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11 Jan 2005 : Column 384W—continued

Railway Directives

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the effect of European Court of Justice case C-483/02, as detailed in OJ C300 volume 47 of 4 December, on UK implementation of railway directives; what measures he will take to comply with the ruling; and what estimate he has made of the costs which will be incurred in so complying. [207168]

Mr. McNulty: We currently expect to transpose the Directives concerned (2001/12/EC, 2001/13/EC and 2001/14/EC) by the end of 2005. In reality, these Directives will have little effect on the railways which already comply with the vast majority of the Directives' requirements which aim to open up the European rail market to competition. The estimated costs and benefits of complying with these requirements will be set out in a Regulatory Impact Assessment produced to accompany consultation later this year on the draft regulations to transpose these Directives into domestic law.

Road Casualties

Jane Griffiths: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many pedestrians have been (a) injured, (b) seriously injured and (c) killed in collisions with (i) car drivers, (ii) drivers of all motor vehicles and (iii) cyclists in each of the last five years. [207719]

Mr. Jamieson: The information requested is shown in the following table. Figures are taken from the annual publication "Road Casualties Great Britain" copies of which can be found in the House of Commons Library.
Pedestrian casualties by vehicle hit in accident: GB 1999–2003

Number of casualties
Vehicle type:Severity19992000200120022003
Pedal cycleKilled53044
All motor vehicles(5507190002)Killed863849822766762

(5507190002) Excludes vehicle type not reported.

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Road Noise

Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) pursuant to the answer of 14 December 2004, Official Report, column 1014W, on road noise, when the Highways Agency will announce the outcome of its review of the programme for quieter surfaces; [206694]

(2) which schemes detailed in the announcement have not yet been completed; on what date work began or is due to begin on each; and what the expected dates of completion are; [206695]

(3) on which roads quieter surfaces have now been introduced; and, in respect of each road where the difference between actual noise levels and those predicted is significant, on what date quieter surfaces will be introduced. [206696]

Mr. Jamieson [holding answer 21 December 2004]: The Highways Agency is currently reviewing its programmes of work for 2005–06 in line with the Spending Review settlement. Works programmes for 2005–06, including resurfacing, should be known by the time of publication of the Highways Agency's Business Plan for 2005–06 to 2007–08, expected in March 2005.

The following schemes which were included in the indicative forward programme issued on 17 October 2001, Official Report, column 1229W, have not yet been completed:

Of the schemes listed, the following will be completed in financial year 2004–05:

Start of works dates for the remaining schemes have not yet been confirmed. Due to other competing and pressing maintenance needs, it has not been possible to progress the schemes within the indicative timetable originally provided.

Of the 17 concrete roads that have been opened since June 1988, one scheme (A27 Chichester-Havant) will be resurfaced with quieter surfacing in this financial year.
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Special Advisers

Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport on how many occasions between 31 March 2002 and 31 March 2003 his special advisers travelled abroad in an official capacity; what places were visited; and how much each visit cost. [207176]

Charlotte Atkins: The Department was formed on 29 May 2002. Between that date and 31 March 2003, a departmental special adviser accompanied the Secretary of State to Strasbourg at a cost of £675.31. All travel by special advisers is undertaken in accordance with the guidelines set out in the Ministerial Code and Civil Service Management Code.

Traffic Statistics

John Thurso: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what the average 24 hour traffic volume has been in each month since January at the (a) Norton Canes to A34 Great Wyrley, (b) Shenstone to Chasetown and (c) Wishaw to A38 automatic traffic counters on the M6 Toll road on (i) Mondays to Fridays, (ii) Saturdays and (iii) Sundays; [206535]

(2) what the average 24 hour traffic volume was in each month since January at the (a) J3-J4E, (b) J4A-J5, (c) J9-J10, (d) J10-J10A, (e) J10A-J11, (f) J12-J13, (g) J6-J7 and (h) J9-J10 automatic traffic counters on the M6 on (i) Mondays to Fridays, (ii) Saturdays and (iii) Sundays; [206536]

(3) what the average 24 hour traffic volume has been in each month since January at the (a) J6-J7 and (b) J9-J10 automatic traffic counters on the M42 on (i) Mondays to Fridays, (ii) Saturdays and (iii) Sundays. [206537]

Mr. Jamieson [holding answer 21 December 2004]: Tables which contain the information requested have been placed in the Libraries of the House.

Figures for the M6 and M42 have been provided from data collected by the Highways Agency's automatic traffic counters. Although some of this information is not available, most is in the format required.

Figures for the M6 Toll have been taken from information provided on the website of Midlands Expressway Ltd., operators of the toll road. The company is not able to readily break down the figures into the lengths of road specified, nor separate them into northbound and southbound directions as with the M6 and M42.

Transport (Disabled Access)

Paul Holmes: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) how many and what proportion of trains in operation in each year since 1995 have been wheelchair accessible, broken down by train operator; and if he will make a statement; [207708]

(2) what his estimate is of the number of trains that will have to be scrapped to meet the accessibility end date of 2020, broken down by train operator; and if he will make a statement. [207709]

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Mr. McNulty: The powers in Part 5 of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA) allow the Government to make regulations requiring all new land based public transport vehicles—trains, buses and coaches, and taxis—to be accessible to disabled people, including those who need to remain in wheelchairs.

The Rail Vehicle Accessibility Regulations (RVAR) came into force on 31 December 1998, and have applied to all new rail vehicles coming into service in England, Scotland and Wales after that date. Northern Ireland has its own separate regulations. The RVAR, which were the first regulations to be made under Part 5 of the DDA, considerably improve access for disabled passengers to new rail vehicles. The Regulations were drawn up in close consultation with the Government's statutory advisers on transport issues as they affect disabled people, the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee (DPTAC).

The regulations cover wheelchair accessibility and accommodation, including the design of on-board accessible toilets for those trains in which toilet facilities are provided. They also specify the size and location of handrails and handholds, and control devices as well as covering the provision of audible warnings and other equipment. In addition, a requirement for both visual and audible passenger information assists passengers with sensory impairments to use rail services with confidence.

Over 3,800 new fully accessible rail vehicles are now in service—which represents almost one third of the national heavy rail fleet. A further 700 vehicles will be entering service over the next 12 months. In addition, many older trains, while not meeting full RVAR standards already had wheelchair accommodation and other features to assist disabled passengers prior to 1998.

The Department does not record which vehicles are in use by which train operator, as they are frequently swapped between operators, according to operational needs.

The Government are proposing to take powers in the Disability Discrimination Bill to enable it to set an end date by which time all rail vehicles must comply with the RVAR. My hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State announced in November that the Government's preferred end-date is 2020. We also intend to require access improvements to those features which are included in refurbishment plans for older rail vehicles.

Using figures from the Strategic Rail Authority, we estimate, that fewer than 2200 non-compliant vehicles would still be in service by 2020. The decision as to whether to refurbish older trains to RVAR standards or replace them with new, RVAR compliant trains by then is a matter for the rolling stock leasing companies and train operators. The Government will be publishing for consultation a Regulatory Impact Assessment to accompany draft regulations, during the passage of the Bill through Parliament.

Paul Holmes: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which licensing authorities are not operating taxis that are accessible to disabled people; and if he will make a statement. [207727]

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Charlotte Atkins: The following list is based on the latest statistical data on wheelchair accessible taxis, compiled by the Department for Transport and based on returns provided by local licensing authorities in England and Wales, as at 31 March 2004. This showed that the authorities listed did not license accessible vehicles as taxis at that time.

We recognise that the current generation of accessible taxis do not meet the needs of all disabled people although they do provide a good level of access for many wheelchair users. The Department for Transport is therefore currently looking into the ergonomic requirements of taxi design that would enable as many disabled people as possible to use taxis.

The results of that research will form the basis of the technical specifications to support the Government's proposals to introduce Taxi Accessibility Regulations under part 5 of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA). The proposals, which were announced in the House on 26 October 2003, would see the phasing in of regulations in specified licensing areas from 2010 (for all new vehicles), with full compliance by 2020. The 2010 date has been proposed to accommodate a full public consultation process, to give sufficient time for vehicle manufacturers and converters to produce new models that meet the regulations, and to give the trade sufficient time to adapt to the change. In the period before regulations are introduced, local licensing authorities remain free to introduce their own accessibility policies and we encourage them to do so in consultation with disabled people locally.

Licensing Authorities in England and Wales not licensing accessible taxis at 31 March 2004

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Paul Holmes: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the percentage of buses with faulty ramps in (a) England and (b) each local authority in the last period for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. [207728]

Charlotte Atkins: The Public Service Vehicles Accessibility Regulations require new buses over 22 passengers first used on or after 31 December 2000 to be accessible to wheelchair users. The requirements include the availability of a boarding aid (generally a ramp). An operator who does not comply with these regulations is guilty of an offence.

Buses are subject to annual roadworthiness inspections, spot checks and roadside inspections to ensure their safety and accessibility. Information on the reliability of individual components such as ramps is not collected separately but we are aware of a number of complaints from disabled people about poor reliability of power operated ramps.

The majority of power operated ramps are fitted to buses in London, and Transport for London has carried out detailed monitoring of the reliability of ramps fitted to these buses and has discussed performance with the operators concerned.

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