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15 Jan 2007 : Column 751W—continued

Liverpool: Transport Links

Mrs. Ellman: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the adequacy of road and rail links to the port of Liverpool. [115540]

Dr. Ladyman: The existing trunk road access to the port of Liverpool at Seaforth is provided by the A5036. A study undertaken by the Highways Agency has concluded that journey times on the existing A5036 are not reliable and that this position will get progressively worse over time.

The North West Regional Planning Assessment (RPA) for the railway and the Network Rail route utilisation strategies for the North West and Freight assess the current provision and likely future needs for freight on the railways, including the Port of Liverpool. The North West RPA was published in October 2006 and consultation drafts of both route utilisation strategies have been issued.

However, even taking into account the potential of rail, the Highways Agency believe that the existing road network would be inadequate to cater for the expected growth of the port. It is now developing options for improving road access to the port. It is envisaged that any scheme identified will be funded from the regional funding allocation.

M1 Closure

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the incident which caused the closure of part of the M1 on Christmas Day. [115152]

Dr. Ladyman: Sections of the M1 were closed on Christmas Day due to two serious incidents. The first incident closed the M1 in both directions between Junction 29 and 30 in Derbyshire at approx 15.10hrs. The incident involved a man threatening to jump onto the motorway from an overbridge and it was necessary to close the motorway to ensure the safety of the individual and motorists. There were no casualties and the M1 re-opened at 18.00hrs.

The second incident closed the M1 northbound near Junction 38 in South Yorkshire at approx 18.15hrs. This incident involved a vehicle hitting a hard shoulder barrier, rolling and coming to rest at the central reserve barrier, resulting in a fatality. The M1 re-opened at 22.50hrs following a police investigation.

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Mrs. Maria Miller: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what (a) resurfacing and (b) noise reduction works are planned to be undertaken between junctions 5 and 7 of the M3 motorway; and if he will make a statement; [114445]

(2) whether the Highway Agency plans to undertake noise reduction works of each lane of the M3 between junctions 5 and 7; and if he will make a statement. [115636]

Dr. Ladyman: The Highways Agency resurfaced lane 1 Northbound of the M3 between junctions 5 and 6 with quieter surfacing in September 2001. It has a scheme within its current four year maintenance programme to resurface the remaining lanes of both carriageways in two phases between 2008 and 2010. A quieter surface will be used for this as a matter of course.

The road between junctions 6 and 7 is in a safe and serviceable condition and therefore there are no current plans for its resurfacing.

Noise reduction works, consisting of the construction of a 300 m acoustic barrier, are planned for the financial year 2007-08 for the northbound carriageway of the M3 between junctions 5 and 6 at Hatch.


Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what regard he will have to the Visioning and Backcasting for UK Transport Policy report published in 2005 in relation to his decision making for the M6 widening proposals between junctions 11A and 19, with particular reference to the policies that will be necessary to meet the Government’s targets for reducing carbon dioxide emissions. [114278]

Dr. Ladyman: The Visioning and Backcasting for UK Transport Policy (VIBAT) study examined a range of policy measures (technological and behavioural) and assessed how they could be effectively combined to achieve a reduction in emissions.

Whilst this study highlighted a potential range of options available for addressing carbon emissions from transport, it was intended to test a research methodology and to stimulate thinking, not to define Government policy. Its partial analysis did not consider either the costs of measures proposed nor the most cost-effective and practical savings across the whole of the economy. However, many of the policies identified in the report were considered as part of the Climate Change Programme Review, some of which are now being taken forward, such as the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation.

The proposed M6 widening scheme will be assessed—as with all major transport schemes—using the Department’s New Approach to Appraisal and Value for Money guidance. I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 11 December 2006, Official Report, column 735W.

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Mr. Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what traffic calming measures are available to tackle speeding by motorcycle traffic. [114169]

Dr. Ladyman: Traffic calming measures will have an effect on motorcycle traffic directly and also indirectly as a result of slowing the speed of the general flow of traffic, including motorcycles. Full-width road humps are likely to be the most effective in slowing motorcycles directly. I recognise that speed cushions and chicanes may be less effective in slowing motorcycles. It is for the relevant highway authority to determine the most appropriate form of traffic calming depending on local circumstances.

Mr. Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what assessment he has made of the impact on road safety of permitting 16-year-olds to drive 50 cc motorcycles; [114170]

(2) if he will assess the merits of raising the age at which 50 cc motorcycles can be driven on the road to that for other motorised vehicles; [114171]

(3) how many accidents there have been in each of the last five years involving 16-year-olds driving 50 cc motorcycles. [114186]

Dr. Ladyman: 16-year-olds are entitled to ride mopeds, which have an engine capacity of under 50 cc and are limited to a maximum speed of around 50 mph. Anyone wanting to ride a moped, even with a provisional licence, must first of all successfully complete a Compulsory Basic Training course. This is a legal requirement, which is designed to provide riders with the necessary skills before riding unaccompanied on the road. In this way, those who need independence and mobility at a younger age are given the opportunity to gain it.

The number of personal injury road accidents reported to the police, in each of the last five years, involving a 16-year-old rider on a motorcycle of 50 cc and under (whether or not the rider was themselves injured) are:












In 2005, 1,882 16-year-old riders of mopeds were injured in road accidents, of whom four were killed and 318 were seriously injured. A further 38 pillion passengers of 16-year-old moped riders were injured, of whom none was killed and five were seriously injured. In addition, another 71 road users were injured in accidents involving 16-year-old moped riders, of whom none was killed and 12 were seriously injured.

Accidents involving 16-year-old moped riders accounted for 8 per cent. of all accidents involving motorcycles and 8 per cent. of all casualties to motorcycle riders and passengers but only accounted for less than 1 per cent. of fatal accidents and
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casualties. We have not made any other assessment of the impact on road safety of permitting 16-year-olds to drive mopeds.

We have no plans to consider raising the minimum age for riding a moped. Moped riders of all ages will benefit from the range of measures for improving the safety of all motorcycle users, as set out in “The Government’s Motorcycling Strategy”.

In addition, last year the Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA) produced a DVD on moped safety “Get the Message: Act Your Age”, which is aimed at young moped riders. Manufacturers provide a free copy with all new mopeds. It has also been distributed to all secondary schools and local authority road safety officers, as part of MCIA’s educational resource “Links: connecting citizenship and Road User Education”.

National Ports Council: Pension Scheme

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the future of the National Ports Council pension scheme. [114774]

Dr. Ladyman: The Department is looking to wind up the National Ports Council pension scheme as soon as possible given the intention of the Office of the Official Solicitor and Public Trustee (OSPT) to withdraw as administrator in March this year. We are pursuing options, in close consultation with the Trustees, in a way which will safeguard the scheme members' interests.

Network Rail: Debts

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the total levels of Network Rail’s debt guaranteed by the Government are; what the annual interest charge on that debt is; and what proportion of that debt has been repaid in the past 12 months. [108969]

Mr. Tom Harris: The credit support arrangements for Network Rail’s Medium Term Note programme are capped at £10 billion principal, while the unused long-term contingency buffer is capped at £4 billion principal. There is no similar limit on the financial indemnity to support Network Rail’s Debt Issuance Programme (DIP). However, the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) has included in Network Rail’s licence a condition that limits NR’s borrowing under the DIP to 90 per cent. of its regulatory asset base (RAB). If DIP debt reaches 85 per cent. of the RAB, Network Rail have to provide ORR with an action plan of how to reduce debt below this level. The most recent public reporting of this ratio was contained in the ORR’s “Q2 06-07 Network Rail Monitor”, published on 13 November 2006, in which NR’s total debt was reported as being equal to 74.6 per cent. of the RAB. This, and a number of other controls, limit the Secretary of State’s exposure under the financial indemnity.

Network Rail’s interim financial statements for the six months ended 30 September 2006 reported the company’s net debt as £17.929 billion, compared with £16.750 billion at 30 September 2005.

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Network Rail advises that the information requested on the annual interest charge on the net debt is not readily available. The hon. Member should contact Network Rail’s chief executive at the following address for a response to this part of his question.

Operating Licences

Janet Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what account is taken of whether a company is trading on green belt land when the traffic commissioners consider its application for renewal of its operating licence; [115258]

(2) in what circumstances the traffic commissioners can refuse to renew an operating licence. [115259]

Dr. Ladyman: Goods vehicle operator licences are continuous but traffic commissioners review individual operating centres every five years. At these reviews, traffic commissioners consider the continued suitability of the operating centre and take account of any representations made by persons who own or occupy land in the vicinity of the centre within the preceding five-year period.

Following a review, a traffic commissioner may impose conditions relating to the use of a centre, vary existing conditions or direct that a centre may no longer be used. Failure to comply with a condition may lead to revocation of the licence.

Parking Regimes

Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions he has held with local authorities about the timetable for introducing new parking regulations by October 2007; what estimate he has made of the costs to local authorities of the purchase of new hardware and software to prepare for the changeover; and what targets he has set for replying to parking authorities who submit queries on the new traffic management arrangements. [112732]

Gillian Merron: The timetable has been discussed with the group advising the Department, which includes representatives from local authorities and the local authority associations, and it is on their advice that there is a long period of time between the regulations completing their passage through Parliament and coming into force in late 2007. The Department’s draft regulatory impact assessment, as amended following consultation in July 2006, makes clear that there may be some up-front costs for the transition from decriminalised (DPE) to civil parking enforcement (CPE). These costs include training and IT costs. The amount will depend on the contract that the local authority has with its IT supplier. The Department’s target for replying to letters is 15 working days for those from MPs and 20 working days for those from other correspondents.

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Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what timetable has been agreed for the establishment of a transitional regime for local authorities to migrate their existing parking regulations from the Road Traffic Acts to the Traffic Management Act 2004; what template has been established to enable local authorities to issue identical parking documents; and what consultation he has held with local authorities on the proposed changes in their parking procedures. [112737]

Gillian Merron: The Department consulted a range of groups and individuals, including local authorities, in July 2006 about draft regulations and statutory guidance to implement the parking provisions in part 6 of the Traffic Management Act 2004. The responses to that consultation are under consideration and we plan to lay the regulations in Parliament early this year and bring them into force in late 2007. The regulations and guidance will make clear to local authorities the information that their parking documents must contain and the information that the Secretary of State recommends they contain.

Passenger Transport Authorities

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 14 December 2006, Official Report, column 1269W, on passenger transport authorities, if he will provide the details of each of the applications he is considering. [113927]

Gillian Merron: 60 appeals were lodged with the Secretary of State against the reimbursement arrangements set up by the travel concession authority in respect of concessionary travel schemes introduced on 1 April 2006. Determinations have been made for 16 of these, and 15 appeals were withdrawn. Subsequently, a further three appeals have been made following variations to local schemes during the 2006-07 financial year.

It would not be appropriate to give full details of each of the applications while they are under consideration. However, for those where a decision is pending, a list of the schemes appealed against, and the applicants for each, are listed in the following table:

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Scheme Operator

Bristol area Diamond Travelcard Scheme

First Bristol jointly with First Somerset and Avon

Centra Passenger Transport Executive (PTE)

Birmingham Coach Company

Centra PTE

Midland Red South

Centra PTE

West Midlands Travel

Devon Countywide

First Devon and Cornwall

Devon Countywide

Stagecoach Devon

Dorset Countywide

Stagecoach Devon

East Sussex (Sussex Countywide)

Stagecoach South

Greater Manchester PTE

First Manchester

Greater Manchester PTE

GM Buses Ltd

Greater Manchester PTE

Green Triangle Buses

Greater Manchester PTE

Stagecoach Manchester

Greater Manchester PTE

Stagecoach North West

Greater Manchester PTE

Vales Coaches

Gloucestershire Countywide

Red and White Services Ltd

Gloucestershire Countywide

Stagecoach West

Hampshire Countywide

First Hampshire and Dorset

Hampshire Countywide

Wilts and Dorset Bus

Harrogate (for York UA)

First York


First PMT

Norfolk Countywide

Anglian Bus

Norfolk Countywide

First Eastern Counties

Norfolk Countywide

Norfolk Green

Redditch Borough

First Midland Red

Suffolk Countywide

Anglian Bus

Suffolk Countywide

First Eastern Counties

South Yorkshire PTE

First South Yorkshire

South Yorkshire PTE

Yorkshire Traction with Yorkshire Terrier and Barnsley and District

West Yorkshire PTE

First West Yorkshire jointly with First Manchester and First South Yorkshire

Appeals from October 2006 (deferred pending further local negotiations)

Oxford City Council

Oxford Bus Company

Oxford City Council

Stagecoach in Oxfordshire

Appeals from January 2007 (the validity of this appeal is being assessed)

Bristol area Diamond Travelcard Scheme

First Bristol Ltd jointly with First Somerset and Avon Ltd

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