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9 Oct 2007 : Column 493W—continued


9 Oct 2007 : Column 494W

Similarly to the existing Operator Compliance Risk Score (OCRS) system, MOT garages will be classified as Red, Amber or Green.

VOSA monitor MOT garage safety through:

VOSA trialled the risk based approach for 100 MOT garages in the Midlands area from June—October 2006. Analysis of the trial results demonstrated that the risk scoring mechanism is an effective method of predicting actual non-compliance by an MOT garage.

Office of Rail Regulation: Information Officers

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many press officers are employed by the Office of Rail Regulation. [154430]

Mr. Tom Harris: The Office of Rail Regulation has 1.5 full-time equivalent press officers.

Public Service Vehicles: Safety

Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many public service vehicle (PSV) annual safety tests were conducted by VOSA in each financial year since 2000-01; and how many PSVs failed their (a) initial and (b) final safety test in each financial year. [155986]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) publishes figures of how many public service vehicle (PSV) annual safety tests were conducted by VOSA in each financial year since 2000-01; and how many PSVs failed their (a) initial and (b) final safety test in each financial year in its Effectiveness Report. This is available on-line at www.vosa.gov.uk or in the House of Commons Library, Business and Transport Section.

Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many public service vehicles (PSVs) failed their final safety test for a reason relating to their (a) steering mechanisms and (b) braking systems; and what percentage of the number of tests conducted by VOSA on PSVs in each financial year each figure represents. [155987]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) publishes figures of how many public service vehicles (PSVs) failed their final safety test for a reason relating to their (a) steering mechanisms and (b) braking systems; and what percentage of the number of tests conducted by VOSA on PSVs its effectiveness report. This is available on-line at www.vosa.gov.uk or in the House of Commons Library, Business and Transport Section.

Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many heavy goods vehicles failed their final safety test for a reason connected to their (a) steering mechanisms and (b) braking systems; and
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what percentage each figure represents of the number of tests conducted by the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency on heavy goods vehicles in each year. [155988]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) publishes figures of how many heavy goods vehicles failed their final safety test for a reason connected to their (a) steering mechanisms and (b) braking systems; and what percentage each figure represents of the number of tests conducted by the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency on heavy goods vehicles in each financial year in its effectiveness report. This is available on-line at www.vosa.gov.uk or in the House of Commons Library, Business and Transport Section.

Railway Stations: Catering

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions she has had with Network Rail on the provision of Fairtrade coffee at rail stations following the discontinuance of AMT’s contract with Network Rail; and if she will make a statement. [156407]

Mr. Tom Harris: None. This is a commercial matter for Network Rail, as the owner and operator of the national rail network.

The hon. Member should contact Network Rail’s chief executive at the following address for further information relating to his question.

Railways: Safety

Mr. Randall: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what recent assessment she has made of safety at (a) manned and (b) unmanned mainline rail stations; [154743]

(2) what recent assessment she has made of the merits of manned mainline rail stations during operating hours. [154744]

Mr. Tom Harris: Staffing levels at stations are a matter for the station operator to determine.

The Department has not made any recent assessments of safety and/or personal security at manned and unmanned mainline rail stations or on the merits of manned stations during operating hours. However, a national passenger survey is undertaken twice a year by Passenger Focus to assess how safe passengers feel at stations and on trains. In the most recent survey of over 21,000 passengers most people were satisfied with the level of safety and security provided at stations. Also, as part of the Secure Stations scheme accreditation process, a passenger survey is required to be undertaken to assess how safe passengers feel at the station.


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Railways: Security

Mr. Jeremy Browne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport on how many occasions UK railway lines have been closed because of security alerts in each of the last 10 years. [156478]

Mr. Tom Harris: This information is not held by the Department for Transport but by the British transport police who can be contacted at: British Transport Police, 25 Camden Road, London NW1 9LN, E-mail: general.enquiries@btp.pnn.police.uk.

Road Traffic Control: A249

Derek Wyatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what the average waiting times are during rush hour of vehicles on the A249 going to Maidstone from the Sittingbourne or Sheppey direction at the Junction 5 roundabout; [155917]

(2) how much the re-design and signalling of the Stockbury roundabout at Exit 5 of the M2 cost; [155918]

(3) what assessment the Highways Agency has made of the safety of Exit 5 of the M2. [155919]

Mr. Tom Harris: Through its watchman role, the Highways Agency continues to monitor the observed queues at junction 5 of the M2 during peak times but does not currently have a record of the average waiting times. Queuing is generally restricted to the A249 rather than the M2.

As a consequence of earlier monitoring, the Agency invested £252,626 between 2000-01 and 2003-04 in the re-design and signalling of the Stockbury roundabout.

Following this investment and further improvements in 2005, safety improved and the junction is now a relatively low priority in safety terms. The Agency continues to monitor the situation.

Roads: Repairs and Maintenance

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the current backlog of road maintenance is for strategic roads; what the estimated costs of removing the backlog are; and what the estimated time for removing the backlog is, broken down by region. [156520]

Mr. Tom Harris: There is no backlog of road maintenance for the strategic road network i.e. the English trunk roads. The network is maintained by applying whole life cost principles, and takes account of the fact that it is not practical or sustainable to maintain the whole network in an as new condition.

Roads: Safety

Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what STATS19 returns are; and how they are used to generate road accident casualty figures. [155924]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The national collision statistical reporting form (commonly known as STATS19) is used to collect standard information, when a personal injury road accident is reported to the police. The information is
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collected by the police at the scene of the accident or in a minority of cases it is reported on by a member of the public at a police station. Some 50 data items are collected for each accident, including the time, location and circumstances of the accident, the vehicles involved and some information on each casualty. After processing this information is then forwarded by each police force (via local processing authorities in the case of some forces) to the Department electronically and entered into a database. The data are checked, analysed and detailed results published annually in “Road Casualties Great Britain”. In addition quarterly estimates of casualties are published, based on provisional data returns.

The current data collection system was set up in 1979 following a wide ranging review. The statistics are used to inform public debate on matters of road safety and to provide the basis for determining and monitoring road safety policy at the local and national level. National and local government and local police forces work closely to achieve an agreed national reporting standard. The form is subject to quinquennial reviews which consider any amendments that may be required. Changes are agreed by the Steering Committee on Road Accidents Statistics (SCRAS) which was set up in 1977 to oversee the process for road accident data collection. The membership of the committee is drawn from a wide range of bodies and includes representatives of central government, local government and the police.

A copy of the current form used by the police (introduced January 2005) can be found on page 173 in “Road Casualties Great Britain: 2006 annual report”, published on 27 September 2007. Copies of this report have been deposited in the Libraries of the House.

Shipping: Oil

Anne Moffat: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will take steps to ban ship-to-ship oil transfer in the Firth of Forth; what recent assessment the Government has made of the risks to the environment of spillage from such transfers; what contingency plans are in place for such circumstances in the area; and if she will make a statement. [156265]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The Department has no plans to introduce legislation banning ship-to-ship oil transfer in the Firth of Forth.

The Department has not made any recent assessment of the risks to the environment of spillage from ship-to-ship transfers. However, when a ship-to-ship transfer is being considered, we expect the responsible authority to carry out an assessment which takes account of the risks involved.

The following relevant contingency plans are in place for the Firth of Forth:

Stretch Limousines

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what her timetable is for the introduction of policy guidelines for stretch limousines; and if she will make a statement. [155747]


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Ms Rosie Winterton: The Department intends to publish guidance on stretch limousines by January.

Taxis

Mr. Scott: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what projections have been made of the number of taxi drivers that will be operating in London for each of the next five years. [153877]

Ms Rosie Winterton: There are currently 24,500 licensed taxi drivers in London. Transport for London indicates that, assuming the upward trend in the number of taxi drivers continues, this is likely to rise to 25,500 by 2012.

Transport Direct

Susan Kramer: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the (a) original estimated and (b) outturn cost was of Transport Direct. [154749]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The original budget for the Transport Direct Programme, which included the development and operation of the Transport Direct Portal among other things, was for the period of spending review 2002 (April 2003 to March 2006). Subsequent budgets for Transport Direct were allocated on an annual basis in spending review 2004 (April 2005 to March 2008) and will be allocated in comprehensive spending review 2007 (April 2008 to March 2011). The estimated and outturn cost of Transport Direct to March 2007 was:

£ million
Period Estimate Outturn

2003-04 to 2005-06

57

45

2006-07

11

10


Susan Kramer: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the (a) estimated and (b) outturn cost of the (i) development and (ii) running of the Transport Direct portal was in the last year. [154750]

Ms Rosie Winterton: In April 2006, Transport Direct became an operational business unit of the Department for Transport, with the budgets revised to reflect the maturity of the Transport Direct Portal and the reduced need for capital investment. The Transport Direct Portal Service encompasses the Transport Direct Portal Design, Build and Operate (DBO) contract, which covers both development and operation, and the data and services provided by other third parties that underpin the Transport Direct Portal. The estimated and outturn costs for the Transport Direct Portal Service for FY 2006-07 were:

Period FY 2006-07 £ million

Estimate

6.1

Outturn

5.9


These figures represent the total sums paid to the Atos Origin Consortium (the DBO contractor) for all aspects of the DBO contract and to other third-party providers of data and services to the Transport Direct Portal.


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Susan Kramer: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment she has made of the value for money of the Transport Direct portal over the last 12 months. [154751]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The original business case for Transport Direct recorded three key value for money measures:

Of these measures:

On changing habitual behaviour the portal service includes a self-completion feedback questionnaire. The responses to the questionnaire suggested that for individuals who had made the journey before (about a third of the 2,034 respondents):


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