HC Deb 17 July 1989 vol 157 cc15-6W
Mr. Bowis

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects London Regional Transport to publish the independent review of the safety of the Underground ticket gates.

Mr. Portillo

LRT has published the report today. Copies are being placed in the Library of the House together with copies of LRT's response. The report is a comprehensive, independent assessment by consulting engineers, Mott MacDonald, of the safety of the new automatic ticket gates being introduced on the London Underground.

The report concludes that the gate system is basically suited to the safe operation of the Underground. The consultants confirm that in general the gates provide better evacuation routes than the traditional barrier line by providing more exit aisles. The gates were not found to impede access for the emergency services or to present a fire or electrical hazard. Compared with totally open stations the consultants consider that the gates contribute to safety by providing a method of exercising crowd control.

Sixty detailed recommendations are made. The recommendations cover modifications to the design, installation and layout of the gate equipment and improvements to the maintenance, operations and staff training arrangements. Where extra gates are considered necessary at particular stations to cope with the growing number of passengers, appropriate recommendations have been made. The railway inspectorate and the London fire brigade have been consulted about the findings.

London Underground has agreed to implement all the recommendations with the exception of one temporary measure for which an alternative arrangement is proposed to achieve the same objective.

The majority of recommendations will be implemented within 12 months. LRT reports that 18 of the recommendations have already been completed or work put in hand. The estimated cost of complying with all the recommendations is estimated by LRT to be between £5 million to £10 million.