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Mr. Peter Bottomley : We have received no recent formal representations from the Institute of Advanced Motorists or others to review motorway speed limits. We keep in close touch with the Institute of Advanced Motorists and value its contributions to road safety.
The 70 mph national speed limit strikes the right balance between the need for safety and movement.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : The total number of casualties in the United Kingdom in 1986 was 331,000 of whom 5,600 were killed. In 1987, the corresponding figures were 321,000 casualties in total, of whom 5,300 were killed. The total number of casualties was down 3 per cent. on the previous year and the fatalities were down by 5 per cent. A fuller breakdown of the Northern Irish component of these figures is given in the Royal Ulster Constabulary's publication entitled "Road Traffic Accident Statistics Annual Report".
The Great Britain component of these figures is broken down in more detail in "Road Accidents Great Britain". The 1986 figures have been published and are available in the Library : the 1987 figures will be published shortly.
The total number of casualties in Great Britain in 1987 was 311,500, of whom 5,100 were killed, and 64,300 were
Column 157seriously injured. The corresponding figures for 1986 were 321,500 casualties, 5,400 of whom were killed and 68,800 were seriously injured. The total number of casualties in 1987 was 3 per cent. below the number in 1986 ; fatalities were down by nearly 5 per cent. The Secretary of State has set a target of reducing casualties by one third by the year 2000.
27. Mrs. Beckett : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assurances will be required from any purchasers of British Rail Engineering Ltd. with regard to the pension and other rights of existing employees.
Mr. Portillo : British Rail intends that employees of BREL will transfer to new owners with their existing terms and conditions of service. They will be able to preserve their accrued pension benefits in the BR scheme, or to transfer those benefits to a scheme set up by the owners.
Last year there were 1,400 alcohol-related road deaths : a quarter of all road deaths. Twenty-three per cent. of drivers and riders killed in 1987 were over the legal limit compared with 33 per cent. in 1978.
Surveys suggest that for the first time there are fewer than one million drink/drive occasions a week. This is about half the estimate for 1987.
Recent major campaign successes include :
promotion of low and non-alcoholic beers by the brewers. These beers are now the fastest growing sector of the drinks industry.
the public endorsement of our campaigns by the Licensed Victuallers Association and the not-for-profit clubs.
the active participation of major football clubs in getting the message across to fans.
the media now treat drinking and driving as a major news topic, and one worthy of serious current affairs coverage.
We shall be launching this year's Christmas campaign on 5 December.
The problem exists all the year round. It needs constant publicity.
Column 158permitted maximum limit was introduced, and the end of September 1988, was 38,800. Between January 1982 and April 1983, 13,200 new vehicles were registered at the previous 32 tonne limit.
Mr. Portillo : British Railways board's total infrastructure investment and maintenance rose by 53 per cent. between 1982 and 1986-87. Total expenditure on roads in Great Britain rose 24.2 per cent. between 1982-83 and 1986-87. The figures are not directly comparable for a number of reasons.
A number of schemes for the M1 and alternative roads are planned for completion in the early 1990s.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : By carrying out the road improvements detailed in the White Paper "Policy for Roads in England : 1987" as quickly as possible, by supporting local highway authorities with transport supplementary grant, through traffic management measures, and by approving appropriate investment proposals by British Rail and London Regional Transport.
Mr. Portillo : It remains our intention to extend bus deregulation to London. The Transport Act 1985 provides for the abolition of London bus service licensing ; we are considering whether any further measures might be necessary.
Column 159motorways and trunk roads within the west midlands is allocated for the current financial year and for the next year ; and what was the figure for 1979.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : Exact comparisons with earlier years cannot be made because of recent changes in the Department's regional structure. Planned expenditure for 1988-89 of some £145 million in the west midlands region compares favourably with a best estimate for 1979-80 of £25 million. In real terms this represents more than a three-fold increase. Allocations for next year have still to be determined.
Mr. Portillo : The progress of the central London rail study was discussed at a meeting of the London passenger transport group on 21 November at which the Chairman of London Underground was present. We hope to announce the main findings around the turn of the year.
My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary will shortly be bringing forward regulations under section 12 of the Fire Precautions Act 1971, to require specific fire safety measures at underground stations ; these regulations will be enforceable by fire authorities. The chief inspecting officer of railways is organising a special investigation of London Underground, with support from the Health and Safety Executive and the London fire brigade ; and extra staff are being recruited for the railway inspectorate, for enforcement of safety legislation.
Mr. Portillo : In 1978 BR's railway investment was £194 million, equivalent to £421 million in 1988-89 prices. Budgeted investment for 1988-89 is £560 million--one third more in real terms. Figures of investment since 1970 were published on 4 November in the Official Report at column 800, in reply to a question from my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Northfield (Mr. King).
1988-89 |624 |624 1989-90 |846 |806
This represents an increase in real terms of almost 30 per cent.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : Anti-deer fencing is erected on motorways where deer are known to be present and where they could constitute a hazard to motorists. Other measures include special roadside reflectors. Advice is taken from wildlife experts when roads are planned. Warning signs for motorists to read are erected where deer are a known hazard.
43. Mr. Prescott : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he will next meet the acting chairman of London Regional Transport to discuss the implementation of the recommendations of the Fennel report.
Mr. Portillo : My right hon. Friend met Sir Neil Shields on 16 November when the Fennel report was discussed among other matters. I shall be meeting board members of London Regional Transport and London Underground on 5 December to discuss implementation of the report.
47. Mr. Matthew Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he intends to take to encourage a reduction in carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide and hydrocarbon emissions from vehicles in both private and public ownership.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : On 5 August, in press notice No. 418 we announced that we would be consulting in the next few months on draft regulations to bring into effect in Britain the new tighter limits on these emissions from cars and commercial vehicles agreed by the European Community in directives 88/76 EEC and 88/77/EEC. These new limits will apply to new vehicles. Our proposed timetable is as follows:
Vehicle type |New type approvals |All new registrations ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Large cars (over 2,000 cc) |1 October 1991 |1 October 1992 Medium cars (1,400-2,000 cc) |1 October 1991 |1 October 1993 Small cars (under 1,400 cc) (stage 1) |1 October 1990 |1 October 1991 Vans (under 2 tonnes gvw) etc |1 October 1990 |1 October 1991 Vans (over 2 tonnes gvw) etc |1 October 1992 |1 October 1993
Specific dates for imposing limits on gaseous emissions from all diesel- engined vehicles--mainly lorries, buses and coaches--are currently under discussion with the motor industry.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : Yes. The next phase of the increasingly effective campaigns against drinking and driving will be launched on 5 December. Surveys show that these campaigns have led to fewer than 1 million drink/drive occasions a week.
With the support of road safety officers and the police. We have also run campaigns on child pedestrians, child seat-restraints, motorway safety and winter weather conditions, this year. Further comparisons are planned on a variety of road safety topics.
51. Mr. Snape : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will meet the chief inspecting officer for railways to discuss the 1987 annual report of the railway inspectorate ; and if he will make a statement.
52. Mr. Colvin : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the conclusions reached at the conference which he convened on civil aviation at Lancaster house on Monday 7 November.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : The purpose of the conference (which was held in private) was to analyse the air traffic control congestion problems of the summer, and to discuss ways of improving matters for 1989 and beyond. The Civil Aviation Authority explained its strategy for the provision of air traffic control services in the short, medium and long term, and the conference heard of the initiatives which the United Kingdom and others have been taking to improve co-ordination between air traffic services in Europe. Ways of alleviating the effects of delays on passengers were outlined by representatives of the airlines, airports and tour operators. The conference produced a number of new ideas which are being followed up.
54. Mr. Cox : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to meet hon. Members for the London borough of Wandsworth to discuss road development plans for the borough ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : The west London assessment study consultants are considering a wide range of options, which include road improvements. I shall be glad to discuss the progress of the studies with the hon. Members concerned.
Mr. Portillo : The Government believe that in general users should decide which mode of transport to use, taking account of relative convenience, quality and cost. They therefore seek to ensure that different means of transport can compete fairly on equal terms. Where there are special reasons for encouraging one type of transport rather than another-- that is, to relieve road congestion--and it is cost-effective to do so, the Government pay grants.
The Government also recognise that in some circumstances transferring freight from road to rail can have substantial environmental benefits and make grants under section 8 of the Railways Act 1974 towards the capital cost of freight facilities. The Government's policies on the financing of railways are set out in more detail in their response to the third report of the Transport Select Committee, session 1986-87.
Specific schemes already under construction are the widening of the M25 between junctions 11 and 13 and the new four-lane Dartford river crossing bridge. Schemes being prepared are the provision of crawler lanes in both directions on the M1 at junction 9 and improvements to junction 1 of the M1.
Completion of the extension of the M40 to Birmingham, will attract traffic away from the M1, as will improvements planned for the A5 in Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire.
Consultants are currently undertaking a review of the whole of the M25. This will identify existing and potential
Column 163problem areas on the M25 and adjacent areas of radial road and suggest solutions. The results of the review are expected in the new year. We have recently received and are considering the results of a more specific study of the problems of traffic congestion around junctions 15 and 16 of the M25.
Column 164number of new services and lower fares on European routes. We are now preparing for the second stage of EC liberalisation, to be implemented by June 1990.
We have also been actively pressing for even more liberal bilateral agreements with other European states and have recently reached a liberal bilateral agreement with Ireland and have entered into new arrangements with Austria which remove barriers to market entry.
Motorcycle casualties and casualty rates: by severity: Great Britain: 1977 to 1987 Number/rate per 100 million vehicle kilometres |1977 |1978 |1979 |1980 |1981 |1982 |1983 |1984 |1985 |1986 |1987 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Killed |1,182 |1,163 |1,160 |1,163 |1,131 |1,090 |963 |967 |796 |762 |723 Rate |25 |25 |24 |20 |17 |16 |15 |15 |14 |14 |14 Killed or seriously injured |21,504|21,502|21,277|22,697|22,329|22,687|20,317|20,009|18,172|16,466|13,896 Rate |452 |453 |433 |384 |334 |328 |322 |318 |321 |305 |272 All severities |71,689|69,733|67,155|70,838|69,129|71,920|64,494|63,821|56,591|52,280|45,801 Rate |1,507 |1,470 |1,366 |1,197 |1,034 |1,041 |1,023 |1,014 |999 |968 |896 Motorcycles include all two wheeled motor vehicles.
We give guidance, in circulars (roads) 1/80 and 4/83, to highway authorities about the criteria for speed limits. That guidance is advisory. Highway authorities have discretion over speed limits on all local roads. For principal and trunk roads, our aim is to maintain a balance between safety and mobility. Introduction of 30 mph speed limits needs to be matched by enforcement and engineering measures to ensure compliance.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : Personal injury traffic accidents on A1 trunk road in Northumberland are all reported by the police to the northern regional office. These statistics are also recorded nationally. Assessments on individual sections of the A1 are made wherever a problem area can be identified.
The current accident rate for all personal injury accidents on the A1 in Northumberland, based on reports for the last three years, is 0.22 per million vehicle kilometres. This is less than the regional and national rates for non-built-up trunk roads.