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Roads: Abnormal Loads

Lord Mason of Barnsley asked Her Majesty's Government:



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Lord Davies of Oldham: Information about the proportion of abnormal loads on motorways that are escorted by the police is not available.

The number of abnormal loads escorted by the police has reduced significantly since the introduction of self-escorting in 2004, following recommendations by the Policing Bureaucracy Taskforce. The police continue to provide escorting services for a relatively small number of the largest and heaviest abnormal loads in circumstances when traffic control is required.

Information relating to the number of night-time abnormal load moves that have taken place in 2005 and 2006 is not available.

The Highways Agency grants permission for the largest and heaviest loads to move after consultation with the police, highway authorities and other appropriate bodies. In these cases, consideration is given to the movement of abnormal loads at night provided it is safe to do so and where possible to minimise congestion. Network conditions and planned roadworks are considered alongside other relevant factors.

Roads: Belfast

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: The chief executive of Roads Service (Dr Malcolm McKibbin) has been asked to write to the noble Lord in response to this question.

Letter from Dr Malcolm McKibbin to Lord Laird dated January 2007.

You recently asked Her Majesty's Government a Parliamentary Question about what plans they have to introduce traffic-calming measures on the connecting roads between the Belmont and Upper Newtownards road in Belfast. As this issue falls within my responsibility as chief executive of Roads Service, I have been asked to reply.

I can advise that in recent years Roads Service has carried out assessments on the following roads, which run between Belmont Road and Upper Newtownards Road, to help determine the need to introduce traffic-calming measures: Wandsworth Road; Earlswood Road; Belmont Church Road; and Ormiston Crescent.

At Wandsworth Road, the assessment produced a score sufficient to warrant the inclusion of a scheme in the 2004-05 traffic-calming programme of

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works. However, Roads Service received a petition, representing a significant number of residents of the road, objecting to the proposed measures. Given the level of opposition, it was considered unlikely that the legislative process could be completed without recourse to a public inquiry, which, as you will appreciate, would require considerable input from Roads Service staff and would compromise the ability to deliver traffic-calming schemes in other areas. In these circumstances, it was decided to target our limited resources for this type of work to sites where the greatest benefits could be achieved in terms of the successful implementation of a traffic-calming scheme.

In Earlswood Road and Belmont Church Road, scores from assessments were sufficient to merit the inclusion of schemes in the current traffic-calming programme of works and I am informed that initial residents' consultation has been completed and the legislative process has commenced. However, I understand that a number of objections to the proposals have been received and that these are currently being addressed.

An initial assessment of Ormiston Crescent has indicated that a traffic-calming scheme at this location would not be highly placed compared with other sites on the traffic-calming programme and other sites waiting to be treated. While Roads Service has no plans to construct traffic-calming measures at this site at present, it will continue to be considered for possible inclusion in future programmes.

Roads: Dungiven Traffic Flows

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: The chief executive of Roads Service (Dr Malcolm McKibbin) has been asked to write to the noble Lord in response to this question.

Letter from Dr Malcolm McKibbin to Lord Laird dated January 2007.

You recently asked Her Majesty's Government a Parliamentary Question regarding what plans they have to improve traffic flow through Dungiven in County Londonderry. As this issue falls within my responsibility as chief executive of Roads Service, I have been asked to reply.

As you may be aware, on 13 December 2005, the Secretary of State announced that a £250 million scheme to dual the A6 between Londonderry and Dungiven was being added to the major roadworks forward planning schedule. This 30 kilometre dualling scheme, which will include a bypass of Dungiven, will be the biggest single road scheme ever built in Northern Ireland.



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Roads Service had already commissioned consultants to identify a corridor for the future dualling of the A6 between Castledawson and Londonderry and it is envisaged that this study, which will be completed shortly, will inform the development of the A6 Londonderry to Dungiven section.

The bypass of Dungiven will greatly improve journey times on this route and will undoubtedly improve traffic flow through the town. While it will be several years before all the statutory procedures are completed, it is hoped that construction of the scheme will commence in the latter half of the regional strategic transport network transport plan 2015 period, ie between 2010 and 2015.

In the mean time, Roads Service will enforce parking restrictions in Dungiven to improve traffic flow and will continue to consider other methods of safely improving traffic flow.

Roads: Enniskillen Bypass

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: The chief executive of Roads Service (Dr Malcolm McKibbin) has been asked to write to the noble Lord in response to this question.

Letter from Dr Malcolm McKibbin to Lord Laird dated January 2007.

You recently asked Her Majesty's Government a Parliamentary Question about whether they have proposals to build a bypass around Enniskillen in County Fermanagh; and, if so, what they are. As this issue falls within my responsibility as chief executive of Roads Service, I have been asked to reply.

I am pleased to advise that a proposal for a 3.2 kilometre-long single carriageway bypass to the south of Enniskillen was included in the consultation document Expanding the Strategic Road Improvement Programme (ESRIP). The consultation period for this £400 million package of major road upgrades ran for a nine-week period, closing on 29 September 2006. In excess of 80 responses were received and, while analysis of the feedback is ongoing, I can advise that it included support for the A4 Enniskillen southern bypass.

The expanded programme is part of the investment strategy for Northern Ireland, which envisages the additional funding to be available towards the end of the period between now and 2015. Once the ESRIP is finalised, each scheme will be progressed on a measure-by-measure basis, subject to detailed economic appraisal, clearing the relevant statutory procedures and the availability of funds through the normal budgetary processes.



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Schools: Northern Ireland

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: The Department of Education has been advised by the South Eastern Education and Library Board (SEELB) that it has not adopted a statement of special educational needs originally prepared by a local education authority in England or Wales.

The SEELB would, however, take account of individual circumstances and use its discretion in individual cases to ensure that appropriate provision is made for children with acute needs pending the outcome of a statutory assessment.

Sewerage: Northern Ireland

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: The chief executive of Water Service (Mrs Katharine Bryan) has been asked to write to the noble Lord in response to this question.

Letter from Mrs Katharine Bryan to Lord Laird dated January 2007.

You recently asked Her Majesty's Government a Parliamentary Question about what plans they have to enhance and extend the sewerage arrangements at Springfield, County Fermanagh (NIO) HL1141. I have been asked to reply as this issue falls within my responsibility as chief executive of Water Service.

An assessment of the cost of a scheme to extend the sewerage system in Springfield to cater for residents not currently served was carried out in October 2002. This indicated that such a scheme would not be economically feasible given the limited number of residents that would benefit. The position remains unchanged and Water Service has currently no plans to upgrade the existing wastewater treatment works or to extend the sewerage network at Springfield. Water Service will reconsider the position in the light of any proposals for significant development in the area. However, to date, no firm development proposals have been received.

Special Advisers

Lord Campbell-Savours asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: Both the Ministerial Code and the Code of Conduct for Special Advisers have been amended to incorporate commitments given by the Government in their response to the ninth report of the Committee on Standards in Public Life. All Treasury members of staff are expected to follow the relevant codes of conduct for their employment, but it would not be appropriate to discuss individual cases.

Suicide

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: The number of suicides in police custody in Northern Ireland in 1981 cannot be provided because to do so could be done only at disproportionate cost. This is because to collate this information would involve making a request to each of the 29 district command units asking for a trawl of any manual records held. Therefore we are unable to supply the information requested.

The PSNI now records “deaths in custody” electronically. However, a verdict of suicide can be determined only at an inquest.

For the figure of suicides in prison custody each year since 1980, I refer the noble Lord to the Answer I provided on 31 October 2006. In addition, 10 individuals died in custody following a hunger strike in 1981.

Television: Michael Grade

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: Mr Grade resigned as chairman of the BBC with immediate effect. Since then he has not played, and will not play, any further role in relation to the licence fee settlement. Whether his new role at ITV gives rise to concern about compliance with residual duties he may owe to the BBC, and if so how it should be addressed, is a matter for the BBC.



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Transport: One-off Grants

Lord Hanningfield asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: Most support for transport is provided to local authorities in England through revenue support grant, although the Department for Transport also provides a few specific grants. The main grant determinations are posted on the department's website.

Several of these grants, for example rural bus grant, provide continuing rather than single-year support. Some support for specific major investments is made by allowing sufficient provision within revenue support grant to enable the authority to borrow. There is thus no clear category of one-off grants.

The department's annual reports summarise the support it has provided to local authorities: www.dft.gov.uk/stellent/groups/dft_about/documents/page/dft_about_611668.hcsp.

Substantial grants, together with provisions affecting revenue support grant, include:

the local transport capital settlement(www.dft.gov.uk/stellent/groups/dft_localtrans/documents/divisionhomepage/032393.hcsp). These are listed by authority in the Answer to an earlier Question tabled by the noble Lord and a document was placed in the Libraries of the House on 18 January 2006 (PQ2957 05/06)road safety grant(www.dft.gov.uk/stellent/groups/dft_rdsafety/documents/page/dft_rdsafety_614061.pdf)rural bus subsidy grant(www.dft.gov.uk/stellent/groups/dft_localtrans/documents/paqe/dft_localtrans_610994.hcsp)Kickstart(www.dft.gov.uk/stellent/groups/dft_localtrans/documents/page/dft_localtrans_610191.hcsp)maintenance of detrunked roads(www.dft.gov.uk/stellent/groups/dft_roads/documents/page/dft_roads_611492.hcsp)

Trees

Lord Maginnis of Drumglass asked Her Majesty's Government:



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Lord Rooker: My department is committed to environmental protection and while only one prosecution arose from the 41 tree preservation order enforcement cases opened, in the majority of cases

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resolution was achieved by appropriate replacement planting, thus achieving the objectives of the original orders, and a number of other reported breaches turned out to be routine permitted maintenance.


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