§ Mr. Charles Kennedy
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when the crude oil-carrying tanker Aegean Sea passed through the Minch.176W
1979 1991–92 Loco-hauled passenger coaches 5,885 2,114 Non-passenger coaches 4,336 1,100 Sub-total Coaching Vehicles (Excluding power units) 21,511 12,925 Sub-total power units 141 197 Freight vehicles (excluding brake vans) Covered 11,439 1,679 Open 14,415 13,500 Others 111,735 4,698 Sub-total Freight Vehicles 137,589 19,877 Total all vehicles 162,812 34,895
1. Figures for 1991–92 exclude 13,166 freight vehicles and 11 locomotives privately owned. 1979 figures not known, but are broadly the same for wagons, with no locomotives.
2. Reduction in locomotives follows replacement by multiple units, notably by Regional Railways, and withdrawal of lower powered units. This has also had an impact on loco-hauled coaches.
3. Reduction in diesel multiple units caused by electrification schemes, and replacement in certain cases by vehicles of higher capacity, and use of shorter train formations.
4. Reduction in number of freight vehicles and non-passenger coaches largely caused by withdrawal from certain categories of traffic, notably in the wagon load type of business.
5. In 1979 4,228 railway cars were in use on London Underground. The equivalent figure for 1991–92 was 4,146 cars.
Over the 10 London Underground lines, most of the rolling stock is aged between 20 and 30 years. The rolling stock currently in use on each line is as follows:
§ Mr. Chris Smith
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to renegotiate the provision of the 1958 international convention on the territorial sea and contiguous zone to change the designation of the Minch as an international strait with a right of innocent passage.
§ Mr. Norris
This is a matter which falls within the terms of Lord Donaldson's inquiry announced by my right hon. Friend.
§ Mr. Redmond
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will now place an exclusion order on the passage of oil tankers using(a) the Minch, (b) the Little Minch and (c) the sea off the Hebrides, and instruct oil tanker masters to use the deep-water route westward of the Outer Hebrides; and if he will make a statement.177W
§ Mr. Norris
The deep water route west of the Hebrides is the recommended route, agreed by the International Maritime Organisation for all laden tankers over 10,000 grt. My Department, with the support of the industry, takes every opportunity to encourage vessels to use this route. The waters of the Minch, although within territorial limits, have been accepted by Parliament as an international strait to which the right of innocent passage applies. Thus the deep water route is recommended and not mandatory. In poor weather the risk of an accident may be greater if a tanker goes into the open Atlantic rather than using the comparatively sheltered waters of the Minch where anchorages are available. The Department's view has been that masters must retain this option in adverse weather.
§ Mr. Wigley
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will bring forward proposals to set up an oil tanker exclusion zone around the sensitive coastal and marine areas around the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Norris
This is a matter which falls within the terms of reference of Lord Donaldson's inquiry announced by my right hon. Friend. An exclusion zone for tankers in international waters would require international agreement. In the meantime, we are exploring the possibility and feasibility of introducing interim measures for tanker operations around the United Kingdom.