PACTS Comments on Parliamentary Questions: 22nd – 25th Nov

 Roads: Safety

 Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he plans to update the 10-year Road Safety Strategy; and if he will make a statement. [21250]

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. We will produce a new strategic framework for road safety that sets out the Government’s vision for road safety, national measures, and how we will work with others to achieve this. We will be discussing this with stakeholders and intend to publish a strategy early next year.

PACTS comments:

 

 

 

With the current road safety strategy Tomorrow’s Roads, Safer for Everyone coming to an end in 2010, there has been much concern about the void this will leave. PACTS research (Tackling the Deficit report) found widespread support for the role the strategy has played over the last ten years. A new strategy is due to be published in April 2011

 

 

 

Other Written Answers:

 

 

 

 

British Transport Police

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent discussions he has had with the Chief Constable of British Transport Police on its priorities. [23589]

 

Mrs Villiers: Primary responsibility for setting objectives for the British Transport police rests with the British Transport police authority. Department for Transport officials maintain regular contact with both the force and the authority on a range of issues, but Ministers have not sought to use their statutory powers to intervene in the objective-setting process.

British Transport Police: Scotland

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what recent discussions he has had with the Chief Constable of British Transport Police on the operations of British Transport Police in Scotland; [23586]

(2) what recent discussions he has had with the Scottish Executive on the work of British Transport Police in Scotland. [23587]

Mrs Villiers: Department for Transport Ministers have had no recent discussions specifically about the operation of the British Transport police in Scotland.

 

Bus Services: Disability

Mrs McGuire: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress he has made on ensuring that all new buses brought into service (a) are fully accessible and (b) include audio and visual information systems. [24301]

Norman Baker: The Public Service Vehicle Accessibility Regulations 2000 (PSVAR) require all buses and coaches both old and new to comply with the provisions of the
22 Nov 2010 : Column 18W
Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (now the Equality Act 2010), from 2015 to 2017 for buses, and from 2020 for coaches. Buses used on local services have been steadily becoming more accessible. In 2009-10 (the latest statistics available), 61% of the bus fleet meets the PSVAR requirements.

Research has been commissioned to assess the costs and benefits of installing audio visual equipment on buses. The research project has brought together a cross section of stakeholders, including Guide Dogs, Royal National Institute of Blind People and Royal National Institute for Deaf People. We will take account of the results of this work in considering any changes to PSVAR. The project is scheduled to report shortly.

Channel Tunnel Safety Authority

Mr Gale: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will take steps to maintain the independence of the Channel Tunnel Safety Authority. [24083]

Mrs Villiers: The Channel Tunnel Safety Authority is already an independent body. We have no plans to change its current status.

Cycling

Dr Huppert: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport by what mechanism he intends to monitor the effect of his Department’s local transport policy framework and funding allocations on (a) local authority delivery of walking and cycling initiatives and (b) levels of walking and cycling. [20202]

Norman Baker: The National Travel Survey provides an ongoing measurement of walking and cycling levels in England. Specific initiatives within the Cycling England programme which provide direct funding to local authorities are monitored by collection of relevant data to demonstrate delivery and provide a basis for evaluation.

The Department for Transport is considering arrangements for measuring the impact of the different types of measures, including walking and cycling, that will be supported by the Local Sustainable Transport Fund over the four years from 2011-12. Details of the evaluation arrangements will be published later in the year as part of guidance on the operation of the new fund.

Cycling England

Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what consultation he undertook before he decided to abolish Cycling England. [23413]

Norman Baker: Cycling England was reviewed as part of the coalition Government’s commitment to radically increase the transparency and accountability of public services and reinvigorating the public’s trust in democracy. The Government’s approach was based on the presumption that state activity, if needed at all, should be undertaken by bodies that are democratically accountable at either national or local level.

As with all the bodies included in the review, three tests were applied:

Does it perform a technical function?

Does it require political impartiality?

Does it need to act independently to establish facts?

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Through this process the decision was taken to bring Cycling England’s functions in house.

We are grateful for the support of Cycling England in the delivery of cycling policy and recognise its achievements since its creation in 2005. However, with the announcement of a broad fund of £560 million for Local Sustainable Travel, rather than a dedicated cycling budget, we feel that Cycling England is not the right way to continue to encourage local authorities and others to stimulate cycling.

Dartford-Thurrock Crossing: Safety

Gareth Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much in profits from toll receipts has been spent on safety measures at the Dartford Crossing in the last five years. [17354]

Mike Penning: The Highways Agency does not apply the profit from charge receipts to specific projects. However, the following amounts have been spent directly on Safety Improvement Projects, including fire suppression measures, at Dartford Crossing:

Expenditure (£ million)

2005-06

2.1

2006-07

0.4

2007-08

2.7

2008-09

2.0

2009-10

0.8

Routine maintenance and operational costs are not included.

Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee

Gavin Shuker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how the functions carried out by the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee will be discharged following its abolition. [24456]

Norman Baker: No decision on successor arrangements has yet been taken. We will be taking forward a consultative process on successor arrangements in the near future.

Ferries: Roll-On Roll-Off

Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will commission research into the stability of roll-on roll-off ferries. [23448]

Mike Penning: Research into the damage stability of roll-on roll-off ferries has been commissioned by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency who are also collaborating on research commissioned by the European Commission and leading a group of the International Maritime Organization to review damage stability regulations for roll-on roll-off passenger ships.

Highways Agency

Mr Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps the Highways Agency is taking to ensure greater co-ordination between its offices. [22691]

Mike Penning: The Highways Agency delivers a national road service through a network of eight offices, eight control centres and 31 smaller outstations at motorway locations. Co-ordination between the different offices is delivered through a directorate structure which manages the agency business on a national basis.

 

 Motor Vehicles: Testing

Martin Horwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what procedures are in place to verify the accuracy of declarations for exemption from MOT certificates submitted on V112 forms. [25714]

Mike Penning: Post Office or Driver Vehicle and Licensing Agency Local Office staff check the details entered on the V112 Declaration prior to issuing a tax disc. A V112 is a declaration form completed by the customer at the point of re-licensing confirming that their vehicle is exempt from requiring an MOT certificate. The form gives the specific circumstances in which a vehicle is deemed to be exempt.

Railway Stations: South East

Mr Evennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which stations operated by Southeastern Railway have received funding for the provision of step-free access from his Department in the last five years; and which stations are due to receive such funding in the next 12 months. [24764]

Norman Baker: The Access for All main programme has so far provided step free routes at Herne Hill, Lewisham, Orpington and Staplehurst. Canterbury West is due to be completed in the next few weeks and Blackheath at around the end of this financial year.

In addition, since 2006 Southeastern Railways have received £885,040 from the Access for All Small Schemes Programme towards a total investment of £2,118,656 at 50 stations to provide a variety of access improvements. This has included schemes to make West Malling, Welling, Crofton Park, Tunbridge Wells, Chatham, Barnehurst and Faversham step free, although staff assistance may still be required to interchange between platforms.

Rescue Services

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport where the rescue co-ordination centres required to be designated under section 2.1.11.2 of the International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue are located. [24404]

Mike Penning: The 19 Maritime Rescue Coordination Centres are located at:

Aberdeen

Belfast (Bangor)

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Brixham

Clyde (Greenock)

Dover

Falmouth

Forth (Crail, Fife)

Holyhead

Humber (Bridlington)

Liverpool (Crosby)

Milford Haven

Portland (Weymouth)

Shetland (Lerwick)

Solent (Lee on the Solent)

Stornoway

Swansea

Thames (Walton on the Naze)

Great Yarmouth and

London.

The designated Aeronautical Rescue Coordination Centre is located at RAF Kinloss.

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will place in the Library a copy of the map of the agreed search and rescue regions required by section 2.1.6 of the International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue. [24405]

Mike Penning: The UK Search and Rescue Region map can be found on pages 17 to 19 of the ‘Search and Rescue Framework for the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland’. This can be found on the Maritime and Coastguard’s Agency website at:

http://www.mcga.gov.uk/c4mca/uksar.pdf

Copies of this document have been placed in the Libraries of the House.

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what principal types of available search and rescue units were required to be designated under section 2.1.11.4 of the International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue in 2008. [24407]

Mike Penning: The following principal types were required to be designated; boats, aircraft, ground units and supplementary units.

The following search and rescue units were designated as being available in 2008:

Boats/vessels-short-range coastal, long-range sea going;

Aircraft-Islander and Cessna 402, Nimrod, Sea King and S61 helicopters;

Ground units-coastguard shore search teams controlled by Maritime Rescue co-ordination centres;

Supplementary units-offshore fire-fighting teams. Medical teams may be available.

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what principal types of available search and rescue units are required to be designated under section 2.1.11.4 of the International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue. [24408]

Mike Penning: The following principal types were required to be designated: boats, aircraft, ground units and supplementary units.

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The following search and rescue units are designated as being available:

Boats/vessels-short-range coastal, long-range sea going;

Aircraft-Cessna 402, Sea King, AW139 and S92 helicopters;

Ground units-coastguard shore search teams controlled by Maritime Rescue co-ordination centres;

Supplementary units-offshore fire-fighting teams. Medical teams may be available.

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport on how many occasions the Government has requested assistance from a neighbouring state in accordance with section 3.1 of the International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue in each of the last five years; and from what search and rescue assets it received assistance. [24409]

Mike Penning: The information is not held in the form requested and extracting the information from the search and rescue database could be achieved only at disproportionate costs.

In practical terms, however, the intent of the International Maritime Organization’s search and rescue convention is to encourage and support mutual cooperation between the UK and its neighbours. Joint working and co-ordination can be considered to be part of the normal business of search and rescue activity.

Bob Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he plans to announce his review of the search and rescue programme. [24419]

Mike Penning: On 17 June the Chief Secretary to the Treasury announced a review of the approval of the search and rescue helicopter project in the context of the wider pressures on public spending. The review is continuing and once it is complete an announcement will be made.

Roads: Safety

Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will bring forward proposals to introduce an annual road safety day. [21252]

Mike Penning: Road casualties are a crucial concern throughout the year, but there may be advantage in having an annual road safety day in providing a focus for attention and joint communications activities across groups. Therefore the possibility of an annual road safety day will be considered as part of the work on a future road safety strategy.

 

Speed Limits: Cameras

Mr Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 5 July 2010, Official Report,column 11W, on M1: speed limits, whether fixed speed cameras will be used to detect offences of speeding over 70 miles per hour. [25203]

Mike Penning: Speed enforcement cameras to be installed as part of the controlled motorway system on the M1 motorway between junctions 25 and 28 are not being introduced to enforce the national speed limit.

When no restrictions are in place, the signals will not show any speed limits, and will therefore indicate that normal motorway regulations and enforcement regimes apply.

Mr Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 5 July 2010, Official Report,column 20W, on speed limits: cameras, whether the fixed speed cameras are in operation between M1 junctions 6a to 10. [25204]

Mike Penning: The speed enforcement cameras on the M1 between junctions 6a to 10 are not currently in operation.

Based on the current timescales, they are expected to come into operation during March 2011.

Mr Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 5 July 2010, Official Report,column 20W, on speed limits: cameras, whether fixed speed cameras will used to detect offences of speeding over 70 miles per hour. [25205]

Mike Penning: Fixed speed enforcement cameras will not be introduced to enforce the national speed limit, they will only enforce the use of mandatory variable speed limits used to manage traffic flows. When no restrictions are in place, the signals will not show any speed limits, and will therefore indicate that normal motorway regulations and enforcement regimes will apply.

Tomography: Research

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent research his Department has (a)commissioned and (b) evaluated on the effects on health of the use of body scanners. [23646]

Mr Philip Hammond: An assessment of comparative ionising radiation doses was prepared by the Health Protection Agency (HPA). The assessment concluded that the effective dose from one scan is equivalent to about one sixth of the dose received, as a result of cosmic radiation from the sun and other sources, during 1.4 minutes flying time at airline cruising height. The HPA concluded that for all groups of passengers security scanners do not constitute any unacceptable risks to health.

This assessment was published on the Department for Transport website on 1 February 2010

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