Previous Section Index Home Page

30 Oct 2008 : Column 1203W—continued

National Express

Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he or his officials last met representatives of National Express North Eastern to discuss the provisions of its franchise agreement. [231565]

Paul Clark: Department for Transport officials routinely meet train operating companies to discuss a range of issues on an ongoing basis. However, under the franchise agreement a franchise performance meeting between DFT officials and franchised train operating companies must be held once in each reporting period (every four weeks). The last such meeting with National Express East Coast took place on 9 October 2008.

Official Cars: Ministerial Policy Advisers

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the cost of provision of Government cars to special advisers has been in the last 12 months, broken down by Department. [231377]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The Government Car and Despatch Agency does not provide official cars for special advisers.

Parking: Disabled

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many people have been (a) detected and (b) reprimanded for inappropriate use of disabled badges in each of the last 10 years. [229845]

Paul Clark: This information is not available. However, from this year, we are asking local authorities to provide annual reports on the number of people prosecuted for abuse of the Blue Badge (disabled parking) Scheme. Headline figures from this survey will be published on the Department for Transport website from 20 November.

Powers of Entry

Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many powers of entry have been (a) introduced and (b) abolished by his Department through legislation since 1997. [228158]

Mr. Hoon: I refer the right hon. and learned Member to the reply given by my hon. Friend the Minister for Security, Counter-Terrorism, Crime and Policing (Mr. Coaker) on 22 October 2008, Official Report, columns 451-52W.

30 Oct 2008 : Column 1204W

Railways: Fares

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what information his Department collects on proposed penalty fare schemes by train operating companies before approving them. [230060]

Paul Clark: The 2002 Penalty Fares Rules and Policy document sets this out, and many other matters relating to national rail penalty fare schemes in detail. A link to the full version of this document may be found on the Department for Transport website at:

Railways: Overcrowding

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps his Department and its predecessors have taken to alleviate congestion on trains in the last 10 years; and what steps it plans to take. [229847]

Paul Clark: Over the past 10 years, the initiatives taken to increase rail capacity and reduce train congestion include the West Coast Mainline upgrade and increases in capacity provided through new rail franchises and new rolling stock. Further commitments are set out in the High Level Output Specification published in July 2007.

Railways: Passengers

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many rail passengers there were in each year since 1997. [232025]

Paul Clark: Statistics on rail passenger numbers are published by the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) in the National Rail Trends Yearbook, which is available in the House Library, or from the ORR website:

Railways: South West

John Penrose: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the change in train passenger numbers has been in the South West since 2002-03; what change was predicted in the Strategic Rail Authorities’ Route Utilisation Strategy prediction of 2005; and what steps his Department is taking in response to the change. [231199]

Paul Clark: Total rail passenger journeys to/from/within the South West region rose from 132 million in 2002-03 to 158 million in 2006-07. The “Great Western Mainline Route Utilisation Strategy”, published by the Strategic Rail Authority in 2005, predicted a rate of increase of 1.9 per cent. per annum within the Greater Western Main Line area.

The Department for Transport’s strategy for providing additional capacity on the UK railway is set out in the rail White Paper “Delivering a sustainable railway”, published on July 24 2007. On top of record sums already committed until 2009, the Government will invest a further £10 billion in enhancements alone over the following five years.

30 Oct 2008 : Column 1205W

Road Traffic: Bristol

John Penrose: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the cost to the economy of congestion in the Greater Bristol area; what steps the Government is taking to reduce it; and if he will make a statement. [231198]

Paul Clark: The Government are investing in long-term transport improvements to tackle congestion in the Greater Bristol area, which is estimated by the local authorities in the area to cost the local economy at least £350 million a year.

The Government are providing £35 million over the three years to 2010-11 to Greater Bristol authorities for small-scale highways and public transport capital projects. Additionally £220 million has been allocated to the Greater Bristol area in the period to 2015-16 for major highway and public transport schemes. This includes the Greater Bristol Bus Network, a £68 million scheme that we approved in May 2008 and will provide 10 new showcase bus routes in the Bristol, Weston-Super-Mare and Bath area. In June 2008 we awarded Bristol £11.4 million for cycling initiatives that are expected to double the proportion of local journeys by bike to 7 to 8 per cent. over the three years to 2010-11.

With regard to rail, additional capacity will be delivered in the period to 2014 through extra carriages on services serving Bristol in the peak commuting hours.

The Government have also made available £2.6 million in pump-priming funding to the Greater Bristol authorities to support the development of packages of measures for addressing local congestion problems that combine local road pricing with investment in the public transport network. We will continue to work closely with the authorities as they develop their proposals.

Road Vehicles (Display of Registration Marks) Regulations 2001

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent representations he has received on the Road Vehicles (Display of Registration Marks) Regulations 2001; and if he will make a statement. [231374]

Jim Fitzpatrick [holding answer 29 October 2008]: I have been contacted by the Welsh Assembly Government and by other hon. Members on behalf of constituents.

The Government have announced its intention to allow the voluntary display of national flags on vehicle number plates in England, Scotland and Wales. We are looking at how this change can be brought forward as soon as possible.

Roads: Repairs and Maintenance

Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which roads were detrunked in each of the last 11 years, broken down by region. [227130]

Paul Clark: The 1998 Transport White Paper, "A New Deal for Transport: Better for Everyone", set in hand a programme of detrunking to allow the Highways
30 Oct 2008 : Column 1206W
Agency to concentrate on the operation of a strategic road network that links the main centres of population and major transport hubs.

The programme enables local highway authorities to set priorities for routes that primarily serve local needs, and supports the Government's aim to devolve more responsibilities to local communities. The programme is currently expected to be concluded by the end of the 2008-09 financial year.

A table providing details of the road lengths that have so far been detrunked under this programme, during each financial year, for each region has been placed in the Libraries of the House.

Rural Areas

Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport in respect of which of his Department’s public service agreements rural proofing of departmental policies is stipulated. [230741]

Paul Clark: Under CSR07, Departments no longer have Department-specific PSAs, but contribute collaboratively to 30 cross-Government PSAs.

The Department for Transport is lead Department for the delivery of PSA 5: Deliver Reliable and Efficient Transport Networks that Support Economic Growth.

PSA 5 deals with urban and inter-urban congestion, capacity and crowding on the rail network and the value achieved from departmental investment. PSA 5 does not specifically cover rural transport, however it is a requirement for all new policies and programmes to be subject to an impact assessment which includes rural proofing.

Taxis: Licensing

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many hackney carriage licences have been issued by local authorities in the last five years. [231505]

Paul Clark [holding answer 29 October 2008]: Hackney carriage licences in England and Wales are granted for a maximum period of one year. The Department for Transport carries out surveys of local taxi licensing authorities. The past four surveys(1) give the following results for the number of hackney carriage vehicle licences in England and Wales (including London).

Number of hackney carriage licences


31 March 2007


31 March 2005


31 March 2004


31 December 2001



Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans his Department has for establishing road pricing pilots; and if he will make a statement. [232031]

30 Oct 2008 : Column 1207W

Paul Clark: The Government's approach to tackling congestion and the role of charging was set out in the Command Paper we published on 16 July and the accompanying written statement made by the then Secretary of State on 16 July 2008, Official Report, columns 32-33WS. I would also refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Chipping Barnet (Mrs. Villiers) on 22 October 2008, Official Report, column 431W.

Transport: South West

John Penrose: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what improvements are being made to the South West’s transport infrastructure to support the number of homes to be built in the region by 2026 as referred to in the South West Regional Spatial Strategy. [231200]

Paul Clark: Following advice from the region on the transport priorities for the South West, the Government announced in July 2006 plans to fund a programme of major transport schemes in the period to 2015-16. The programme includes 18 schemes that will provide additional road capacity and improved accessibility to public transport services at locations identified for housing growth in the South West Regional Spatial Strategy. The schemes, some of which are subject to major scheme approval by the Department for Transport, are:

The Government asked the regions in July 2008 for further advice on transport and other priorities in the period to 2018-19. This will provide the opportunity for the regional bodies in the South West to revisit their priorities and identify where the Regional Funding Allocation of £1.1 billion in the period to 2018-19 should be best targeted to support housing growth.

House of Commons Commission

Departmental Lost Property

Grant Shapps: To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission what (a) equipment and (b) data were reported lost by the House of Commons Service in the last 12 months. [231425]

30 Oct 2008 : Column 1208W

Nick Harvey: I refer the hon. Member to replies to the hon. Member for Torbay (Mr. Sanders) on 13 October 2008, Official Report, column 858W, and the hon. Member for Brent, East (Sarah Teather) on 19 February 2008, Official Report, column 545W. Since then it has been reported that 10 chairs were stolen from Portcullis House.

Duchy of Lancaster

Local Government: Referendums

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what rules apply to expenditure by (a) central government and (b) local authorities in respect of local referenda (i) before and (ii) during the referendum period. [230318]

John Healey: I have been asked to reply.

There are long standing conventions that central Government do not incur expenditure in support of any local election campaigns. This applies equally to any local referendums.

Under the Code of Recommended Practice on Local Authority Publicity local authorities are precluded from incurring expenditure for the purpose of influencing public support for, or opposition to, referendum proposals.

Next Section Index Home Page