Written Answers: September 6th to September 10th 2010

6 Sep 2010 : Column 186W—continued

Roads: Lighting

Mr Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport for what reason the Highways Agency switches off lights on motorways after midnight; what assessment of the likely effects on road safety of that practice was made before it was adopted; and what responsibility the Highways Agency has in respect of light pollution. [12570]

Mike Penning: The Highways Agency currently switches off lights between midnight and 5 am in order to:

reduce the financial burden on the taxpayer of operating the motorway network and reduce the agency’s carbon footprint;

reduce roadworks associated with lighting maintenance and thereby reduce roadworker exposure to high speed traffic and inconvenience to road users.

All sites where switch off at midnight takes place were subject to a detailed safety assessment. By selecting sites with a good safety record and where night-time traffic flows are low, the Highways Agency is confident there will be no adverse impact on road safety.

The Highways Agency is required to operate the strategic road network safely and in both a financial and an environmentally responsible way. Light pollution can impact on people living near roads and on the ecology within and adjacent to Highways Agency’s land.

Mr Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will direct (a) local authorities and (b) the Highways Agency to ensure that highway lighting is switched on during the hours of darkness; and if he will make a statement. [12569]

Mike Penning: It is the responsibility of the relevant local highway authority to determine whether or not highway lighting should be switched on during the hours of darkness.

The Highways Agency is responsible for maintaining and operating the motorway and trunk road network, including installing lighting. The Highways Agency is currently switching off lights at selected sites between midnight and 5 am, following a detailed impact assessment. These sites are continuously monitored to make sure safety is not adversely affected.

6 Sep 2010 : Column 187W

Mr Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will issue guidance to the Highways Agency on ensuring that road safety objectives are prioritised over steps to reduce light pollution. [12571]

Mike Penning: The Highways Agency follows standards based on evidence on the link between road lighting and road safety. Measures are being taken to reduce carbon emissions across the Highways Agency’s operations and this includes switching off road lighting on carefully selected sections of motorways between midnight and 5am. These sites are being monitored to ensure that safety is not adversely affected.

 

Tyres: Safety

James Wharton: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what research his Department has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the safety of remoulded tyres in the last three years; and if he will make a statement. [12892]

Mike Penning: The Department for Transport has not commissioned or evaluated any specific research on the safety of remoulded (retreaded) tyres in the last three years.

However, commercial vehicle retreaded tyres were tested against international standards between 2007 and 2010 as part of a market surveillance programme. 52 tyres were tested, seven failed to meet the full performance requirements of the tests. Follow up action is underway with the European authorities who were responsible for approving the tyres in accordance with EU procedure.

James Wharton: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what data his Department holds on the incidence of (a) new and (b) second-hand tyre failure as a factor in road traffic accidents. [12893]

Mike Penning: The Department for Transport does not hold any data on the level of new or second hand tyre failure as a factor in road traffic accidents. When a police officer attends the scene of a personal injury road accident they can report ‘tyres illegal, defective or under inflated’ as a contributory factor to the accident. This was reported as a contributory factor in 860 accidents in 2009 (1% of all reported road accidents).

Contributory factors reflect the police officer’s opinion at the time of reporting, and where a factor may have contributed to the cause of an accident it may be difficult for a police officer attending the scene after the accident to identify this, so factors may be underreported. Not all reported road accidents are included in contributory factor analysis, only those where a police officer attended the scene and at least one contributory factor was reported.

Departmental Public Expenditure

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether his Department has undertaken equality impact assessments of the proposed reductions in its expenditure which it has submitted to the Treasury as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review. [12067]

Mr Philip Hammond: In line with the Government’s commitment to fairness and to conducting the Spending Review in a way that protects the poorest and most vulnerable in our society, my Department is currently undertaking a robust analysis of its proposals for the Spending Review and will look closely at the effects of its spending proposals on all protected groups.

This work includes considering the equalities impacts of particular proposals, where we consider this is helpful as part of fulfilling the Government’s commitment to promoting equality for all legally protected groups.

Where the Department has completed full equality impact assessments for prospective budget reductions which are subsequently proceeded with, the results will be made available following the Spending Review.

 

 

Roads: Accidents

Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what target he has set for a reduction in the number of road casualties over the next five years. [12972]

 

Mike Penning: The UK already has some of the safest roads in the world, but the coalition is considering how to make them even safer and whether this will include targets going forward.

 

Roads: Accidents

Mr Bain: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many fatal road accidents have involved quad bikes in each of the last four years. [14129]

Mike Penning: The information requested cannot be identified separately. Quad bikes do not fall into any of the main vehicle categories recorded by the police in road accidents. Those involved in reported personal injury accidents are recorded as part of the ‘other motor vehicle’ category along with vehicles such as ambulances, fire engines, and motorised wheel chairs.

Speed Limits: Cameras

Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for East Yorkshire of 20 July 2010, Official Report, column 188W, on speed limits: cameras, how many responses he has received to his letter dated 24 June 2010 on the Government’s position on speed cameras; and if he will place in the Library a copy of each response. [12202]

Mike Penning: I have received six responses to my letter dated 24 June in which I set out the Government’s position regarding speed cameras. To comply with data protection requirements these have been summarised. The summary has been placed in the Libraries of the House.

 

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