability directive, a copy of which was placed in the Libraries of the House on 25 April 2002.
Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the percentage of the possible costs for implementing the EU directives on interoperability on the high speed network, that will be borne by (a) the Government, (b) the successor to Railtrack, (c) the SRA, (d) freight rail companies and (e) passenger rail companies. 
Mr. Jamieson: No assessment has been made of the potential allocation of costs arising from implementation of the high speed interoperability directive which does not, in itself, require projects to be initiated. However, new high speed projects will have to comply with the directive and, to the extent that this results in costs being incurred by network or train operators (which will vary from project to project), those costs will be taken into account in the railway funding and charging regime in the usual way.
Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list the non-departmental bodies attached to his Department that have a responsibility for transport issues, listing their responsibilities in each case. 
11 Jun 2002 : Column 1141W
The Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee advises Government and industry on the transport and built environment needs of disabled people.
The Northern Lighthouse Board and Trinity House Lighthouse Service provide marine aids to navigation to make transport safer.
The Strategic Rail Authority's purposes are set out at section 205 of the Transport Act 2000.
The Traffic Commissioners have responsibility in their geographical area for the licensing of operators of heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) and of buses and coaches (PSVs); the registration of local bus services; and disciplinary action against drivers of HGVs and PSVs.
11 Jun 2002 : Column 1142W
Mr. Jamieson: The Government have introduced a range of measures to encourage environmentally friendly buses. These include: lower fuel duties for cleaner fuels; reduced vehicle excise duty for buses that meet tighter emissions standards; and grants from TransportAction for buses that run on cleaner fuels or are fitted with pollution reducing technology. In addition the Green Fuels Challenge programme is supporting, through duty exemptions, hydrogen fuel cell buses.
Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many (a) road and (b) rail accidents there have been in each of the last three years which involved vehicles transporting dangerous or hazardous materials. 
Mr. Jamieson: The number of road and rail accidents notified to the Health and Safety Executive under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations for 1995 for the past three years is:
|Overturning or serious damage to a tank while conveying by road prescribed dangerous substances, or the uncontrolled release or fire involved the substance being conveyed||28||21||26|
|Uncontrolled release or escape of a dangerous substance, or a fire involving the dangerous substance, when being conveyed by road in a vehicle||24||44||74|
|Rail accidents involving vehicles transporting dangerous goods||11||4||4|
Mr. Love: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what estimate he has made of the (a) numbers and (b) percentage of residents who were not registered on the electoral register in (i) the UK, (ii) Greater London and (iii) Enfield in each of the last five years. 
Mr. Love: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how much public expenditure was incurred in organising the 2001 general election in (a) the UK, (b) Greater London and (c) Enfield; and if he will make a statement. 
(b) Greater London£5 million; and
Mr. Watts: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will introduce proposals to change the pensions rules to remove the ability of companies to take contribution holidays from their employees' pension schemes. 
Mr. McCartney: The Government do not have any plans to change the rules about, or to prevent firms from taking, contribution holidays from their defined benefit pension schemes. Under Inland Revenue rules, pension funds that are funded in excess of 105 per cent. of their liabilities must take action to reduce that surplus. That action might take the form of improved benefits for members, contribution holidays for members or sponsoring employers, or a taxable return to the employer.
The Pensions Act 1995 provides that before any surplus is returned to an employer, all current and future pensions in payment should be increased annually in line with the retail prices index up to a maximum of 5 per cent. In
11 Jun 2002 : Column 1143W
addition, trustees have to satisfy themselves that the use of the surplus is in the interest of the members, and that members should be notified of the proposal.
Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make a statement on the development of statutory money purchase illustrations and composite annual pension benefit statements. 
Mr. McCartney: We have been working closely with the Faculty of Actuaries and the Institute of Actuaries to produce regulations and guidance that will mean people paying toward money purchase benefits will, starting in April 2003, receive an annual illustration of what their future pension might be. Regulations were laid before the House on 20 May, and a technical memorandum has been published on the Faculty of Actuaries and Institute of Actuaries website.
The combined pension forecasting service, that gives information about state and private pensions together, was launched in October 2001 at the industry's annual pensions show. Since that date, the service has been open to all pension providers to register their interest in participating.
We are also looking at the feasibility of a composite pension forecast, where information about state pension would be combined with details of private pensions from more than one provider. This is still at a very early stage, but we are working closely with the office of the e-envoy and people in the pensions industry.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|