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2 Apr 2008 : Column 1023W—continued

Motorcycles: Licensing

Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport with reference to the answer of 16 April 2007, Official Report, columns 55-6W, on motorcycles: licensing, what her current estimate is of the costs provided in that answer; and if she will make a statement. [196709]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The total estimated cost for implementing the new practical motorcycling test being introduced in September 2008 is £71,000,000.

Of this, £70,200,000 is for acquisition, design construction and development of multi-purpose test
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centres (MPTCs). The remainder of £800,000 has been allocated for equipment, training and site set-up cost.

The second European driving licence directive as amended by Commission directive 56/2000 aims to improve the standard of road safety for all road users including motorcycle and moped riders. Test candidates must be able to demonstrate that they are competent to ride their machines at a more demanding level than is currently the case. The new practical motorcycle test must be introduced no later than 30 September 2008. The higher speed exercises and other manoeuvres will be performed in the off-road element of the test conducted at MPTC sites.

In the interests of the safety of all road users, not least the motorcycling test candidate, assessing the new manoeuvres will be conducted off-road at MPTCs.

MPTCs will also cater for other types of practical tests, including for car drivers.


Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport for what purposes the hard shoulders of the motorway infrastructure are used. [194947]

Mr. Tom Harris: The Motorways; Traffic (England and Wales) Regulations 1982 define a hard shoulder and its uses. Regulation 7 provides that a vehicle may stop and remain at rest on a hard shoulder where it is necessary:

The M42 (Junctions 3A to 7) Actively Managed Hard Shoulder and Variable Speed Limits) Regulations 2005, modified the 1982 regulations in respect of M42 Junctions 3A to 7 and the adjoining slip roads to introduce variable speed limits and create the concept of an ‘actively managed hard shoulder’, which may, in certain circumstances, be driven on.

Information for drivers on the use of the hard shoulder is given in the Highway Code, sections 269 to 271.

Motorways: Accidents

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many deaths there have been as a result of crashes involving vehicles parked on motorway hard shoulders in the last 10 years for which figures are available. [194934]

Mr. Tom Harris: Between 1997 and 2006 there were 85 fatalities resulting from road traffic accidents on M and A(M) class roads on the Highways Agency's trunk road network, where at least one vehicle was stopped on the hard shoulder.

The 85 fatalities (in accidents where at least one vehicle was parked on the hard shoulder) accounted for 4.9 per cent. of all fatalities on M and A(M) class roads on the Highways Agency's trunk road network (1,739 in total), recorded over the same period.

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Motorways: Carbon Emissions

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate she has made of the annual change in carbon dioxide emissions expected to result from the planned motorway widening programme by 2015. [197541]

Mr. Tom Harris [holding answer 31 March 2008]: Following the recent publication of the advanced motorway signalling and traffic management feasibility study, hard shoulder running will now be considered for the schemes which were due to be widened, apart from the first two sections of the M25 widening scheme'.

The feasibility study modelled the emissions impacts of a programme of planned widening schemes comprising all the motorway elements of the Highways Agency's current major schemes programme, plus widening of the M6 from the north of Birmingham to Knutsford, for the year 2015. This high level analysis showed an increase in CO2 of 0.3 megatonnes (an increase of 0.3 per cent.) for the widening package, compared to 0.2 megatonnes (0.2 per cent.) if all the widening schemes were to be replaced with hard shoulder running. This is compared to a reference case with no improvements to these parts of the motorway network. Year-on-year impacts were not modelled. Further details are included in the study report, available online at:

Passenger Transport Executives: Marketing

Stephen Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate she has made of the costs of rebranding passenger transport authorities as integrated transport authorities as proposed in the Local Transport Bill; and when the Government will provide funding for this purpose. [198389]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Local Transport Bill provides for the statutory designation of each passenger transport authority to be changed to “integrated transport authority”. This reflects their proposed new responsibilities for leading the integration within the Local Transport Plan of the whole transport agenda including, for example highways and traffic issues. Most passenger transport in the former metropolitan areas is already provided under “brand” names such as Merseytravel or Nexus, and the legislation will not affect the ability of authorities to use such names. I expect the change in statutory designation not to impose any significant additional costs on authorities, and that any such costs will be more than offset by savings resulting from other measures.

Penalty Fares: Appeals

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which approved appeals bodies adjudicate on the penalty fares scheme. [194548]

Mr. Tom Harris: There are two approved appeal bodies handling National Rail penalty fare scheme
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appeals. These are the Independent Penalty Fares Appeals Service (IPFAS), and the Independent Appeals Service (IAS).

Public Transport

Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent estimate she has made of the proportion of people who travel by public transport in (a) rural and (b) urban areas. [198597]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The following table shows the proportion of trips by people living in urban and rural areas which are by public transport.

Proportion of trips by main mode by residents of urban and rural areas, Great Britain, 2006
Public transport





Other urban






DfT: National Travel Survey 2006

Public Transport: Tickets

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps she is taking to encourage the deployment of train-bus Oystercard-type arrangements in major conurbations other than London. [195948]

Mr. Tom Harris: The smartcard and integrated ticketing programmes are being rolled out progressively. Plus Bus (add-on bus travel to a rail ticket) is growing and passenger transport executives already have integrated bus and train tickets, safeguarded through rail franchise agreements. The national concessionary bus passes are being introduced on ITSO smartcards and with older people being the biggest users of bus, this gives the potential for further smartcard initiatives.

The key to more integrated smart ticketing is to establish ITSO on rail in London and elsewhere. ITSO smartcards are being rolled out through new rail franchise agreements and train operators are encouraged to engage with local authorities on ticketing schemes.

The Northern Way have identified smartcards as a tool which would support economic growth by making public transport more attractive; and are considering how they might potentially encourage take up in the north.

Railways: Buckinghamshire

Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the passenger capacity is of commuter trains serving (a) Wolverton, (b) Central Milton Keynes and (c) Bletchley train stations per day; and what the capacity is of (i) peak time services and (ii) an average train serving each. [197300]

Mr. Tom Harris: Commuter trains to London that serve the three stations in the Milton Keynes area have the capacity to transport over 50,000 passengers in each direction each day. Trains calling for London arrivals between 7 am and 10 am have almost 8,000
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seats with an absolute capacity of 13,000. A typical peak time train serving the Milton Keynes area would have 412 seats and an absolute capacity of 720. Capacity at individual stations is a matter for London Midland.

Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many people used (a) Wolverton, (b) Central Milton Keynes and (c) Bletchley train stations per day for (i) peak and (ii) non-peak journey times in the latest period for which figures are available; and what projection has been made of the likely numbers in each year until 2031. [197301]

Mr. Tom Harris: Depending on the time of year, a total of between 15,000 and 20,000 rail passengers use the three stations within the Milton Keynes region every weekday. The morning peak period carries between 5,000 and 8,000 of the daily passengers, the evening peak is almost as popular, and the remainder travel outside of these times. Over two-thirds of all the passengers have an ultimate origin or destination of London.

We expect numbers to continue to grow significantly over the next few years as a result of the projected population growth in the Milton Keynes region. The Department is providing for this growth by lengthening most peak time trains to 12 cars during 2009. Figures for individual stations are matters for London Midland.

The Department is currently engaged with Milton Keynes council in assessing the projected passenger numbers in the region as far ahead as 2031 as part of the Intercity Express project.

Railways: Freight

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment she has made of the steps that need to be taken to facilitate rail freight movements from Felixstowe via Ipswich and Huntingdon to the midlands; what she estimates the cost of such steps to be; and if she will make a statement. [195940]

Mr. Tom Harris: The Network Rail Freight Route Utilisation Study, published March 2007, identified the Felixstowe, Ipswich and Peterborough to Nuneaton route as requiring gauge and capacity enhancement to meet growth in demand.

Hutchison Ports (UK) Ltd. (HPUK)—the owner of the Port of Felixstowe—is funding the cost of upgrading the gauge capability and capacity of the route between Felixstowe, Ipswich, Peterborough and the east coast main line and South Yorkshire.

The funding commitment from HPUK was made through a Section 106 agreement relating to the planning approval for Port of Felixstowe south quay reconfiguration.

The Peterborough to Nuneaton route has received £80 million in funding support through the Transport Innovation Fund (TIF) for gauge and capacity enhancements to complement the work east of Peterborough. This work will start in April 2008.

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Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment she has made of the potential for the diversion of freight traffic from the A14 to the rail network ( a) in the absence of improvements to the rail network and (b) following improvement of the rail path from Felixstowe to the midlands. [195941]

Mr. Tom Harris: The business case supporting the Peterborough to Nuneaton gauge and capacity enhancement scheme, for which Productivity Transport Innovation Fund funding was announced in October 2007, estimated that these improvements have the potential to remove 65,000 lorry journeys per annum from a number of roads including the A14 when completed.

Railways: Greater London

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment she has made of the implications for longer-distance commuters of the proposals of the Mayor of London in relation to Southern Metro services including their transfer to his responsibility; and if she will make a statement. [195944]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Department for Transport has received a proposal from the Mayor of London regarding his involvement in the South Central franchising process. We continue to consider the proposal and its implications on all users of the railway.

Railways: Land

Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport who in her Department is responsible for monitoring BRB (Residuary) Limited's compliance with Departmental guidance on the sale of disused railway lines. [193982]

Mr. Tom Harris: Ministers are responsible for monitoring BRB (Residuary) Limited's compliance with the departmental guidance on the sale of disused railway lines. In addition, officials from the Department for Transport are members of the Property Review Group which has been established by the company in accordance with that guidance.

Railways: Repairs and Maintenance

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will seek an explanation from Network Rail for delays to maintenance work over the Easter holiday on the rail network from Essex into London Liverpool Street; what procedures were put in place following delays to maintenance work on the same network over the new year holiday to prevent a recurrence; and if she will make a statement. [197563]

Mr. Tom Harris [holding answer 31 March 2008]: These are operational matters for Network Rail. Although the Government have no power to intervene in Network Rail’s operations, Ministers regularly meet with Network Rail to discuss a range of issues relating to the railways.

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Railways: Standards

Stephen Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the Answer of 18 March 2008, Official Report, columns 952-3W, on Great Western Trains, if she will make it her policy to place in the Library copies of each train operating company’s four-weekly report on their joint performance improvement plans as soon as they are available. [198400]

Mr. Tom Harris: The four-weekly reports on joint performance improvement plans contain commercially sensitive information; therefore, it would not be appropriate for these reports to be available in the Library.

Railways: Tickets

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress is being made in extending Oyster card deployment to national rail services in the Greater London area. [195947]

Mr. Tom Harris: The Department for Transport, Transport for London and train operators are working together on the acceptance of Oyster ‘Pay As You Go’ on rail services in the London Travelcard zones and the acceptance of ITSO smartcards on Oyster equipment. Commercial and contractual negotiations are taking place.

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