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22 Nov 2005 : Column 1854W—continued

Buses

Mrs. Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will take steps to ensure that adaptation of buses to facilitate wheelchair access does not involve incorporating steep steps. [30783]

Ms Buck: The Public Service Vehicles Accessibility Regulations 2000 (as amended) require new buses first used on or after 31 December 2000, with a capacity of more than 22 passengers, used on local or scheduled services to be accessible to disabled people including wheelchair users. The regulations allow operators to provide access for wheelchair users by means of a lift or a ramp, and regulated vehicles also require improved access for all passengers through better step dimensions, provision of handrails and colour contrast markings. The end dates by which time all such vehicles are required to meet the regulations depends on vehicle type and range from 2015 to 2020. It is entirely a matter for bus and coach operators to select the most appropriate vehicle type for their operations.

Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will amend the Public Service Vehicles Accessibility Regulations such that public service vehicles will be equipped by 2012 to be accessible to people with a range of different disabilities. [30987]

Ms Buck: The Public Service Vehicles Accessibility Regulations 2000 (as amended) make comprehensive provision for improved access for passengers with a wide range of disabilities. The regulations are kept under review and will be developed in line with technology, while taking account of the effect on all stakeholders and the financial implications of any changes.

Carbon Emissions (Aircraft)

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the likely percentage change in carbon emissions per aircraft arising from technological advances to aircraft design by (a) 2020 and (b) 2050. [30921]

Ms Buck: The Air Transport White Paper acknowledges European targets for a 50 per cent. improvement in fuel efficiency (which translates to reduced CO 2 emissions) by 2020 based on advances in technology and operational developments. The UK industry has adopted this target—set by the Advisory Council for Aerospace Research in Europe (ACARE) in 2002—in its recently published 'Sustainable Aviation' strategy. The Government have welcomed this commitment. Aviation fuel efficiency targets for 2050
 
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have not been specified though scenarios for aviation environmental performance in 2050 have been produced through collaborative European work.

Cycling

Mr. George Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether the expansion of the UK's cycle network has led to an increase in the number of cyclists (a) arrested, (b) charged and (c) convicted for disobeying traffic signals; and whether the Government plan to introduce tougher measures in this respect. [28086]

Paul Goggins: I have been asked to reply.

Information is not collected centrally on the number of cyclists arrested and charged with disobeying traffic signals The table provides the latest available data on cyclists convicted of neglect of traffic directions or failure to obey a signal.
Number of offenders found guilty for selected cycling offences, England and Wales 1999–2003(7)

Found guilty
Offence: Neglect of traffic directions. Statute: Road Traffic Act 1988 ss.35 and 36
199960
200047
200134
200216
200331
Offence: Failing to obey signal. Statute: Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 s.28(3)
199941
20005
20018
20027
20034


(7) These data are on the principal offence basis.
Source:
RDS—Office for Criminal Justice Reform.




Departmental Staff (Literacy and Numeracy)

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what proportion of new recruits to his Department do not have a level 2 qualification in English and mathematics. [23768]

Ms Buck: Recruitment into and within the Department for Transport is carried out on the basis of competency assessment. Except for recruitment for specialist posts, specific qualifications are not a requirement, and the Department does not therefore maintain comprehensive data in this area.

Light Pollution

Mr. George Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what estimate has been made of the amount of light pollution created by street lights; [28081]

(2) what steps are being taken to limit light pollution from street lights. [28088]

Ms Buck: The Department for Transport has made no estimate of the amount of light pollution caused by street lights.
 
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The Department contributed to advice published by the Government on good street lighting practice to reduce sky glow and light pollution generally. The Institution of Lighting Engineers (ILE) has also published advice.

Light pollution is often a result of the use of low-pressure sodium lighting units. Newer technologies, and in particular high-pressure sodium lighting units, allow much finer control of the light distribution and a reduction in the amount of light directed towards the sky.

The Government support the installation of improved street lighting for new schemes, or for updating older ones. £300 million in PFI credits were made available to local authorities outside London in 2003–04 to help modernise street lighting, and over the following three years a further £85 million in PFI credits has been made available for local authorities in London for this purpose, in addition to the support available through the revenue support grant. This month I announced that an additional £600 million of PFI credits will be made available to authorities in England.

Approximately 30 per cent. of the Highways Agency's road network is lit. All new lighting schemes are designed using efficient luminaries containing high-pressure sodium light sources that place the light where it is needed, carefully limiting spillage to the adjacent environment and the night sky. The less environmentally sensitive low-pressure sodium lighting is generally no longer installed by the Agency.

Major Improvement Projects

Mr. George Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list decisions on major transport projects over £5 million made by the Department since May, broken down by region. [27942]

Ms Buck: Outside London the only decisions taken on major transport projects over £5 million since May relate to Local Transport Plan major projects and schemes on the strategic road network. There are broadly two different types of decisions taken on major transport projects—decisions whether to grant funding and whether to grant statutory powers. Within the category of funding decisions, we would include decisions on programme entry, conditional approval and full approval. In terms of the statutory powers, these include Transport and Works Act orders, local road and trunk road orders.

These two types of decisions are taken separately, through independent processes and one decision does not pre-empt the other. We have included both types of decision in this answer, and have set out the information on a regional basis, as follows. Where the project has been approved, the figures quoted relate to the cost to the Department. All figures have been rounded to the nearest £ million.

East of England

Funding decisions


 
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Statutory powers decisions

East Midlands

Funding decisions

Statutory powers decisions

North East

Funding decisions

Statutory powers decisions

North West

Funding decisions

Statutory powers decisions

South East

Funding decisions

Statutory powers decisions

South West

Funding decisions

Statutory powers decisions

West Midlands

Funding decisions


 
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Statutory powers decisions

Yorkshire and Humber

Funding decisions

Statutory powers decisions


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