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2 Dec 2004 : Column 196W—continued

Pedestrian Rail Crossings

Sir Michael Spicer: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his policy is with respect to the provision of tunnels at pedestrian rail crossings where there have been fatalities, with particular reference to the Jamaica Road Crossing in Malvern, Worcestershire. [201467]

Mr. McNulty: This is an operational matter for Network Rail, as the infrastructure manager. However, I understand that Network Rail has no current plans to install a tunnel at the Jamaica Road pedestrian level crossing in Malvern, Worcestershire.

Public Transport Subsidy

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his latest estimate is of the public transport subsidy per head of population from central Government for each English county in each year from 1997 to 2005; and if he will make a statement. [199898]

Charlotte Atkins: The Department for Transport does not hold financial information and expenditure in this format. Total departmental spend and planned expenditure from 1994–95 to 2014–15 was published as a graph in "The Future of Transport: a network for 2030", Annex A. (Cm 6234).

For a breakdown of central and local government expenditure on transport in terms of England, Scotland, Wales and Great Britain, see Table 1.15 in Transport Statistics Great Britain 2004 (Published 2004).

Copies of both documents are available in the Libraries of the House.

Railways (Scotland)

Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether the proposed devolvement of control of Scotland's railways as proposed by the Railways Bill will give powers to the Scottish Executive to renationalise railways. [200922]

Mr. McNulty [holding answer 30 November 2004]: No. While streamlining the structure of the Rail industry and making a number of amendments to current rail legislation, the Railways Bill does not propose any changes to the status of Network Rail, which would remain a private 'not for dividend' company limited by guarantee, with responsibility for
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operating, maintaining and renewing Britain's rail network. Nor does the Bill propose amendments to Section 25 of the Railways Act 1993, which prevents any public sector body or emanation of the Crown or any company controlled by the Crown from operating a franchise, other than as an operator of last resort.

Road Noise

Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much his Department has spent on noise reduction barriers to reduce noise from roads in each of the last seven years. [200611]

Mr. Jamieson: Figures for the last seven years are not available. Spend on noise reduction barriers that are provided in conjunction with highway improvement schemes are not separately identified in the scheme cost. Spend on the installation of noise barriers provided retrospectively on older trunk roads that commenced in 2000 has been met by the £5 million per year ring-fenced allocation.

Wheel Loss

John Thurso: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what research his Department has commissioned in respect of the products which claim to prevent wheel loss. [201199]

Mr. Jamieson: The Department has not itself commissioned such research. However, work carried out on behalf of the British Standards Institution indicated that a loss of clamp force—due to settlement between the interfaces of the wheel-fixing assembly—can take place without rotation of the nut. Thus, although use of locking devices can prevent loss of wheel nuts the devices cannot counteract a loss of clamp force, and excessive wear as a consequence of this could result in loss of a wheel while nuts were still attached. Nonetheless there might be benefit in some cases, with such equipment preventing or delaying total loss of a wheel.

John Thurso: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what advice his Department has issued to (a) manufacturers and (b) operators of heavy commercial vehicles on reducing road traffic accidents attributable to lost wheels. [201201]

Mr. Jamieson: My Department, in association with the Confederation of Passenger Transport, Freight Transport Association, Institute of Road Transport Engineers, Road Haulage Association and the Tyre Industry Council, has issued a leaflet offering guidance on regular and effective wheel fixing maintenance measures to reduce the possibility of wheel loss.

Copies of the leaflet have been placed in the Library of the House.


Mr. Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) how much and what proportion of the Highways Agency budget for 2004–05 is expected to be
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spent on (a) noise barriers and (b) other environmental programmes in (i) maintenance and (ii) non-maintenance programmes; [200639]

(2) what route mileage of (a) road surface and (b) noise barriers is expected to be installed by the Highways Agency and its operators in (i) 2004–05, (ii) 2005–06 and (iii) 2006–07. [200901]

Mr. Jamieson: The Highways Agency does not have available all data in relation to noise barriers and other environmental measures in the format requested. However, it is known that approximately £8.5 million will be spent on noise barriers in the current financial year. This figure is about 0.5 per cent. of the Highways Agency's published business plan total programme budget.

The total approximate cost of environmental measures for the current financial year is £20 million. This figure includes measures such as wildlife fencing, badger runs and landscape planting. Although some of the measures are noise related, it is not possible to break down the costs to extract these.

The cost of noise mitigation measures included in maintenance schemes cannot be separately identified. However, when building new roads or re-surfacing existing ones, quieter noise surfacing is used where possible.

The approximate route length to be replaced or newly built in the current financial year is 400 km. The approximate length of noise barriers to be installed in the same period is 32 km. Figures are not yet available for 2005–06 and 2006–07 as budgets are yet to be confirmed.

School Transport

John Thurso: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many and what percentage of trips to schools were by bus by (a) five to 10 year olds and (b) 11 to 16 year olds in the latest year for which figures are available; and what proportion of these were (i) under three miles and (ii) three miles and over (1) in total and (2) broken down by region. [201206]

Charlotte Atkins: The National Travel Survey provides the data requested. The latest available data are for 2002–03, shown in the tables.
Trips to and from school 2002–03, Great Britain

Trips per child per year by:5 to 10 years11 to 16 years5 to 16 years
All modes316328322
Percentage by:
Percentage of those trips by
Under 3 miles553034
3 miles and over457066

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5 to16 years
Percentage of those trips by bus
RegionalBus trips per child per yearAll trips per child per yearPercentage of trips by busUnder 3 miles3 miles and over
North East55319173862
North West57321184456
Yorkshire and the Humber46310152872
East Midlands63315203763
West Midlands57317183466
South East56322171981
South West59322182377
Great Britain63322193466

National Travel Survey, DfT

Numbers of trips are averaged over all children. Bus includes local and private school buses. Figures exclude trips over 50 miles.

South Eastern Trains

Clive Efford: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent performance improvements have been achieved by South Eastern Trains; and if he will make a statement. [201802]

Mr. Darling: Since South Eastern Trains (SET) franchise began operating on 9 November 2003 performance has been improving. At that time the yearly average number of SET services arriving on time was 79.4 per cent. Performance figures change from month to month. The most recently published figures cover the year to June 2004, and show that SET performance has risen to 80.8 per cent.

This improvement of 1.4 per cent. points is marginally better than the improvement of 1.3 per cent. points across the South East sector as a whole. Over the same period, sector performance improved from 79.3 per cent. punctuality in November last year to 80.6 per cent. in June 2004.

By way of comparison, performance on South West Trains (SWT) and Southern, the other two big south of London commuter operators, also improved over this period. SWT's yearly average was 73.7 per cent. at 9 November 2003 and rose to 74.5 per cent. in the year to June 2004. Southern performance rose from 78.2 per cent. to 79.5 per cent. over the same time.

The overall increase in punctuality for SET is driven by two factors: a reduction in the delays caused by Network Rail's infrastructure operation and maintenance of around 2 per cent.; and a comparable reduction in knock-on delays caused to SET services by other train operators.

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