September 2015: Written Questions

September 2015: Written Questions

9th September

Level Crossings

Karl McCartney (Lincoln): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had with (a) the Office of Rail and Road and (b) Network Rail on the delays to Brayford Wharf East Level Crossing in Lincoln.

Claire Perry: The Secretary of State has held no recent discussions with the Office of Rail and Road and Network Rail on the delays to the construction of a pedestrian footbridge over Brayford Wharf East Level Crossing.


 

Air Accidents: Manchester Airport

Mary Robinson (Cheadle): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many of the recommendations of the Air Accidents Investigation Branch in its report on the accident to Boeing 737-236 series 1, G-BGJC at Manchester International Airport on 22 August 1985 have been implemented.


 

Aircraft: Air Conditioning

Sue Hayman (Workington): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to prevent toxic fumes from aircraft engines entering the cabin and causing crew and passengers to fall ill.

Mr Robert Goodwill: Following a recommendation in 2007 by the Committee on Toxicity (the COT) – an independent committee of toxicology experts – the Department commissioned a series of scientific studies as part of a research programme into cabin air. The principal research study, carried out by Cranfield University, was published in May 2011. In addition to the principal study, three further research studies were commissioned and published by the Department. The Department’s four published reports were formally submitted to the COT for consideration in June 2012. The COT considered the research reports, as well as other research published in the scientific literature since 2007, and subsequently published their position paper in December 2013 in which they concluded that further research was needed to properly understand the effects.

The Department does not plan to undertake any additional research on this issue and wrote to the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) informing them of the four scientific studies commissioned by the Department. The limited number of incidences means that a larger data sample from more than just the UK would be beneficial. In addition, given that the same planes, engines and oils are used all round the world and across borders, an international approach to any future research investigations would now be more appropriate. EASA has launched in spring 2015 a preliminary in-flight cabin air measurement campaign, which will develop the methodology and put into place adequate equipment to perform cockpit and cabin air measurements. The results of this campaign, which will be used to prepare for an envisaged large scale project in the future, are expected in autumn 2016. The Department will follow the progress of this work with interest.

At a national level, the Aviation Health Unit as part of the Medical Department of the Civil Aviation Authority, will continue to monitor issues around cabin air as part of their wider role as the specialist adviser to the Government on aviation health issues.


 

 Walking and Cycling

Daniel Zeichner (Cambridge): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what his Department’s average annual expenditure on (a) cycling and (b) walking per head was in each year from 2011-12 to 2015-16; and what plans his Department has for annual investment in (i) cycling and (ii) walking after April 2016.

Mr Robert Goodwill: In the five years 2011/12 to 2015/16, the Department for Transport (DfT) has increased its spend on cycling in England from £1 per head to £3 per head. Local authorities also spend significant amounts on cycling and so over the same period, total spend on cycling in England has increased from around the £2 per head inherited from the previous Labour administration to £6 per head. Spend per head is over £10 per head in the eight Cycle Ambition Cities and London.

Cycling

Programmes

Average spend in each year of programme (£m)
2011/12 2012/13 2013/14 2014/15 2015/16
DfT spend per head £1 £2 £2 £2 £3
Total spend per head £2 £4 £5 £5 £6

All the figures above are to the nearest pound

The DfT has invested in walking programmes through the Local Sustainable Transport Fund, with spend of around 40p per head in each year from 2011-12 to 2014-15. No figure is available for 2015-16.

For investment plans beyond April 2016, the Department must act upon the Secretary of State’s duty to set a Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy, with objectives.


 

Parking: Disability

 

Steve McCabe (Birmingham, Selly Oak): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what powers (a) local authorities and (b) the police have to enforce proper use of designated disabled parking spaces on public highways.

Andrew Jones: Where a parking contravention has occurred in respect of a designated disabled parking space, local authorities that have taken on civil enforcement powers may issue a penalty charge under powers contained in the Traffic Management Act 2004. In areas still subject to police enforcement, traffic wardens may issue fixed penalties.

If the contravention involves the misuse of a ‘Blue Badge’, which is a criminal offence, either a local authority or the police may prosecute the offender under section 117 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984.


 

10th September

Speed Limits

Mr Lawrence Robertson (Tewksbury): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will bring forward proposals to introduce a default 20 mph speed limit in built-up areas.

Andrew Jones: Local authorities are best placed to determine the speed limits for their areas, based on local knowledge and the views of the community.

Compliance with the existing 30 mph limit has improved significantly over recent years, but 45% of drivers still exceeded the limit in 2014. It would not be desirable to introduce a default 20mph limit unless a satisfactory degree of compliance could be achieved.

Evidence from existing areas where there are 20 mph limits in place suggests that average speeds tend to fall to compliant levels only if previous average speeds were already low, around 24 mph.

However, the Department has commissioned research into the effectiveness of 20mph limits. The study will cover many aspects including effects on speed, collisions, casualties and modal shift. The research will also consider best practice, road users’ perceptions and effects on the quality of the environment. This is a three year study reporting in 2017.


Department for Transport: Departmental Responsibilities

 Lilian Greenwood (Nottingham South): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 29 June 2015 to Question 3926, for what reason the Ministerial transparency data series has not been updated in accordance with the timescale given in that Answer.

Mr Robert Goodwill: Information is currently being updated and will be published in due course. I apologise for the delay.


Department for Transport: Secondment

Zac Goldsmith (Richmond): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many staff from his Department formerly seconded to the Airports Commission have returned to his Department to work on aviation policy.

Mr Robert Goodwill: The Department’s two aviation policy directorates comprise 132 members of staff. Of the 24 members of staff that were seconded from the Department for Transport to work for the Airports Commission, 12 have returned to work at the Department. The team working on airport capacity issues however has been structured to ensure that no-one returning from the Airports Commission Secretariat works in the team that is specifically tasked with reviewing the Airports Commission’s Final Report.


 

 Unmanned Air Vehicles

Jim Fitzpatrick (Poplar and Limehouse): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment has been made of the implications for his Department’s policies of the increase in the number of privately owned drones and its effects on safety for civil aviation.

Mr Robert Goodwill: The Government recognises that this emerging technology has great opportunities for the UK. However the Government is aware that there have been a few incidents that have caused some concerns to other commercial air traffic.

The Civil Aviation Authority has recently launched a publicity campaign called “You have control. Be safe! Be legal!’’ which is aimed at raising awareness of the general public, at the point of purchase, about their responsibilities as the unmanned aircraft operator.

In addition to this a cross-government working group is currently engaged in a piece of work that is looking at the risks posed by drones to commercial civil aviation. The results of this work will inform our understanding of the scale of the problem and what steps need to be taken to mitigate these risks.


 

 M56: Accidents

Justin Madders (Ellsmere Port and Neston): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 23 June 2015 to Question 3171, how many reported personal injury road accidents of each severity there were on the M56 between junctions 12 and 14 in 2014.

Andrew Jones: The number of reported personal injury road accidents by severity on M56 between junctions 12 and 14 for 2014 is given in the following table:

Number of reported personal injury accidents on M56 between junctions 12 – 14: 2014
Number of accidents
Year Fatal Serious Slight Total
2014 3 1 16 20

A303: Bypasses

Marcus Fysh (Yeovil): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will take steps to improve the safety of the Ilminster bypass on the A303; and if he will direct the Highways Agency to revisit this matter in the light of recent serious accidents on that road.

Andrew Jones: Highways England is currently designing safety schemes to improve safety at both roundabouts at either end of the Ilminster By-pass. The Road Investment Strategy also announced, in addition to the schemes on the A303 to be taken forward in the period up to 2020/21, the Government’s intention to up-grade the A303 in subsequent road investment periods, post-2020, which will include the up-grade of the Ilminster By-pass to a dual carriageway, which will aim to further improve safety.

I do however offer my deepest sympathies to the families and friends of the people who lost their lives or were seriously injured in the collisions on the Ilminster By-pass in July 2015.

These collisions are still under Police investigation and until concluded it would be inappropriate to speculate on causes and subsequent improvements to that stretch of road. It is important to base decisions on evidence and Highways England will work with partner agencies to further reduce casualties on our roads in light of the evidence as it emerges.


 

Taxis: Guide Dogs

 Mr Roger Godsiff (Birmingham, Hall Green): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will introduce licensing conditions for taxi drivers to ensure they will carry guide dogs and other assistance dogs.

Andrew Jones: The Equality Act 2010 includes a legal requirement for all taxi and private hire vehicle drivers to carry assistance dogs and not to charge more for doing so. Local licensing authorities are able to take appropriate action in the event that licensed drivers fail to comply with this duty.


 

 

11th September

Airlines: Alcoholic Drinks

Jim Shannon (Strangford): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will work with airlines to limit the amount of alcohol consumed on flights in and out of the UK.

Mr Robert Goodwill: The Government takes this issue very seriously and is supportive of efforts that airlines, airports and retail outlets are making to tackle the problems caused by excessive alcohol consumption by a small minority of passengers. Representatives of all of these groups recently met with officials from my department and from the UK Border Force, as well as the Civil Aviation Authority and the police, to discuss a range of practical steps that can be taken to identify and deal with these situations as they emerge. These included the circumstances under which it might be appropriate to withhold further alcohol from a passenger.

I and my officials will be continuing this constructive dialogue over the coming months.


 

Driving: Vision Impairment

Kirsten Oswald (East Renfrewshire): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many (a) drivers and (b) medical practitioners reported medical conditions which resulted in visual impairments not specified in the DVLA publication, At a glance guide to the current medical standards of fitness to drive, in each of the last three years; and in how many such cases the driving licence was (i) revoked and (ii) restricted.

Andrew Jones: Drivers are not required to notify the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) of any medical condition that is not specified in “At a glance Guide to the current Medical Standards of Fitness to Drive”. Drivers should seek advice from their GP if they are unsure as to whether they should notify the DVLA of a medical condition.

Kirsten Oswald (East Renfrewshire): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when the eyesight requirements for the holding of Group 1 or Group 2 driving licences were last reviewed; and what assessment his Department has made of whether the potential effect of photophobia on fitness to drive is adequately reflected in the current requirements to notify the DVLA of medical conditions.

Andrew Jones: The minimum visual acuity and visual field standards for driving with Group 1 and 2 licences were last reviewed in March 2013.

Photophobia is not a medical condition about which drivers need to notify the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) in isolation. However, the DVLA will investigate a notifiable medical condition of which photophobia may be a symptom. Therefore, no specific assessment has been made about the effect of photophobia on fitness to drive. It is for drivers to ensure that they can continue to drive safely and to take appropriate steps to do so. Drivers who suffer from photophobia should discuss driving with their eye care specialist if they are unsure.


 

Highways England: Industrial Accidents

Tom Brake (Carshalton and Wallington): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many staff of Highways England or the Highways Agency and their contractors have been (a) injured and (b) killed while removing litter or refuse from the strategic road network since January 2010; what the causes of those accidents were; and what injuries were sustained by those staff.

Andrew Jones: There have been no incidents of staff being killed as a result of litter removal on the strategic road network since January 2010. The number of injuries during this period is 44, the cause and nature of the injuries are outlined in the tables below:

Primary Cause Injuries Sustained
Hit by a moving vehicle 2 Bruising / abrasion 8
Hit by a moving, flying or falling object 4 Burn 1
Hit something fixed or stationary 7 Cut / laceration 8
Horse play 1 Foreign body (ingressed) 1
Injured while handling lifting or carrying 8 Fracture 1
Slipped, tripped or fell on the same level 22 Strain / sprain 25
44 44

All of these injuries relate to contractor personnel.


 

 Road Signs and Markings

Tom Brake (Carshalton and Wallington): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 19 June 2015 to Question 2645, if he will lift the moratorium on any new authorisations for traffic signs until the revised Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions are introduced.

Andrew Jones: The Department has no plans to lift the moratorium on traffic sign authorisations prior to the new Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions (TSRGD) being introduced. The moratorium does not, however, apply to all traffic sign categories and officials will continue to consider authorisations for those signs not covered by the moratorium.

On 28 August the Department launched a further consultation on the draft TSRGD which runs until 6 October. The new TSRGD is scheduled to come into force in Spring 2016, subject to Parliamentary approval. [Grouped Questions: 8506]


 

M62

Craig Whittaker (Calder Valley): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of road safety on the M62 motorway between junctions 21 and 23.

Andrew Jones: Highways England’s latest Route Safety Review indicates that the accident rate on the link between Junction 21 and Junction 22 slightly exceeds the level at which their safety scheme evaluation process is initiated. As a result, Highways England is programming a study to investigate these accidents further.

As part of the development of the M62 smart motorway scheme between Junction 20 to 25, the road infrastructure between Junctions 21 and 23 will be subject to detailed design review taking into account the road safety performance.


Roads: Accidents

Jeremy Lefroy (Stafford): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many road accidents in the UK involved foreign-registered vehicles in each of the last three years; and what proportion of those accidents led to the closure of a (a) road on the strategic network and (b) local road in each year.

Andrew Jones: The Department does not collect information on the country of registration of vehicles involved in reported personal-injury road accidents. Information is held on left hand drive vehicles and the Department uses this as a proxy for foreign registered vehicles.

The table below shows the number of reported personal-injury road traffic accidents involving left-hand drive vehicles in each of the last three years in Great Britain, broken down by severity of accident.

Reported number of accidents involving left hand drive vehicles, by severity, GB: 2012- 2014

Fatal Serious Slight Total
2012 25 109 983 1,117
2013 17 140 994 1,151
2014 19 136 1,046 1,201

The Department does not hold information on whether roads are closed following a road traffic accident.


 

Aviation: Noise

Mrs Anne Main (St Albans): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking as part of his Department’s current review of noise policy to ensure that (a) tranquillity and (b) densely populated areas are clearly defined in Civil Aviation Authority guidance.

Andrew Jones: The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) lead on airspace change and the process is set out in their publication CAP 725. The Department for Transport provide guidance to the CAA relating to the exercise of its air navigation functions. This sets out the Government’s position on flights over densely populated and tranquil areas. Any review of these publications would consider points made in consultation.


 

Motor Vehicles: Exhaust Emissions

 Greg Mulholland (Leeds North West): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to tackle air pollution from road vehicles; and if he will make a statement.

Andrew Jones: This Government is committed to tackling poor air quality. Our aim is for almost every car and van to be a zero emission vehicle by 2050.

£2 billion has been committed since 2011 to increase the uptake of ultra-low emission vehicles, green transport initiatives and supporting local authorities to take action. These measures will help address both particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide roadside levels in pollution hotspots.


14th September

Roads: Repairs and Maintenance

Justin Madders (Ellesmere Port and Neston): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what proportion of the £200 million made available to fix potholes in the 2014 Budget was allocated to councils in 2014-15.

Andrew Jones: The 2014 Budget announced £200 million was being made available to fix potholes on the local road network. £168 million was made available to all local highway authorities in England, with the remainder being provided to the Devolved Administrations. Funding awards were announced on 20 June 2014 and further information, including individual allocations to councils, is available at the following weblink:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/councils-given-168-million-to-fix-local-roads

 


 

15th September

Railways: Repairs and Maintenance

Lilian Greenwood (Nottingham South): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what representations he has received on the potential safety implications of reducing Network Rail’s Control Period 5 maintenance and renewals delivery volumes.

Claire Perry: Network Rail is responsible for planning and delivering maintenance and renewals volumes in order to ensure a safe, reliable and efficient railway. In doing so it is monitored by the Office of Rail and Road (ORR), the health and safety regulator for the railway, which in its latest Health and Safety Report (published 21 July 2015) highlighted that Britain’s railways are now the safest in Europe, but warned that the industry cannot become complacent. In June 2015, ORR, reviewing Network Rail’s plans for the remainder of 2015-16, noted to the Department for Transport that whilst the current safety performance of the network is good, Network Rail had not been successful in delivering all of its maintenance and renewals volumes so far in Control Period 5 (CP5). Network Rail is currently in the process of updating its Delivery Plan for CP5 and ORR will feed into that process its comments on the safety, sustainability and efficiency of the revised plan.


 

Road Traffic Offences: Speed Limits

Andrew Bridgen (North West Leicestershire): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what comparative assessment his Department has made of methods used in other European countries to detect and prevent speeding offences.

Andrew Jones: The Department has not carried out a formal comparative assessment of methods used in other European countries to detect and prevent speeding. However, the Department does have ongoing discussions with other Member States on road safety issues, including tackling speed. The Department also regularly requests European comparisons when carrying out research into road safety topics.


 

 Unmanned Air Vehicles

Jim Shannon (Strangford): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to (a) monitor the usage of and (b) prevent accidents involving unmanned drones in airspace over the UK.

Mr Robert Goodwill: The Government recognises that this emerging technology has great opportunities for the UK. However the Government is aware that there are safety and security issues that need to be addressed.

The Civil Aviation Authority has recently launched a publicity campaign called “You have control. Be safe! Be legal!’’  which is aimed at raising awareness of the general public, at the point of purchase, about their responsibilities as the unmanned aircraft operator.

The Government is currently talking to industry partners about the development of an online application to track and manage small drones. The Government has received several proposals for such an application, but the development of this technology is still at an embryonic stage.

The Government is also in early discussions with international partners about a drone traffic management system, and it is hoped that those discussions will lead to UK involvement in the development of that system and the participation of UK industry in future trials to test the robustness of the technology. Some drones are already equipped with ‘geo-fencing’ to prevent operation in controlled airspace.

There will be a public consultation on drones in spring 2016. This will give the public a chance to engage on these, and other, important issues concerning drones.


 

 

16th September

Cycling: Safety

Lord McColl of Dulwich: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to help protect cyclists from collisions with heavy goods vehicles caused by the driver being unable to see the cyclist on the near side.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: The Government is committed to ensuring the roads are safe for all road users. The European Union has required improved mirrors on new models of heavy goods vehicle launched after 30 June 2014.  Further changes are expected in due course, to allow camera monitoring systems and the redesign of lorry cabs for better vision.

We are also watching closely the impact of Transport for London’s proposals in this area, including the Safer Lorry Scheme.


 

 Cycleways: Greater London

Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb: To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have plans to designate roads that form part of strategic cycle networks in London, such as the Cycle Superhighways, as Greater London Authority roads.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: The government has no such plans.  Any re-designation would be a matter for the Mayor and the Greater London Authority.


 

17th September

Cycling: Children

Lord Bradley: To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many children aged (1) 8–11, and (2) 11–14, were trained in cycling proficiency at school in each local authority area in England in each of the last five years.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: The Government has been funding Bikeability cycle training in schools since 2006/07. The Department for Transport funds training in England and Transport for London funds training in London.

Bikeability training is delivered to children between school years 5-9 (ages 9-14). Bikeability training consists of three levels. Level 1 and Level 2 training is aimed at children aged 9-11 years old and Level 3 training is aimed at children aged 11-14 years old.

Delivery statistics are not collated by age group. However, data on the number of training places delivered for each level of Bikeability training is available from 2012/13 to 2013/14. We have used these data to give an indication of the number of children trained in cycling proficiency at school in each local authority area in England (excluding London) for the age ranges 9-11 years and 11-14 years. Please see the attached tables 1 and 2. The figures are based on information provided by Local Highway Authorities (LHA) and School Games Organiser Host Schools (SGOHS).

HL2000 – Tables for Bikeability Training (Word Document, 21.63 KB)


 

Information is available here on the Parliamentary Website.

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