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15 Nov 2005 : Column 1139W—continued

M1/M18 (Roadworks)

Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) when he expects the roadworks on the M1 motorway south of Junction 21 to be completed; what the original length of the works contract was; and whether the work is likely to be completed on of time; [27361]

(2) why the roadworks on the M1 motorway south of Junction 21 are not being carried out on a 24-hour basis. [27362]

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Dr. Ladyman: The resurfacing work on a 6 km length of the M1 south of Junction 21 is due to be completed on 22 December. Work began on 8 July but delays due to bad weather mean that the original completion date of the end of November will not be met.

Work is being carried out 24 hours a day but, due to health and safety requirements and technical constraints associated with the materials used, most of the surfacing and concrete repairs are carried out in daylight hours. Non safety critical elements such as drainage work are carried out overnight.

Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport for what reasons the M18 motorway was closed at Junction 4 between Friday 16 September and Monday 19 September; for what reasons phased lane closures were not used; and if he will make a statement. [27360]

Dr. Ladyman: The M18 at Junction 4 was closed between 20.00 on Friday 16 September and 06.00 on Monday 19 September at the request of Doncaster metropolitan borough council to allow them to reconstruct and resurface the roundabout at this junction and resurface the A630.

The Highways Agency requested phased lane closures however Doncaster metropolitan borough council advised that a full closure was needed for safety reasons and to limit the duration of the disruption to road users.


Mr. George Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what appraisal documents relating to Merseytram Line 2 he has received from Merseytravel and its consultants; when they were received; when they were audited by the Department and its consultants; what the conclusions of that audit were; and what steps he is taking in considering whether to give Merseytram Line 2 programme entry status. [27932]

Derek Twigg: The Department received business case submissions that included appraisal information from Merseytravel in August 2003 and February 2005. The latter updated the 2003 submission in accordance with changes to the scope and costs of the scheme, and also alterations were made to the appraisal to reflect changes in the Department's appraisal guidance. Merseytravel sent a number of additional documents necessary for the appraisal to meet the Department's guidance throughout February and March 2005. These included an Economic Impact Report, a Quantified Risk Assessment, and details of consultation on the environmental impacts of the scheme.

The Department has worked with Merseytravel on the appraisal of Merseytram Line 2 since 2003. The Department's assessment of the appraisal documentation began in early 2004, although before that, in 2003, it also audited the highway model used to underpin the appraisal results. The Department could not complete its assessment of the appraisal as the documentation was incomplete and it became apparent that the cost estimates for the project were changing. The 2005 documentation goes further towards addressing the Department's concerns, but the Department's focus this year has been to work with Merseytravel on the appraisal of line 1. The line 2 appraisal assumes that in its opening year line 1 will already be open and operational.
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Therefore some of the benefits claimed in the line 2 appraisal are contingent on city centre sections that would be provided only if the line 1 project goes ahead.

Motorcycle Licences

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what his policy is towards EU proposals to raise the minimum age to qualify for a motorcycle licence for machines upwards of 125cc from 17 to 19 years; and if he will make a statement; [28517]

(2) what discussions he has had with EU Ministers about proposed changes to the provisions for obtaining motorcycle licences; and if he will make a statement. [28518]

Dr. Ladyman: The European Union proposals for new requirements in respect of motorcycles are part of the proposed new European Community Directive on driving licences. The Government are continuing to negotiate the terms of the Directive with European partners, through the Council of Ministers.

The proposals for motorcycle licensing are not as the UK Government would wish, but there is very strong support in other member states and the European Parliament for staged access arrangements for young motorcyclists wishing to drive larger machines, so it is likely that such a proposal will prevail.

The current proposals involve:

As currently proposed these rules would come into effect in the UK no sooner than 2012. In the meantime the Government would have the opportunity to take advantage of flexibilities offered by the proposals to devise an appropriate system for training, testing and developing the experience of young motorcyclists in the UK. In devising such a system, the Government intend to continue consulting a wide range of stakeholders with interests in road safety, motorcycling, and the motorcycle industry.

National Port Traffic

Mr. George Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what factors will be considered in the report commissioned by the Department in respect of national port traffic forecasts to 2030. [28080]

Dr. Ladyman: The terms of reference for the report are available in the Libraries of the House.

National Road Network

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his definition is of the national road network for the purposes of his Department's transport policy. [28591]

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Dr. Ladyman: The road network consists of strategic roads (motorways and all-purpose trunk roads) which are the responsibility of the Highways Agency and local roads which are the responsibility of local highway authorities.

In December 2004, we announced that for the purpose of considering decisions on major improvement schemes, the strategic road network would be split into two categories: routes of predominantly international and national importance and routes of predominantly regional importance. The criteria used for classifying routes as of international and national importance are as follows:

It remains our policy that the strategic road network will continue to be protected, managed and maintained by the Highways Agency as a national network.

National Travel Survey

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the average (a) number and (b) distance of trips as calculated by the National Travel Survey was by (i) car driver, (ii) car passenger, (iii) bus, (iv) walking and (v) other modes of transport for the purposes of (A) commuting, (B) business, (C) education, (D) escort education, (E) shopping and (F) other reasons, broken down by (1) sex and (2) those (v) under 17 years, (w) 17 to 29 years, (x) 30 to 49 years, (y) 50 to 59 years and (z) over 60 years in the latest two-year period for which survey results are available. [26150]

Ms Buck: The information requested has been placed in the Libraries of the House.

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