July 2015: Written Questions

July 2015: Written Questions

1st July

Driving: Young People

Mr Stewart Jackson (Peterborough): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans he has to issue a green paper on young drivers; and if he will make a statement.

Andrew Jones: I don’t want any young person to come to harm on our roads and will not rule out any measure that could save lives. This new Government will be looking at the best ways to improve road safety during this Parliament and beyond. At the moment we are focussing on technological and behavioural solutions.


 

Aviation: Passengers

Andrew Gwynne (Denton and Reddish): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will develop a uniform standard for ensuring disruptive and heavily intoxicated airline passengers are not permitted to fly on subsequent occasions.

Mr Robert Goodwill: Under UK law there are two main pieces of legislation relating to the rules of conduct on board aircraft – the Air Navigation Order 2005 (ANO) and the Aviation Offences Act 2003 (AOA), and both carry severe penalties intended to deter offenders.

UK airline staff are trained to identify potentially disruptive passengers, and airlines’ conditions of carriage generally stipulate that they will refuse carriage to passengers whose mental or physical state, including impairment from alcohol or drugs, presents a risk to passengers, crew or property.

 


 

A46: Accidents

Edward Argar (Charnwood): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what statistics his Department holds on road traffic accidents at the Thrussington to Seagrove Road crossover with the A46 in each year from 2005 to 2014.

Andrew Jones: The number of reported personal injury road accidents at the junction of the A46 and Seagrove Road and Park Hill lane are given in the following table:

Number of reported personal injury road accidents at the junction of
A46 with Seagrove Road and Park Hill Lane: 2005 -2014
Number of accidents
Year of Accident Fatal Serious Slight Total
2005 1 1 1 3
2006 0 0 2 2
2007 0 0 2 2
2008 0 1 1 2
2009 1 0 0 1
2010 0 0 2 2
2012 0 1 0 1

There were no personal injury accidents at this location in 2011, 2013 and 2014. The Department does not hold any statistics on damage only accidents.

 


Roads: Accidents

Mr Stewart Jackson (Peterborough): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department plans to respond to the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety constituency data on road traffic accidents, published in March 2015; and if he will make a statement.

Andrew Jones: The Department already produces road casualty tables by local authority and parliamentary constituencies. We welcome reuse of our data in any way that helps important stakeholders understand patterns of casualties and accidents around the country. This is a good example of how making the raw data available under the Open Data agenda can allow third parties to reuse the Department’s data and add value to it.

 

Mark Tami (Alyn and Deeside): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate his Department has made of the number of traffic accidents in which the use of a satellite navigation system has been a contributing factor in the last five years.

Andrew Jones: The information requested is not collected by the Department. However, related information on reported accidents where a ‘distraction in vehicle’ contributory factor was allocated is published.

The number of reported personal injury road accidents by severity where a ‘distraction in vehicle’ contributory factor was allocated in the last five years is given in the following table:

Reported road accidents allocated a distraction in vehicle contributory factor, GB: 2009 – 2013

Number of accidents
Year Fatal Serious Slight Total
2009 62 392 2,488 2,942
2010 60 380 2,532 2,972
2011 75 417 2,640 3,132
2012 61 373 2,474 2,908
2013 84 425 2,486 2,995

 


 

2nd July

Driving: Licencing

Hywell Williams (Arfon): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what date has been appointed for the introduction of the Union flag on all driving licences issued to drivers in (a) England, (b) Scotland and (c) Wales.

Andrew Jones: Driving licences displaying the Union flag will be issued to drivers in England, Scotland and Wales at the same time. The date for this will be announced in due course.


 

Cycling: Tyne and Wear

Bridget Philipson (Houghton and Sunderland South): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to improve local cycle infrastructure in cities and towns in Tyne and Wear.

Mr Robert Goodwill: While decisions on funding for cycle infrastructure improvements are primarily the responsibility of the relevant local transport authority, the Department for Transport is supporting cycle improvements in the Newcastle city area through the Cycle City Ambition programme. We are investing £16.3m in local schemes that seek to kick-start a cycling revolution in Newcastle. When combined with local funding contributions, this programme is seeing over £10 per head spent on cycling in Newcastle.

In addition to this, the Department has provided £13k through the Cycle-Rail programme. This has seen the installation of 122 additional cycle parking spaces with related signage and CCTV at Newcastle Central station. Tyne and Wear Integrated Transport Authority are also receiving £3.85m in funding through the Local Sustainable Transport Fund in 2015/16. The “Go Smarter” package will implement measures that encourage uptake of alternative transport options, such as bike, for the school run and commute.


 

 

6th July

Motor Vehicles: Innovation

Mr Jim Cunningham (Coventry): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to promote the development of connected and autonomous vehicles.

Andrew Jones: The Government recognises the strong science and engineering capability of the United Kingdom and has committed to encourage development of autonomous and connected vehicles in our country.

The “Pathway to Driverless Car” report, published by the Department for Transport in February 2015, reviews the current legal position and sets out necessary steps to ensure laws are appropriate to accommodate the use of autonomous vehicles.

This report will help facilitate a 3-year trial of driverless car technology being undertaken in Bristol, Coventry, Milton Keynes and Greenwich. The Department for Transport, together with the Department for Business Innovation and Skills and Her Majesty’s Treasury are providing £19m to support this activity.

The Department for Transport believes that these technologies have the potential to deliver benefits for the UK automotive sector and society as a whole, and we have an ambition to make the UK a world leader for autonomous vehicle research, development, demonstration, and deployment.

Working with Department for Business Innovation and Skills, we will be looking at how to realise this ambition and consider all possible routes for promoting technological developments and uptake.


 

 

Roads

Mt Jim Cunningham (Coventry): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if his Department will conduct a further review into the capacity of the road network in the UK; and if he will make a statement.

Andrew Jones: The Infrastructure Act 2015 commits the government to regularly reviewing the needs of England’s strategic road network, and also to create regular Road Investment Strategies that take the findings of these reviews into account.

I expect to make a statement later in the year about the process for developing the next Road Investment Strategy.


 

 

Driving: Safety

Charlotte Leslie (Bristol South West): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the safety implications of drivers being interviewed on film whilst driving.

Andrew Jones: The Department for Transport encourages broadcasters to adopt a responsible attitude towards driving issues and to use the Media Guide prepared by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents which provides advice. Page 2 of the Guide explains that it is bad practice for a driver to speak to camera without watching the road ahead. The Guide is freely available on-line at www.rospa.com/roadsafety/info/roadmedia.pdf.

Rules 148–150 of The Official Highway Code advises drivers to avoid distractions.  The rules make it clear that drivers must exercise proper control of their vehicle.

Under sections 2 and 3 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 a person may be charged with the offences of dangerous, careless and inconsiderate driving.


Level Crossings

Dr Poulter (Central Suffolk and North Ipswich): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what changes he plans to make to level crossings.

Claire Perry: The Department is continuing to develop its response to the Law Commission’s recommendations on the reform of level crossing legislation in conjunction with stakeholders.

Our Level Crossing Reform Action Plan, copies of which are available in the House library, explains the steps that we are taking and includes an indicative timetable for completion of this process.


 

 

8th July

Vehicles: Insurance

Jim Shannon (Strangford): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had with (a) the European Commission and (b) his EU counterparts on insurance cover for (i) tractors, (ii) quad bikes, (iii) ride-on lawnmowers, (iv) motorised wheelchairs and (v) motorised golf caddies.

Andrew Jones: The Department’s consideration of motor insurance policy concerning vehicles such as these arises from the Vnuk judgement. This case, before the European Court of Justice concerned a man (Mr Vnuk) who was injured when he was knocked off a ladder by a trailer that was attached to a tractor in a barn in Slovenia. The effect of the judgment is that any vehicle that falls within the Motor Insurance Directive’s definition of a vehicle should have a compulsory motor insurance policy. The definition of vehicle in the Directives is very wide. We were disappointed with this judgment.

Officials are in regular dialogue with the European Commission and their EU counterparts about the challenges generated by the Vnuk judgment. This has included dedicated meetings with Commission officials, various exchanges with representatives of other Member States and attending a general meeting of Member States hosted by the Commission in May 2015.

 

 

Rebecca Long Bailey (Salford and Eccles): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the total amount of capital funding per capita on public transport was in each English region in each of the last five financial years.

Andrew Jones: The following table shows estimated government capital expenditure on railways and local public transport per head of population in each region of England between 2009/10 and 2013/14, the latest year for which figures are available.

Government capital expenditure on railways and local public transport per head of population
Region 2009/10 2010/11 2011/12 2012/13 2013/14
North East £60 £65 £60 £64 £73
North West £105 £119 £115 £104 £118
Yorkshire & Humber £69 £67 £77 £79 £80
East Midlands £42 £40 £53 £44 £45
West Midlands £64 £63 £66 £77 £88
East of England £63 £60 £66 £63 £66
London £358 £327 £288 £237 £268
South East £77 £76 £68 £67 £66
South West £50 £48 £43 £44 £43
England £113 £110 £104 £96 £104
Source: HMT, ONS

These estimates are based on the Public Expenditure Statistical Analyses (PESA) published by the Treasury. The methods used to allocate expenditure between countries and regions may be subject to changes over time, so changes from year to year may reflect differences in methodology rather than real changes.

Expenditure is usually allocated between regions on the basis of which regions benefit from the expenditure rather than on the basis of where the expenditure is made. However, it is not always possible to put the value of spending down to certain parts of the country on a ‘who benefits’ basis and this is particularly a problem for spending on motorways and trunk roads (by Highways England) and on the rail network, which two headings together comprise the majority of Department for Transport expenditure. As in previous years, this expenditure is therefore broadly allocated on an ‘in’ basis (i.e. the location where the spending took place) in the Treasury analysis.

It is important to note however that expenditure comparisons on a ‘per-head’ basis (using resident populations) can present a skewed picture of the distribution of benefits for transport generally, and for transport in London particularly. This is because the transport networks in London are routinely used by a very large number of other regions’ residents and it is not just Londoners who are receiving the benefits of the transport expenditure there.

Even allowing for this point, one would also expect London’s ‘per head’ transport expenditure to be higher than the national average. London provides key international travel gateways for the whole of the country. London is also densely populated with different public transport and infrastructure demands – for example London residents comprise around 15% of the population of England, but London accounts for around half of all bus passenger journeys in England, and almost two-thirds of rail journeys in Great Britain.


 

 

Level Crossings

Dr Poulter (Central Suffolk and North Ipswich): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what changes he plans to make to level crossings.

Claire Perry: The Department is continuing to develop its response to the Law Commission’s recommendations on the reform of level crossing legislation in conjunction with stakeholders.

Our Level Crossing Reform Action Plan, copies of which are available in the House library, explains the steps that we are taking and includes an indicative timetable for completion of this process.


 

 

9th July

Roads: Accidents

Gloria De Piero (Ashfield): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many road deaths were recorded in (a) Ashfield constituency, (b) Nottinghamshire, (c) the East Midlands and (d) England in each of the last five years.

Andrew Jones: The number of deaths in reported road traffic accidents in(a) Ashfield constituency, (b) Nottinghamshire (including figures for Nottingham City Council), (c) the East Midlands and (d) England from 2010 to 2014 can be found in the table below.

  2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Ashfield 2 2 3 4 4
Nottinghamshire (excluding Nottingham City Council) 23 36 32 28 30
Nottingham City Council 6 1 1 3 4
East Midlands 183 187 170 148 169
England 1553 1594 1491 1430 1472

The 2014 figures for England represent nearly a 40% reduction on the 2005 to 2009 average.


 

 

10th July

Aviation: Security

Jim Shannon (Strangford): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had with the Civil Aviation Authority on steps to ensure that passengers are not able to use electronic equipment to tamper with aircraft controls in flight.

Mr Robert Goodwill: The Department for Transport (DfT) works closely with the UK CAA, international partners (including the Federal Aviation Administration and European Aviation Safety Agency(EASA)) and industry experts to assess the risk to civil aviation from a range of security threats, including cyber-attacks.

The growing complexity, connectivity and interdependence of aviation systems means that cyber security is increasingly becoming a factor in the design and operation of aircraft and air traffic control systems. As with all potential security risks, we keep this situation under regular review to ensure we and industry understand the nature and size of the problem and can put in place appropriate security measures and practices.

The CAA monitors in service reports on safety issues, including cyber threats, and works closely with DfT and EASA to determine the appropriate responses and actions. The CAA, in conjunction with other authorities, also monitors the design of aircraft and aircraft systems for robustness against cyber threats and, where necessary, specific certification requirements related to cyber security are levied on aircraft designers and manufacturers.

DfT also participates in the National Cyber Security Programme, led by Cabinet Office, which includes a range of activities with industry aimed at improving the protection of critical infrastructure – including aviation. This work involves the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI) and other relevant parts of government.


 

 

Large Goods Vehicles

Simon Hoare (North Dorset): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he expects to publish his Department’s response to its consultations on the (a) review of HGV periodic testing and inspection exemptions and (b) goods vehicle operating licensing exemptions.

Andrew Jones: Both the consultations took place between 11th December 2014 and 5th March 2015. I hope to publish the responses received to the consultations soon. The consultations were published by the last Government and we will need to consider the way forward before a full Departmental response can be published.

 

Simon Hoare (North Dorset): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what his policy is on applying a 32 tonne weight limit to volumetric vehicles.

Andrew Jones: We are aware that the custom and practice for some 4 axle rigid volumetric concrete mixers in recent years has been to operate in excess of the 32 tonne weight limit specified in regulations. A consultation earlier this year about the scope of exemptions from annual roadworthiness testing for some types of Heavy Goods Vehicles sought views about whether a higher weight limit could be set for such vehicles to avoid dislocation in the market. We have the responses to the consultation now and are considering this issue.


 

Cycling

Ian Austin (Dudley North): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will publish a summary of the responses to the Cycle Racing on the Highway consultation which closed on 21 October 2013.

Mr Robert Goodwill: The Department intends to publish a summary of responses by end September.


 

 

Driving Under the Influence

Dr Matthew Offord (Hendon): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of abolishing the blood alcohol content test when a person has been arrested for suspected drink driving.

Andrew Jones: The Department is of the view that it is still necessary to maintain the current blood testing regime to cater for those circumstances where a breath test is not possible.


 

13th July

Large Goods Vehicles: Rural Areas

Sir William Cash (Stone): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, for what reasons provisions in part 6 of the Traffic Management Act 2004 on vehicle weight restrictions in rural areas have not yet been implemented; and when he expects those provisions to be implemented.

Andrew Jones: The Police already have the necessary power to take action where it is needed, and there are no plans at present to give local authorities greater powers to enforce weight limit-related or other moving traffic contraventions.


 

 

14th July

East Coast: level Crossings

Lilian Greenwood (Nottingham South): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent progress has been made on Network Rail’s East Coast Main Line level crossings closure programme.

Claire Perry: After 18 months of work, and following public consultation, I understand that Network Rail has now concluded its East Coast Main Line level crossing closure feasibility study as part of its commitment to delivering a safer, more efficient and reliable railway.

The study has informed preferred options for the closure of all 73 level crossings between Kings Cross and Doncaster and Network Rail has indicated its intention to progress these on a case-by-case basis as part of other planned improvement works on this line.

Network Rail has written to stakeholders explaining the results and its intended next steps.


 

 

15th July

Rescue Services

Peter Heaton-Jones (North Devon): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to ensure that North Devon constituency is adequately covered by search and rescue services (a) in the summer and (b) at other times when such services are no longer based at RMB Chivenor.

Mr Robert Goodwill: North Devon will continue to be served by search and rescue (SAR) helicopters operating from military bases at RMB Chivenor through to 1 October 2015 and RNAS Culdrose through to 1 January 2016. A new UK SAR helicopter service operating from new bases at Cardiff St Athan and Newquay Airport will take the place of SAR helicopter services currently operated out of RMB Chivenor and RNAS Culdrose. The start of these new services will coincide with the end of the military services at Chivenor and Culdrose, leaving no gap in SAR helicopter cover for south west England and south Wales. New helicopters offer improved operational capabilities and promise enhanced reliability.


 

16th July

Motor Vehicles: Innovation

Mr Jim Cunningham (Coventry South): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 6 July 2015 to Question 5101, what representations his Department has received from automotive manufacturers on the future rollout of autonomous vehicles on UK roads.

Andrew Jones: The Department for Transport has regular discussions with automotive manufacturers on autonomous vehicles and related issues. During its recent review of regulations, officials engaged with a broad spectrum of interested parties, this included the automotive industry, insurers, local authorities, trade associations, etc. In general, there was overwhelming support for the review and the planned actions now being put into place.


 

Electric Vehicles

Mr Jim Cunningham (Coventry South): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 6 July 2015 to Question 5102, what funding his Department plans to make available to promote the construction of charging points for electric cars over the next five years.

Andrew Jones: The Government is currently funding the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme, which helps eligible plug-in car drivers with the upfront cost of installing a domestic chargepoint through a 75% grant of up to £700; as well as 75% grants up to a maximum of £7,500 per installation for chargepoints alongside on-street residential parking. Our Road Investment Strategy includes funding of £15m between 2015 and 2020 for a national network of chargepoints on the strategic road network. Further details of the Government’s £500 million investment in ultra low emission vehicles will be announced in due course.


 

Transport: Freight

Kevin Hopkins (Luton North): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the effect of the (a) Mode Shift Revenue Support and (b) Waterborne Freight Grant schemes on modal shift of freight from road to rail and water since 2009-10.

Andrew Jones: Operation of the schemes was assessed in a research study carried out by Ove Arup and Partners Ltd. A summary report entitled “a Review of Revenue Support Freight Grant Schemes” was published on the gov.uk site in May 2014.

An evaluation of the Waterborne Freight Grant scheme was also made in October 2014 by the Department and the Scottish Government as part of the State Aid renewal application process.


 

 

Heathrow Airport

Zac Goldsmith (Richmond): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of compliance with requirements (a) for sustainable development and (b) in the National Policy Statement for National Networks to give air quality considerations substantial weight of the potential Heathrow airport expansion.

Mr Robert Goodwill: The Airports Commission undertook a considerable amount of work to assess the air quality implications of the three shortlisted expansion schemes. The impact on local air quality and how this affects compliance with EU air quality standards is something the Government will be considering carefully when deciding on additional runway capacity.


 

Noise

Zac Goldsmith (Richmond): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many people in the UK are exposed to noise levels in excess of World Health Organisation guideline levels; and what estimate he has made of the number of people who will be exposed to such levels if the expansion of Heathrow were to proceed.

Mr Robert Goodwill: The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) guidelines for community noise relate to noise levels from any of various sources including road, rail and aviation from transport, and non-transport sources such as construction, industry and the neighbourhood.

The guidelines propose that in residential areas where the general daytime noise exposure is below 55dB LAeq (non-specific time period), few people will be ‘seriously annoyed’ by noise, and that few people will be ‘moderately annoyed’ below a value of 50dB LAeq.

The Government does not currently monitor how many people are exposed to noise levels in excess of WHO guidelines for community noise, though DEFRA does publish noise exposure figures for selected noise bands for each agglomeration in England in accordance with the Environmental Noise Directive (Directive 2002/49/EC).

In considering options for airport expansion, the Airports Commission did not assess the proposals against the WHO guidelines but did assess them in various economic scenarios against a noise scorecard with a range of metrics, including a day noise level down to 54dB LAeq and a night noise level down to 48dB LAeq. The Commission found that expansion at Heathrow was compatible with reducing the number of people exposed to noise at these levels in 2030 compared to the baseline situation in 2013.


 

 

Aviation: Noise

Zac Goldsmith (Richmond): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will bring forward proposals to introduce World Health Organisation guideline noise levels in order to safeguard the health of (a) children, (b) the elderly, (c) people with cardiovascular and mental health conditions and (d) other people from aircraft noise.

Mr Robert Goodwill: The WHO guidelines do not refer solely to noise from aviation, but relate to noise levels from any of various sources including other transport sources such as from road, rail, and non-transport sources such as construction, industry and the neighbourhood. It is not possible to have a single objective noise-based measure that is applicable to all sources of noise in all situations because effect levels are likely to be different for different noise sources, different people and at different times.

As such, the Government has no plans to introduce the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) guidelines for community noise. At a national level, the Government aims to promote good health and a good quality of life through the effective management of noise within the context of Government policy on sustainable development.


 

 

20th July

Large Goods Vehicles

Pauline Latham (Mid Derbyshire): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if his Department will make an assessment of whether the powers local councils and police have to enforce restrictions on heavy goods vehicles driving on weight-restricted roads are sufficient to protect rural roads and surrounding environments.

Andrew Evans: All road users benefit from clear directions, including HGV drivers. It is clearly not in the interests of HGV drivers to rely upon inaccurate information, which may make them late or even involve them in accidents. Nevertheless, we believe that legislation would be a costly, bureaucratic and inappropriate way of dealing with the problem. Instead we have made significant efforts to link together freight associations, local authorities and satnav companies to ensure that HGV drivers are aware of the issue and have the latest information available to them.

Councils already have the means to set height and weight restrictions for roads, which are enforced by the police, and HGV satnav devices increasingly include up-to-date routing information that takes account of such restrictions.

Decisions on all aspects of traffic management policy are the responsibility of local traffic authorities, and how they and the police enforce this once they are in place it is a matter for them. We believe the necessary enforcement powers are available for this.

Grouped Questions: 7366


 

 

21st July

Cycling

Richard Burden (Birmingham, Northfield): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had with the Prime Minister on the (a) safety of cyclists and existing regulations on HGVs and (b) Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy.

Mr Robert Goodwill: The Secretary of State has frequent discussions both in formal meetings and informally with the Prime Minister on a range of subjects, which may include (a) the safety of cyclists and existing regulations on HGVs and (b) the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy.


 

Walking: Children

Mr Robert Godsiff (Birmingham, Hall Green): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how much funding his Department plans to allocate to achieving its target of 55 per cent of children walking to school; and how his Department arrived at that figure.

Mr Robert Goodwill: Funding decisions will be made at the future Spending Review. In addition, the government intends to produce a Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS). This Strategy will set out how the government’s ambitions on walking – and cycling – will be achieved. On 25 June, I announced that officials had been instructed to begin work on the secondary legislation required to commence the relevant section of the Infrastructure Act to commit government to the publication of the CWIS, as soon as is practicable, once all activities deemed necessary have been undertaken.


 

Heathrow Airport

Mr Barry Sheerman (Huddersfield): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what reports he has requested from the Civil Aviation Authority on the recent incident at Heathrow Airport when errors in aircraft maintenance procedures caused an emergency landing.

Mr Robert Goodwill: The Civil Aviation Authority has statutory responsibility for the safety regulation of UK airlines. It carries out regular audits and inspection of all UK operators and approved maintenance organisations to ensure they comply with all safety requirements.

The Civil Aviation Authority has worked with British Airways to ensure that the airline has addressed the issues identified by the investigation in to the recent incident at Heathrow Airport. In addition, seminars are being carried out across industry to highlight the lessons learnt from the event.

Grouped Questions: 7699


 

 

Aviation: Safety

Mr Barry Sheerman (Huddersfield): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what procedures are in place to ensure aircraft maintenance crews are (a) fit to work and (b) not overtired.

Mr Robert Goodwill: The Civil Aviation Authority has statutory responsibility for the safety regulation of UK airlines. It carries out regular audits and inspection of all UK operators and approved maintenance organisations to ensure they comply with all safety requirements.

The Civil Aviation Authority has worked with British Airways to ensure that the airline has addressed the issues identified by the investigation in to the recent incident at Heathrow Airport. In addition, seminars are being carried out across industry to highlight the lessons learnt from the event.

Grouped Questions: 7700


 

 

M20: Large Goods Vehicles

Gareth Johnson (Dartford): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to mitigate the effects of Operation Stack on motorists in Kent.

Andrew Jones: Operation Stack is led by Kent police, with the support of all other emergency services, Highways England, Kent County Council, and many other key partners. Steps taken to mitigate the latest Calais disruption include:

  • Providing additional resources to monitor the strategic and local network and to keep the agreed diversion routes clear.
  • Agreed joint communications to inform customers of the current situation, including communications to keep freight on the M20 and within the Operation Stack phases.
  • Identified, designed and implemented additional phases to Operation Stack as the situation has continued.
  • Provided additional traffic management in Kent at roundabouts.
  • Review and enhance the current Signs and Signal Policy relating to Operation Stack.
  • Kent County Council staff have been issuing bottles of water and food.

The Government is looking to all parties, including Eurotunnel and Port of Dover, Kent County and Local Councils, Kent Police and the Highways England to play their part in working towards, implementing and then reviewing and managing the various solutions.

 

 

Mr Douglas Carswell (Clacton): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make it his policy to end Operation Stack; and whether his Department has made an assessment of the effect of that operation on the UK balance of trade.

Andrew Jones: Operation Stack is the appropriate contingency arrangement to put in place when there is disruption to cross-channel traffic and is led by the Kent Police. It remains a last, not first, resort. The Department has not made any assessment of the effect of Operation Stack on the UK balance of trade, as any impact stems from the disruption to services – which this Government is determined to see resolved as soon as possible.

European Gateway Group is reviewing short and longer term solutions to traffic management in Kent, including Operation Stack, and will report back to the Department. When this review is completed the Department will analyse their findings and decide how to respond to their recommendations.


 

 

Cycling: Capital Investment

Ian Austin (Dudley North): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what progress his Department has made on preparing the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy for England

Mr Robert Goodwill: On 25 June I announced that officials had been instructed to begin work on the secondary legislation required to commence the relevant section of the Infrastructure Act. The Government then intends to announce a Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy as soon as is practicable, once all activities deemed necessary have been undertaken.


 

Aviation

Mr Barry Sheerman (Huddersfield): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions his Department has had with representatives from other UN member states on a multilateral agreement to reform global airline regulation; and what the outcome of those discussions was.

Mr Robert Goodwill: The UK’s approach to international air transport focuses on the removal of barriers to market entry and doing business. For example, we seek:-

  • liberal Air Services Agreements (ASAs) which deliver a wide array of traffic rights, international connectivity and commercial flexibility, and,
  • to remove, or at least minimise, other barriers such as unfair competition, ownership and control restrictions and unnecessary administrative and regulatory burdens.

We believe that the liberalisation of international air transport improves connectivity to/from the UK, facilitating business-to-business and people-to-people links that benefit our wider economy, helping to generate jobs and growth. Such liberalisation also maximises business opportunities for UK airlines and airports and competition for the supply of goods and services – delivering cost, choice and quality benefits for UK businesses and consumers.

In addition to negotiating bilateral ASAs, my officials are also engaged in multilateral negotiations relating to market access. For example, officials have participated recently in initial, exploratory, dialogues between:-

  • the European Union and the Association of South East Asian Nations, and,
  • the EU and the Gulf Cooperation Council.

These dialogues are considering the potential for closer cooperation in the field of international air transport. In both cases, the dialogue is at an early stage, focussing on building mutual understanding, and no firm conclusions about the way forward have been drawn to date.

My officials are also engaged in the work of ICAO’s Air Transport Regulation Panel which, amongst other things, is tasked to develop a multilateral agreement to help facilitate the liberalisation of international air transport. This work is ongoing and, to date, a draft of such an agreement has not been finalised.

Grouped Questions: 7101 | 7102

 

 

Mr Barry Sheerman (Huddersfield): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions his Department had with representatives from the International Civil Aviation Organisation on a multilateral agreement to reform global airline regulation; and what the outcome of those discussions was.

Mr Robert Goodwill: The UK’s approach to international air transport focuses on the removal of barriers to market entry and doing business. For example, we seek:-

  • liberal Air Services Agreements (ASAs) which deliver a wide array of traffic rights, international connectivity and commercial flexibility, and,
  • to remove, or at least minimise, other barriers such as unfair competition, ownership and control restrictions and unnecessary administrative and regulatory burdens.

We believe that the liberalisation of international air transport improves connectivity to/from the UK, facilitating business-to-business and people-to-people links that benefit our wider economy, helping to generate jobs and growth. Such liberalisation also maximises business opportunities for UK airlines and airports and competition for the supply of goods and services – delivering cost, choice and quality benefits for UK businesses and consumers.

In addition to negotiating bilateral ASAs, my officials are also engaged in multilateral negotiations relating to market access. For example, officials have participated recently in initial, exploratory, dialogues between:-

  • the European Union and the Association of South East Asian Nations, and,
  • the EU and the Gulf Cooperation Council.

These dialogues are considering the potential for closer cooperation in the field of international air transport. In both cases, the dialogue is at an early stage, focussing on building mutual understanding, and no firm conclusions about the way forward have been drawn to date.

My officials are also engaged in the work of ICAO’s Air Transport Regulation Panel which, amongst other things, is tasked to develop a multilateral agreement to help facilitate the liberalisation of international air transport. This work is ongoing and, to date, a draft of such an agreement has not been finalised.

Grouped Questions: 7101 | 7103


 

 

Roads: Construction

Sir Greg Knight (East Yorkshire): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many buried bodies have been moved in each of the last five years from their lawful place of burial to facilitate development of highway work; and what processes highways contractors must follow to move bodies for that purpose.

Andrew Jones: Highways England who is responsible for the strategic road network do not hold the information centrally of how many buried bodes have been removed in the last five years from their lawful place of burial to facilitate the development of highway work and collating it would incur disproportionate cost. For local roads, the Department for Transport does not hold any records as this is a matter for each local highway authority.

When dealing with human remains, highway contractors are required to comply with their legal obligations, including provisions through the 1857 Burial Act (as amended) and relevant requirements under ecclesiastical law.

Where any remains are located in consecrated ground, the contractor must ensure that permissions to undertake the works are granted under ecclesiastical law through either a Faculty or a Pastoral Scheme.

For non-consecrated ground, the contractor must have a licence issued through the Ministry of Justice. Specific requirements or directions issued under any such permission must be adhered to by the contractor, including any measures required by the local Environmental Health Officer or Public Health England for the protection of site workers or the public.  Prior consultation with the relevant authorities (e.g. church/Diocese, Ministry of Justice) is required prior to application for any permission, including details on the proposed extent and exhumation methodology; treatment of remains and artefacts; and planned reburial of remains.


 

 

Railway Stations: Suicides

Catherine West (Hornsey and Wood Green): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to ensure that any train station that has been the location of more than one serious suicide attempt in the last five years has a barrier installed.

Claire Perry: Suicides are tragic incidents have a huge traumatic impact on family and friends of the individual concerned and also serious consequences for train drivers, station staff, and members of the public who witness incidents, police officers and all who rely on our railway infrastructure.

We are supporting Network Rail which is leading on behalf of the industry to deliver its national rail suicide prevention programme. This includes working in partnership with the Samaritans to put in place a long-term strategy to reduce the number of railway suicides from prevention strategies to post-incident support work.

Whilst consideration is given to the installation of physical barriers at stations where this is feasible in engineering and operational terms, suicides are a complex societal issue which require a multi-disciplinary solution.


 

 

The House rose on 22nd July and will next sit on Monday 7th September 2015.

 

Information is available on the Parliamentary Hansard- written questions and answers page.

 

 

 

Share this Post: Facebook Twitter Google Plus RSS Email

Related Posts

Comments are closed.