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10 Mar 2010 : Column 327W—continued

'Other' complaints were received from the following Departments:

Department Number of complaints

Cabinet Office


Department for Innovation and Skills


Department for International Development


Department for Work and Pensions


Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs


Home Office


Ministry of Justice


Serious Organised Crime Agency


The Customer Satisfaction survey conducted each year invites customers to identify areas for service improvement. The provision of relief drivers is one of those areas identified.

This information amends the figures given for formal complaints in my answer of 22 February 2010, Official Report, column 188W, which following subsequent enquiries has proved to be incomplete.

Nuclear Submarines

Angus Robertson: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what discussions the Marine and Coastguard Agency has had with the Ministry of Defence on (a) the end of service of Nimrod MR2 and (b) a replacement fixed wing long-range search and rescue asset; and if he will make a statement. [321299]

Paul Clark [holding answer 9 March 2010]: Senior Coastguard Officers were informed by the Ministry of Defence about the withdrawal of the Nimrod MR2 prior to the announcement on 15 December, and on the alternative defence assets that might be provided to fill the UK's long range Search and Rescue requirements.

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The Nimrod MR2 will be replaced by the substantially more capable Nimrod MRA4. The MRA4 production programme remains unchanged, but the aircraft will be introduced into service at a slower rate as part of a package of key adjustments to the Defence programme announced on 15 December last year.

Angus Robertson: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what (a) recent meetings he has had with and (b) representations he has received from representatives of (I) the Scottish Fishermen's Federation, (ii) the shipping industry and (iii) the offshore oil and gas industry on the withdrawal of Nimrod MR2 for search and rescue duties. [321300]

Paul Clark [holding answer 9 March 2010]: I have not had any meetings with, or representations from, any of these bodies regarding the withdrawal of Nimrod MR2 for search and rescue duties.

Railways: Crime

Chris Grayling: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport how many people have been convicted of offences related to (a) creating danger by causing anything to be in the road, or interfering with a vehicle or traffic equipment, (b) causing danger to road users, (c) endangering railway passengers and (d) trespassing on a railway in each year since 1998. [317760]

Chris Mole: The available figures are set out in the following table. In interpreting them it should be noted that:

Offence 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008

Creating danger by causing anything to be in the road












Endangering passengers on the railway












Trespassing on the railway












Roads: Costs

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what his most recent estimate is of the cost of laying one mile of (a) sound-absorbing and (b) conventional asphalt road surface. [321278]

Chris Mole: A recent cost estimate of laying one mile of sound absorbing road surface material ranges between £50,000 and £65,000 per lane, depending on the specific proprietary material used. The equivalent cost for laying conventional surface material is approximately £85,000. Hot Rolled Asphalt is now only used in exceptional
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circumstances. These costs do not allow for the traffic management and other preparatory works that may be needed prior to surfacing on existing roads, which will typically increase by two to three times the figures above.

Roads: Snow and Ice

Robert Key: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what assessment he has made of the effect on roads in England of the recent severe weather conditions; and what discussions his Department has had with (a) the Highways Agency and (b) local highway authorities on filling potholes and repairing carriageways. [320756]

Mr. Khan: The maintenance of local roads in England is a matter for each local highway authority. It is for each individual authority to assess which parts of its network are in need of repair and what standards should be applied, based upon their local knowledge.

This Department endorses Well Maintained Highways, the code of practice for highway maintenance published by the UK Roads Liaison Group (UKRLG). The code of practice is available free on the UKRLG website:

The code advises local authorities to establish an inspection regime for their highways, and recommends inspection intervals for the various categories of highways.

The Local Government Association have written to the Department requesting that funding be provided to local authorities to repair damage that they consider was caused by the 2009-10 winter. 13 authorities have also formally raised this issue. The Department is considering this matter.

The Highways Agency is responsible for the maintenance of the strategic road network in England. The Agency has a road maintenance programme to ensure that carriageway maintenance is carried out at the optimum time, to minimise deterioration in the condition of the road and damage caused by severe weather, while delivering value for money.

It is inevitable however that the recent severe weather will, in a small number of locations, cause a deterioration in the road surface condition. The Highways Agency does not however separately identify or estimate the additional maintenance costs directly associated with severe weather. The Agency's experience is that such costs are likely to reflect only a relatively minor part of the overall maintenance expenditure. Safety related defects such as potholes are treated promptly as part of the Agency's maintenance policy.

The Department, the Highways Agency and local authorities together with the Devolved Administrations, through the UKRLG, consider the need for research and development of guidance and policy on all aspects of road maintenance. The Highways Agency and local authorities also meet with material suppliers to identify the need for new materials and the evaluation and performance of existing pavement materials, including those used for repairs.

Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport pursuant to the answer of 22 February 2010, Official Report, column 208W, on roads: snow and ice, how many tonnes of salt have been bought from overseas suppliers in each of the last 12 years. [320822]

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Mr. Khan: The Highways Agency does not purchase salt directly. This is the responsibility of its contracted service providers, as part of their routine requirement to deliver the winter service to keep the strategic network safe and open during severe winter weather. Consequently the Highways Agency does not keep records on where its service providers have purchased salt and cannot therefore confirm if any overseas salt has been purchased during the last 12 years. Notwithstanding this, as a result of the national salt shortages experienced over the last two winters, the Highways Agency has helped facilitate the importation of overseas salt to its service providers. In 2008-09 season, the Highways Agency helped to import approximately 58,000 tonnes of salt from overseas sources, with a further 127,000 tonnes imported in the 2009-10 winter season.

The sourcing of salt for winter service on local roads is a matter for the local authorities concerned. Information on imports is not collected centrally.

Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport pursuant to the answer of 22 February 2010, Official Report, column 208W, on roads: snow and ice, which companies are contracted to deliver the Highways Agency's routine and winter service; what activities are included within these contracts; and how much his Department spent annually on each contract in the last year for which information available. [320834]

Mr. Khan: The Highways Agency provides its routine and winter services through two main contract mechanisms:

Managing Agent Contractors

The Managing Agent Contractors who are currently contracted by the Highways Agency to deliver routine and winter services are listed as follows:

Generic activities included in these managing agent contractors contracts are:

In 2008-09, the last year for which information is available, the Highways Agency spent £327.6 million on routine maintenance, £40.6 million on winter maintenance and £493.4 million on planned maintenance through managing agent contractors contracts.

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The provision of the routine and winter maintenance service is tendered as a fixed price "lump sum" activity in the individual contracts. The agency does not disclose contract specific spend information as this could prejudice the contractors' commercial interest and thereby undermine fair competition.

Design build finance and operate and private finance initiative contracts

These contracts apply to certain specific routes and typically incorporate provision of significant improvements to the network together with maintenance over a prolonged period (generally 30 years). These companies are listed as follows:

Design build finance and operate

Private finance initiative

The routine and winter maintenance costs within these contracts are not included in the 2008-09 spend figures given above. The payment mechanisms on these contracts are such that it would not be possible for the Highways Agency to abstract the routine and winter maintenance costs.

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