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12 Jun 2008 : Column 402W—continued

Highways Agency: Complaints

Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what formal complaint mechanisms are open to members of the public in relation to decisions taken by the Highways Agency. [209057]

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Mr. Tom Harris: The Highways Agency has a formal complaints procedure called Putting Things Right, which is published on its website. The procedure involves three stages; a local review, a review by the chief executive and a further review by an independent complaints assessor.

Highways Agency: Freedom of Information

Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many requests under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 have been received by the Highways Agency since the Act came into operation. [209056]

Mr. Tom Harris: The Highways Agency has received 790 requests under the Freedom of Information Act since 1 January 2005 when the Act came into operation.

M1: Safety Barriers

Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans she has for the maintenance of the safety barriers on the M1 motorway at Newport Pagnell Service Station and Little Linford Lane; and when the work will be completed. [208205]

Mr. Tom Harris: The Highways Agency is responsible for the maintenance of safety barriers on the M1 motorway. They have recently completed the repair of accident damage to the safety barrier on the northbound entry slip road to the Motorway Service Area (MSA).

Newport Pagnell MSA is a site that is owned by the Secretary of State and leased to Welcome Break Ltd. for the provision of services to those travelling on the motorway. Under the terms of the lease, maintenance issues such as safety barriers within the boundaries of the MSA site are the responsibility of the site operator.

Little Linford Road is the responsibility of Milton Keynes Council.


Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) when she expects the Highways Agency to implement its proposals for widening the M6 between junctions 11A and 19; and what estimate she has made of the cost of the scheme; [209288]

(2) pursuant to the answer of 26 March 2008, Official Report, column 171W, on the M1:M62, when she expects the Highways Agency to publish its findings on active traffic management measures for the M62 and M1. [209289]

Mr. Tom Harris: On 4 March 2008 the Secretary of State published the ‘Advanced Motorway Signalling and Traffic Management Feasibility Study’. The Secretary of State also announced that the Department of Transport and the Highways Agency would undertake additional detailed work examining managed motorway schemes for those areas identified in the feasibility study as being a high priority, including stretches of the M1, M6 and M62. This includes examining whether hard shoulder running could provide a better value for money solution for schemes which were previously planned as widenings, and this will include the production of cost estimates for these hard shoulder running schemes.

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As part of this process, the cost estimates for the widening schemes following the Nichols review are subject to further work and validation. This work is under way and due to be complete by the end of the year. The results of this work will inform decisions on the composition of the roads programme and the timing of schemes within it.


Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much staff are charged to park in the car parking facilities provided at each building operated by her Department and its agencies. [209053]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The Department for Transport does not charge staff to park in any of the car parking facilities it provides.

Railway Stations

Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which rail stations will be upgraded as indicated in the White Paper, Delivering a Sustainable Railway, in the next control period; and what her timetable is for such upgrades. [209329]

Mr. Tom Harris: Major improvements to the stations at Reading and Birmingham New Street are expected to be completed by 2014.

The Thameslink Programme includes major improvements at Blackfriars (completion expected by 2011-12), Farringdon (completion expected by 2011-12) and London Bridge (completion expected by 2015). More modest improvements are also expected at City Thameslink station for completion by the end of 2009, and at a number of outer area stations, most of which will be completed in the period 2009-14.

Kings Cross station is being upgraded with a new concourse and is expected to be complete by 2012. There are also plans to upgrade Waterloo station, including making use of the former international terminal for domestic rail services, which will be progressed during the period 2009-14.

A list of candidate stations for funding under the National Stations Improvement Programme was included as part of the April 2008 refresh of Network Rail's strategic business plan. The industry is continuing to refine this list and expects to be in a position to start confirming some of the stations in the programme later in the year.

There will also be platform lengthening work across the network to accommodate longer trains throughout the period 2009-14.


Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what her policy is on the class of travel which staff in her Department are entitled to claim as an expense. [209047]

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Jim Fitzpatrick: All business travel by staff of the Department for Transport and its agencies is undertaken in compliance with the requirements of the Civil Service Management Code. Staff are required to use the most cost effective means of travel appropriate to each journey.

The Department and five of its agencies allow first class rail travel where necessary for senior grades (typically SEO equivalent and above). All others must use standard class except when necessarily accompanying senior colleagues, or where use of the higher class is unavoidable. Air travel is restricted to economy class or equivalent for flights up to 2.5 hours duration, and to business class or equivalent for longer flights.

Two agencies operate variations on this policy. VGA stipulate that staff must always travel by the most cost effective manner, and VOSA require standard or economy class to be used for all journeys unless there are unavoidable reasons to upgrade.

Railways: Standards

Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport with reference to the Answer of 20 December 2005, Official Report, column 2914W, on c2c Line/One Rail to the hon. Member for Southend West, and the Answer of 1 February 2006, Official Report, column 562W, on train operating companies to the hon. Member for Carshalton and Wallington, how many trains were cancelled in the last 12 months, broken down by train operating company; and what the reason was for each cancellation. [209033]

Mr. Tom Harris: The numbers of franchised passenger trains cancelled in the year to 31 March 2008, broken down by train operating company, are given in the following table.

The reasons for each individual cancellation are not held by the Department.

Train operating company Number of cancellations







Cross Country


East Midlands






First Scotrail


Gatwick Express


London Midland


London Overground














South Western




Virgin West Coast


Network total


In total, this represents 1.2 per cent. of the trains which were scheduled to operate.

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Road Traffic: Canvey Island

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will visit Canvey Island during the rush hour period to meet residents and commuters to discuss ways to reduce congestion. [209629]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Secretary of State for Transport is very aware of the issues facing Canvey Island, particularly when a road traffic collision occurs. At this stage in time, however, the Secretary of State’s diary does not permit a visit. However, it is hoped a future ministerial visit to see progress with a range of transport projects in the Thames Gateway area could be arranged.

Roads: Repairs and Maintenance

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what mechanisms are in place to ensure road maintenance meets high quality standards. [209945]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The maintenance of local roads is the responsibility of local highway authorities. The Department for Transport endorses “Well-maintained Highways”, the code of practice for highway maintenance produced by the UK Roads Board. This, together with its companion codes, “Well-lit Highways” and “Management of Highway Structures” provide best practice guidance—all to be found at:

The Highways Agency manages the trunk road network in England. Maintenance assessment and design standards are stipulated in the Design Manual for Road and Bridges and their implementation is guided by the Network Management Manual, the Manual of Contract Documents for Highways Works and a number of best practice advice notes. In addition, the Agency has comprehensive technical appraisal and prioritisation processes to help develop a consistent and robust road maintenance programme. The Agency works in partnership with road users, local communities, its managing agents and suppliers to develop its programme. The performance of their managing agents and their suppliers is monitored and reviewed regularly.

Roads: Safety

Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate she has made of the average cost of installing a speed hump. [209072]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The cost of road humps can vary considerably, depending on the materials used. The indicative costs of constructing various types of road humps are shown in the following table which is extracted from Table 4.2 of ‘Local Transport Note 1/07 Traffic Calming’ which constitutes the Department for Transport's latest guidance on traffic calming.

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Hump type Cost (£)

Round-top hump


Flat-top hump


Raised junction


'S' hump


'H' hump


Thermoplastic hump (thump)


Speed cushion


Pair of speed cushions


Table shows the indicative cost of road humps. Costs given are approximate and for guidance only and do not include an allowance for inflation since the reports informing these prices were published.

Shipping: Freight

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport from what sources information on cargo lost at sea is obtained and collated by the Advisory Committee on the Protection of the Sea. [208920]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The Advisory Committee on the Protection of the Sea (ACOPS) collates data on oil and chemical pollution including packages lost at sea in the UK pollution control zone. Most reports are gathered through MCA Maritime Rescue Coordination Centres (MRCCs) in the form of pollution reports (POLREPs). Those reports are collated into a database.

In addition to reports received by the MRCCs, ACOPS also receives information from local authorities, ports and harbours and the UK environmental regulators.

From this data, ACOPs produces an annual report on behalf of the MCA. These annual reports are published on the MCA website.

Every 10 years, ACOPS reviews all reports of packaged and dangerous goods in order to examine trends of lost cargo over time. The International Maritime Organisation is consulted in respect of the review of such trends.

Speed Limits: Cameras

Lyn Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many successful prosecutions of drivers exceeding the speed limit in SPECS sites on the (a) M25 and (b) M11 there were in each of the last five years. [209814]

Mr. Coaker: I have been asked to reply.

This information is not collected centrally. Statistics on prosecutions for speeding relate to police force areas, not specific roads or sites, and do not identify types of camera used to provide evidence.

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