Problem communicating with remote server...
Previous Section Index Home Page

23 Oct 2006 : Column 1538W—continued


23 Oct 2006 : Column 1539W

Aviation Emissions

Mr. Meacher: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his latest estimate is of greenhouse gas emissions from aeroplane contrails in flights over the (a) UK and (b) EU; and what the levels were (i) five years and (ii) 10 years ago. [95769]

Gillian Merron: The Government do not produce data specifically relating to contrails. Information on aviation emissions is contained in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Statistical Release ‘UK Emissions of Greenhouse Gases’ at the following web link:

Congestion Charging

Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent discussions he has held with local authorities and passenger transport executive groups on congestion charging. [95558]

Dr. Ladyman: Last November the Department awarded pump priming money to seven areas to take forward innovative ways to tackle congestion. Ministers and officials continue to discuss with the relevant local authorities and passenger transport authorities, Cardiff Council and Transport for London, what role road pricing could play in tackling congestion. We are working closely with authorities to ensure that any schemes developed are consistent and easily understood by motorists. Pilots will provide valuable experience that will inform decisions about moving towards a national scheme.

Cyclists

Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the proportion of cyclists aged under 16 wearing helmets in each of the last five years. [96299]

Dr. Ladyman: Surveys of cycle helmet wearing rates are carried out for the Department about every two years. These show that cycle helmets were worn by 15 per cent. of children in 1999 and in 2002 and 14 per cent. in 2004. The 2006 survey of cycle helmet wearing rates is currently under way and will report next year.

There is a significant difference in cycle helmet wearing rates between boys and girls. In the 2004 survey, 11 per cent. of boys wore helmets and 26 per cent. of girls.

Driving Standards Agency

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has for Driving Standards Agency supercentres in South Yorkshire and the East Midlands. [95584]


23 Oct 2006 : Column 1540W

Dr. Ladyman: The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) plans to create multi-purpose test centres (MPTC) at Rotherham, Leicester (south), Lincoln, Nottingham (east) and Burton-on-Trent.

Driving Test Centres (Worksop)

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will retain Worksop as a driving test centre. [95471]

Dr. Ladyman: The Driving Standards Agency intends to retain a driving test centre (DTC) in Worksop. Worksop DTC is currently situated in premises owned by the Department for Constitutional Affairs (DCA). The DCA have served notice which terminates our tenancy agreement on the 31 March 2007. A potential replacement property has been identified in Worksop.

DSA should be in a position to relocate to its new premises in time for the expiry of the occupancy agreement at the end of March 2007.

M25

Mr. Blunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport why resurfacing of concrete sections is not being undertaken during the repairs to the M25 between Leatherhead and Reigate. [95314]

Dr. Ladyman: The current repairs to the M25 between Leatherhead and Reigate are to replace defective carriageway around drains and manholes at isolated locations.

Generally the concrete carriageway on this stretch of the M25 is in good condition and will not require resurfacing for maintenance needs within the period of the Highways Agency’s current five year forward programme. However when it does need to be resurfaced a quieter surfacing will be used as a matter of course.

M6

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what public consultations he plans to hold on the widening of the M6 motorway between junctions 11a and 19. [96306]

Dr. Ladyman: An extensive M6 widening public consultation is scheduled for the end of autumn 2007 supported by exhibitions at a number of locations along the route of the scheme. Exhibitions will be staffed by Highways Agency officers and their consultants.

Plans will be used to illustrate the widening proposals and any alternatives. A wide range of supporting information will also be available at each exhibition.

A detailed consultation plan will be developed and placed on the Highways Agency’s M6 J11A-19 website well in advance of consultation taking place. An outline consultation plan is scheduled to be available at
23 Oct 2006 : Column 1541W
the time of TPI Entry scheduled for spring 2007. The route and design detail shown in the consultation will be indicative only and subject to the outcome of the consultation.

Railways

Mr. Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what contingency plans are in place to ensure continuity of service on rail services in the event of franchise business failure. [96324]

Mr. Tom Harris: Contingency plans to ensure continuity of service on rail services exist within DfT and are kept under constant review.

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what criteria were used to determine the outcome of the South West trains franchise; and what the cost difference is between the new and old contracts. [93374]

Mr. Tom Harris: The process used to evaluate bids was the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) evaluation model applicable to suppliers to the public sector. This approach utilised a scoring methodology assessing the bidder's approach, deployment, assessment and review, results/evidence (RADAR) to the contribution of 22 operational criteria to the achievement of the three principal delivery plans of performance, revenues and costs.

The current franchise subsidy committed for the last year of the franchise (which expires in February 2007) is £120 million. The new franchise will provide, over its 10 year term, a net premium of £1,191 million.

Mr. Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what plans he has to ensure that the £1.3 billion payment required to be made to the Treasury as part of the East Coast Main Line rail franchise agreement is safeguarded; [95360]

(2) what steps he is taking to ensure continuation of the East Coast Main Line rail service following GNER's parent company's default on its bond payment in the United States and filing of Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection; and if he will make a statement. [95382]

Mr. Tom Harris: GNER has met all its contractual obligations, including the making of premium payments. The Department continues to monitor the Sea Containers position closely. The Secretary of State has legal powers to ensure the continued delivery of rail services on any franchise.

Road Safety

Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what response he has made to the report commissioned by his Department from TRL on the risks resulting from drivers’ vision being obstructed by A-pillars. [95507]


23 Oct 2006 : Column 1542W

Dr. Ladyman: The research undertaken by the Department on A-pillar obscuration established that while the A-pillar may have had an influence on an accident, other confounding issues such as junction layout, street furniture and driver behaviour may also have played a part. I am concerned that we address, where practicable, issues that affect road safety but also recognise that any such actions must be supported by sound evidence. I have therefore instructed officials that we should continue to collect evidence on this issue and keep it under review.

Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the proportion of serious road traffic accidents that have involved a speed limit breach in each year since 1994. [95513]

Dr. Ladyman: The percentage of serious personal injury road traffic accidents that have ‘exceeding the speed limit’ as a contributory factor in 2005 is available in the article “Contributory factors to road accidents” published on 28 September 2006. These data are not available for personal injury road accidents prior to 2005.

A copy of the article “Contributory factors to road accidents” is available in the Libraries of the House.

Ms Diana R. Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps his Department is taking to encourage riders of powered two-wheelers to make sure that they have adequate lighting on their bikes. [95654]

Dr. Ladyman: The Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations 1989, as amended (RVLR) govern the use of lights on vehicles. The RVLR require that headlights are used at night and when visibility is seriously reduced, which is generally when the driver can not see for more than 100 metres. These requirements are also explained in the Highway Code.

Enforcement of road traffic law is an operational matter for individual Chief Police Officers; their officers can issue verbal warnings, fixed penalty notices or report the motorcyclist for formal prosecution.

Through the THINK! campaign we also provide advice to motorcyclists to help them to remain safe on the roads, including the line: ‘dipped headlights, even in good daylight, can help you to be seen.'

Motorcyclists are aware of the benefits of increased conspicuity and often voluntarily make themselves more visible in daytime by using dipped beam headlamps. Since 2003 motorcycle manufacturers have voluntarily fitted devices to activate the headlamps automatically when the ignition is on, both in daytime and at night.

Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what proportion of serious road traffic accidents involving speed limit excession in the last period for which figures are available also involved (a) unlicensed drivers, (b) unregistered drivers, (c) uninsured drivers, (d) drunk drivers and (e) stolen vehicles. [95615]

Dr. Ladyman: The information requested on unlicensed drivers, unregistered drivers and uninsured drivers is not available.


23 Oct 2006 : Column 1543W

Of accidents which had ‘exceeding the speed limit’ as a contributory factor 12 per cent. also involved at least one driver who failed or failed to provide a breath test and 4 per cent. also involved at least one ‘stolen vehicle’, reported as a contributory factor. A serious accident is defined as an accident in which at least one person is seriously injured but no person is killed.

Roads

Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many miles of new (a) motorway and (b) trunk road have been built in each year since 1997. [95688]

Dr. Ladyman: I refer the right hon. Member to my answers of 19 December 2005, Official Report, column 2321W, and 27 June 2005, Official Report, columns 1263-66W, for the information between 1997 and 2005. Between 19 December 2005 and 12 October 2006 19.7 miles of trunk motorway and 9.9 miles of all-purpose trunk road schemes were completed.

Safety Cameras

Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether the fourth year report into speed camera effectiveness took account of reduced traffic volumes at camera sites. [95508]

Dr. Ladyman: Data on traffic volumes are not routinely collected at camera sites. Traffic volumes can increase or reduce on a particular road for many reasons. Any significant changes to the traffic volumes at camera sites are likely to be reflected in the regular vehicle speeds surveys that are undertaken by partnerships.

The independent four year evaluation of the national safety camera programme analyses both 85th percentile and average speeds at over 3,800 camera sites. The report concludes that fixed cameras, which are permanently in place, have been particularly effective at reducing vehicle speeds at camera sites. These sites show a 70 per cent. reduction in the percentage of vehicles exceeding the speed limit, and a 91 per cent. reduction in the percentage of vehicles exceeding the speed limit by more than 15 mph.

Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made to the contribution to road safety made by speed cameras; and whether he has made an estimate of the number of road traffic fatalities avoided by the use of road traffic cameras. [95510]

Dr. Ladyman: The independent four-year evaluation report of the National Safety Camera Programme assessed the effectiveness of cameras and found that after allowing for the long term trend, there was a 42 per cent. reduction in death and injury at camera sites, including a reduction of over 100 fatalities per year. The report, published on 15 December 2005, is available in the Library of the House, and on the Department’s website.


23 Oct 2006 : Column 1544W

Transport Innovation Fund

Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what criteria will be used to judge the next round of bidding for Transport Innovation Fund grants; and if he will make a statement. [95559]

Dr. Ladyman: The January 2006 Transport Innovation Fund guidance (http://www.dft.gov.uk/stellent/groups/dft_about/documents/pdf/dft_about_ pdf_611056.pdf) set out the requirements bidders would need to satisfy to reach TIF programme entry. Schemes will be judged by their performance against five main criteria:

Further detailed guidance on business case requirements will be published shortly.

House of Commons Commission

Roof Terrace

Chris Ruane: To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission how many recorded accidents there have been which resulted in (a) minor injury and (b) serious injury on the Roof Terrace of the House in each of the last five years; and what the primary cause of each accident was. [94638]

Nick Harvey: There have been no recorded accidents. The recent closure of the Roof Terrace on health and safety grounds is a preventative measure. This follows evidence that due to insufficient preventative measures, people visiting the Roof Terrace have strayed beyond the secure area and could be in danger. Plans are being worked up to install temporary fencing to enable part of the Roof Terrace to reopen while a permanent solution is sought.

International Development

Afghanistan

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps the Government have taken to improve the functioning of the banking system in (a) Iraq and (b) Afghanistan; and if he will make a statement. [95330]

Hilary Benn: Much of the banking sector in Iraq is state owned and in a very poor financial condition. The range of financial services available is very limited. Restructuring of the banking system is widely identified as a high priority in creating the conditions
23 Oct 2006 : Column 1545W
for non-oil economic growth. The United States (US) has led on banking sector reform in partnership with the Iraqi authorities. This will remain a priority for the Government of Iraq in the coming years. DFID works with the Ministry of Finance in Iraq to take forward other essential reforms including reform of state subsidies, promoting public investment and reforming the oil sector.

In Afghanistan the situation is similar. Despite some progress in recent years the banking sector remains extremely weak. As with Iraq, the sector is dominated by the state owned banks but in Afghanistan financial services, such as money transfers, are often carried out under the informal Hawala system. The US has also led on banking sector reform in Afghanistan. At the request of the Government of Afghanistan, DFID has focused on assisting budget planning and execution and on support to tax reform, where we are the lead donor.


Next Section Index Home Page