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21 Nov 2007 : Column 847W—continued


Fuels: Prices

Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport for what reason the price of fuel is not always displayed on motorway service station signs that are visible from the motorway. [165606]

Mr. Tom Harris: The display of fuel prices, historically on the half-mile approach sign, is a voluntary practice on the part of the operators.

Some time ago several motorway service area operators ceased this practice, citing the high costs involved in keeping the information accurate by the constant alteration of signs, which is necessary in an environment of ever changing fuel prices, and the safety issues involved in accessing the signs.

Galileo

Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what evaluation criteria have to be satisfied before the Galileo system may be judged successful; and what criteria have to be satisfied before the programme is expanded. [163457]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The main characteristics of Galileo were agreed by European Transport Ministers at their meeting on 9-10 December 2004. Full operational capability of the system will be achieved when the planned constellation of 30 satellites is in operation and the technical performance and stability of the system has met the mission and performance requirements.

Any decisions on the potential expansion of Galileo can only be taken once the system is operational and we expect these decisions to be taken on the basis of detailed technical, commercial, financial and programmatic studies.

Gospel Oak-Barking Railway Line

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions she has had with Network Rail and Transport for London on the possible electrification of the Barking to Gospel Oak line. [164899]

Mr. Tom Harris: The Department for Transport received representations and a detailed business case from Transport for London in 2006 regarding a proposal to electrify the Gospel Oak to Barking route. The proposal sought departmental funding for the scheme.

The proposal was rejected by the Department because it was not considered that a robust case could be made for the scheme.


21 Nov 2007 : Column 848W

Highways Agency: Telephone Services

Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much revenue was received from the calls to the Highways Agency’s (a) automated traffic information line and (b) enquiry line in each of the last five years; how many telephone calls were made to the (i) automated traffic information line and (ii) enquiry line in each year; what the average call time was to the (A) automated traffic information line and (B) enquiry line in each year; and how much was spent on (1) staffing costs, (2) call centre facilities and (3) consultancy fees on the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency customer services telephone line in each year. [163223]

Mr. Tom Harris: The information is as follows:

Traffic England Telephone Service (Interactive Voice Recognition - IVR)

The Highways Agency’s Traffic England IVR service is operated by Traffic information Services as part of a wider PFI contract for the National Traffic Control Centre. The Agency does not receive any revenue from this service.

The service commenced in March 2005. The average call time is not available.

Number of calls
Number

2004-05

600

2005-06

45,852

2006-07

91,801


Highways Agency Information Line (HAIL)

The Highways Agency does not receive any revenue from this service.

Number of calls received
Number

2002-03

66,737

2003-04

65,687

2004-05

75,079

2005-06

78,138

2006-07

110,477


Average call time
Call time

2002 — 2005

n/a

2005-06

2 min 39 secs

2006-07

2 min 57 secs

n/a = Not available.

DVLA

Consultancy expenditure on the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency customer services telephone line for the past five years is as follows:

£

2002-03

0

2003-04

3,010

2004-05

3,495

2005-06

0

2006-07

7,895


21 Nov 2007 : Column 849W

Customer services staffing costs for the past five years are as follows:

£

2002-03

8,550,598

2003-04

11,288,752

2004-05

11,990,204

2005-06

13,667,422

2006-07

15,465,682


Immobilisation of Vehicles

Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what changes she proposes to the system of clamping of untaxed vehicles; whether such changes will include untaxed vehicles parked on private land; what safeguards there will be to protect vehicles in the process of repair or restorations for road use; and if she will make a statement. [165603]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The Chancellor announced in his pre-Budget report additional measures to assist in the fight against Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) evasion. VED enforcement powers are to be strengthened to include motorists driving unlicensed vehicles and parking in areas where enforcement is not currently permitted. Therefore in addition to public roads, from 1 September 2008, VED enforcement will extend to unlicensed vehicles in public places where a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) has not been made. Therefore, there will be no adverse effect of this change for the keepers of vehicles in the process of repair or restoration.

Level Crossings: Death

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many people have been killed on pedestrian rail level crossings in each of the last three years. [166333]

Mr. Tom Harris: Level crossings are categorised as vehicular or footpath crossings. The following table lists fatalities at footpath crossings. Suicides and trespassers are excluded. The figure for 2006 is provisional because coroners’ inquests have yet to be concluded.

Number

2004

2

2005

1

2006

4


Motor Vehicles: Testing

Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions she has had with (a) the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, (b) drivers’ representative groups and (c) the motor industry on the possible deregulation of MOT fees. [164642]

Jim Fitzpatrick: Officials have had preliminary discussions about different options for setting MOT test fees with representatives of the MOT trade at industry liaison meetings. Other interested parties will
21 Nov 2007 : Column 850W
have an opportunity to present their views on the idea of deregulating MOT fees and other options when the wider consultation on the MOT scheme is launched in the next few months.

Motorways

Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when she plans to allow vehicles to use the hard shoulder of the M1 motorway; and on what stretches. [165604]

Mr. Tom Harris: Following the success of the trial of Active Traffic Management Techniques on the M42, including use of the hard shoulder, the Secretary of State announced on 25 October a study into the feasibility, costs and benefits of extending these and other advanced signalling and traffic management techniques more widely across the motorway network.

The Terms of Reference for the feasibility study were published to Parliament through a written ministerial statement on 25 October 2007. Decisions on where these techniques may be applied in the future will be taken after the study has reported.

Official Hospitality: Highways Agency

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what records the Highways Agency maintains of its expenditure on official hospitality; how the Agency accounts for that expenditure in each financial year; for what reason the Agency was not able to provide this information for the last 12 months without incurring disproportionate cost, with reference to the answer of 30 October 2007, Official Report, column 1299W, on Departments: official hospitality; and if she will ensure that the Agency maintains records in the future to enable it to provide figures for total expenditure on official hospitality. [162221]

Mr. Tom Harris: The Agency does record its expenditure on official hospitality relating to its administrative activity, for example provision of working lunches to external visitors to Highways Agency premises. The recorded Agency spend for the last financial year and this financial year to date is set out as follows:

Highways Agency spend on official hospitality (admin)
£

2006-07

39,150

2007-08 to 31 October

24,996


However, most Highways Agency expenditure on hospitality is incurred as part of its programme activity, for example at road opening ceremonies, public exhibitions, etc. This is expenditure that can not be extracted from the rest of the Agency’s spend on managing and operating the road network, without incurring disproportionate cost.

Public Transport: Disabled

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent representations she has received on improving access to public transport for disabled people; and what estimate she has made of what
21 Nov 2007 : Column 851W
Government expenditure on concessionary bus passes for disabled people will be in 2007-08. [165599]

Ms Rosie Winterton: I receive correspondence from stakeholders and meet a range of these on a regular basis to discuss various issues around improving access to public transport for disabled people.

The Government set a statutory minimum bus concession for eligible disabled people, and those aged 60 or over. However concessionary fares schemes are administered by local authorities and they can vary at the local level to include more generous concessions. Funding for the statutory concession is provided by central Government to local authorities but there is no separately identified funding stream for the disabled element of the statutory concession.

Railways

Mr. Prisk: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will bring forward proposals for new railway rolling stock prior to the end of 2007. [165930]

Mr. Tom Harris: As set out in the White Paper, the department will publish a Rolling Stock plan by January 2008 setting out in more detail how Rolling Stock will be used to deliver the increased capacity.

Mr. Gummer: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what definition her Department uses of an express railway. [166327]

Mr. Tom Harris: Railways such as the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, intended primarily or exclusively for use by high speed passenger trains, are normally referred to as high speed lines. I am not aware that the term “express railway” is in general use.

Roads: Finance

Dr. Pugh: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment she has made of the different levels of funding for highways in England and areas where responsibility for highway maintenance has been devolved. [166146]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Department for Transport has made no assessment of the different levels of funding for highway maintenance in England and the devolved Administrations. Decisions on the levels of funding to be allocated to highway maintenance are for the administrations of each of the countries concerned, taking into account their overall priorities and objectives.

The Department does, through the UK Roads Liaison Group, have arrangements for sharing best practice advice with transport authorities in the devolved Administrations, including securing best value for the funding available.

Roads: Safety Measures

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what central Government funding was provided for road safety measures in (a) Cornwall, (b) each parliamentary constituency in Cornwall and (c) England in each year since 1979; [166716]


21 Nov 2007 : Column 852W

(2) what central Government funding was provided for road safety awareness in schools in (a) Cornwall, (b) each parliamentary constituency in Cornwall and (c) England in each year since 1979. [166717]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The Government have provided specific road safety grants for road safety partnerships of £1.098 million for Cornwall and £107.795 million across England in 2007-08. The grants replaced a scheme, in operation from 2000-01 to 2006-07, for the local use of income generated by safety camera partnerships.

Since 2000-01, Central Government have provided capital funding support for local authorities to invest in road safety within the integrated transport block, which can be used for a wide range of investment in transport according to local authorities’ policies and priorities. Typically local authorities spend about one fifth of their integrated transport block on road safety projects. Prior to 2000-01 funding specifically for investment in road safety was provided by central Government. The figures for Cornwall and England (excluding London from 2001-02) are shown in tables 1 and 2, as far back as 1991-92.

The funding is provided to the county council for the whole of its area and it is for the county council to determine distribution between local areas. Figures before 1991-92 cannot be made available except at a disproportionate cost.

Table 1: integrated transport block
£ million
Cornwall England

2000-01

2.957

250

2001-02

5.496

543

2002-03

5.915

565

2003-04

5.820

612

2004-05

7.073

658

2005-06

8.299

553

2006-07

10.662

547

2007-08

10.114

571


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