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Channel Tunnel

Volume 164: debated on Monday 8 January 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement following the Anglo-French intergovernmental commission announcement that passengers will not leave their cars and coaches when travelling through the Channel tunnel with particular regard to safety aspects in the tunnel.

No. The intergovernmental commission was established by the Channel fixed link treaty to supervise, in the name and on behalf of the two Governments, all matters concerning the construction and operation of the fixed link. On safety matters, it is advised by the independent binational safety authority, also established by the treaty. Parliament has accepted that the safety authority is the right body to oversee tunnel safety standards. I believe that the safety authority will shortly be publishing a report which sets out the information on which its unanimous recommendation to the commission is based.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what is the make-up and terms of reference for his Department's working group on the assessment of the impact of railway noise with regard to the Channel tunnel link.

The aim will be to establish for new railway lines a noise standard at a level which equitably relates to the standard set by regulation for new highways. I hope to make an announcement shortly about the establishment of a departmental committee to carry out this task.