HL Deb 10 June 2003 vol 649 cc23-4WA
Lord Fearn

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What safety checks are carried out on the Channel Tunnel; and by whom. [HL3170]

Lord Macdonald of Tradeston

The Channel Tunnel operator, Eurotunnel, has primary responsibility for ensuring the safe operation of the Channel Tunnel system. In order to fulfil this responsibility it undertakes a wide range of safety checks on all aspects of its operations. Its safety performance is monitored by the independent, binational Channel Tunnel Safety Authority on behalf of the Channel Tunnel Intergovernmental Commission (IGC).

The safe operation of through passenger and freight services is the responsibility of the train operators Eurostar UK Ltd and SNCF (for passenger services) and English, Welsh and Scottish Railway International (EWSI) and SNCF (for freight services).

To ensure a coherent approach throughout the system, safety inspections in the Channel Tunnel are carried out jointly by inspectors from both the British and French authorities, appointed jointly by the Channel Tunnel IGC and the Safety Authority. On the British side, these inspectors are drawn from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the Kent and Medway Towns Fire Authority, and the Kent County Constabulary.

Eurotunnel's updated safety case, with (as supporting documents) the safety cases of the three train operators whose services currently run through the tunnel, was accepted by the Channel Tunnel IGC in February 2003.