HC Deb 17 June 2002 vol 387 cc70-1W
Mrs. Dunwoody

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what consultation he has had with HM Railway Inspectors in regard to the findings of their inspections of driver management; how many companies were surveyed; what the results were; what changes he plans to the inspection regime; and what response has been received from the companies inspected. [61085]

Mr. Spellar

The Health and Safety Executive's (HSE) Railway Inspectorate (HMRI) inspected the driver management processes in 12 train operating companies (TOCs) and one freight operating company during 2000–01. The findings were published on the HSE's website on 23 January 2002 and were circulated to the Secretary of State, the rail industry and trade unions.

The findings were part of a planned three-year inspection programme covering all major TOCs in the Railway Group. The aim of the inspection programme was to assess the robustness of systems covering drivers' competence and fitness with reference to the requirements of the Railways (Safety Critical Work) Regulations 1994. Key areas included recruitment, training, ongoing maintenance of drivers' fitness and competence, safety briefing and monitoring and audit of systems.

Each TOC received a report containing agreed actions which HMRI required them to pursue. These TOCs are being visited by HMRI during 2002–03 as part of the normal inspection plan to ensure that they have adequately addressed the matters raised.

In general, the HSE reports that improvements have been made over the past three years in the area of driver training, a significant issue given the large numbers of drivers now being trained. The TOCs have produced action plans that they are working through. HMRI will check that actions agreed with the TOCs are completed as part of normal inspection activity.

Mr. Don Foster

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to his answer of 10 June 2002,Official Report, column 780W, on rail safety, if he will have discussions with the British Transport police on these and other incidents of vandalism on the railway. [62330]

Mr. Jamieson

This is an operational matter for the British Transport police, the Health and Safety Executive and the railways industry.

Mrs. May

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement regarding the proposal for the introduction of a community safety certificate as outlined in Council Document 5744/02. [60414]

Mr. Jamieson

The Government supports in principle the European Commission's proposals for a community safety certificate for railway undertakings, which are part of a wider package of measures to promote rail safety and facilitate access to the EU rail market. We will take into account the results of our consultation exercise on these measures before reaching a final position.