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5 May 2009 : Column 27W—continued

5 May 2009 : Column 28W

Road Signs and Markings: Milton Keynes

Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) how many road signs have been purchased by Milton Keynes unitary authority in each year since its inception; [272313]

(2) how much (a) Milton Keynes unitary authority and (b) all local authorities spent on road signs in each of the last 10 years. [272355]

Paul Clark: Local highway authorities are responsible under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 for the installation of traffic signs as necessary. The Department for Transport does not hold information either on the number of traffic signs installed by authorities, or the cost of these measures.

Roads: Repairs and Maintenance

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what major improvements have been made to the UK road network in the last 12 months. [271476]

Paul Clark: The Highways Agency completed the following major road improvements in England during the financial year 2008-09.

Name of scheme County Completed

A590 High and Low Newton Bypass


April 2008

A66 Long Newton Junction

County Durham

May 2008

M25 J1b-3 Widening (Section 3)


July 2008

A27 Southerham to Beddingham Improvement


August 2008

A14 Haughley New St—Stowmarket Improvement


September 2008

M27 J11-J12 Climbing Lanes


September 2008

M6 Carlisle to Guardsmill Extension


December 2008

M62 Junction 6 Improvement


December 2008

A595 Parton—Lillyhall Improvement


December 2008

A38 Dobwalls Bypass


December 2008

M1 Junction 6a to 10 Widening


December 2008

M27 J3 To J4 Widening


January 2009

A5117/A550 Deeside Park Junctions Improvement


March 2009

A2 Bean—Cobham Phase 2 Pepperhill—Cobham


February 2009

A69 Haydon Bridge Bypass


March 2009

A419 Blunsdon Bypass


March 2009

Local highway authorities in England completed the following major road improvements during the financial year 2008-09:

5 May 2009 : Column 29W
Name of scheme Local/regional authority Completed

Ridgmont Bypass and Woburn Link Road

Bedfordshire CC

June 2008

Tunstall Northern Bypass

Stoke City Council

July 2008

Darlington Eastern Transport Corridor

Darlington City Council

August 2008

A631 West Bawtry Road Improvements

Rotherham MBC

September 2008

Glasshoughton Coal Fields Link Road

Wakefield MBC

October 2008

A688 Wheatley Hill to Bowburn Link

Durham CC

October 2008

Brierley Hill Access Network

Dudley MBC

October 2008

Leeds Inner Ring Road, Stage 7

Leeds City Council

November 2008

A6096 Ilkeston to Awsworth Link Road

Derbyshire CC

December 2008

Upperton Road Viaduct Major Maintenance Scheme

Leicester City Council

December 2008

East Leeds Link Road, Leeds

Leeds City Council

February 2009

Scarborough Integrated Transport Scheme

North Yorkshire CC

February 2009

A47 Earl Shilton Bypass

Leicestershire County Council

March 2009

North West Taunton Package

Somerset County Council

March 2009

A386 Northern Corridor

Plymouth City Council

March 2009

There are also a number of other major schemes by the Highway Agency and local highway authorities which are in construction or are due to commence this year.

In addition to the major schemes given above, a number of minor improvement schemes (under £5 million) were completed during the financial year 2008-09 by the Highways Agency and local highway authorities on roads for which they have responsibility.

Responsibility for the road networks in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales is devolved to the Department of the Environment in Northern Ireland, the Scottish Executive and the Welsh Assembly Government.

Roads: Snow and Ice

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment has been made of the effect of the extreme weather in winter 2008-09 on the condition of roads for which the Highways Agency is responsible; and what funding will be made available to assist with repairs. [271276]

Paul Clark: No special assessment has been made of the effect of the extreme weather incurred during 2008-09 on the condition of the network. However, the Highways Agency carries out regular network condition surveys and timely safety inspections to ensure appropriate funds are allocated to maintain the network in a safe and serviceable condition. The Highways Agency's experience is that road defects due to extreme weather are likely to be safety related, which are treated promptly as part of the routine and winter maintenance programme. Costs for treating such defects are small and are managed using the overall allocated maintenance expenditure.

Rolling Stock

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 9 February 2009, Official Report, columns 1606-8W, on rolling stock, (1) on what date and for what reasons the decision was taken to reduce the number of new carriages scheduled to be ordered in the Rolling Stock Plan; [270979]

5 May 2009 : Column 30W

(2) which (a) franchise areas and (b) lines originally scheduled to receive new rolling stock under the Rolling Stock Plan will not receive new stock. [270980]

Paul Clark: No decision has been taken to reduce the number of new carriages proposed to be ordered as part of the Rolling Stock Plan. The Rolling Stock Plan published in January 2008 (revised in July 2008) showed an indicative allocation of additional carriages to individual train operators. The plan did not distinguish between new carriages and those transferred between train operators.

543 of the 1,300 new carriages announced in High Level Output Specification (HLOS) have been ordered, with the balance to be ordered in due course.

Shipping: Pollution

Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps his Department is taking to reduce the volume of pollution attributable to shipping activities. [272352]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The Department for Transport works in the forum of the International Maritime Organization to develop international standards and regulations which prevent pollution from ships. The Department’s Maritime and Coastguard Agency undertakes the surveillance and monitoring of the UK pollution control zone, and enforces relevant legislation in respect of UK-flagged ships and in respect of ships in waters under UK jurisdiction.

Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make an assessment of the level of pollution from shipping in UK coastal waters. [272836]

Jim Fitzpatrick: Each year, the Department’s Maritime and Coastguard Agency commissions the Advisory Committee on Protection of the Sea to prepare an “Annual survey of reported discharges attributed to vessels and offshore oil and gas installations operating in the United Kingdom Pollution Control Zone”. The reports of the annual surveys are available on the Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s website.

Taunton-Penzance Railway Line: Electrification

Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 9 February 2009, Official Report, column 1609W, on Taunton-Penzance railway line: electrification, what conclusions were reached by the cross-industry working group; and what steps his Department plans to take in response to those conclusions. [271517]

Paul Clark: The cross-industry electrification working group led by Network Rail expects to publish its conclusions later in the year. The group's work will inform the rail industry planning process.

Taxis: Crime

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he is taking to ensure that drivers of minicabs operating illegally are (a) apprehended and (b) prosecuted. [272962]

5 May 2009 : Column 31W

Paul Clark: In order to provide a lawful private hire vehicle service in London, it is necessary for the operator and the driver and the vehicle to be licensed by Transport for London (TfL). Responsibility for enforcing the law in respect of drivers operating illegally rests with TfL and the Metropolitan police. They carry out this responsibility jointly through the Transport Operational Command Unit (TOCU).

The Government have taken steps to facilitate the enforcement task. In 2003 regulations were made which listed taxi touting as a recordable offence, allowing for the finger-printing of offenders and the taking of DNA and photographs.

Tintwistle Hollingworth and Mottram Bypass

Mr. Goodwill: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport with reference to the answer of 13 November 2008, Official Report, columns 1286-87W, on the Longdendale bypass, what costs have been incurred in connection with the A57/A628 Mottram to Tintwistle bypass since 13 November 2008. [272467]

Paul Clark: For the period of 13 November 2008 to 30 April 2009, the A57/A628 Mottram to Tintwistle bypass scheme has incurred costs of approximately £1,176,000.

The costs include general project management, preparation for closure of the Public Inquiry, responding to general inquiries, project governance, staff costs, costs associated with the contract and finalising documents for the postponement of the project.

Transport: Torbay

Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the proportion of children travelling to school by car in the Torbay local authority area; and what steps he is taking to encourage alternative means of transport. [272527]

Paul Clark: Data collected by schools in the Torbay area via the School Census in January 2008 showed that 35.5 per cent. of children normally travelled to school by car; this included 2.9 per cent. of children who travelled in a car with children from another family.

The Government want as many children as possible to walk, cycle or use public transport to travel to school. In 2003, we launched the “Travelling to School” project setting out how we want all schools in England to develop a school travel plan in order to reduce car use for journeys to school and allow many more children to take regular exercise. By 2010 more than £140 million will have been committed to support the project through local authority school travel advisers and capital grants to help schools implement their travel plans.

92 per cent. of schools in Torbay already have an active school travel plan and the council is on target for every school to have a plan by March 2010. In addition Torbay council has in 2008-09 been awarded a total of £6,500 in Walking to School Initiative grants, together with funding in both 2008-09 and 2009-10 for cycle training for 1,000 children in total.

5 May 2009 : Column 32W

Vehicle Number Plates: Flags

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress has been made on his consultation on amendment of the Road Vehicles (Display of Registrations Marks) Regulations 2001 to permit the voluntary display of national flags. [272043]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The consultation exercise has been completed and the new rules came into force on 27 April.

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