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29 Mar 2006 : Column 991W—continued

Programme Improvement Schemes (Cost Study)

Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on work being conducted by EC Harris for the Highways Agency to study inflation costs and predict future figures and costs for targeted programme improvement schemes; when he expects this work to conclude; and if he will place in the Library a copy of the final report. [61745]

Dr. Ladyman: EC Harris have provided an initial report on inflation in highway prices in September 2005, together with an update of the inflation figures quoted in that report in January 2006. Copies of the reports have been placed in the Library. EC Harris have been asked to provide further updates at quarterly intervals. In addition; the agency has asked other industry sources for advice on inflation pressures. Once analysed, the agency will take a view on what inflationary allowances should be allowed in their cost estimates. This work will be kept under regular review.

Red Diesel

Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much red diesel has been used at airports in each of the last five years (a) in total and (b) broken down by airport. [61744]

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Derek Twigg: The Department does not hold this information. It may be available from the airports themselves.

Road Building

Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many motorway and trunk road building projects there were between 1988 and 1997; and what the total cost was in (a) cash and (b) real terms. [62183]

Dr. Ladyman [holding answer 28 March 2006]: There were 280 major improvement schemes completed between April 1987 and December 1996. The total main works tender cost of these schemes was approximately £5.1 billion, which at today's prices using the RCTPI (Road Construction Tender Price Index) in the latest financial quarter available for 2005, is £8.6 billion.

Road Improvement Costs

Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Carshalton and Wallington (Tom Brake) of 19 December 2005, Official Report, columns 2318–2319W on road improvement costs, whether the figures for the most recent estimate or final cost of each scheme represents the amounts paid to the scheme contractors in each case; and whether the Highways Agency is liable for additional costs in each case. [61749]

Dr. Ladyman: The latest agreed budget costs for projects, in the Government's Targeted Programme of Improvements, represent the current approved estimate of the full outturn cost. The budget cost estimates include an element for construction, alongside other costs, which will be paid in due course to the scheme contractor. Those estimates are routinely reviewed and may be subject to change as schemes progress.

Roads (Hard Shoulders)

Mr. Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what factors are preventing hard shoulder running being introduced on the M42 before March 2007. [61555]

Dr. Ladyman: The Highways Agency will commence hard shoulder running on the M42 at the earliest opportunity and is on schedule to deliver by March 2007.

Hard shoulder running is one of the later phases of operation in the M42 Active Traffic Management Pilot and is dependent upon the introduction of new equipment, procedures, trained operators and an assessment it is safe to do. Time is also required for monitoring of preceding phases. This monitoring will be used to verify the pilot's safety plan and help evaluate effectiveness of a number of new technologies and different traffic management measures on tackling congestion.

Introducing these changes in phases also gives drivers the opportunity to become accustomed to the signs and signals and safely use the scheme prior to introducing the use of the hard shoulder.
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South East England Regional Assembly

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will publish the South East England Regional Assembly's recommendations on regional transport priorities. [62576]

Dr. Ladyman: The advice from the South East region on regional funding allocations-including recommendations on regional transport priorities-was sent to the Government in January. The advice can be found on the Department's website at:


Mr. Streeter: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he is taking to promote the use of taxi-buses. [61726]

Dr. Ladyman [holding answer 27 March 2006]: Section 12 of the Transport Act 1985 allows a taxi owner to apply to the Traffic Commissioner for a bus operator licence. The taxi owner can then register a route with the Traffic Commissioner and provide a local bus service, interspersed with periods of conventional taxi operation.

The Department has published and distributed a guide to Flexible Transport Services" which sets out the benefits of taxi-bus services and other flexible services. It includes advice on setting up a taxi-bus service. A copy is on the Department's website.

Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) how many (a) hackney carriage and (b) private hire drivers have been (i) stopped and (ii) suspended in each year since 1997 (A) in total and (B) broken down by local authority area; [61746]

(2) how many (a) hackney carriage and (b) private hire vehicles have been found to be defective since 1997; and how many in each case were impounded in each year since 1997 (i) in total and (ii) broken down by local authority area. [61747]

Dr. Ladyman: This information is not collected centrally. Local licensing authorities (district/borough councils or unitary authorities) carry out the taxi and private hire vehicle licensing function and are responsible for enforcement in their respective areas.

Traffic Lights

Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the Government's policy is on the use of part-time traffic light signals. [61674]

Dr. Ladyman [holding answer 27 March 2006]: Current advice on part-time traffic light signals is that they are chiefly applicable to roundabouts during peak traffic flow periods, to prevent queues from building back on another road, often a motorway.

Transport Statistics

Mr. Carmichael: 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)
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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. [61748]

Dr. Ladyman: The information for 2003–04 has been placed in the Libraries of the House.

Unregistered Mini-Motorcycles

Mr. Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he plans to take steps (a) to ban unregistered mini-motorcycles from public roads and (b) to provide safe areas for their off-road use. [62021]

Dr. Ladyman: It is already illegal to use unregistered mini-motorcycles on public roads. Enforcement is a matter for individual Chief Officers of Police.

I understand that the provision of safe off-road areas for these bikes is being considered by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and the Department for Trade and Industry, together with motorcycling organisations. Some off-road facilities already exist. Further, DEFRA has just issued a circular giving guidance on the use of mechanically propelled vehicles on rights of way and off-road in the countryside.

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