Written Answers 26 to 30 July 2010
Monday 26 July 2010
Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much funding has been allocated by his Department for in-depth accident investigation studies in 2010-11. 
Mr Philip Hammond: The Department for Transport has three dedicated accident investigation branches for air, maritime and rail safety incidents.
Each of these branches exist solely for the purposes of accident investigations within their respective transport modes and therefore their entire 10-11 budget (which includes pay costs for staff, office running costs and capital investment costs) is £18.338 million is allocated for these purposes.
In addition, the Department plays a major role in reporting on road accident investigations. There is no central Department for Transport funding allocated to in-depth road accident investigations in 2010-11. However all fatal accidents are investigated by specialist police accident investigators.
Mr Leech: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate his Department has made of the number of people who drive with vision below the required legal standard; and if he will make a statement. 
Mike Penning: No regular estimate is made of the number of people who drive with uncorrected vision of below the required standard. In the most recent period for which figures are available (2006-07) 13 drivers were notified to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency by police during a six-month period after failing a roadside vision test.
Gordon Banks: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he plans to review procedures for application for Category F driving licences and the regulations on the use of such licences. 
Mike Penning: There are no plans to review the application procedures for Category F, also known as agricultural tractor, driving licences or the regulations on the use of such licences.
Andrew Stephenson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether there were any cases of motorcycle entitlement being removed from a driving licence sent to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency for renewal or replacement in the last 12 months. 
Mike Penning [holding answer 22 July 2010]: The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency is not aware of any case in the last 12 months in which a motorcycle entitlement has been removed from a driver’s record and licence.
The Agency has a programme of continuous data quality checks in place to monitor the accuracy of its records.
At present, some 2,364 records which contain a motorcycle entitlement are under examination as part of this work.
Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the average time taken for the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency to cancel a driving licence reported stolen in (a) the UK and (b) abroad was in the latest period for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. 
Mike Penning: The issue of a new driving licence will immediately invalidate/cancel any earlier licences.
The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency aims to process all postal duplicate applications, i.e. applications to replace lost/stolen/defaced licences, within 15 working days of receipt at the Agency. Applications for a duplicate licence made over the phone are processed immediately. The average processing time for on-line application is 48 hours.
EC Directive on Driving Licences
Mr Leech: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps his Department plans to take to ensure all drivers meet the vision standards contained in the EC Directive on Driving Licences 2006/126/EC as amended in 2009; and if he will make a statement. 
Mike Penning: The Secretary of State for Transport’s Honorary Medical Advisory Panel on Driving and Visual Disorders and the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency have been considering how the changes to the vision standards contained in the EC Directive on Driving Licences 2006/126/EC should be applied in the UK.
We intend to issue a public consultation on the proposals before making any changes.
Andrew Stephenson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent representations he has received on compulsory wearing of helmets by those riding quad bikes; and if he will make a statement. 
Mike Penning: None. There are no plans to make the wearing of helmets compulsory for quad bikes but we continue to keep the position under review. There are a number of factors that are taken into consideration such as the level of use, the safety of riders in a collision and the proportionality of the costs of any regulation versus the safety impacts. The Highway Code advises that riders and passengers of tricycles and quadricycles should wear a protective helmet (rule 83).
John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what changes to his Department’s funding to Nottinghamshire county council for road safety are proposed for 2010-11. 
Mike Penning [holding answer 8 July 2010]: The following changes have been made to planned DFT grant payments for 2010-11 related to road safety for Nottinghamshire county council.
We have undertaken the reductions in planned funding in a way which maximises local authorities’ flexibility to reshape their budgets according to their local priorities and where their efficiencies can be found. The Government do not expect there to be a direct correlation between grant reductions and local authority budget changes. Road safety should remain a high priority and local authorities should continue to resource it with funds reallocated as a result of identifying efficiency savings in other areas.
Mark Lazarowicz: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will bring forward proposals to reduce the national speed limit. 
Mike Penning: The Department for Transport keeps all speed limits under constant review to ensure they remain appropriate. There are no current plans to reduce the national speed limit as we believe it offers the best balance between issues of safety, the environment and the economy.
Tuesday 27 July 2010
Driving Offences: Fixed Penalties
Mr Mike Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what role the County Court Bulk Centre has in respect of penalty orders issued by the Traffic Enforcement Centre. 
Mr Djanogly: The County Court Bulk Centre (CCBC) is part of Northampton county court. CCBC is made up of the Claims Production Centre (CPC), the Traffic Enforcement Centre (TEC), Money Claims On Line (MCOL) and Possession Claims On Line (PCOL).
Part 75 of the Civil Procedure Rules 1998 (to be read in conjunction with Practice Direction 75) provides jurisdiction to Northampton county court (Northampton County Court Bulk Centre) under the name The Traffic Enforcement Centre to register and enforce on street parking charges, vehicle emission penalties, road user charges (congestion charges) and bus lane transgression charges.
Air Traffic Systems
Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what information his Department holds for benchmarking purposes on the privately-owned air traffic systems of other EU member states. 
Mrs Villiers: The Department for Transport receives the reports produced by the independent Performance Review Commission of Eurocontrol, the European Organization for the Safety of Air Navigation, which benchmarks the performance of all en-route air traffic service providers across Europe.
Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what specific safety criteria and other conditions any organisation seeking to purchase the Government’s share of National Air Traffic Services will be required to meet. 
Mrs Villiers: No decision on the sale of NATS has been made, and the specific requirements for any potential purchaser of the Government’s shareholding of NATS have yet to be determined. Should a sale of some or all of the Government’s shareholding proceed, safety oversight measures would continue to apply in the same way they do currently.
Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment has been made of the potential safety implications of the sale of the Government’s share of National Air Traffic Services to a private company. 
Mrs Villiers: The Government’s overriding priority is that safety should not be compromised and there is no intention to amend the existing robust statutory safety oversight arrangements for NATS.
Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what mechanisms will be in place to ensure the continued safety of (a) those working in the aviation industry and (b) passengers in circumstances in which the Government sells its share in National Air Traffic Services to a private company. 
Mrs Villiers: If a decision is made by the Government to sell some or all of its shareholding of NATS, the existing statutory arrangements for the safety oversight of NATS would remain as they are at present.
Cycling: West Midlands
Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he intends to take to promote cycling in (a) the West Midlands and (b) Coventry. 
Norman Baker: The Government made a clear commitment to support cycling in the coalition agreement. In 2010-11, we are funding two cycle towns in the West Midlands (Shrewsbury and Stoke-on-Trent) as well as providing £888,000 to support cycle training for children across the West Midlands, including Coventry. This is in addition to funding provided to West Midlands authorities through the local transport plan process. Financial support for cycling in future years will be considered as part of the spending review.
Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many UK driving licences were reported stolen in each county in each year since 1997. 
Mike Penning: The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency does not record the number of driving licences reported as stolen, but it does record the number of duplicate driving licences issued due to the licence being reported as lost/stolen/defaced. The following table provides figures for each financial year from 1997. Figures are not available by county and are for GB as a whole.
Road Traffic Offences: Fines
Peter Bottomley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will take steps to enable motorists charged under the Traffic Management Act 2004 to pay a charge and to appeal against it. 
Norman Baker: We have no plans to adopt the policy the hon. Member suggests. A motorist served with a penalty charge notice for parking in contravention of regulations under Part 6 of the Traffic Management Act 2004 should pay the penalty charge quickly or challenge it if s/he believes that it has been served in error. This does not, of course, apply in cases where the vehicle has been immobilised and/or removed.
Nicky Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport for what reasons the proposed Road Accident In-Depth Study has been cancelled; and whether he has plans for an alternative research project on the causes of road accidents. 
Mike Penning: The proposed components of the Road Accident In-Depth Study (RAIDS) relating to on scene accident investigations have not been taken forward this year as it was not affordable given the difficult fiscal circumstances the Government inherited. However, a new integrated RAIDS database has recently been completed containing data from the legacy ‘On the Spot’ and ‘Co-operative Crash Injury Study’. This database will make it easier to make better use of the very extensive data collected in recent years.
In addition, all fatal accidents are investigated by specialist police accident investigators, and DFT also make extensive use of the police STATS19 data which covers all personal injury road accidents reported to the police. STATS19 includes many items relevant to the causes of accidents, including junction details, weather conditions and the factors that police consider contributed to the accident.