PQs 3 – 17 June

 

Mobility scooter safety
Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress his Department has made on its consultations on mobility scooter safety. [157451]
Norman Baker: Further to my written ministerial statement of 1 March 2012, Official Report, column 44WS, officials have developed with interested parties a standard assessment form to assist suppliers to assess users so that they get the right vehicle to meet their needs, and a vision testing protocol, developed with the Federation of Ophthalmic and Dispensing Opticians, to assess users’ eyesight standards to help ensure greater safety.
The Department is revising the unladen weight of powered wheelchairs to allow more medical equipment to help people with acute clinical needs.
The Department has also commissioned the development of a comprehensive database of mobility scooter models that are suitable for carriage on public transport.
Accident and Emergency Departments: High Speed 2 Railway Line
 
Mrs Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the effect and change in response times that HS2 construction traffic will have on the accident and emergency ambulance routes along the length of the London to Birmingham route of HS2; and if he will make a statement. [158186]
Mr Simon Burns: As part of the Transport Assessment being prepared for the Hybrid Bill by HS2 Ltd, the effects on traffic flow during the construction of HS2 Phase One are being assessed. These effects and proposed mitigation will be reported as part of the Environmental Statement to be submitted with the Hybrid Bill.
Crossrail Line
 
Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he has taken to ensure that contractors on the Crossrail project are not involved in blacklisting construction workers involved in trade union or health and safety activities. [157894]
Stephen Hammond: Crossrail Ltd, which is responsible for the delivery of the Crossrail project and the management of its contractors, requires all companies working on the project to comply with the law, which includes compliance with the Employment Relations Act 1999 (Blacklists) Regulations 2010.
Crossrail Ltd has informed the Department that it has received assurances from all its principle contractors that none have engaged in any blacklisting activity in connection with the Crossrail project.
Cycling
 
Steve McCabe: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what his Department’s plans are for the future funding of measures to encourage cycling; [157829]
(2) how much his Department has allocated in each year since 2010 to ensure that roads are designed and built to include more cycle-friendly areas; and how much such funding is planned for each year up to 2015 for which figures are available. [157853]
Norman Baker: The Department provides significant amounts of funding through the Integrated Transport block for local transport authorities to support small scale initiatives, including cycling schemes. This funding is not ring fenced and offers local authorities the freedom to develop and implement solutions which best suit their localities.
In addition, in the past year we have allocated £107 million of new money to support safety and community links that encourage more cycling. This funding is through to 2015 and is over and above the £600 million Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF) where 94 out of the 96 projects contain a cycling element. Again this funding is through to 2015.
As part of the £107 million we have invited cities outside London and National Parks to bid for a share of a £42 million Cycle Ambition Grant. Cities are required to demonstrate local leadership and set out a 10 year ambition for more cycling. Successful bids will receive a cycling budget equivalent to £10 per head. National Parks have been asked to develop schemes to improve cycling facilities to help support cycling as a fun and healthy activity. We will announce the successful bids shortly.
The Department has produced guidance for local authorities on providing for cyclists in Cycle Infrastructure Design (Local Transport Note 2/08) which can be found at:
http://assets.dft.gov.uk/publications/local-transport-notes/ltn-2-08.pdf
Guidance on providing for cyclists on the trunk road network is available in the Design Manual for Roads and Bridges, Volume 5, Section 2, Part 4, TA 91/05 Provision for Non-Motorised Users at:
http://www.dft.gov.uk/ha/standards/dmrb/vol5/section2/ta9105.pdf
Steve McCabe: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps his Department takes to incorporate the needs of cyclists at the early stage of new development schemes; and whether he plans to bring forward legislative proposals to require that the needs of cyclists be taken account of in such schemes. [157830]
Norman Baker: The Government is committed to an expansion of cycling. The National Planning Policy Framework includes the promotion of cycling. The Government is in the process of revising our planning for transport guidance documents (Travel Plans & Transport Assessments/ Statements). These will set out more clearly our recommendations for how local authorities should consider active transport, including cycling, in any new development.
Motorways: Safety
 
Mary Macleod: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent work his Department has undertaken to prevent road traffic accidents on major motorways. [158303]
Stephen Hammond: Motorways in the UK are some of the safest roads in the world. The introduction of Controlled and Managed Motorways to reduce congestion have delivered safety benefits. They achieve better driver behaviour in terms of lane discipline and speed compliance.
The Department and its agencies also include road safety messages, where appropriate, in communication activity throughout the year, to influence and improve road user behaviour on motorways.
Roads: Lighting
 
Andy Sawford: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 20 May 2013, Official Report, column 538W, on roads: lighting, if his Department will conduct an assessment of the effects of turning off street lights on the fear of crime, on emergency services and on social activities. [158045]
Norman Baker: The Department for Transport has no current plans to conduct any such assessment. It is the responsibility of each local authority to consider what effect turning off street lights will be for the area which they are responsible. We would advise that any authority works closely with the emergency services, community safety and other key partners when considering their street lighting needs.
Speed Limits
 
Steve McCabe: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what guidance his Department issues to local authorities on signage when there are changes to speed limits. [157921]
Norman Baker: My Department issues guidance to local authorities on signing changes to speed limits in the Traffic Signs Manual Chapter 3.
These documents can be viewed on the DfT website at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-transport
Motor Vehicles: Testing
 
Mr David Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many road (a) accidents, (b) fatalities and (c) serious injuries have involved vehicles exempt from MOT requirements in each of the last five years for which figures are available. [159105]
Stephen Hammond: The five years of figures available are as follows:
Total accidents Number of people killed Number of people seriously injured
2007 100 4 20
2008 85 8 24
2009 55 6 14
2010 81 0 14
2011 64 2 10

Mr David Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent representations he has received on removing the MOT exemption for mobile cranes which use public roads. [159106]

Stephen Hammond: In the last 12 months I have received representations from three MPs, an MSP, a private individual and two trade bodies. I have advised them that I am waiting for the outcome of the negotiations on European Roadworthiness Regulations currently being finalised before considering amending our domestic legislation.
Mr David Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 in ensuring that vehicles exempted from MOT testing requirements meet road safety standards. [159176]
Stephen Hammond: There has been no recent assessment of the The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. Road safety standards are covered by other legislation.
Roads: Safety
 
Mr Khalid Mahmood: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will consider introducing a national road safety awareness campaign aimed at children and young people similar to the Green Man campaigns of the past. [159300]
Stephen Hammond: Recent years have seen record lows in the number of killed and seriously injured road accident casualties. Child pedestrian casualties have fallen considerably and are now at their lowest ever level. In 2011, there were 33 child (age 0-15) pedestrian fatalities, down 42% on the 2005-09 average and 1,569 serious injuries, down 15%. However, we know that one death is one too many, which is why we are focusing our THINK! road safety campaigns where they will have the greatest impact.
Instead of delivering child road safety messages through advertising, we are working more closely with local authorities and other partners who engage with children directly to ensure our messages are reaching children and teenagers in schools. We are encouraging partners to communicate road safety messages to a greater extent in PSHE lessons, assemblies, tutor times and the wider curriculum by enhancing the quality of resources provided to schools. We are making these resources, which include lesson plans, posters and booklets, easier to access and use in the classroom and are making them available to other groups who engage with children and young people including road safety officers and out of school group leaders.
Government marketing spend has been reduced since June 2010 to help deliver efficiency savings and only the most essential campaigns—including several THINK! road safety campaigns—are going ahead. In this new environment, the current priorities for THINK! advertising are motorcycling safety, where accident rates are highest and drink driving, where a small minority continue to flout the law.
Our THINK! communication campaigns are only one part of our road safety work. We are also investing in infrastructure to make our roads safer and more efficient; taking steps to make it easier for the police to enforce against drivers who break the law; and we have streamlined the process for councils to implement 20mph zones and limits on their roads.
Air Accidents Investigation Branch
 
Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what recent representations he has received from the Air Accidents Investigation Branch; [159826]
(2) what recent representations he has received on the working of the Air Accidents Investigation Branch; and if he will make a statement. [159827]
Mr Simon Burns: The AAIB has only received representations from the hon. Member about the workings of the AAIB. No further representations have been received.
Cycleways
 
Seema Malhotra: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make it his policy to vary the degree of separation between cycle lanes and motor vehicle lanes according to the speed limit applied in an area. [160189]
Stephen Hammond: Local highway authorities are responsible for the design of their networks, including cycle facilities such as cycle lanes and crossings. The Department provides comprehensive good practice guidance on road design to help them in this, for example, in “Local Transport Note 2/08; Cycle infrastructure Design”.
Driving: Licensing
 
Mr Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will consider introducing a phased reduction in driving licence fees for drivers in the years immediately prior to their 70th birthday. [159941]
Stephen Hammond: The fee structure for driving licences is kept under constant review, with all changes to statutory fees subject to public consultation. There are no plans to introduce a charging system using an age-based sliding scale. Previous consultations on fee strategy have not shown any demand for such a scheme.
Traffic Lights
 
Seema Malhotra: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he is taking to promote the use of cycle-specific traffic lights. [160191]
Stephen Hammond: Provision of cycling measures, including traffic lights, is for local traffic authorities. The Government is committed to improving cycling safety and has provided extra funding through the Cycling Safety Fund for local authorities to tackle the most dangerous junctions on their networks.
DFT officials are working closely with Transport for London on a project trialling a range of new measures, including low-level signals for cyclists. We are also working with Cambridgeshire county council, who are trialling the use of cycle filter signals.
New ideas need to be properly tested to identify any potential problems, and establish what the benefits are likely to be. Subject to the results of the trials, we will consider approving trials at a limited number of sites on public roads.
Roads: Accidents
 
Justin Tomlinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many fatalities in accidents involving young drivers there were in (a) England and (b) Swindon in each of the last five years. [159414]
Stephen Hammond: The number of fatalities in road traffic accidents involving at least one young driver (aged between 16 and 24) of a motorised vehicle in (a) England and (b) Swindon borough council between 2007 and 2011 can be found in the following table.
England Swindon borough council
2007 852 3
2008 657 4
2009 590 2
2010 445 0
2011 437 0

Seema Malhotra: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps his Department is taking to reduce casualties of pedestrians and cyclists as a result of road traffic accidents. [160190]
Stephen Hammond: Initiatives to improve pedestrian and cyclist safety include 20 mph zones, countdown crossings, Bikeability training, £107 million of additional investment in cycling infrastructure over the last year, including £35 million to tackle dangerous junctions for cyclists.
The European New Car Assessment Programme is increasing the rate at which collision avoidance technologies are brought to market and autonomous emergency braking systems capable of reacting to pedestrians and cyclists are under development.
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