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Mr. Jamieson: At present it is too early to say with certainty what impact the M6 Toll has had on traffic flows in the West Midlands. The Highways Agency is monitoring traffic flows on the M6 Toll and adjacent road network and a full report will be prepared in April 2004, once traffic patterns have stabilised. A more detailed study report will follow when the toll road has been open for 12 months.
Anne Picking: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what action the Strategic Rail Authority is taking with regard to the withdrawal of rolling stock from the North Berwick-Edinburgh commuter line when the current refurbished units are returned to WAGN at the end of March. 
Mr. McNulty: North Berwick services are operated by trains hired from WAGN under a lease which expires in March. The Strategic Rail Authority, Scotrail and the Scottish Executive have therefore been considering options for replacing them. Trials of alternative rolling stock have taken place on the line and Scotrail announced on 14 January that the replacement trains would be formed of locomotive-hauled carriages.
Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on his Department's procurement policy with regard to offshore IT and call centre outsourcing; whether his Department is outsourcing IT and call centre jobs to offshore companies; to which countries his Department has outsourced these jobs; how much his Department has spent on this outsourcing in each of the last two years; and how much has been budgeted for this purpose for the next two years. 
Mr. McNulty: The Department complies with Government procurement policy, which is that all procurement is based on value for money, having due regard to propriety and regularity. The Department must comply with the requirements of the EU Treaty, including the principles of non-discrimination, the EC procurement directives and the UK's international obligations. The Department has not outsourced any IT or call centre jobs to offshore companies and currently has no plans to do so.
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Mr. McNulty: As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport said today in his statement to the House, the Department for Transport is undertaking a review of the rail industry. This will consider all of the industry's costs and how better value for passengers can be obtained from the Government's funding.
Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport for what reason representations in respect of the proposed compulsory purchase order at Barrack Road/Stour Road junction in Christchurch are being considered by the Government Office of the North East. 
Mr. Jamieson: The Secretary of State for Transport's quasi-judicial role for considering all Local Highway Authority Schemes and Orders for his confirmation, such as the case for the proposed Compulsory Purchase Order at Barrack Road/Stour Road junction in Christchurch, is undertaken as a national function and is based (since 1989) in Government Office for the North East.
Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many near misses between ships there were in each year since 1997 while in British waters; and what steps he is taking to reduce the number of such incidents. 
|Number of incidents
These figures are for incidents reported to the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) by 15 January 2004.
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from this include reminding the alleged offending vessel of the importance of maintaining good seamanship at all time and referring them to the appropriate literature or, where necessary, inspection or prosecution. The Maritime and Coastguard Agency is also actively involving the mariner in how to promote awareness on avoiding these situations through its website and promotional literature.
Mr. Pope: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will bring forward proposals not to penalise motorists guilty of speeding with penalty points on their driving licences when it is a first offence. 
(3) what powers he has to determine the date of publications issued by the Strategic Rail Authority; 
(4) under what authority he is able to determine the date of publication by the Strategic Rail Authority of its strategic plan; 
(5) when (a) he and (b) his officials first received a draft of the Strategic Rail Authority's strategic plan for 2004. 
Mr. Darling: The Government and the Strategic Rail Authority have agreed that it is not appropriate to publish a Strategic Plan in advance of the review now taking place of Government expenditure. I have the power to determine the date of any publication by the Strategic Rail Authority by issuing a direction, as prescribed under sections 206(3), 207(5) and 209(5) of the Transport Act 2000. My officials saw one draft of the Strategic Rail Authority's Strategic Plan, which they received on 16 December 2003, but made no comment on its content. No ministers saw the draft, nor was its existence drawn to their attention.
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Mr. Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to develop an England-wide system for the notification of street works owned by utilities and road departments similar to the Susie Phone system in Scotland. 
Mr. Jamieson: Local authorities in England already have systems for the notification of street works. We believe that the large number of authorities involved makes a single system covering the whole of England unrealistic. However, the Department has undertaken a study to consider how future systems could be developed in a way that ensured consistency and compatibility between them while remaining locally based.
Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will set out the basis used in the regulatory impact assessment of the Traffic Management Bill for calculating the extent of delay imposed by incidents on the trunk road network. 
Mr. Jamieson: The Highways Agency has calculated total motorway congestion from Department for Transport figures for estimated time lost compared with free flow speed (per kilometre travelled for different vehicle types) together with figures for total motorway traffic taken from the Transport Statistics Bulletin.
The Highways Agency used a variety of data to estimate incident related congestion. This included research from the Transport Research Laboratory which estimated that 25 per cent. of congestion was due to incidents. The Highways Agency Traffic Control Centre Project estimated a figure of 30 per cent.
Mr. Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make it his policy to ensure that the powers contained in section 74 of the Traffic Management Bill are universally adopted by local authorities. 
Mr. Jamieson: Clause 74 of the Traffic Management Bill enables the Lord Chancellor to make regulations specifying how a penalty charge notice may be served and its content, such as the alleged contravention, the amount of the penalty charge, by when it has to be paid, how and where it can be paid, discount available for early payment, right to make representations and so on. The clause specifically excludes the power to stop vehicles for the purposes of issuing a penalty charge notice.
Mr. Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what sources were used to produce the figures for the costs to business of utility streetworks in the Regulatory Impact Assessment of the Traffic Management Bill. 
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There are two estimates. The first of £35 million in 1983 prices is taken from the 1985 'Review of the Public Utilities Street Works Act 1950' (HMSOISBN 0 11 550729 9, page 119). The second of £2.4 billion is taken from a 1992 report of the Transport Research Laboratory. Unfortunately, this latter figure was quoted in error and refers to the total value of utility construction work. However a 2001 report by the Laboratory 'Mitigating the Disruption caused by Utility Street Works' (TRL report 516ISSN 09684107, page 9) estimated the annual traffic delay costs of utility street works at some £2 billion. My department has commissioned Halcrow to update this work.
Mr. Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what economic model the Government has used in working out the figures for the Regulatory Impact Assessment of the Traffic Management Bill; and if he will place a copy in the Library. 
Mr. Jamieson: Figures presented in the Regulatory Impact Assessment for the Traffic Management Bill have been calculated using software packages models Transport User Benefit Analysis (TUBA), Cost Benefit Analysis (COBA), and Queues and Delays at Roadworks (QUADRO).
TUBA and COBA were used to calculate figures relating to the Highways Agency's Traffic Officer Service. The model used to calculate the financial cost of disruption caused by utilities' street works is called QUADRO.
http://www.dft.gov.uk/stellent/groups/dft control/documents/contentservertemplate/dft index.hcst?n=7912&1=4
The TUBA User Manual is available at:
http://www.dft.gov.uk/stellent/groups/dft transstrat/documents/page/dft transstrat 50799Q.hcsp
The TUBA Guidance is available at:
http://www.dft.gov.uk/stellent/groups/dft transstrat/documents/page/dft transstrat 507975.pdf
The QUADRO user manual is available at:
http://www.dft.gov.uk/stcllent/groups/dft control/documents/contentservertemplate/dft index.hcst?n=7914&1=4