Written Answers: 25th to 28th October 2010
|Reported fatalities and serious injuries in road accidents in the London borough of Bexley, 2005-09|
Bus Services: Visual Impairment
Mr Nuttall: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps his Department is taking to (a) increase the level of accessibility of public transport for those with visual impairment and (b) assist such people with access to information on timetables, changes of routes and discontinued services. 
Norman Baker: The Department recognises the importance of helping disabled people, including those with visual impairments, to travel on public transport more confidently and independently. We are taking a number of steps to ensure that levels of accessibility continue to improve on public transport.
Public Service Vehicles Accessibility Regulations 2000 (PSVAR as amended) require buses to have accessibility facilities such as low floor boarding devices, visual contrast on step edges, handholds and handrails among others. Such improvements on buses are continuing, with all vehicles used on local or scheduled services required to be fully PSVAR compliant by 2015, 2016 and 2017, depending on the type of vehicle. All rail vehicles are required to meet modern standards by 2020.
Audio-visual passenger information systems can be a key source of information to many disabled passengers. Such systems are already available on trains. On buses, however, the levels of provision vary outside London. The Department is therefore undertaking a project to consider ways of increasing the uptake of audio-visuals systems. The project is due to report shortly.
We are currently working to improve the accessibility information available to the public; the Transport Direct journey planner enables disabled people and people of
reduced mobility to plan their journeys and will do so, for example, during the Olympic games. The Department also continues to work with ATOC to improve the Assisted Passenger Reservation Service for queries from disabled people on facilities and booking journey assistance.
For those who are not confident using public transport, the Department champions increased levels of travel training by local authorities, and is aiming to produce a website of good practice by the end of 2010.
In addition, we are working with industry to ensure that the training of transport staff continues to improve, as they are an obvious first point of contact for disabled people. To further this, we are extending the Certificate for Professional Competence (CPC) for driver training to include a disability module.
Roads: Repairs and Maintenance
Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what mechanisms are in place to ensure effective co-ordination between the Highways Agency and local authorities on their respective programmes of road repairs and maintenance. 
Mike Penning: The New Roads and Street Works Act (NRSWA) 1991 and the Traffic Management Act (TMA) 2004 together oblige local highway authorities (LHA) to ensure repair and maintenance works are coordinated and planned to ensure the expeditious movement of traffic. The Highways Agency has been given an equivalent remit by the Secretary of State to manage better its existing network and to reduce the impact of congestion and congestion related delays.
Quarterly co-ordination meetings are held between representatives from LHA, the Agency and Statutory Undertakers (major utility companies) to discuss future programmes of work. This enables conflicts to be highlighted and whenever possible the duration, sequencing or timing to be adjusted to minimise the impact.
Speed Limits: Cameras
Mr Nuttall: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many fixed speed cameras there are in Bury North constituency; how much income was generated from fines levied as a result of evidence from those cameras; and to what projects and programmes that income was allocated. 
Mike Penning: The Department holds only information about speed cameras operating under the National Safety Camera Programme, which started in 2001 and ended on 31 March 2007. Separate information about cameras operating in Bury North is not held. The number of camera sites operating at the end of the National Safety Camera Programme in Greater Manchester (which includes the Bury North area) was 108. During the lifetime of the programme these cameras generated £12,960,120-a portion of this was hypothecated to cover operating and administration costs, the surplus was passed to the Treasury Consolidated Fund. The number of cameras currently in place and income generated is a matter for the Greater Manchester road safety partnership.
M4: Bus Lanes
Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what modelling studies his Department undertook when developing its proposals to suspend the M4 bus lane; and what assessment he has made of (a) the average reduction in journey time for private motor vehicles and (b) the effect on journey time for bus lane users consequent on the suspension of the lane. 
(a) an average reduction in journey times for cars of 7% during the morning peak, with slightly greater savings during the evening peak;
(b) no significant effect on journey time for current bus lane users.
West Coast Main Line
The ‘High Speed Two Baseline Forecasting Report’ projects an increase in passenger demand on the West Coast franchise from 7.7 million passenger miles in 2008 to 12.6 million passenger miles in 2021, an increase of 64%.
Kelvin Hopkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will estimate the number of (a) additional peak-time passengers to be transported and (b) passenger hours to be saved as a result of the completion of the Thameslink programme. 
Mrs Villiers: The appraisal of the Thameslink Programme forecasts that by 2026 there will be an additional 30,000 passengers carried on Thameslink services in each three-hour peak period. This equates to an overall saving of 18,500 passenger hours over each three-hour peak period.
Winter Resilience Review
Nigel Adams: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps his Department is taking to implement the recommendations of the July 2010 interim report of the Winter Resilience Review; and what plans he has to publish a guide on rights and liabilities in respect of the clearing of snow and ice. 
Norman Baker: The Winter Resilience Review’s interim report concentrated on actions that can be taken by local and national highways authorities, salt suppliers, the Government and others to improve resilience for the coming winter, as well as some longer term actions. The findings were welcomed by the Government and the Secretary of State for Transport instructed his officials to take forward recommendations directed at the Department for Transport and the Highways Agency. This included sourcing 250,000 tonnes of imported salt to establish and manage national strategic stockpiles, reflecting the exceptional re-stocking challenges for local highway authorities for this coming winter.
Among its recommendations, the review panel recommended that this Department produce guidance for members of the public on clearing the footways outside their property. The Department in consultation with other interested Government Departments has published this guidance on the Directgov website at:
M4 Bus Lane
Mr Philip Hammond: We have received correspondence from both hon. Members and members of the public. It is our intention to remove the bus lane, initially for a trail period from December this year until the Olympic games and thereafter on a permanent basis, subject to the outcome of the trial and consultation.
Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will bring forward legislative proposals to introduce a legal weight limit for alloy wheels fitted to vehicles used on public roads in the UK; and if he will make a statement. 
Recently a new United Nations Economic Commission for Europe Regulation has been agreed for the test methods and performance of replacement light vehicle alloy wheels. No decision has been made on whether to implement it in the UK, or across Europe.
Norman Baker: Local highway authorities are responsible for the planning, design and delivery of cycle-friendly infrastructure within their areas. To assist them in this, the Department for Transport has published a considerable amount of evidence-based technical advice on good practice in the design and provision of cycle infrastructure, including ‘Local Transport Note 2/08 Cycle Infrastructure Design, Manual for Streets and Manual for Streets 2’:
Road user safety and cycling data
Attitudes and behaviours
Collisions involving cyclists on Britain’s roads: Establishing the causes (December 2009)
The potential for cycle helmets to prevent injury: A review of the evidence (December 2009)
Cycling, safety and sharing the road: Qualitative research with cyclists and other road users (September 2010)
Norman Baker: The Department for Transport commissioned a research project looking at a range of road safety and cycling issues in August 2008. This includes a strand of research focussing on cycle helmets. An initial review of the literature on road safety and cycling revealed a lack of robust and reliable evidence on the effect of cycle helmets on the behaviour of cyclists and other road users. An exploration of road users’ views on possible interventions to improve driver and rider behaviour was undertaken within the qualitative research task. The report for this work was published in September 2010 and is available via the Department’s website.
Norman Baker: Cycling England was set up as the independent expert body to advise on the promotion of cycling. The Government believe that this work can now be better delivered within the Department for Transport through the newly announced Local Sustainable Transport Fund, so Cycling England is to be wound up at the end of this financial year.
Bikeability-cycle proficiency for the 21(st) Century-will be supported for the remainder of this Parliament (i.e. until 2015) from the Local Sustainable Transport Fund. We will be announcing further details about this shortly. We want arrangements in place so that cycle training for children can be delivered in spring and summer 2011.
Driving Tests: Qualifications
Mike Penning: The Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (Driver CPC) was introduced in September 2008 for coach and bus drivers, and September 2009 for lorry drivers to implement the requirements of EU Directive 2003/59/EC. It is too early yet to make any assessment of the scheme’s effectiveness.
Road Safety: Finance
Steve McCabe: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much his Department (a) has allocated and (b)plans to allocate to road safety in the financial year 2010-11; and how much was allocated in (i) 2008-09 and (ii) 2009-10. 
Mike Penning: The UK has the safest roads in Europe and the Government wish to ensure that we maintain that position. However, the Government have made clear that their urgent priority is to tackle the UK’s record deficit in order to restore confidence in our economy and support the recovery. As a contribution to the in-year spending reductions as part of our programme to address the record deficit, we have reduced the planned level of road safety grant in 2010-11. At the same time, local authorities were given greater freedom and flexibility in the management of their finances and the use of grant funding streams. Therefore, the fact that this grant has been reduced does not mean that the Government necessarily expect local authorities to reduce their road safety spending by a similar proportion. It is for local authorities and local communities to determine the priorities for their areas. The Department currently forecasts allocating £76.5 million towards dedicated road safety programmes and administration in 2010-11. It allocated £145.0 million in 2008/09 and £143.1 million in 2009-10 towards comparable activities.
These totals include the road safety funding stream in area based grant and the specific road safety grant. Other items included are expenditure on THINK! campaigns, road safety research and statistics, vehicle safety and related administration.
These totals do not include expenditure by the Department’s agencies, nor do they include funding support for other organisations used in part for, but not dedicated to, road safety (for example the integrated transport funding for local authorities and the block grant for Transport for London).