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25 May 2005 : Column 130W—continued

EU Discussions

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list items of legislation within his responsibilities that are being discussed at European Union level. [459]

Dr. Ladyman: The following legislative proposals, within the responsibility of the Secretary of State, are currently being discussed under the co-decision process:

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EU Working Groups

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list European Union working groups to which his Department sends representatives. [458]

Dr. Ladyman: Officials of the Department for Transport attend meetings of the following Council Working Groups:

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Graffiti (Motorway Bridges)

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on his policy on the removal of graffiti from motorway bridges. [487]

Dr. Ladyman: The removal of graffiti from motorway bridges is the responsibility of the Highways Agency. The agency's contractors make daily patrols to assess the problem and any obscene, blasphemous or offensive material is removed as soon as practicable after it has been observed. Non-contentious graffiti is removed at 12 month intervals or in combination with other work, where appropriate.

Where graffiti is persistent and widespread in environmentally sensitive areas, consideration is given to alternative solutions, other than frequent removal or obliteration. Possible strategies include involving local schools to raise awareness of the socially unacceptable nature of graffiti, and engaging with Neighbourhood Watch, local councils and the police more effectively in preventing graffiti. Physical measures include the use of anti-graffiti coatings.


Mr. Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many miles of motorway have been constructed in England and Wales since 1998; and at which locations. [405]

Dr. Ladyman: My Department holds the information for England only. The following table shows changes in the length of motorways in England that have been constructed since 1998. This excludes roads that have been reclassified as motorways and motorway widening schemes:
Miles addedDetails of change
19999.9The northern end of the M1 was extended to link up with the A1(M), in the metropolitan borough of Leeds city council
20019.5A new 9.5 mile stretch of the M60 was opened. This section of road (connecting junctions 18 to 24 of the M60) passes through the Greater Manchester metropolitan borough councils of Thameside, Oldham, Manchester city and Bury
200327The M6 toll road opened. It runs to the north east of Birmingham, providing an alternative route to the M6 between Junction 4 and Junction 11

North East Regional Transport Board

Mr. Atkinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when the Regional Transport Board for the North East of England will be set up. [200]

Ms Buck: In the consultation document "Devolving decision making: a consultation on regional funding allocations" the Government indicated that they do not intend to prescribe how regions should coordinate and prepare advice on regional priorities. It will be for regional bodies in the North East of England to decide if they wish to establish a Regional Transport Board or make other arrangements. In reaching their views, regions will be able to draw on the experience of the
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experimental transport boards which were established in the South East and Yorkshire and Humberside last year.

Overseas Drivers

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what action he is taking to improve enforcement procedures against overseas drivers who infringe British traffic laws. [67]

Dr. Ladyman: The Government are strengthening the enforcement of the law against overseas drivers. The Road Safety Bill, introduced into Parliament on Tuesday 24 May, includes provisions designed to make it easier to take action against drivers who do not have a licence counterpart, which includes most foreign licence holders, by allowing enforcers to issue them with fixed penalty notices in respect of endorsable offences. At present they can only be dealt with by a court. We also propose to introduce a scheme of financial deposits in lieu of fixed penalties where a traffic offender cannot provide a verifiable United Kingdom address.

A Framework Decision under Article 31 of the Treaty of the European Union for the mutual recognition of financial penalties has also now been adopted, and provides for the transmission between member states of fines imposed on foreign drivers and the mutual enforcement of such fines in the relevant member state.

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