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9 Nov 2005 : Column 511W—continued

Left-hand Drive HGVs

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will introduce regulations to ensure that left-hand drive heavy goods vehicles have sufficient side mirrors to alleviate blind spots in relation to vehicles passing on the right. [25673]

Dr. Ladyman: International obligations do not allow us to require, unilaterally, levels of equipment that exceed the requirements of agreed international standards. However, we have agreed, with European partners, a directive that will require large goods vehicles to be fitted with additional mirrors that provide a wider angle of vision along both sides of the vehicle and also a better downward view of the traffic adjacent to the side of the vehicle. This directive will apply to newly registered vehicles within the European Community and will start to take effect from January 2007.

Light Rail and Trams

Mr. George Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his policy is on light rail and tram schemes. [25616]

Derek Twigg: As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport said in his written statement to the House on 3 November 2005, Official Report, columns 59–62WS, we recognise that trams can be very effective in heavily trafficked areas. We will continue to be prepared to support trams, where they are the right solution but we will not do so at any cost, and in many cases a well designed and promoted bus based system is likely to provide a more cost effective solution.
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Where trams are promoted, they will need to be developed as part of an integrated approach to tackling an area's problems, and they will need to be supported by commitments to complementary measures to deliver the benefits of increased public transport usage and reduced congestion. We will continue to work closely with promoters and the industry to seek to ensure that these benefits can be realised, and that the costs of tram systems are minimised and properly controlled.


Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps the Government is taking to encourage the use of liquid petroleum gas fuel in cars. [26451]

Dr. Ladyman: The Government recognises the environmental benefits of LPG and has provided support to the LPG industry through fuel duty incentives, grants for vehicle conversion and reduced rates of vehicle excise duty and company car tax.

The rationale for decisions on the level of Government support for different fuels is set out in the Alternative Fuels Framework published in the Chancellor of the Exchequer's 2003 pre-Budget report. In Budget 2005 the Chancellor of the Exchequer set out the level of fuel duty incentives that LPG would enjoy until 2008.


Mr. George Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what informal advice was (a) sought and (b) received by Ministers of his Department in relation to Merseytram Line 1. [25645]

Derek Twigg: Ministers in this Department have had information and advice from a number of interested parties on aspects of the Merseytram Line 1 scheme. It is not possible to record every bit of advice that may be sought or received.


Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what assessment he has made of the level of congestion on the M1 in Hertfordshire; [25570]

(2) what assessment he has made of the level of congestion on the M25 in Hertfordshire. [25575]

Dr. Ladyman: Congestion on the M25 and the M1 in Hertfordshire is monitored using a number of methods, such as traffic counts, individual surveys and cameras.

Recent assessments have been carried out as part of two multi-modal studies 'Orbit: Transport Solutions Around London' and the London and South Midlands Multi-Modal Study, and the route management strategies for the M1 and M25.

Following these assessments a number of recommendations have been made. These include widening of the M25 from dual three lanes to four between junctions 16 to 27, and widening the M1 between junctions 6 to 13 to a consistent dual four lane carriageway.
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The first phase of widening on the M25 will begin in autumn 2007 between junctions 16 and 19. The widening on the M1 between junctions 6 to 10 will start next spring. Both these schemes will greatly reduce existing congestion on the M1 and M25 in Hertfordshire.

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what plans he has to introduce a quieter road surface on the M4 and its slip roads in the vicinity of junctions 8 and 9; [26088]

(2) what surface materials will be used in the forthcoming work to introduce a third lane in the slip roads on and off the M4 at junctions 8 and 9. [26089]

Dr. Ladyman: There are no plans at present to resurface the main carriageway of the M4 in the vicinity of junction 8 and 9. However, when resurfacing for safety and operational reasons becomes necessary a low noise surfacing material will be used.

The resurfacing material to be used as part of the widening scheme to introduce a third lane on the slip roads of the M4 at junction 8 and 9 will be a thin surface course material, which has noise reducing properties.

Some short sections of the slip roads on the approaches to the traffic signals at the junction will then be overlaid with high skid resistance surfacing to enhance road safety. This material has little or no noticeable effect of mitigating traffic noise but is essential to road safety.

Multi-modal Studies

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which recommendations of the multi-modal studies have been accepted; and what progress has been made with implementing these. [25607]

Dr. Ladyman: 21 multi-modal studies have been completed and we have issued detailed responses to the recommendations from 19 of these studies. In view of the number of studies and recommendations involved, it would be possible to answer this question only at a disproportionate cost. Copies of our responses to each study were placed in the House Library at the time they were made.

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which recommendations of the multi-modal studies have been rejected; and for what reasons in each case. [25608]

Dr. Ladyman: We have provided detailed responses to the recommendations from 19 multi-modal studies. Each response was placed in the House Library at the time that it was made and provides the reasons for rejected recommendations.

October Clock Adjustment

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what research he has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the effects on numbers of road casualties of turning back the clocks in October each year. [26482]

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Dr. Ladyman: A Government commissioned report by the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) published in October 1998 concluded that, if the UK adopted single/double summertime (ie GMT plus one hour in the winter, from October to March, and GMT plus two hours in the summer, from March to October) thereby making the evenings lighter, there could be a reduction in road casualties of over 400 people killed or seriously injured per year in Great Britain, including 100 deaths. However, a wide variety of issues would have to be considered very carefully if such a change was to be implemented of which casualty changes would be just one.

Pedestrian Crossing Deaths

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many people have died after being hit by a vehicle on a pedestrian crossing in each year since 1998. [26461]

Dr. Ladyman: The number of pedestrians killed on a pedestrian crossing after being involved in a personal injury road accident between 1998 and 2004 are shown in the table.
Pedestrian fatalities on pedestrian crossings(10): 1998–2004

Number of fatalities

(10) Includes footbridges, subways and uncontrolled central refuges.

Port Capacity

Mr. George Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether port capacity in England and Wales is being exceeded [26546]

Dr. Ladyman: Not at present. Locally, from time to time and for particular kinds of traffic, demand might exceed existing port capacity. In the short to medium-term the port sector will adjust contracts and prices to balance supply with demand. In the longer term, current and proposed investments in new facilities—for example, new dry bulk quays at Immingham and new container cranes at Tilbury—are an indication of the commodity sectors where the ports industry expects demand to grow in excess of current capacity.

Consultants working for the Department, MDS Transmodal, are currently developing demand forecasts to support the forthcoming ports policy review.

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