§ The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport (Mr. Neil Carmichael)
Mr. E. Brian Gibbens, Q.C., with two expert assessors, is holding a formal investigation into the Hixon level-crossing accident and into the general safety of automatic half-barrier protection. Public hearings continued from 26th February to 20th March, with evidence taken from 38 witnesses, and were resumed on 29th April. During the adjournment Mr. Gibbens and his assessors visited France and Holland to look at automatic level-crossings in those countries.
I cannot say at this stage when the hearings will be completed or when Mr. Gibbens will be able to present his report.
§ Mr. Carmichael
The Department is very well aware of the anxiety and the great dangers that the public feel about these crossings, but obviously when such an important and expert inquiry as this has been set up to investigate the matter, we should wait for the views given in the report. We shall, of course, bear in mind what my hon. Friend has said about the importance of this matter.