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19 Oct 2005 : Column 1053W—continued



Mr. Spring: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects the regional consultation process on the dualling of the A11 in Suffolk will be completed. [19690]

Dr. Ladyman: Advice from Eastern region on its priorities for transport investment, including the A11 Fiveways to Thetford improvement scheme, within Regional Funding Allocations is expected at the end of January 2006.

Barge Drivers

Martin Linton: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the minimum period of training is for barge drivers on the Thames. [19241]

Dr. Ladyman: For barges trading to sea, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency stipulates an appropriate standards of training, certification and watchkeeping, (STCW 1995, International Maritime Organization) qualification and minimum training requirements.
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For barges trading within the port, there are no statutory training and qualification requirements in place at present. But those navigating commercially in the port would generally have either a Waterman's or Lighterman's licence. The new Boatmaster's Licence for Inland Waterways, due to become law during 2006, will extend competency requirements to freight carrying vessels in categorised waters

Burn Closes Bridge

Mr. Nicholas Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what representations he has received from North Tyneside borough council in relation to closure of Burn Closes Bridge in the interest of public safety. [18590]

Dr. Ladyman: Government Office for the North East officials have had several meetings during the last three years or so with North Tyneside council officials at which the council raised the need for major structural maintenance of a number of bridges in the borough. The Department for Transport provides specific funding for highway structural maintenance to bridges on the Primary Route Network and since 2003–04 has allocated funding totalling £3.224 million to the council for bridges in North Tyneside at Hadrian Road (A187) and the Coast Road (A1058) at Blue House. This funding is in addition to the £9.944 million local transport block" allocation to North Tyneside council since 2003–04.

Burns Closes Bridge is not on the Primary Route Network and is not, therefore, considered to be an immediate national priority for funding. However, it is recognised that closure of the bridge pending maintenance/reconstruction work, is causing considerable inconvenience to local residents and bus services and therefore I have asked my officials to continue to liaise with the council as it considers the various options for addressing the problem, with a view to assessing the extent to which we are able provide support.


John Hemming: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what research has been commissioned on the effects on levels of (a) congestion and (b) carbon emissions of the closure of local (i) post offices, (ii) banks and (iii) shops. [18493]

Dr. Ladyman: No such specific research has been commissioned.

Exeter Airport

Mr. Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the Competition Commission's inquiry into Exeter airport. [19113]

Ms Buck: This is a matter for the Competition Commission and for the parties involved.

Left-hand Drive Vehicles

Mr. Yeo: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many road accidents in England involved left-hand drive commercial vehicles in the last period for which figures are available. [19322]

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Dr. Ladyman: Personal injury road accident data in Great Britain is collected by the police and reported to the Department using the STATS19 accident report format. Until 30 December 2004 this information included whether an involved vehicle had a foreign registration plate, but not whether it was right or left-hand drive. Due to concerns about the consistency and accuracy of the data collected, a recommendation to update this variable was accepted as part of the 5-year rolling review of the collection system. From 1 January 2005 the information collected will specifically distinguish left and right-hand drive foreign registered vehicles, but figures will not be available until autumn 2006.

Mr. Yeo: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many accidents involving (a) loss of life and (b) injuries were caused by visitors from abroad failing to drive on the left-hand side of the road in England in the last period for which figures are available. [19323]

Dr. Ladyman: The information requested is not available.

Parliamentary Questions

Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects to make a substantive response to the named day written question of 12 July from the hon. Member for West Chelmsford concerning rail passenger journeys between Chelmsford and London Liverpool Street. [17108]

Derek Twigg [holding answer 13 October 2005]: This information is not held centrally by the Department. However, data from the Office of Rail Regulation shows that the number of rail passenger journeys made between Chelmsford and Liverpool Street in 1997 was 1,675,280. The corresponding figure for 2003–04 was 2,122,388. Both figures include travelcard journeys.

Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to his answer of 13 October to Question ref. 17108, what the reasons are for the time taken to provide a substantive answer to the question tabled on 12 July. [19537]

Derek Twigg: I will be writing to the hon. Member today and a copy of my letter will be placed in the Libraries of the House.

Railway Staff

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what provision he is making for the protection of railway staff from assault. [18305]

Derek Twigg: The Secure Stations Scheme, directed by the Department for Transport and the British Transport Police (BTP), aims to improve the security of both passengers and staff.

The Rail Safety and Standards Board's Rail Personal Security Group has taken a number of initiatives including publishing a good practice guide on the reporting and recording of staff assaults, and launching a poster campaign to highlight the unacceptability of assaults against rail staff.
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BTP have developed local initiatives in partnership with train operating companies including participating in conflict management training for rail staff, identifying repeat victims, sharing data with employers to identify specific risk areas and assisting victims of serious assault back into the workplace. They also pioneered the use of DNA kits for rail staff so they can capture suspects' DNA which police investigators then compare against the DNA database.

The BTP is currently meeting its detection target of a 40 per cent. detection rate for staff assaults; the Scottish Area is currently detecting 60 per cent.; and the North Western Area just under 55 per cent.

Road Safety

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many and what proportion of fatal road traffic accidents have involved drivers under the age of 20 years in each of the last five years. [18838]

Dr. Ladyman: The information requested is in the table.
Fatal road accidents involving one or more car(25) drivers aged under 20-years-old: 2000–04

NumberAs a percentage of all fatal road accidents

(25)Includes taxis, invalid tricycles, three and four wheel cars and minibuses.

Security Exercises (London Underground)

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what security exercises were undertaken by Visor consultants in or around London Underground stations in the week preceding 7 July. [16048]

Ms Buck: None.

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