Written Questions: January 2016
Jim Cunningham (Coventry South): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 16 July 2015 to Question 6809, what progress his Department has made on allocating funding for investment into ultra-low emission vehicles and the infrastructure to support such vehicles.
Andrew Jones: The government allocated more than £600 million to support the uptake and manufacture of ultra-low emission vehicles in the 2015 Spending Review. This represents an increase of over £100 million on the Government’s previous commitment and means the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) will continue to provide one of the most comprehensive packages of support for ultra-low emission vehicles in the world.
On 17 December the Government announced it has allocated £400 million so that the Plug-in Car Grant will continue to at least 2018, well beyond the previous guarantee of February 2016, and which will mean more than 100,000 people will benefit over the coming years – double the number who have already claimed the grant since 2011. The Government also announced the continuation of the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme, which will provide £500 towards the cost of installing a domestic charge-point.
We will provide further details about the wider OLEV programme during the first part of 2016.
Roads: Repairs and Maintenance
Mr Steve Reed (Croyden North): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the level of local authority preparedness and funding for winter road maintenance.
Andrew Jones: Local highway authorities have a duty under Section 41 of the Highways Act 1980 to maintain the highways network in their area. The Act does not set out specific standards of maintenance, as it is for each individual local highway authority to assess which parts of its network are in need of repair and what standards should be applied, based upon their local knowledge and circumstances. This duty includes winter maintenance.
In terms of funding, this Government is providing both tools and funding to local highway authorities in England, outside London, to tackle the condition of our local road network. In the Spending Review 2015, the Government announced that we are allocating a total of £6.1 billion funding for local highways maintenance between now and 2021. This funding includes an additional £250 million between 2016 and 2021 for a potholes action fund to improve local roads, to promote innovation within the sector and to ensure that taxpayers get greater value for money. I also note that funding in 2010 to 2015 was itself £1 billion higher than in 2005 to 2010.
Further details can be found here:
In October, I wrote to the leaders of all local highway authorities reminding them of their responsibilities regarding preparation for winter and the need for robust contingency plans in place to mitigate against any significant weather we may encounter over the winter period. I also took the opportunity to remind them of the recommendations to local authorities made in the independent review of transport resilience the Department commissioned following the wet winter of 2013/14. The report can be found at the following web link:
The Department for Transport (DfT) continues to play its part to ensure we stay ahead of the game for the winter and some of the action we are taking to ensure the country enters the 2015/16 winter season well prepared. This includes continuing to maintain a substantial national emergency salt reserve, first set up by the Coalition government, and having a robust distribution process in place, if for any reason this salt of last resort is needed to be allocated.
We have published on the DfT section of GOV.UK website a Salt Protocol Note which sets out the arrangements for the allocation of emergency reserve salt to local authorities, if and when required. From October, the Department regularly monitors salt stocks being held by highway authorities.
We also work with the Met Office and other Government departments in respect of the ‘Get Ready for Winter’ Campaign. The guidance provides to the general public advice on clearing snow and ice from pathways and we encourage local authorities to include a web link on their website to it. The guidance can be found here:
Roads: Speed Limits
Sir Greg Knight (East Yorkshire): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the criteria are for authorising an average speed monitored stretch of non-motorway highway; what measures are in place to prevent an artificially low speed limit being implemented and then being made subject to an average speed limit camera check; and if he will make a statement.
Andrew Jones: It is up to the Highways Authority and the Police to decide whether to use cameras and how they wish to operate them. Guidance was issued in 2007 entitled “Use of speed and red-light camera for traffic enforcement: guidance on deployment, visibility and signing”.This can be viewed on GOV.UK. This guidance is not mandatory but on 20 October 2015 we wrote to local authorities drawing it to their attention.
The Department issued revised guidance entitled “Setting local speed limits” in January 2013 aimed mainly at local traffic authorities who are responsible for setting speed limits on local roads. It has been designed to help explain to everyone why and how local speed limits are determined. This guidance was revised following full public consultation in Summer 2012 and is available online on GOV.UK.
Road Traffic Control
Baroness Wolf of Dulwich: To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 14 December (HL4061), what checks are in place to ensure that Regulation 6 of the Local Authorities’ Traffic Orders (Procedure) (England and Wales) Regulations 1996 is complied with; who is entitled to complain if that Regulation is not complied with, and to whom; and what penalties are incurred by local authorities or London boroughs for failing to comply with that regulation.
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: There are no checks in place to ensure that local authorities comply with the Local Authorities’ Traffic Orders (Procedure) (England and Wales) Regulations 1996, including the duty concerning consultation. Anyone can complain if they consider that the authority has failed to comply with their duty. Complaints should initially be raised with the authority concerned, and if they are not satisfactorily addressed, they can be raised with the Local Government Ombudsman. Alternatively, failure to comply with the consultation requirements in regulation 6 would be grounds for bringing a legal challenge against an order under paragraph 35 of Schedule 9 to the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984.
Richard Burden (Birmingham, Northfield): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, where repairs to (a) the Strategic Road Network and (b) other key local roads are required in each region following recent flooding; and what estimate he has made of those repairs.
Andrew Jones: The flood recovery envoy for Yorkshire, the Minister of State for Transport (Mr Goodwill), convened a meeting on January 7 2016 with North Yorkshire County Council, wider local representatives, the military and Highways England experts to finalise a plan for reconstructing Tadcaster Bridge. The Government is providing £3.3m of funding immediately to repair the bridge. It has incurred substantial damage and the current estimate is that it will take up to a year to repair.
The Department for Transport is working closely with affected local highway authorities following the recent storms encountered in some areas of the country. As part of this work, local highway authorities are assessing the damage caused and likely estimated costs. It is too early to provide an estimate of the repairs or likely timescales until all waters have receded.
Grouped Questions: 21012
London Airports: Accidents
Ruth Cadbury (Brentford and Isleworth): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what comparative assessment his Department has made of the potential damage to housing and infrastructure and loss of life that would result from an aircraft crashing on approach or arrival at Heathrow and Gatwick Airports.
Mr Robert Goodwill: For people living and working near airports, safety is best achieved by ensuring the safe operation of aircraft in flight. However, in areas of greater risk, we seek to control the number of people at risk through the Public Safety Zone (PSZ) system. Public Safety Zones are areas of land at the ends of the runways at the busiest airports, within which development is restricted in order to control the number of people on the ground at risk of death or injury in the event of an aircraft accident on take-off or landing. The implementation of Public Safety Zone policy at civil airports is based on modelling work carried out using appropriate aircraft accident data to determine the level of risk to people on the ground around airports.
Roads: Repairs and Maintenance
Lilian Greenwood (Nottingham South): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 17 December 2015 to Question 20054, what funding was allocated to the Winter Weather Repair Fund in 2014-15.
Andrew Jones: In 2014/15, the Government provided £950 million to local highway authorities for highways maintenance, including £168 million to specifically tackle potholes across the country.
In March 2014, the Government provided an additional £183.5 million to help repair local highway infrastructure damaged by the winter floods of 2013/14. This funding was spent by local highway authorities in 2014/15.
Overall, between 2010 to 2015, local highways maintenance funding was 27% or £1billion higher than under the previous Labour administration.
British Transport Police: Finance
Paula Sherriff (Dewsbury): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what financial contribution Transport for London made to the British Transport Police in each of the last five financial years.
Claire Perry: The table below sets out the financial contribution that Transport for London has made to the British Transport Police in each of the last five financial years.
British Transport Police: Staff
Paula Sherriff (Dewsbury): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many police officers from the British Transport Police were deployed in (a) London and (b) the rest of the UK in each year from 2009-10 to 2014-15.
Claire Perry: The table below sets out the number of officers deployed in each year since 2009-10.
|Year||Deployed Officers in B Division (London)||Deployed Officers in the rest of the UK|
As at January 2016, the total number of deployed officers both in London and across the rest of the UK is 3046, which is the largest number of officers since the creation of the British Transport Police Authority in 2004.
British Transport Police: Finance
Paula Sherriff (Dewsbury): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department has requested the British Transport Police Authority to set out options for a reduction in the British Transport Police budget.
Claire Perry: As part of the Spending Review process, the Department made clear to the British Transport Police Authority that any potential options for making efficiency savings in the British Transport Police’s budget, (aside from spending related to counter-terrorist activity, which was excluded from that process), needed to minimise any impact on the operational policing capability of the British Transport Police.
Paula Sherriff (Dewsbury): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the British Transport Police budget was in each year from 2009-10 to 2014-15.
Claire Perry: The British Transport Police’s budget for each year from 2009-10 to 2014-15 is set out in the table below.
Paula Sherriff (Dewsbury): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what directions or guidance his Department has issued to (a) Network Rail, (b) train operating companies and (c) Transport for London regarding funding agreements with British Transport Police since the publication of the Spending Review and Autumn Statement 2015.
Claire Perry: Funding agreements are a matter between the British Transport Police Authority and the train operators, Network Rail and Transport for London.
Paula Sherriff (Dewsbury): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what (a) directions or (b) guidance his Department issues to the British Transport Police or the British Transport Police Authority on cost savings in (i) 2015-16 and (ii) future financial years.
Claire Perry: The Department has not issued directions to either the British Transport Police (BTP) or the British Transport Police Authority (BTPA) on costs savings in 2015-16 and future years. It did, however, provide guidance that there should be no material impact on the operational policing capability of the British Transport Police, including in relation to counter-terrorist activity, from any appropriate efficiency savings it may seek to make over the Spending Review period.
Paula Sherriff (Dewsbury): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to paragraph 2.90 of the Spending Review and Autumn Statement 2015, what assessment he has made of the effect of phasing out the Transport for London (TfL) resource grant on TfL’s funding of the British Transport Police.
Claire Perry: It is for Transport for London (TfL) to determine future policing arrangements as they contract policing from the British Transport Police on a commercial basis.
Paula Sherriff (Dewsbury): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the planned expenditure is for the British Transport Police in (a) 2015-16, (b) 2016-17, (c) 2017-18, (d) 2018-19 and (e) 2019-20.
Claire Perry: The British Transport Police’s budget for 2015/16 is £298,078,000.
Final budgets for future years have not been established.
Paula Sherriff (Dewsbury): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he plans to protect spending on the British Transport Police in real terms over the Spending Review period.
Claire Perry: Funding for the British Transport Police is not derived directly from a specific Government grant but from holders of police service agreements. However, the Department has made clear to the British Transport Police Authority that it considers that any efficiencies it seeks to make should not materially impact on the operational policing capability of the British Transport Police, including in relation to counter-terrorist activity.
British Transport Police
Paula Sherriff (Dewsbury): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many British Transport Police officers he estimates will be deployed in (a) 2015-16, (b) 2016-17, (c) 2017-18, (d) 2018-19 and (e) 2019-20.
Claire Perry: The British Transport Police currently has 3,046 officers, which is the largest number of officers since the creation of the British Transport Police Authority in 2004. The number of officers in future years will vary in response to operational needs, including specific initiatives such as the introduction of the Night Tube in London.
Motor Vehicles: Exhaust Emissions
Stuart Malcolm McDonald (Glasgow South): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what information he holds on how many Volkswagen vehicles have been re-tested for emissions since September 2015.
Andrew Jones: The Department has retested three of the VW Group vehicles for which the UK provided type approval. These tests have confirmed that the extended test programme announced by the Secretary of State on 10 November can identify defeat device strategies. The testing of vehicles is underway and a report of the findings will be published in the spring.
Roads: Repairs and Maintenance
Sir Greg Knight (East Yorkshire): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what mechanisms are in place to ensure that the public are made fully aware beforehand of planned road works to be carried out by contractors on trunk roads and motorways which involve either lane or whole carriageway closures.
Andrew Jones: A range of communications activities are used to inform members of the public about road works taking place on major A roads and motorways, including information issued to the media and updates to pages on the Highways England and Traffic England web pages.
In addition to this, letters are issued to organisations, businesses and communities affected directly by the works. Highways England will also undertake specific community and business-to-business meetings for larger scale closures within the local area of each project if required.
As a standard, information and updates are issued a minimum of seven days in advance wherever possible.
Andrew Rosindell (Romford): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will press rail companies to use increases in revenue to invest and upgrade rail infrastructure.
Claire Perry: The railway is funded by both taxpayers and passengers. Network Rail own the infrastructure, not the train operators. The government is using the increased revenue, which is paid in franchise premiums to the Department for Transport, to help fund Network Rail’s investment programme. This will see them spend over £38 billion in the period 2014-19 on maintaining and improving rail infrastructure, in the biggest and most comprehensive programme of railway modernisation since the Victorians.
Mr Douglas Carswell (Clacton): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to improve major transport links between England and Wales.
Andrew Jones: The Government has the most ambitious programme of rail upgrades since Victorian times. It will introduce a new fleet of Intercity Express trains, cut journey times, increase the number of seats, and provide a more reliable service for commuters and people in England and Wales. Electrifying the Great Western Main Line from London to Swansea is a UK Government commitment which we will deliver to Cardiff within Control Period 5 and to Swansea as early as possible in Control Period 6.
In addition the Government is providing £10.4m, in support of the Liverpool City Region Growth Deal, to fund the reinstatement of the Halton Curve which will enable passenger services from North Wales and West Cheshire to directly access Liverpool City Centre and Liverpool John Lennon airport for the first time in decades. The Halton Curve rail link will provide large economic benefits to the Liverpool city region and surrounding areas including North Wales.
We are working closely with the Welsh Government on the development of the next Rail Investment Strategy to ensure that relevant English and Welsh priorities for rail investment in Control Period 6 are reflected.
On the strategic road network, Highways England’s Pinch Point Scheme at the junction of the A55 and A483 trunk roads between Chester and Wrexham was completed in June 2015.This addresses significant traffic congestion problems at this junction near the border with Wales and related road safety problems, especially during peak periods, and will help to stimulate economic growth.
The Government’s first ever Road Investment Strategy has committed £15.2 billion investment for the strategic road network in England from 2015 to 2021. The next iteration of route strategies will inform investment decisions for the next Road Investment Strategy and Highways England will engage with stakeholders to identify future investment priorities.
Driving Tests: Complaints
Tulip Saddiq (Hampstead and Kilburn): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many complaints about practical driving tests heard by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (a) were made by (i) men and (ii) women and (b) were found (i) in favour of and (ii) against the complainant; and how many such complaints were subsequently taken to the Independent Complaints Assessor in each year since 2009-10.
Andrew Jones: The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) does not record information about the sex of any complainant. Nor does it retain information about complaints made before 2011-12 about practical driving tests or cases referred to the ICA. Information it does hold is as follows:
2011-12 1,080 complaints received – 42 upheld, 938 not upheld, 100 no outcome recorded
2012-13 1,108 complaints received – 40 upheld, 1002 not upheld, 66 no outcome recorded
2013-14 1,260 complaints received – 37 upheld, 1013 not upheld, 210 no outcome recorded
2014-15 1,401 complaints received – 27 upheld, 1158 not upheld, 216 no outcome recorded
2015- 16 1,351 complaints received – 37 upheld, 1174 not upheld, 140 no outcome recorded
Complaints referred to the ICA
2011-12 – 3 cases
2012-13 – 9 cases
2013-14 – 10 cases
2015-16 – 4 cases
Large Goods Vehicles
Richard Burden (Birmingham Northfield): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what his policy is on the use of longer-length or mega lorries in (a) the UK and (b) urban areas.
Andrew Jones: The longest length of lorry allowed on UK roads, including urban areas, is the road train at 18.75m. This is the maximum authorised length of lorry that the General Circulation Directive permits for national and international traffic. The Department is currently trialing longer semi-trailers (which are up to 2m longer than standard sized articulated lorries) although these are shorter than the road trains that are already in circulation across EU roads.
Local authorities have powers under Sections 1 & 2 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, to exclude heavy goods vehicles either generally or at specified times from roads for which they are considered to be unsuitable.
Large Goods Vehicles: Exhaust Emissions
Richard Burden (Birmingham Northfield): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is considering to reduce (a) CO2 and (b) NOx emissions for HGVs (i) domestically and (ii) at EU Level.
Andrew Jones: The Government has implemented measures to encourage cleaner and more fuel efficient HGVs including through the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation, the £11m Low Carbon Truck Trial, and our £25m Advanced Biofuels Demonstration Competition. The Department for Transport is currently leading a review of options to further reduce CO2 emissions from the freight sector.
In December 2015 the Government published the UK air quality plan for nitrogen dioxide. Under this plan some older polluting vehicles, including lorries, will be discouraged from entering a number of city centres as one of a number of measures that will ensure the UK meets legal limit values outside London by 2020. Together with the existing Low, and forthcoming Ultra Low, Emission Zone in London, and other complementary measures in the Capital, this will encourage the uptake of lower emission HGVs.
Large Goods Vehicle Drivers
John Spellar (Warley): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent estimate his Department has made of the number of new HGV drivers who will be required in each of the next five years.
Andrew Jones: The Department is working with other parts of Government to encourage and enable more people to become lorry drivers, including via apprenticeships and action related to Jobcentre Plus.
The Department is taking steps to ensure that the increased demand for driving tests is accommodated through recruiting driving examiners and providing increased numbers of test appointments.
Daniel Zeichner (Cambridge): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the contribution of the cycle to work scheme to meeting the Government’s objective to double the number of journeys made by bicycle by 2020.
Mr Robert Goodwill: The Cycle to Work Scheme is an employee benefit covered by an exemption and therefore employers do not have to make an annual tax return regarding the benefit.
The Cycle to Work Alliance (made up of Cyclescheme, Cycle Solutions, Evans Cycles and Halfords) have provided figures of the take up from Jan –September 2015 141,454 people participated in the scheme.
A recent survey by the Alliance showed that 62% of participants in the scheme were either non-cyclists, novice cyclists (cycling less than once a month) or occasional cyclists (cycling once or twice a month) before joining the scheme. Having joined the scheme 79% of respondents described themselves as enthusiastic cyclists.
Grouped Questions: 21193
Robert Flello (Stoke-on-Trent South): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment his Department has made of the vulnerability to flooding of (a) rail and (b) road networks; and what steps his Department is taking to protect such infrastructure from the risk of floods.
Mr Robert Goodwill: My Department is constantly working to maintain and improve the resilience of transport to a full range of hazards.
Network Rail are well aware of the risks from flooding and other severe weather events, and measures to improve the resilience of the network, including addressing specific concerns and recommendations arising from previous flooding events, are integral to their current 5 year programme of investment, maintenance and renewals.
Local highway authorities have a duty to maintain their network and prepare for severe weather with regards to local roads. The Government has allocated a record £6.1 billion to fund local highways maintenance between now and 2021, continuing the increase in funding that started during the last Parliament.
Highways England are responsible for operating, maintaining and improving the strategic road network, and will invest £78 million over the next 5 years on a range of measures to improve flood resilience and water quality on the network.
Ruth Cadbury (Brentford and Isleworth): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what representations he has received on the conclusions of the Aviation Environment Federation report, Aircraft Noise and Public Health, published on 12 January 2016, The Evidence is Loud and Clear.
Mr Robert Goodwill: I have had no representations on the conclusion of the report. I meet with airport noise community groups from time to time to hear about the issue of aircraft noise and its impact on residents.
Ruth Cadbury (Brentford and Isleworth): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the recent Aviation Environment Federation report, Aircraft Noise and Public Health: The Evidence is Loud and Clear, published in January 2016.
Mr Robert Goodwill: The Government acknowledges that there has been new evidence in recent years that exposure to aircraft noise can adversely affect people’s health. It closely monitors research in this field and relevant robust evidence is incorporated into the policy appraisal process.
Roads: Repairs and Maintenance
Lillian Greenwood (Nottingham South): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 11 January 2016 to Question 21128, whether his Department plans to make additional funding available to help repair local highway infrastructure damaged by the winter floods of 2015-16.
Andrew Jones: The Department for Transport is providing £40 million of emergency government funding to support communities in Cumbria and Lancashire, by helping fund repairs to key local transport infrastructure. This builds on the government’s provision of up to £2 million in the initial aftermath of the severe wet weather to enable Cumbria and Lancashire authorities to carry out an initial assessment of what repairs were required to roads and bridges.
£3.3 million of funding has also been announced for the restoration of the Tadcaster Bridge and the construction of a temporary footbridge while work is ongoing, to support this community in North Yorkshire. Further, we have recently announced up to £5.5 million of funding to help with the rebuilding of Elland Bridge in Calderdale.
Tadcaster Bridge: Repairs and Maintenance
Richard Burden (Birmingham Northfield): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 11 January 2016 to Question 21012, what repairs there have been to Tadcaster Bridge to date; and whether finance for any repairs will be found from (a) the Road Investment Strategy and (b) a contingency fund.
Andrew Jones: North Yorkshire County Council are continuing their assessment of the damage to Tadcaster Bridge as the water levels reduce, and they are also removing debris. We have not asked the Council for an estimate of repairs to date at Tadcaster Bridge as they work on a County wide assessment of damage to road and bridge infrastructure.
The Government recently announced funding of £3.3m to repair Tadcaster Bridge and for a temporary footbridge to reconnect the community, none of which has come from the Road Investment Strategy as that is funding for the Strategic Road Network managed by Highways England.
Bexleyheath Railway Line: Landslips
Clive Efford (Eltham): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what explanation he has received for the cause of recent landslides on the Bexleyheath rail line; and if he will make a statement.
Claire Perry: Network Rail have informed me that heavy and persistent rainfall caused the landslip.
Clive Efford (Eltham): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether railway verges are surveyed to identify locations where there is a danger that landslides may occur; and if he will make a statement.
Claire Perry: This is an operational matter for Network Rail. Network Rail advises that its railway earthwork assets are inspected by suitably qualified engineers at intervals of 1, 3, 5 and 10 years. The frequency of inspection is driven by the hazard rating of the asset, which is calculated from data that is recorded during visual observations across the slope.
The likelihood of an earthwork asset failing increases during periods of rainfall, in particular during extreme rainfall events. During times where there is an increased likelihood of failure, additional inspections are undertaken. These are focussed with available resources on locations of highest safety risk, where the consequence of a failure is greatest.
London Airports: Accidents
Ruth Cadbury (Brentford and Isleworth): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department has conducted a comparative assessment of the loss of life as a result of an aircraft crashing on approach or arrival at Heathrow and Gatwick airports.
Mr Robert Goodwill: I refer the Honourable Member to my answer of 11th January 2016 (UIN 20996) http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-questions-answers/?page=1&max=20&questiontype=QuestionsWithAnswersOnly&house=commons%2clords&uin=20996.
Ben Howlett (Bath): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will bring forward legislative proposals to amend the Highways Act 1835 to allow for the use of self-balancing scooters, segways and z-boards on roads.
Andrew Jones: To maintain the UK’s position as a world-leading location to test, develop, and use connected and automated vehicle (CAV) technologies, the Department for Transport is planning a wider review of domestic regulations by Summer2017. The review is at an early stage.
While the Highways Act 1835 will form part of the review, decisions have yet to be taken as to which regulatory changes will be necessary to support CAV technologies, or if the review will cover other forms of transport such as Segways, or so-called ‘hoverboards’, ‘balancing scooters’ and ‘z-boards’, all of which may already be used on private land.
John Redwood (Wokingham): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment Network Rail has made of the costs and benefits of replacing level crossings with bridges on its England network.
Claire Perry: This is an operational matter for Network Rail who have a policy of actively pursuing closure of level crossings at every opportunity.
The company has already closed nearly 1,000 level crossings since 2009 but, since the circumstances at each level crossing are unique, there are no firm rules about closure. Risk assessments are instead undertaken at every site which informs the identification and implementation of further risk controls.
The United Kingdom already has the best level crossing safety record in Europe but we are supporting Network Rail through a ring-fenced fund to ensure that risks can be reduced even further.
Motorways: Greater Manchester
Andrew Gwynne (Denton and Reddish): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will have discussions with the Highways Agency on (a) improving arrangements to clear litter and flytipping on the M67 and M60 around the Denton Interchange and (b) repairing defective lighting columns along the M67 and M60 around the River Tome.
Andrew Jones: My Department will liaise with Highways England in relation to its arrangements for clearing litter and flytipped rubbish from the M60 and M67 Motorways in the vicinity of, and at, the intersection. The discussions will also include the condition of the lighting along the M67 and the M60 near the River Tome. I would expect that Highways England officials write to you directly to ensure that this matter can be dealt with as soon as possible.
Mr Gregory Campbell (East Londonderry): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department plans to take in 2016 to ensure that young people under 16 understand road safety issues from the perspectives of pedestrians, cyclists and car users.
Andrew Jones: THINK! supports pedestrian road safety education though engaging intermediaries – e.g. teachers, road safety professionals & parents – who are able to deliver road safety messages using free resources, to children and teenagers in a credible and impactful way. THINK! is reviewing their education offer in order to ensure materials and road safety messages are up-to-date and relevant for the current generation.
THINK! is also working closely with partners at the RAC foundation and the Scouts Association to develop road safety resources for out-of-school groups, to ensure road safety is continued to be taught in and outside the classroom.
The Department is providing £50 million over the next four years to support Bikeability cycle training in schools in England (outside London). This funding will help to increase children’s road awareness, encourage active travel and improve future motorists’ empathy for more vulnerable road users.
Gregory Campbell (East Londonderry): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will bring forward legislative proposals to ban the use of laser pen technology in proximity to aircraft and airports.
Mr Robert Goodwill: Specific legislation prohibiting the use of laser pens against aircraft has been in place since 2009. Under Article 222 of the Air Navigation Order (2009), it is an offence to “direct or shine any light at any aircraft in flight so as to dazzle or distract the pilot of the aircraft”. Breaches of this article can be punished by a fine of up to £2500.
In addition, under Article 137, it is an offence to “recklessly or negligently act in a manner likely to endanger an aircraft, or any person in an aircraft”. If convicted, offenders could face up to a maximum penalty of five years in prison.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), as the independent safety regulator, has established a working group with relevant public and industry participants to consider what further measures may help counter the threat from the misuse of laser pens. The Government will continue to monitor closely the outcome of this work.
Motorways: Road Traffic Control
Robert Flello (Stoke-on-Trent South): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of its methods of alleviating road congestion on motorways after an incident; and what plans his Department has to improve those methods
Andrew Jones: Highways England Traffic Officers play an important role in keeping traffic moving by helping road users in the event of a breakdown or collision, clearing debris from the motorways and returning the road back to normal.
To assess how well Highways England are performing in clearing incidents, a target has been set to clear 85% of all lane impact incidents on the motorway network with one hour, as set out in the Roads Investment Strategy (RIS) and reported on annually. Highways England works closely with the other emergency responders including police forces, ambulance authorities, and fire and rescue services to improve its incident response.
Motor Vehicles: Cameras
Jim Shannon (Strangford): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has made an assessment of the potential safety implications of the mandatory introduction of dashboard cameras in (a) cars, (b) vans and (c) heavy goods vehicles.
Andrew Jones: No such assessment has been made. The provisions on forward vision for drivers are already regulated in the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986 (as amended).
Helen Hayes (Dulwich and West Norwood): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of adopting the recommendation of the cycling charity CTC that part of the £15 billion road budget outlined in the Road Investment Strategy 2014 be reallocated to cycling in order to help achieve the Government’s aims for cycling, health and the environment.
Mr Robert Goodwill: The Strategic Road Network does not just impact on motorists but on other road users, especially cyclists. We want the road network to offer better provision for the needs of cyclists. This means, amongst other things, more segregated cycle-ways alongside trunk roads and safer junctions and crossings.
Highways England has committed to provide a safer, integrated and more accessible strategic road network for cyclists and other vulnerable road users. Through our first Road Investment Strategy for Highways England, £100 million has been made available between 2015 and 2021 to improve the conditions for cycling alongside and crossing the Strategic Road Network. This will deliver improvements for cyclists at 200 locations on the network.
Richard Burden (Birmingham, Northfield): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, which (a) ministers attended and (b) departments are represented on the Government’s working group on drones; when that group was formed; and what its schedule of meetings is.
Mr Robert Goodwill: The Cross Government Working Group on Drones is a group of officials tasked with developing policy on drones. Ministers do not attend. Participation is from the following Departments and agencies:
Department for Transport
Ministry of Defence
Department of Energy and Climate Change
Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs
Business Innovation and Skills
Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure
Civil Aviation Authority
Information Commissioner’s Office
Maritime and Coastguard Agency
Department for Communities and Local Government
The group was formed in March 2013 and it meets quarterly. The schedule of meetings for 2016 is February; May; September and December.
Richard Burden (Birmingham, Northfield): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will assess the implications for his policies of the Oxford Research Group’s recent report entitled, The Hostile use of Drones by Non-State Actors against British Targets; and if he will make a statement.
Mr Robert Goodwill: A cross government working group is maintaining a detailed analysis of the security threats posed by drones. This work includes an assessment of the risks of the use of drones for terrorism and criminal purposes. Further work is now proceeding to capture and evaluate potential mitigation measures and strategies. Initial guidance on tackling the risks has been provided to constabularies across the UK.
The findings of the report align well with the ongoing work of this group. While the government recognises that this emerging technology creates exciting opportunities for the UK economy, the risks for security and safety and its response to them will be kept under constant review.
Sir Greg Knight (East Yorkshire): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he plans to bring into force the provisions in the Deregulation Act 2015 to allow for special permits to be issued for on-road racing; and if he will make a statement.
Andrew Jones: Government will implement as soon as possible subject to the priorities set out in the British Road Safety Statement.
Bexleyheath Line: Landslips
Clive Efford (Eltham):To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 19 January 2016 to Question 22574, for what reasons, during the closure of the Bexleyheath rail line during the week beginning 11 January 2016, (a) Southeastern services on adjacent lines were cancelled, (b) there was a lack of information about alternative services and (c) staff had no information to pass onto customers about alternative services or when replacement bus services would arrive; what systems were put in place to communicate regular updates of information to staff so customers could be given accurate advice; what advice was given to staff regarding assistance for people with disabilities; what steps he is taking to determine whether the responses to the situation from Network Rail and Southeastern were adequate; and if he will make a statement.
Claire Perry: Following the unfortunate landslip at Barnehust, it was necessary to close the line serving Bexleyheath in order that repairs could be carried out.
As a result of the Bexleyheath line closure, Southeastern have had to run more trains on the adjacent lines to provide extra capacity for passengers. This led to minimal cancellations to the scheduled timetable on adjacent lines.
Information regarding alternative travel arrangements was provided by posters at affected stations, station announcements, on National Rail Industry systems, the Southeastern website and on social media.
Staff were given regular updates on the alternative travel arrangements and station announcements were made where appropriate. Replacement buses were in operation between Lewisham and Dartford via Bexleyheath in both directions. Other bus services were accepting Southeastern tickets, additionally, Docklands Light Railway and London Underground were accepting tickets where appropriate. Regular updates were provided to station management, who provided briefings to their station staff. The Passenger Assist service was in effect and Southeastern staff were advised to book taxis from stations that were not accessible for those passengers who required them.
My officials were in regular contact with Southeastern and Network Rail, who ensured that the line was opened as quickly as possible and that passengers were kept informed at all times.
Clive Efford (Eltham): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 19 January 2016 to Question 22575, whether failure to inspect equipment or buildings situated adjacent to Bexleyheath rail line contributed to the line being blocked during the week beginning 11 January 2016; and if he will make a statement.
Claire Perry: Network Rail has advised that a signalling control cabinet was pushed over by the recent landslip at Barnehurst, and then had to be moved to a location away from the affected area to enable access to temporarily stabilise the landslide. This involved moving the staging on which the cabinet was sited, the cabinet itself, and the cables.
Network Rail further advises that the earthwork was last examined on 5 February 2015, when its condition showed no signs of impending failure. Its condition prior to the earthworks failure was such that its next inspection would have been three years from that date.
Grouped Questions: 23673
Traffic Offences: Prosecutions
Charlotte Leslie (Bristol North West): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 15 December 2015 to Question 19163, what assessment his Department has made of reasons for changes in the level of prosecutions for tachograph violations.
Andrew Jones: Although the numbers of prosecutions in relation to drivers’ hours and tachograph offences decreased in 2014/15 from previous years, the number of offences found actually increased. In 2013/14 the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency found 10,283 drivers’ hours and tachograph offences, whereas in 2014/15 DVSA found 15,183.
The main reason for the decrease in prosecution figures was a drive to deal with all but the most serious offences by way of fixed penalty, freeing up court time and making more effective and efficient use of enforcement resources in line with Government policy.
Lord Black of Brentwood: To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many road traffic accidents in which a dog was injured were reported to the police in each of the last three years.
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: The Department for Transport collates information on animals identified as carriageway hazards in reported personal injury road accidents. However, information on the kind of animal involved in accidents is not collected.
The number of reported personal injury road accidents involving animals1 in the carriageway, in Great Britain, 2012 – 20142, is shown in the following table.
- Excludes ridden horses
- Data for 2015 is published summer 2016.
Rehman Chishti (Gillingham and Rainham): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what information his Department holds on the number of UK pilots who have been stood down after a laser pen attack occurring in the course of their work.
Mr Robert Goodwill: The Civil Aviation Authority does not have any evidence to confirm that any pilot has been removed from flying duties or suffered long term damage as a result of exposure from a laser attack whilst undertaking their duties.
Rehman Chishti (Gillingham and Rainham): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many incidents of laser pen attacks on air traffic control towers have been recorded in the last five years.
Mr Robert Goodwill: In the last five years from the period 1 July 2009 to 31 July 2015, the Civil Aviation Authority recorded 17 reports of laser pen attacks affecting air traffic towers in the UK.
Rehman Chishti (Gillingham and Rainham): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what information his Department holds on the number of pilots operating in the UK who have sought medical assistance after a laser pen attack which occurred in the course of their work.
Mr Robert Goodwill: The Department does not hold any information on the number of pilots who have sought medical assistance following a laser pen attack. The Civil Aviation Authority has published a Safety Notice which provides guidance on laser attacks, including the action that aircraft crew and controllers should take during and immediately after an attack. It also includes a self-assessment tool to help those exposed to lasers make an immediate assessment of their vision and determine whether or not they need to consult an eye specialist.
Baroness Randerson: To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they plan to develop specific long-term targets to protect the public from the health impacts of aircraft noise.
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: Health impacts associated with aviation noise are already factored into policy appraisal where there is relevant robust evidence, including monetisation of these costs where this is possible.
Baroness Randerson: To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they intend to establish an Independent Aviation Noise Authority to participate in the planning and monitoring of proposed airport expansion in the South East of England, and of airport operations generally.
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: The Government is considering carefully the recommendation from the Airports Commission to establish an Independent Aviation Noise Authority. Any decision to take forward such a body would be subject to consultation on its detailed functions.
Baroness Randerson: To ask Her Majesty’s Government when they expect to begin consulting on the night noise regime for Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports for the period beyond 2017.
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: The Government is currently assessing the evidence base required to review the current night flight restrictions and we will publish our proposals for the period after October 2017 later this year.
Grahame Morris (Easington): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what his policy is on the EU initiative at the International Maritime Organisation for new regulations to require mechanically operated water-tight doors on passenger ships to have an inbuilt safety feature which avoids death or serious injury whilst automatically closing in an emergency to ensure the safety of the vessel.
Mr Robert Goodwill: The UK delegation at the International Maritime Organization fully supports the initiative to introduce protection against crushing of people during the daily operation of watertight doors while retaining the requirements that they close firmly in case of an emergency.
Jim Shannon (Strangford): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with representatives of the maritime sector to improve safety in that sector.
Mr Robert Goodwill: In accordance with the Department’s priority of maintaining high standards of safety and security in transport, matters relating to improving safety are frequently discussed at our meetings with a range of maritime organisations.
Offshore Industry: Helicopters
Grahame Morris (Easington): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many helicopter journeys in the offshore energy sector were aborted due to a mechanical problem in each quarter since Q1 2013l and what mode of helicopter was involved in each such incident.
Mr Robert Goodwill: The number of Mandatory Occurrence Reports received by the Civil Aviation Authority in relation to aborted helicopter journeys due to a mechanical problem in the offshore energy sector, alongside the type of aircraft, is set out in the following table:
Mr Gregory Campbell (East Londonderry): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will meet his counterparts in the devolved administrations to ensure that best practice on reducing the numbers of road deaths across the UK is shared.
Andrew Jones: I am willing to meet my counterparts in the devolved administrations if they wish. My officials have regular meetings with representatives from the devolved administrations to share best practice and I have had correspondence on specific areas of concern.
Mr Philip Hollobone (Kettering): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will meet the hon. Member for Kettering and other interested parties to discuss how an action plan might be drawn up to speed up the adoption by local highways authorities of new residential roads.
Andrew Jones: I share my honourable colleague’s concern over the need to avoid unnecessary steps that might hold up the adoption of suitable roads into the public highway. I would be very happy to arrange for him and other interested colleagues to meet my Ministerial team.
Roads: Repairs and Maintenance
Lilian Greenwood (Nottingham South): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what progress his Department’s roads reform programme evaluation, An overarching, monitoring and evaluation framework, published in March 2015, has made in evaluating the effectiveness of the roads reform programme.
Andrew Jones: In March 2015 the Department published an overarching monitoring and evaluation framework for the Roads Reform Programme. This document explained that the programme evaluation will draw upon evidence generated by Highways England, the Office of Rail and Road, and Transport Focus, complementing this evidence with additional data collection where required.
Since publishing this framework, a range of relevant evidence has been produced, such as the National road users’ satisfaction survey 2014-15 and two publications on Road users’ priorities for improvement covering car and van drivers and motorcyclists, and HGV drivers, respectively. The Department is planning to commission a suitably qualified supplier shortly to begin to use this evidence in performing an evaluation of the Roads Reform Programme.
Daniel Zeichner (Cambridge): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to section 3.3 of his recently published British Road Safety Statement, how the incentive element of local roads maintenance funding will operate.
Andrew Jones: Well-planned maintenance to prevent potholes and other defects forming on the roads is vital. Councils that do this well get better value for every pound spent and improve their customer satisfaction. So, from 2016/17, this Government is introducing incentive funding to help encourage local highway authorities to manage their road networks better and achieve greater efficiencies. I hope we reach a point where, through efficiencies and collaboration, every highway authority receives the maximum level of funding available.
The Department for Transport is providing record funding of over £6.1 billion funding to local highway authorities in England between 2015 and 2021 for local highways maintenance.
This is additional to the funding of over £4.7 billion the Government provided to local highway authorities between 2010 and 2015 for highways maintenance. Between 2010 to 2015 the maintenance funding was 27% or £1billion higher than in the previous five years.
Greg Mulholland (Leeds North West): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what tests a person convicted of death by careless or dangerous driving is required to undertake being allowed to drive again.
Andrew Jones: If a person is convicted by the Courts of death by careless or dangerous driving and disqualified he/she will need to retake a theory test and an extended driving test in order to get their full driving licence back. An extended driving test must last no less than 60 minutes.
Richard Burden (Birmingham Northfield): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he had made of the progress in introducing graduated licensing for drivers in Northern Ireland; and what representations he has received on that matter.
Andrew Jones: Road traffic legislation is a matter for the Northern Ireland Assembly, including road user licensing. However, Northern Ireland officials have kept Department for Transport officials apprised of their plans and legislation.
From time to time the Department receives representations from stakeholders regarding graduated driver licensing, both in general and relating to Northern Ireland, including stakeholders in the insurance industry.
We are focusing our efforts on encouraging learner drivers to do more practice in a wider range of driving conditions, on ensuring that the driving test assesses the skills needed for today’s roads and vehicles and those of the future, and on identifying the most promising behavioural, educational and technological interventions that can reduce young driver casualties.
Driving: Older people
Richard Burden (Birmingham, Northfield): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent steps he has taken to promote safety among older drivers; and if he will make a statement.
Andrew Jones: The crucial factor for road safety is not a driver’s age, but their physical and mental fitness to drive. The current licensing arrangements support road safety without penalising those older drivers who remain fit and competent to drive.
When drivers aged 70 and over renew their licences, they must declare any medical condition that could affect their fitness to drive and confirm that they meet the legal eyesight standards. Renewals are at three-yearly intervals and provide a timely reminder for drivers to consider their health in the context of driving.
Additionally, all drivers have an ongoing duty to inform the DVLA at any time of the onset or worsening of a medical condition that may affect their ability to drive safely. When a driver declares a medical condition, the DVLA will investigate their ongoing fitness to hold a driving licence.
The Department has provided grant funding to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents to develop a dedicated older drivers website that will provide information to drivers and their families on driving safely. The website should go live within the next couple of weeks.
We will consider the Older Driver forums review of older driver safety when it is published, subject to priorities set out in the British Road Safety Statement.
Daniel Zeichner (Cambridge): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to his Department’s British Road Safety Statement, published in December 2015, Cm 9175, when he plans to consult on legislative changes to improve urban cycle safety by ensuring that sideguards and rear under-run devices are not removed from HGVs but remain permanently fitted.
Mr Robert Goodwill: The Department plans to consult on amendments to the Construction and Use Regulations in the second half of 2016.
Daniel Zeichner (Cambridge): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many more modern, safer pedestrian crossings he expects to be introduced as a consequence of the revision in 2014 of the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions.
Andrew Jones: Provision of pedestrian crossings is the responsibility of local traffic authorities. While the Department provides advice on designing crossings, decisions on what type to provide are for local authorities to make, taking into account local circumstances such as road layout, pedestrian numbers and traffic speeds.
This will remain the case when the revision of the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions (TSRGD) comes into force, planned for Spring this year. However, I would note that Pelican crossings are not included in the new TSRGD, meaning that it will not be possible to install any new ones after the new regulations come into force. Any pelican crossings already in place can remain until the equipment reaches the end of its life.
Roads: Repairs and Maintenance
Henry Smith (Crawley): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how much funding has been provided to local highways authorities for local road maintenance in (a) England and (b) West Sussex in the current financial year.
Andrew Jones: The Department is providing councils in England, outside London, with just under £6 billion between now and 2021 for highways maintenance. Details of the funding per financial year per authority in England can be seen at the following weblink:
For West Sussex we are providing £13.7 million this financial year.
Greg Mulholland (Leeds North West): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will bring forward proposals to require the DVLA immediately to (a) suspend the driving licences of people suspected to have drug-related seizures and (b) require such people to undergo medical tests before their suspension can be lifted.
Andrew Jones: The law allows the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) to revoke a driving licence after appropriate medical investigations have been carried out. In cases where a drug related seizure has been confirmed after medical investigations, the DVLA is able to immediately revoke a licence for a minimum of six months. The licence will only be restored when it has been confirmed that the driver has been free from drug misuse or dependence for an appropriate period. It will normally be necessary for independent medical assessment, including appropriate tests and consultant reports, to be carried out before the driving licence is restored.
Information available on the Parliamentary Hansard