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14 Nov 2005 : Column 895W—continued


Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many franchises were operated under a management only contract in each year between 1997 and 2004; and if he will make a statement. [26949]

Derek Twigg: Management only contracts are those where the DfT Rail Group takes the full risk for the operation and pays the train operating company a management fee.

Between 1997 and 2000 there were no such contracts. In 2001 there was one, between 2002 and 2004 there were two in each year.

Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport on how many occasions the Office of Passenger Rail Franchising was forced to discharge its duty under section 30 of the Railways Act 1993 to ensure the continuity of railway services as the operator of last resort in (a) 1997, (b) 1998, (c) 1999, (d) 2000, (e) 2001, (f) 2002, (g) 2003 and (h) 2004; and if he will make a statement. [26954]

Derek Twigg: The Strategic Rail Authority terminated the Connex South Eastern franchise in 2003. This resulted in the only occasion that Section 30 of the Railways Act 1993 has been used since the privatisation of the railways.

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of train overcrowding along the Hastings to Charing Cross line; and if he will make a statement. [28217]

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Derek Twigg: The latest available figures show that passenger loadings on the Hastings to Charing Cross line are within the permitted limits.

Mr. George Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) in light of the improved performance of South East Trains since it was returned to public hands, what lessons can be learned by private sector franchises; [26520]

(2) what assessment he has made whether there is a case for South East Trains to remain in public hands given its improvement in performance since its private sector franchise was removed. [26521]

Derek Twigg: The Future of Rail White Paper made it clear that our policy would be for rail franchises to continue to be operated by the private sector. Recent improvements in the performance of South East Trains (SET) have been encouraging, as has been the performance of other train operating companies. The improved performance of Network Rail has played a significant role in this.

Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the availability to the public of contracts between the Government and the train operating companies. [26955]

Derek Twigg: Franchise agreements and associated documents which form the contracts between train operating companies and the Government are publicly available through the Department of Transport's Public Register. Members of the public can either consult the register in person or request register material from the Department.

Reversing Vehicles

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what regulations apply to the use of audible warning devices on reversing vehicles; whether the inclusion of advertising in such warnings is permitted; and if he will make a statement. [27566]

Dr. Ladyman: Legislation governing the use of audible warning devices on reversing vehicles is contained in Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986. Regulation 37 states that a reversing alarm should not be strident, whilst Regulation 99 restricts such devices for use on goods-vehicles over two tonnes gross weight, buses, engineering plant, refuse vehicles and works trucks. The regulations do not specifically prohibit advertising in the warnings.

Road Accidents

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport by how much the number of individuals killed and seriously injured on roads changed in (a) 2000 and (b) 2005 to date compared with 1994 to 1998 levels (i) in England and (ii) in relation to (A) children aged under 16 years and (B) adults, broken down by social class; and what the predicted levels are for 2010. [27565]

Dr. Ladyman: The numbers of child (aged 0 to 15) and adult killed and seriously injured casualties in personal injury road accidents in England for the years 2000 and 2004 (the latest year for which figures are available), compared with the 1994–98 baseline average and the percentage change are shown in following table.
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Child KSIAdult KSI

(3) Average
(4) Percentage change over.

Information on social class of casualties is not available. The Department's projection is that it remains on track to achieve the casualty reduction targets set out in the March 2000 road safety strategy Tomorrow's roads—safer for everyone".

School Transport (Cycling)

Mr. Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) how many cycle journeys were made to schools in the 12 months (a) prior to the establishment of the Bike It scheme and (b) since the establishment of the scheme; [28321]

(2) what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Bike It scheme; how many school travel advisers have been appointed under the scheme; and what is the average cost of employing a school travel adviser. [28322]

Mr. Darling: Cycle journeys at the 40 Bike It schools increased from 2 per cent. before the scheme was established in May 2004 to 8 per cent. in June 2005. A report from Sustrans who manage the scheme has been placed in the House Library. The Department's new expert advisory body on cycling, Cycling England, has made an assessment of the scheme and has decided it has been sufficiently successful to include in their work plan for the next three years. The scheme did not appoint any school travel advisers but did appoint four Bike It officers who add value to the work of local authority school travel advisers. The average cost to employ an officer is £45,000 per annum. This includes salary and all overheads.

Mr. Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much was spent developing the Bike for All website; and what assessment has been made of its effectiveness. [28323]

Mr. Darling: In total, the Department for Transport has invested £30,000, excluding VAT, on developing the Bike For All cycling portal.

Cycling England, through DFT funding, is also committed to making a contribution of £11,200 in the current and next financial years towards the editorial content and maintenance of the site.

Success has primarily been measured by the number of visitors, which over the last 3 months has averaged just under 500 a day.

Seatbelts Legislation

Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on planned changes at (a) national and (b) EU level to legislation relating to the installation and wearing of seatbelts. [27720]

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Dr. Ladyman: Recently published European legislation will extend the mandatory requirement for the installation of seat belts to buses (except urban buses), coaches and goods vehicles. This is broadly in line with UK requirements in place since October 2001. European legislation will also prohibit the installation of sideways facing seats in new types of vehicle. Certain types of coach used to provide conferencing facilities are exempt from this until October 2010. Accident data will then be reviewed to determine whether the exemption should be extended. Otherwise, these requirements will apply to new types of vehicle being brought to the market from October 2006 and to all newly registered vehicles from October 2007.

Regulations are in preparation to come into force in 2006 (subject to Parliamentary approval) which will introduce a requirement for passengers in buses and coaches aged three years and above to wear seat belts where they are available when in seats other than the front. This follows a Departmental consultation in 2004 about changes needed in seat belt wearing regulations to transpose the requirements of European Directive 20/2003/EC into domestic legislation. The consultation document and the subsequent decision letter are available on-line at

The Department is considering the results of consultation about changes needed to transpose the same Directive's requirements for the compulsory use of child restraints in cars and goods vehicles, and related issues. The consultation document is available at www.

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