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7 Jul 2005 : Column 603W—continued

Renewable Transport Fuels

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make it his policy to set annual targets towards achieving a 5.75 per cent. market share for renewable transport fuels by 2010. [9111]

Dr. Ladyman: The Government are currently conducting a feasibility study into the prospects for a Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation as a mechanism to promote renewable fuels into the long-term.
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Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to introduce a renewable transport fuels obligation; and if he will make a statement. [9112]

Dr. Ladyman: The Government are currently considering whether an obligation might be an appropriate mechanism to support the introduction of renewable road transport fuels, but no decision has yet been taken.

Road Improvements

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list the road improvement schemes managed by the Highways Agency in (a) the Kent, East and West Sussex area and (b) England in each year since 1991; what the cost of each scheme was; and which schemes are awaiting action. [8442]

Dr. Ladyman: A table showing all Highways Agency major schemes, either completed, currently on site or in preparation, that have been taken forward since 1994 has been placed in the Libraries of the House. The Highways Agency does not retain cost information for schemes completed before its creation in 1994.

Road Tax

Mark Tami: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what research his Department has carried out into alternatives to road tax. [9230]

Dr. Ladyman: Decisions on fiscal policies are a matter for the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who keeps all forms of taxation under review. Officials in this Department provide advice as necessary to HM Treasury officials on the potential impacts of a number of transport tax policies.

The Government in 2003 commissioned a feasibility study of road pricing, published in 2004.

In line with our manifesto commitment, we are currently examining the long-term potential for moving away from the current system of motoring taxation towards a national system of road pricing.

Mark Tami: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps his Department is taking to reduce the level of non-payment of road tax. [9231]

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Dr. Ladyman: A system of Continuous Registration (CR) was introduced on 1 January 2004. The registered keeper of a vehicle is now responsible for licensing it until DVLA has been notified that it is off the public road or has been sold, transferred, scrapped or exported. DVLA issues £80 penalties (£40 if paid within 28 days) to the registered keepers of those vehicles that have been unlicensed for two consecutive months.

DVLA seeks to clamp the vehicles of persistent evaders. The Agency has a permanent wheel clamping operation based in larger vehicle population location, supported by mobile teams operating in rural areas. DVLA aims to clamp 100,000 unlicensed vehicles this financial year. Those evaders who have ignored the CR process will be specifically targeted. In addition, the Agency has partnership agreements with 64 local authorities and five 5 police forces to use DVLA's devolved powers to clamp and impound unlicensed vehicles.

The Agency works closely with the police forces using Automated Number Plate Readers. The police can stop those vehicles that are unlicensed for enforcement action to take place.

DVLA has introduced a telephone hotline number that members of the public can call to report unlicensed vehicles.

Mark Tami: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the number of vehicles using the roads which have not paid road tax. [9232]

Dr. Ladyman: Estimates of vehicle excise duty evasion are determined by national roadside surveys undertaken by DfT statisticians. The latest survey took place in June 2004 and estimated that the total number of unlicensed vehicles was 1.2 million. This compares with 1.9 million in the previous (2002) survey.

Road Traffic Accidents

Jo Swinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many road traffic accidents have been caused by loads breaking free of cargo trucks in each month since January 2003; how many of these resulted in one or more fatalities; and if he will make a statement. [9487]

Dr. Ladyman: The Department's Personal Injury Road Accident Database records, for each reported accident, whether a dislodged vehicle load in the vicinity of the accident formed a carriageway hazard. The table shows the number of reported accidents for which such a hazard was recorded. It cannot be determined whether the load forming the hazard broke free from a cargo truck, or whether the load caused the accident.
Number of Injury Road Traffic Accidents in the United Kingdom where a dislodged vehicle load in the carriageway was a hazard(10): by month from January 2003

MonthFatal AccidentsAll Accidents

Department for Transport and Police Service of Northern Ireland
(10) These figures do not include accidents where the vehicle load which formed a carriageway hazard was dislodged as a result of the accident in question or a previous accident.

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Road Transport Fuels

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what percentage by weight of road transport fuel was comprised of (a) liquefied petroleum gas and (b) compressed natural gas in the last 12 months; [8438]

(2) what percentage by weight of UK road transport fuel is expected to be comprised of biofuels by the end of (a) 2005 and (b) 2010; [8440]

(3) what incentives are in place for motorists to use (a) biodiesel and (b) bioethanol; [8508]

(4) what incentives are in place for motorists to use (a) liquefied petroleum gas and (b) compressed natural gas. [8601]

Dr. Ladyman: The Government incentivises the use of biofuels and road fuel gases primarily by means of fuel duty incentives, as set out in the Chancellor of the Exchequer's Alternative Fuels Framework, published in the November 2003 pre-Budget report. Current and historic duty rates for all road fuels are published on the website of HM Revenue and Customs. The current duty rates for biofuels and road fuel gases are as set out in table 1.
Table 1: Fuel duty rates as at 29 June 2005

FuelFuel duty rate
Ultra-low sulphur petrol47.1 pence per litre
Ultra low sulphur diesel47.1 pence per litre
Liquefied petroleum gas(11)9 pence per kg
Compressed natural gas(12)9 pence per kg
Biodiesel27.1 pence per litre
Bioethanol27.1 pence per litre

(11) Equivalent to c.5.4 pence per litre.
(12) Equivalent to c.6.1 pence per litre.

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The Government have also, until recently, provided grants to help meet the additional purchase or conversion costs of certain clean and alternatively fuelled vehicles. These grant programmes are currently under review pending state aid clearance from the European Commission.
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Current and historic sales figures for all road transport fuels are also published on the website of HM Revenue and Customs. Provisional figures for biofuels and road fuel gases for the financial year 2004–05 are as set out in table 2.
Table 2: Sales of road transport fuels in 2004–05

FuelSale by volume (million litres)Sales by mass
Approximate percentage of total by mass
Ultra Low Sulphur Petrol26,56119,54951.1
Ultra Low Sulphur Diesel22,30418,55748.5
Total road fuel gases (Liquefied petroleum gas and compressed natural gas)(13)(14)225(15)c.11030.3

(13) Figures not available separately, but at least 95 per cent. of this is likely to be LPG.
(14) Million litres at standard storage pressures.
(15) Assuming a 95/5 per cent. split between LPG and CNG.

Sales of biofuels have risen sharply since the beginning of 2005 with the introduction on 1 January of the 20 pence per litre fuel duty incentive for bioethanol. By the end of 2005, sales of biofuels are likely to comprise at least 0.3 per cent. of total road transport fuel sales by volume, or 0.32 per cent. by mass. This is in line with the target that the UK has set under the EU's Biofuels Directive, and would represent at least a five-fold increase over sales in 2004.

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