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Road accidents occur much more frequently, though they do not usually lead to such major loss of life in a single accident. In 1986, there were 248,000 accidents on public roads in Great Britain, leading to 5,382 deaths and 316,069 injuries. There were 18 accidents in each of which four or more people were killed. In 1987, 239,000 accidents led to 5,125 deaths and 306,350 injuries. In 17 of these accidents four or more people were killed. Complete figures for 1988 will not be available before the middle of 1989.

Railway Closures

47. Mr. Nicholas Bennett : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many proposals to close railway lines have been submitted to him since 1979 by British Rail ; how many have been accepted ; and how many stations and lines have been opened or reopened in the same period.

Mr. Portillo : Since 1979 British Rail has submitted 42 proposals to close railways lines. A total of 31 of these proposals have been accepted ; one proposal has been withdrawn by British Rail ; one proposal was unopposed and so did not require ministerial consent ; nine proposals are still under consideration (apart from the Settle to Carlisle proposal, none of these concerns a major route or service).

A total of 132 stations and 14 lines have been opened or reopened in the same period.

Drink-Driving Campaigns

48. Mr. Boyes : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the outcome of the Christmas drink-driving campaign.

Mr. Peter Bottomley : The coverage of this year's campaign in the media was impressive and helpful.

We greatly welcome the contribution of the private sector to the campaign, especially the publicans, brewers, soft drink producers, clubs, supermarkets and off-licences.

It is clear that more people are becoming aware of the dangers and that there is a long-term downward trend in the amount of drinking and driving. The test is whether fewer people are being killed and injured. It is too early for a full assessment. We shall publish figures when they are available.

Preliminary police figures suggest that a substantial increase in their enforcement effort during the full holiday period resulted in 4 per cent. more drivers failing the road-side screening test. It has been reported that 53,000 drivers were tested during this period compared with 37,000 for the same period in 1987--an increase of 43 per cent.

Within the higher numbers of drivers tested, the proportion of those found over the limit was only one in 10 compared with one in four over the year as a whole.

A1 (Northumberland)

49. Mr. Beith : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether the design standards applied to the A1 in Northumberland include provision for safety.

Mr. Peter Bottomley : Safety aspects are included in all the design standards adopted by the Department for all roads in the region.

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British Rail (Investment)

50. Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what percentage of the planned investment in British Rail will be used to replace out-of-date rolling stock and equipment ; and how much will be used to raise capacity.

Mr. Portillo : The figures for planned British Rail investment cannot be split between investment to replace existing capacity and investment to raise capacity since most projects will include elements of both, However, about half of British Rail's planned investment in Network SouthEast over the next five years will be spent on buying new rolling stock and refurbishing some of the existing fleet. These investments are being planned to provide sufficient additional capacity to meet the load factor standards on all routes and to cope with forecast increases in peak hour demand.

Clapham Junction

51. Mr. Bowis : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many trains, and how many passengers, travel through Clapham Junction (a) per day, and (b) per peak hour.

Mr. Portillo : The latest available data indicate that during a 24- hour period approximately 1,900 loaded passenger trains carrying 340,000 passengers pass through Clapham junction. During the peak hour (between 8 and 9 in the morning) approximately 94 London-bound loaded passenger trains carrying 62,000 passengers pass through Clapham junction. Data on trains and passengers from London passing through Clapham junction during the morning peak hour are not available.

Buses (Deregulation)

52. Mr. Ken Hargreaves : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport by how much bus mileage has changed since deregulation.

Mr. Portillo : Local bus mileage in Great Britain (outside London) rose by 14 per cent. between 1985-86 and 1987-88.

82. Mr. Brandon-Bravo : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what change there has been in the number of bus operators since deregulation.

Mr. Portillo : By 1 May 1988 there had been a net increase of 465 operators running local bus services since deregulation.

Traffic (London)

53. Mr. Harry Greenway : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects to receive the final report on the inquiry into traffic in London ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Peter Bottomley : We have not commissioned a report or inquiry on traffic for London as a whole.

Assessment studies are being carried out in four areas of the capital where conditions for movement are particularly severe. We expect to receive reports on options to improve conditions in the summer.

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Road Traffic (Delays)

54. Mr. McCartney : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the cost to industry of road traffic delays.

Mr. Peter Bottomley : The Department estimates savings in delay when individual road improvements are considered. The Department has not made an assessment of the total cost of delays on all roads.


58. Mr. Fishburn : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what measures his Department is taking to encourage cycling.

Mr. Peter Bottomley : Our concern is with encouraging safer cycling, primarily by reducing the scope for conflict with other road users.

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We are continuing our programme of research and application studies. Publications giving technical advice and engineering standards are available and more are planned. I shall arrange for a set to be sent to my hon. Friend.

We are currently consulting local authorities and other organisations on a further local transport note on planning, design and legal aspects of providing for cyclists. This will give up-to-date guidance based on the results of our recent studies.

Towing Vehicles (Accidents)

59. Mr. Holt : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many accidents involving vehicles towing caravans, horse boxes, and so on, have been recorded in each of the past 10 years.

Mr. Peter Bottomley : The following is the information :

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Accidents involving vehicles towing caravans, trailers, etc. 1979-87                                                                                      

Number of accidents                                                                                                                                       

Vehicle type            |1979        |1980        |1981        |1982        |1983        |1984        |1985        |1986        |1987                     


Cars/Minibuses          |1,065       |1,153       |1,138       |1,319       |1,231       |1,237       |1,152       |1,198       |1,130                    

LGV                     |246         |218         |233         |329         |216         |252         |292         |317         |281                      

HGV                     |319         |243         |254         |313         |281         |292         |365         |359         |319                      

Other motor vehicles<1> |567         |580         |560         |562         |564         |533         |527         |531         |475                      

                        |-----       |-----       |-----       |-----       |-----       |-----       |-----       |-----       |-----                    

Total                   |2,197       |2,194       |2,185       |2,523       |2,292       |2,314       |2,336       |2,405       |2,205                    


Data prior to 1979 is not readily available.                                                                                                              

<1>Includes agricultural, service, and industrial vehicles but not 2/3 wheeled vehicles or PSVs.                                                          

Dartford-Thurrock Crossing

60. Mrs. Gorman : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when the financing arrangements for the Dartford-Thurrock crossing will be agreed.

Mr. Peter Bottomley : The agreements between Dartford River Crossing Ltd. and the relevant banks and financial institutions were made on 8 April 1987. The concession agreement between Dartford River Crossing Ltd. and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport was signed on 9 April 1987.


61. Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects to receive the report of the working party on parking enforcement.

Mr. Peter Bottomley : Shortly.

Motorways (Accidents)

64. Mr. Irvine : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what percentage of road accidents occur on motorways.

Mr. Peter Bottomley : In Great Britain during 1987, 2 per cent. of all road accidents and 5 per cent. of fatal accidents, occurred on motorways. For comparison, motorways carried 15 per cent. of all traffic in 1987.

Roads (Congestion)

67. Ms. Ruddock : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate his Department has made of the

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level of congestion on roads in London and south-east England over the next 10 years ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Peter Bottomley : I refer the hon. Member to my reply to the hon. Member for Brent, East (Mr. Livingstone) on road conditions in London. Forecasts suggest that road traffic in the south-east outside London could increase by the order of 3 per cent. per annum to the year 2001.

Priority is being given in the national trunk road programme to schemes aimed primarily at relieving congestion, providing environmental relief and reducing casualties. Since April 1986 10 major schemes costing approximately £235 million have been completed in London and the south -east. Another 94 schemes costing approximately £2 billion are in the forward national programme at various stages of preparation. A number of smaller schemes are included in my Department's regional programme and we are supporting the Local highway authorities' road building programmes through the transport supplementary grant. A review of the national road programme will be published in the spring.

Disabled People

69. Mr. Robert G. Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress his Department has made in assisting the disabled in their transport needs this year ; and what progress he expects to make next year.

Mr. Peter Bottomley : Measures in 1988 included the following : Announcement that from early 1989 all new London taxis must be wheelchair accessible ;

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Widespread introduction of design features to help elderly and disabled passengers use buses more easily, following guidelines drawn up by the Department and the disabled persons transport advisory committee ;

Tours of adapted demonstration bus lent by the Department to 36 operators around the country ;

Advice and information to nearly 6,000 disabled people by the Department's mobility advice and vehicle information service (MAVIS) ;

Practical assessment and advice at the centre for some 400 disabled people on driving and car choice.

The Department will continue to seek further improvements to help people with disabilities in the coming year. Particular priority will be given to encouraging further improvements in bus and coach design. The Department will be organising another mobility roadshow in June 1989.

Motorways (Congestion)

70. Mr. Corbett : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he is taking to relieve traffic congestion in the motorway system ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Peter Bottomley : By carrying out the road improvements detailed in the roads White Paper "Policy for Roads in England : 1987" as quickly as possible and by aiming to minimise the delays at maintenance sites by careful programming, improved traffic management and by the use of lane rental contracts which give an incentive for early completion.

Barnstaple-Exeter Railway

71. Mr. Speller : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make funds available to British Rail to enable the Barnstaple to Exeter line to remain open.

Mr. Portillo : The public service obligation grant payable to British Rail is a block grant, not related to any individual line or service, and I have no powers to earmark funds.

London Rail Study

73. Mr. Cox : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he will publish the findings of the central London rail study.

Mr. Portillo : We expect to publish the findings of the central London rail study shortly.

Trunk Roads

74. Mr. Patrick Thompson : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he will carry out his next review of national trunk roads.

Mr. Peter Bottomley : A review of the trunk road programme is currently in progress. We expect to make an announcement in the spring.

Roads (North-East)

68. Mr. Jack Thompson : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he has any plans to improve the road system in the north-east region.

Mr. Peter Bottomley : The northern region has 18 schemes in the national roads programme at a current

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projected cost of £170 million. Spending on all schemes, national regional and maintenance, in the current year is estimated at over £50 million. The Department is also contributing in this financial year over £12 million in transport supplementary grant to assist local authorities in the region of constructing roads of more than local importance.

75. Ms. Armstrong : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will give details of his plans to improve the road system in north-east England.

Mr. Peter Bottomley : The Department's plans for developing the road infrastructure in the northern region are concentrated on the provision of a new north-south bypass to the west of Newcastle; the systematic improvement of the A1 north of Morpeth and the two main east-west routes-- the A66 and A69; and the improvement of the main national routes into the area from the south. Other important schemes planned to start during the next few years include a western bypass of Durham City on the A167 and a bypass of Kenton Bank Foot and Woolsington on the A696.

Urban Traffic

76. Mr. Jim Marshall : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what information he has about the likely increase of traffic in urban areas.

Mr. Peter Bottomley : The Department prepares forecasts for national traffic growth. Where a trunk road scheme is being assessed, local forecasts are made, reflecting local growth in population and economic activity.

Factors such as availability of public transport, congestion and parking are also taken into consideration for urban schemes. The Department does not produce traffic forecasts for urban areas in general.

London Transport (Safety)

77. Mr. Spearing : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he next expects to meet the chairman of London Regional Transport to discuss standards of safety on London Buses and Underground services.

Mr. Portillo : My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State, has asked London Regional Transport to make regular reports to him on their progress in implementing the Fennell report. He and I will meet the chairman as necessary to discuss these matters.


78. Mr. Andrew Mitchell : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many bypasses have been built since 1979.

Mr. Peter Bottomley : A total of 95 bypasses and relief roads have been built since 1979, representing 40 per cent. of new national road mileage.

Health and Safety Executive

79. Mr. Janner : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many inquiries into accidents which came within his responsibility have been carried out by the Health and Safety Executive in the past 10 years for which records are available.

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Mr. Peter Bottomley : None, although I understand that the Health and Safety Executive has provided assistance to my Department on at least 10 occasions when railway accidents were involved.


80. Mr. David Davis : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what measures he is taking to cut the time it takes to build roads.

Mr. Peter Bottomley : We have set targets for reducing the average time taken to progress a scheme from entering the road programme to opening for traffic by the order of a quarter. In introducing the changes we have taken care to ensure that the rights of interested parties will not be affected.


81. Mr. Nicholas Baker : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what account he takes of the protection of wildlife when building new roads.

Mr. Peter Bottomley : Protecting wildlife is carefully considered in our planning. We consult both national wildlife bodies such as the Nature Conservancy Council and local wildlife groups throughout the process.

The effects of new roads are minimised by careful design. Special measures are taken to protect wildlife including deer runs and badger tunnels to provide for safe crossing, fencing and reflectors to discourage animals from straying onto roads.

Tree and shrub planting, which is a major landscape activity of the Department, creates invaluable wildlife habitat. The Department's publication "Transport and the Environment", which is in the Library, gives further details of some of these measures.

Pavements (Damage)

84. Mr. Fearn : to ask the Secretary of State for Transport what are the figures for the last five years of the cost of pavement damage, caused by heavy goods vehicles.

Mr. Peter Bottomley : National data on the cost of pavement damage are not available. The total road track costs in the United Kingdom and the amounts allocated to heavy goods vehicles are as follows :

£ million                                                                                       

Year                    |Total road costs       |Road costs allocated to                        

                                                |heavy goods vehicles                           


1984-85                 |3,496                  |950                                            

1985-86                 |3,656                  |1,035                                          

1986-87                 |3,863                  |1,060                                          

1987-88                 |4,058                  |1,095                                          

1988-89                 |4,218                  |1,165                                          

M42 (Extension)

85. Mr. Anthony Coombs : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he anticipates announcing the preferred option for the western orbital route extension to the M42 to the west of the west midlands conurbation.

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Mr. Peter Bottomley : The work of evaluating the large response to the public consultation is progressing well. We hope to achieve the spring 1989 target for an announcement.

Clapham Train Accident

86. Mr. Hunter : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the provision of compensation for the families of those who died, and for those who were seriously injured, in the Clapham train disaster.

Mr. Portillo : Compensation is a matter for the British Railways Board, whose policy is that all claims will be considered sympathetically and as quickly as possible. The Board has made immediate payments of £2,000 to next of kin who indicated that they required help, and has announced that it will pay £10,000 for a bereavement under section 1a of the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 rather than the sum of £3,500 which the Act requires.

87. Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he has taken to enhance road safety for children and young people in urban areas.

Mr. Peter Bottomley : Cutting child casualties is one of our top priorities. Local authorities, schools and parents all have key parts to play. Initiatives include co-operation with local authorities to foster low -cost engineering measures that have been shown particularly to benefit child cyclists and pedestrians ; experiments in two local authority areas to develop effective methods of safety education in schools and the "Lessons for Life" campaign launched in September aimed at helping parents play a full role in enhancing their children's road safety. For older children we have worked with the road safety officers to produce a special highway code and teenagers will particularly benefit from our motorcycle training and testing proposals.

We shall continue to pay particular attention to developing measures to reduce child casualties on the roads.

90. Ms. Mowlam : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to improve road safety.

Mr. Peter Bottomley : I refer the hon. Member to the reply that I gave to the hon. Member for Glanford and Scunthorpe (Mr. Morley) earlier today.

92. Mr. Henderson : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the effectiveness of local authority actions to improve urban road safety.

Mr. Peter Bottomley : We welcome the considerable enthusiasm and activity of many local authorities in carrying out their responsibilities for improving safety on their roads. Our aim is to encourage and assist all local authorities to follow the example of the best.

Local authority initiatives are crucial to urban safety. We agreed last summer with local authority leaders a high priority and joint approach for tackling road casualties.

We work closely with road safety officers and others on publicity campaigns and child safety measures. In co-operation with the institution of Highways and Transportation we plan to publish guidelines for local highway authorities on the application of area-wide urban safety techniques.

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Railway Inspectorate

91. Mr. Vaz : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will initiate a review of the role of the railway inspectorate.

Mr. Portillo : A review of the railway inspectorate's role was commissioned by the Secretary of State in 1986. Its terms of reference included examination of the inspectorate's present role, and the formulation of recommendations as to how improvements could be made to ensure the most efficient and effective way of administering Government railway safety responsibilities in the longer term. A report was presented in 1987 which included numerous recommendations, many of which have already been implemented. A copy of the report is in the Library of the House.

Air Services (Manchester)

95. Mr. Favell : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the progress of negotiations for increased air services between Manchester and New York.

Mr. Peter Bottomley : At the most recent negotiations on greater access for United States carriers to serve Manchester airport, held in London between 4 and 6 January 1989, the two sides could not reach a mutually acceptable conclusion.

The Government recognise the importance of these additional services into Manchester airport and are therefore seeking further discussions.

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