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12 Feb 2004 : Column 1663W—continued

Grand Prix

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what action he is taking in conjunction with (a) the Highways Agency and (b) other interested parties to facilitate access to the Silverstone circuit for the next Grand Prix weekend, with particular attention to hours of peak traffic flow on each of the three days of the meeting. [152565]

Mr. Jamieson: The Highways Agency is working closely with all agencies involved in the Silverstone Grand Prix to produce a traffic management plan that meets the needs of those travelling to and from the Circuit as well as local communities and other road users.

Highways Agency

Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport in what way the Highways Agency takes account of the views of neighbouring local authorities when major changes to trunk roads are under consideration. [154760]

Mr. Jamieson: Major changes to trunk roads normally arise from the Government's programme of multi-modal or road based studies and this process involves full local and region wide consultation with statutory bodies and local stakeholders. This would include both the local highway and planning authorities.

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Once the Highways Agency is asked to develop schemes in more detail local public consultation is carried out into options.

Neighbouring authorities would normally be invited to comment on proposals if the road changes could significantly affect traffic in their area. Should orders under the Highways Act be required there would be further opportunity for comment.


Mr. Wyatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when the noise mitigation work on the Bredgar section of the M2 will commence; and if he will make a statement. [152116]

Mr. Jamieson [holding answer 30 January 2004]: The Bredgar section of the M2 meets the criteria for the Government's £5 million annual ring fenced noise mitigation budget but due to the number of other pressing cases, has a lower priority. However this section of the M2 will shortly require resurfacing for maintenance reasons, using the quieter surfacing materials that will help reduce the traffic noise. The Highways Agency will aim to resurface this section of the M2 in the 2005–06 financial year, subject to funding being available.

Rail Authorities

Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many people are employed by (a) the Strategic Rail Authority, (b) the Health and Safety Executive railway branch, (c) the Office of the Rail Regulator and (d) Department of Transport railway divisions. [151479]

Dr. Howells: Staff numbers for the Strategic Rail Authority, the Health and Safety Executive and the Office of the Rail Regulator are contained in the relevant organisation's Annual Reports. Copies of such reports are routinely placed in the Libraries of the House. As at 1 April 2003, 83 staff were employed in my Department's Rail Directorate.


Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many SPADs there have been on the railway network in the last 12 months for which figures are available. [151482]

Dr. Howells: The Health and Safely Executive (HSE) advise that for the 12 month period to 31 December 2003 there were 396 signals passed at danger (SPADs) on the main line railway in Great Britain. This compares

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with earlier years totals of 383 for 2002, 483 for 2001, 479 for 2000 and 618 for 1999, the year of the Ladbroke Grove crash. Detailed information and analysis of SPADs can be obtained from the HSE's monthly SPAD reports, copies of which are available from the House Library.

Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans Network Rail has to expand capacity on routes into London termini from stations in commuter range. [151485]

Dr. Howells: The Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) has produced a 'Capacity Utilisation Policy' which aims to make the most efficient use of the existing network. A copy of the document is posted on the SRA's website at Individual 'Route Utilisation Strategies' will now be developed, and these will help to inform the need for any future infrastructure enhancements.

Road Accidents

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the estimated cost to public funds is of (a) a fatal road crash, (b) a road crash involving a serious injury and (c) a road crash involving a slight injury; and what the costs were in each case in 1994. [154703]

Mr. Jamieson: The values currently used to estimate the benefits of the avoidance of road accidents are set out in the "Highways Economic Note No.1: 2002 Valuation of the Benefits of Prevention of Road Accidents and Casualties" a copy of which is in the Library of the House.

These values, based on 2002 casualty data, were (a) fatal £1,447,490, (b) serious £168,260, (c) slight £16,750. These amounts are the values to be used in cost benefit analysis. They take account of medical costs, lost production, human costs based on willingness to pay for reduction of risk, the costs of police and courts, insurance administration, and property damage. Included within these values are the cost to public funds for hospital and ambulance costs and the costs of police and courts. In 2002, these costs were £6,860, £11,900 and £1,020 for fatal, serious and slight accidents respectively. The lost production element includes social security costs but these are not separately estimated. The equivalent estimates for 1994 for the avoidance of road accidents were (a) fatal £913,140, (b) serious £108,080, and (c) slight £10,630. In 1994 the costs for hospital and ambulance and police and courts were £5,120, £8,330 and £700 for fatal, serious and slight accidents respectively.

Rural Speed Limits

Mr. Pickthall: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when guidelines for rural speed limits will be made available to local authorities. [154814]

Mr. Jamieson: Guidance to local authorities on the setting of local speed limits, including rural speed limits, already exists and is contained in Department of Transport Circular Roads 1/93. The Department plans to review and update the guidance, and will be consulting local authorities and other stakeholders on the matter in the next few months.

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Speed Cameras (Southend)

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when speed cameras were first introduced (a) in Prittlewell Chase and (b) on the A127 within the boundaries of Southend; and how many have been introduced since this date. [153809]

Mr. Jamieson: From information provided by the Essex Safety Camera Partnership, the first speed camera to be used in Prittlewell Chase was a mobile unit in February 2001. A second mobile site location was subsequently approved and was first used in March 2001. The first speed camera introduced on the A127 was a fixed unit placed in 2001. A further four fixed cameras were introduced during 2003.

Traffic Lights (Sheppey)

Mr. Wyatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will publish the Highways Agency research into new traffic lights at Cowstead Corner, Sheppey. [152109]

Mr. Jamieson [holding answer 30 January 2004]: The Highways Agency has studied the feasibility of installing signals at the A249 Cowstead Corner junction. The Study concluded that the installation of traffic signals would increase queuing times during off peak periods and recommended that this scheme should not go ahead. However an improved roundabout junction at Cowstead Corner will be provided as part of the new A249 Iwade Bypass to Queenborough Scheme. Work is due to start in spring 2004.

Given the frequency of routine studies of this kind, it is not usual for them to be published. If demand requires, the Highways Agency will make the information available on request. However decisions on this will be on a case by case basis and dependent on the commercial sensitivity of the report produced.

Train Rolling Stock

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he is taking to protect passenger interests from leasing contracts for train rolling stock that provide comparatively poor value for money. [153732]

Mr. McNulty: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 10 February 2004, Official Report, column 1310W.

Train Travel

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he last used a train in connection with his ministerial duties. [154698]

Mr. McNulty: The Secretary of State regularly travels by all modes of public transport. My right hon. Friend last travelled by train in connection with his ministerial duties last week.

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