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Friday, 19 July, 2002, 01:15 GMT 02:15 UK
Rail safety improvements promised
Paddington crash
Thirty-one people died in the 1999 crash
A Safety Bill to enable recommendations from the inquiry into the Paddington rail crash to be carried out was announced in the Queen's Speech.

Lord Cullen published the first part one of his report into the October 1999 disaster on Tuesday.

QueenElizabeth II and Prince Philip
The Queen delivers her speech to both Houses of Parliament
Part two, which looks at rail safety generally, is due out later this year and the Safety Bill will provide an opportunity to take forward any recommendations which require legislation.

Transport Secretary Stephen Byers has already said that all 89 of Tuesday's recommendations will be implemented.

Mr Byers has asked the Health and Safety Commission to report back to him within six months about the how that should be done.

Cheaper fares

The government also announced that it was bringing in legislation to allow men to get free or cheaper bus and rail travel at the age of 60 - the same as women.

Men currently have to wait until 65 to gain concessions.

The new Travel Concessions (Eligibility) Bill will mean around one million more men benefiting.

In London, pensioners get free bus and Tube travel as long as they journey outside the morning rush-hour.

In other parts of the country, local authorities offer half-price or better bus pass concessions.

Around 5.5 million pensioners and 1.5 million disabled people are currently eligible for concessionary bus fares.

Tough limits

The Safety Bill will also include already-announced plans to bring in tough new alcohol limits for airline pilots and seafarers.

Outlined in March this year, the plans will involve pilots, air crew, air traffic controllers and others involved in aviation safety having to comply with a limit of 20mgs of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood.

This is four times tougher than the 80mgs limit in existence for drivers.


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