by Paul Goodman
I list below every question asked by a Conservative MP yesterday in response to the Prime Minister's Commons statement about Libya. For better or worse, I haven't cited his replies in every case, but his answers on regime change, the arms embargo and the International Criminal Court are of special interest, and are therefore quoted in full.
"Richard Ottaway (Croydon South) (Con): As one of the doubting Thomases of the past few weeks, I congratulate the Prime Minister on his success and leadership and offer him my full support. I also join him in paying tribute to Sir Mark Lyall Grant and his team at the UN for what is a remarkable diplomatic success, which hopefully will mark a turning point in the development of these issues at the UN. I am sure the Prime Minister agrees that difficult questions remain. At this moment, however, it is incumbent on all of us to stand behind the armed forces, particularly our airmen, who have to implement the resolution.
Mr James Arbuthnot (North East Hampshire) (Con): Yet again, my right hon. Friend has shown a breathtaking degree of courage and leadership. I support what he has said and what he has done. Does he agree that, while regime change is not the aim of these resolutions, in practice there is little realistic chance of achieving their aims without regime change?"
Nicholas Soames (Mid Sussex) (Con): I join others in congratulating the Prime Minister, the Foreign Secretary and all the others who have been involved in securing this very tough resolution, and indeed the building of a broad-based coalition to deal with Gaddafi. Does the Prime Minister agree, however, that in the weeks to come it will be important for the country to know that at the same time as trying to deal with Gaddafi, the Government are also intent on forging ahead, with our European partners, in keeping the middle east peace process revitalised and going, so that we can draw the poison from the well?
Saturday, March 19, 2011 in Angie Bray AM, Bernard Jenkin MP, Bill Cash MP, Bob Stewart MP, David Burrowes MP, James Arburthnot MP, Nicholas Soames MP, Nick Boles MP, Richard Ottaway MP, Sam Gyimah MP, Stephen Phillips MP, Thérèse Coffey MP, Tony Baldry MP | Permalink | Comments (6)
I recently led a delegation, including Assembly Member Tony Arbour and Val Weedon of the UK Noise Association, to Putney Bridge and Turnham Green tube stations to assess the scale of the problem of nuisance noise from public address systems. This was in connection with my appointment as rapporteur for the Assembly’s Environment Committee to carry out a full investigation into nuisance noise at selected tube stations.
For some considerable time my mailbag, and those of my colleagues, had been making it clear that excessively loud and unnecessary PA announcements at tube stations across London was making life a misery for many local residents and tube users. The UK Noise Association in a recent study found that noise levels on a Piccadilly Line train can typically reach nearly 100 decibels, which is “louder than a jet landing at Heathrow” . It has been acknowledged that levels of stress and heart disease can be adversely affected by excessive noise and so it was evident to me that this was an issue which needed addressing for a significant number of Londoners. Following concerted pressure from me, Transport for London had recognised that there was a problem – but recognition alone was not enough. They needed to do more to ensure that the problems of noisy announcements at stations across London were resolved – and at the earliest opportunity. This formal investigation is helping me to take the matter forward.
Following my visits to Putney Bridge and Turnham Green, I met senior managers from TfL last week to demand urgent action. As a result of this meeting they are now taking the issue seriously. They have pledged to be more responsive to residents' complaints, and are introducing a staff training manual on PA systems and pilot schemes to test sound barriers. It is essential, of course, that we ensure they follow this up with some real changes, and put an end to this misery once and for all. My full report is due to be published in February.
"Ever since figures first begun to show a rise in Congestion levels inside the Congestion Charge zone and particularly recently when the first small but discernible increase in charge-paying vehicles entering the zone occurred, Mr. Livingstone has been thinking how to re-invent his Congestion Charge scheme in order to justify keeping it on. So we now have a new green Mark 2 version and rather incoherent it turns out to be.
His plan is to hammer VED Band G vehicles with a daily £25 charge - and no more discount for those living inside the zone which will leave everyone else there worrying who will lose their discount next. Meanwhile cars in Bands A and B will be exempt. I have never supported this particular scheme but, given its justification is that controlling car numbers is the way to control congestion, it does seem a strangely contradictory move.
Meanwhile his green economics aren't exactly impressive either. The new scheme doesn't add up. For an annual average running cost of £2 million plus costs to drivers of anywhere between £3 and £13 million per annum, the maximum CO2 saved would be 8,200 tonnes. This equates to 0.17% of the 4.9 million tonnes emitted by cars and motorcycles in London every year. The carbon trade value of this tonnage would be a maximum of £110,700.
Yet again this is grand-standing about the environment more than anything else, something that Mr. Livingstone is rather good at. Let's hope the consultation on this Mark 2 version actually forces him to stop and think but no-one should hold their breath."
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