Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans his Department has for improving the A127; what improvements have been made to the A127 between Basildon and Southend-on-Sea during 2005; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Ladyman: The A127 is not a trunk road and so is the responsibility of local highway authorities; these are Southend on Sea borough council for the section of the road within the borough boundary and Essex county council for the section beyond to Basildon. Plans for future improvements to the road, and details of any which have already been carried out, are therefore matters for these authorities.
Mr. Gale: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment his Department has made of the effect on holiday and business traffic of the proposed roadworks to be carried out on the A2 at Boughton Green between 17 July and 8 September; and why it is necessary for the roadworks to be carried out at the peak of the summer holiday season. 
Dr. Ladyman: When assessing the effect on holiday and business traffic of the essential safety works on the A2 at Boughton, the Highways Agency has considered average daily traffic flows and the variation of traffic flows in the peak and off peak hours.
No material differences in average daily flows were found for July, August and September, with August flows being some 3 per cent. lower than July and September. This indicates that there is no significant summer peak in traffic flows.
Mr. Hunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects to publish the Inspectors Report following the Public Inquiry into the A3 Tunnel at Hindhead; and whether he has accepted the recommendations of the Inspector. 
[holding answer 14 July 2006]: The Inspectors report will be published with the decision on the scheme taken jointly by the Secretary of State for Transport, the Secretary of State for Communities
and Local Government and the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. This will be issued soon and convey whether the Inspectors recommendations have been accepted.
Dr. Ladyman [holding answer 13 July 2006]: The number of car trips generated by each new house built is considered to be the same as the number of car trips generated by existing houses and, in Great Britain, is approximately nine trips per week.
Underlying this average are trip rates for different categories of households using information from the National Travel Survey. A key determinant of trip rate is the number of cars owned and the location of the household. For existing households in Kettering and Great Britain, the averages for households by numbers of cars owned is tabled as follows:
|Number of cars owned by household||Average car trips made in Kettering per week||Average car trips made in Great Britain per week|
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the cost to the Department was of the most recent inquiry into the toll levels on the Clifton Suspension Bridge; how many people lodged objections which led to the calling of that inquiry; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Ladyman: Since the coming into force of the Clifton Suspension Bridge Act 1952, toll charges at the Clifton Suspension Bridge have been revised three times: in 1976, 1982 and most recently 2003. The Department has no record of whether inquiries were held for the 1976 and 1982 toll revisions. The 2003 toll revision application received no objections and was considered and approved without the need for a local inquiry.
The operator of the Clifton Suspension Bridge and the Trustees of the Clifton Suspension Bridge, applied to the Secretary of State Department in October 2005 for an order to revise the maximum tolls for using the bridge. Five objections have been received to this application. The trust has been advised that if it wishes to continue with its application, there will have to be an inquiry. No date, as yet, has been set for this inquiry.
Dr. Ladyman: It is currently anticipated that the dedicated high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes on the M1 would be positioned in the outside lane, i.e. adjacent to the central reservation in both directions. However, the final decisions on how the proposals for HOV lanes at this location will be taken forward will be made only once the Highways Agency has completed further work to elaborate the details of the proposed scheme.
Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much was spent by the Highways Agency in using trenchless technology for cabling, ducting and underground service installation in each year since 2001; and what proportion this represents of the overall spending for this work in each year. 
Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport to what extent the Highways Agency uses minimum dig or trenchless technology when undertaking works for the installation of cables, ducts and underground services on the road network; and what technology it uses. 
Dr. Ladyman: The Highways Agency's use of minimum dig or trenchless technology is limited to thrust-boring beneath carriageways where existing cross-carriageway ducts are unserviceable. When undertaking works for the installation of cables, ducts or underground services in the verges of its roads, it installs armoured cables or ducts in trenches in accordance with BS7671, at a sufficient depth to avoid cables or ducts being damaged by any reasonably foreseeable disturbance of the ground.
The Departments provision of funding will, of course, be subject to the scheme securing all necessary statutory powers, demonstrating sufficient value for money, and being supported by a satisfactory business case in line with the departmental requirements.
Gillian Merron: There is no specific national legislation which proscribes vehicle parking on pavements. However, local traffic authorities can make traffic regulation orders, under powers in the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, to both ban pavement parking in certain areas and also allow specific exemptions from the ban.
Section 137 of the Highways Act 1980 makes it an offence to obstruct a highway without lawful authority. The pedestrian footway is part of a highway. The police may issue a fixed penalty notice for such obstruction. However, in London, by virtue of section 8 of the London Local Authorities and Transport for London Act 2003, authorised officers of borough councils and Transport for London are also empowered to issue a fixed penalty notice for the offence of obstruction under section 137 of the 1980 Act.
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will increase the discretion to local highways authorities in respect of the installation of national speed limit signs at the end of any zone where a lower speed limit is in operation. 
Gillian Merron: Local highway authorities have the power to set speed limits at an appropriate level. All changes of speed limit are required by law to be clearly signed to allow drivers ample time to adjust their speed accordingly and drivers are required to know the speed limit in force at any given time. It is important to retain national consistency.
Derek Conway: To ask the Leader of the House which Minister chaired the Cabinet Sub-Committee which considered including the Armed Forces Discipline Bill in the current legislative programme; and which Ministers were members of the Sub-Committee. 
Mr. Straw: All Bills are considered by the Ministerial Committee on the Legislative Programme (LP), whose terms of reference are to consider legislation and related matters. Membership at the time was as follows:
Lord Privy Seal and Leader of the House of Commons (Chair)
Deputy Prime Minister and First Secretary of State
Secretary of State for Transport and Secretary of State for Scotland
Secretary of State for Defence
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and Secretary of State for Wales
Minister without Portfolio
Leader of the House of Lords and Lord President of the Council
Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs and Lord Chancellor
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Minister for the Cabinet Office)
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
Chief Whip, Lords, Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentleman-at-Arms
Deputy Leader of the House of Commons.
Anne Main: To ask the Leader of the House if he will ensure that all Ministers comply with the Resolution of the House of 18 December 1972 as it applies to the timeliness of answers to parliamentary questions. 
Mr. Straw: All Ministers recognise the obligation, deriving from the decisions of the House of 18 December 1972, that a written question tabled for a named day should receive an answer on that day and an ordinary written question should receive a substantive response within a working week of it being tabled. I attach great importance to the timeliness of responses to parliamentary questions tabled in the House and, as I have indicated to the House, I have raised the matter directly with ministerial colleagues.
Mr. Straw: The information is available by parliamentary session. The number of days on which oral questions to the Prime Minister were taken in each session is given in the following table. The figures for sessions for the period before 1997 to 98 are not comparable with those subsequently. The arrangements for Prime Minister's questions were changed at that time, with twice weekly fifteen minute slots being replaced by one weekly thirty minute slot so that no less time is spent in the Chamber. To make a more accurate comparison a table of the approximate hours involved is also given.
|Before 1997 to 98|
|Session||Number of sessions||Approximate number of hours involved||Total sittings days|
|After 1997 to 98|
|Session||Number of sessions||Approximate number of hours involved||Total sittings days|
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