PACTS Comments on Parliamentary Questions: 8th – 11th November 2010

Cycling: Finance

Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what cost-benefit ratios his Department uses to assess the merits of funding Cycling England programmes. [20716]

Norman Baker: The original Cycling England programme was proposed by the board and approved by Ministers on the basis of existing research and expertise. Many of the programmes were intended as demonstration projects and provide an evidence base for the potential of local cycle interventions.

Individual programmes are delivered via a variety of partners, with different criteria for selection, and are subject to ongoing evaluation.

Analysis of results of the first phase of funding for the initial six cycling demonstration towns has provided a benefit cost ratios in the range 2.6 to 3.5.

PACTS comments: This benefit cost ratio in the range of 2.6 to 3.5 is very positive, as it means the benefits are significantly higher than the costs. As these programmes were intended as an evidence base, the evaluation is vitally important and will have an influence on any future potential projects.

It is interesting to note the benefits and costs outlined in the DfT document which developed this cost benefit analysis (http://www.dft.gov.uk/cyclingengland/site/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/cdts-development-of-benefit-cost-ratios.pdf). In addition to the expected benefits such as reduced congestion and reduced mortality, the programme also had a positive impact on absenteeism. With regard to cost, an increase in accidents would normally be predicted due to the increased number of cyclists on the road. However DfT found that ‘comparisons of reported accident numbers within towns before and after implementation of the programme suggest that the number of reported accidents within the towns has remained stable’.

 

Driving: Licensing

Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps his Department takes to inform older drivers of the requirement to renew a driving licence at age 70; how many drivers eligible for renewal of their licence at age 70 did not renew their licence in the latest period for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. [22592]

Mike Penning: The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency sends reminder letters 90 days prior to a driver reaching their 70 birthday to advise them how to renew their driving entitlement. Between 30 October 2009 and 29 October 2010, the number of drivers reaching the age of 70 was 499,901. Of these 141,722 drivers did not renew their driving entitlement.

PACTS comments: The current policy which obliges drivers aged 70 and over to renew their driving licence every three years in a self-regulating manner has been questioned over the last few years. Questions have been asked such as whether the age should be raised to 75, and if there is enough information provided to allow older drivers to self-regulate. PACTS would welcome a consultation on this area, to establish whether our current system is the most appropriate and effective.

 

 

Other Written Answers this week:

 

Railways: Fares

 Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) whether he has made an estimate of the likely effecton the number of car journeys of proposed increases in rail fares; [20359]

(2) whether he has made an estimate of the likely effect on the number of passenger coach journeys of the proposed increases in rail fares. [20360]

Mrs Villiers: The Department for Transport has not made a detailed estimate of the likely effects of increases in rail fares on other modes.

Although the announced fare increases may encourage some modal shift away from rail, the overall impact on other modes is likely to be small.

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate his Department has made of the likely effect on rail passenger numbers of the proposed increase in the cap on regulated rail fares to three per cent above the retail price index for three years from 2012. [20577]

Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what estimate his Department has made of the likely effect on the level of passenger rail use of an RPI+3 formula for fares; [20356]

(2) what estimate he has made of the likely effect on the number of passengers using rail services of the proposed increases in rail fares. [20361]

Mrs Villiers: The Department for Transport expects that passenger journeys will continue to increase during the period from 2012 to 2014 when fares are due to rise by 3% above the retail price index (RPI) of inflation. It is estimated that the level of patronage will be up to 4% lower than it would have been had the cap remained at RPI+1%.

UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps his Department is taking to implement obligations under Article 9 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities regarding accessibility in relation to his Department’s policy responsibilities. [21125]

Norman Baker: Department for Transport officials are working with officials atm the Office for Disability Issues on preparing a report to the UN on what the UK is doing to implement the UN convention on the rights of persons with disabilities. The report, which will be published next year, will set out what the Department is doing to meet its obligations under article 9 of the convention.

Cycling

Dr Huppert: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many staff directly employed; and how many such staff he expects to work on cycling issues in each of the next three years. [20198]

Norman Baker: It is not possible to give a meaningful figure of the number of staff working on cycling issues in each of the last five years. Many different teams in the Department for Transport contribute to cycling policy as part of their wider responsibilities, for instance in relation to road safety, communications, research or traffic management.

For the last three years, including 2010, there have been around 20 people directly employed by Department for Transport in the Sustainable Travel team. Not all these people spend 100% of their time devoted to cycling issues. Since 2008 this includes three staff members specifically employed to work on Cycling England programme delivery.

Future staffing requirements are currently being determined, following spending review announcements.

 

Dr Huppert: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many (a) children and (b) adults have received national standards cycle training in each of the last five years. [20204]

Norman Baker: The Government have been funding National Standard and Bikeability cycle training in schools since 2006-07 with detailed monitoring of delivery in place since 2007-08. Details of the training delivered are set out in the following table for the period 2006-07 to 2009-10.

Number

 

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

2009-10

Local authorities

9,000

27,000

74,000

102,000

School Sports Partnerships

4,000

8,000

21,000

66,000

Note: Figures are rounded up to the nearest 1,000.

 

The figures are based on returns from local authorities and School Sports Partnerships.

Although we do not have an accurate figure for training places funded and delivered by local authorities in England in addition to those funded by the Government, we estimate local authorities outside of London deliver between 20,000 and 30,000 additional Level 2 National Standard or Bikeability places each year.

The Government do not fund adult cycle training and therefore have no information on the number of adults receiving national standard training in past five years whether from local authorities or independent training companies.

The Government are committed to maintaining the integrity of Bikeability.

Dr Huppert: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many (a) children and (b) adults he expects to receive national standards cycle training in (i) 2010 and (ii) each of the next four years. [20205]

Norman Baker: The Government have provided £11 million to fund 275,000 National Standard Level 2 Bikeability Training places in 2010-11. The Spending Review confirmed the Government’s commitment to funding Bikeability training for the next four years. We will make an announcement as soon as possible on how the training will be delivered after March 2011.

In addition to those funded by the Government we estimate that between 20,000 to 30,000 additional Level 2 Bikeability places each year are delivered by local authorities in England.

The Government do not fund adult or Level 3 Bikeability cycle training and therefore has no information on the number of adults likely to receive national standard training in 2010-11 or in the future whether from local authorities or independent training companies.

Dr Huppert: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the cost has been of (a) delivering and (b)administering national standards cycle training programmes in each of the last six years. [20206]

Norman Baker: Grants and bursaries to deliver National Standard Level 2 cycle training since the Government began funding in 2006-07 are set out in the following table:

£ million

 

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

2009-10

2010-11

Local authorities

0.35

1.1

3.1

5.4

6.0

School sports partnerships

0.17

0.350

1.1

4.0

5.0

Bursaries for new cycle trainers

0.127

0.121

0.3

0.5

0.5

Note:
£45,000 was made available for bursaries in 2005-06 to help start building capacity in cycle training prior to the funding of training places in 2006-07.

 

The current estimated cost of administering and developing Bikeability training in 2010-11 by way of grants and contracts in addition to Department for Transport/Cycling England staff costs addition to Department for Transport/Cycling England staff costs is £1,220,000. This combines both ongoing running costs and development costs that will not be repeated in future years.

Cycling: Safety

Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will bring forward legislative proposals to require drivers of motor vehicles to keep a minimum of three feet away from cyclists on the highway. [22677]

Mike Penning: The Government have no plans to introduce such legislation. All drivers have a duty of care and consideration to other road users. Rules163, 211-213 of The Highway Code advises drivers to give cyclists at least as much room as a car when overtaking and to give them plenty of room and pay attention to any sudden change in direction they may have to make.

 

High Speed Trains

Gregg McClymont: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his policy is on the provision of a high-speed rail link between London and Scotland.[21033]

Mr Philip Hammond: In its Programme for Government, the coalition has set out its support for a truly national high speed rail network, while acknowledging that a project of this scale must be delivered in phases. I have recently asked High Speed Two Ltd to carry out further development work on plans for a Y-shaped network from London to Leeds and Manchester, which could cut journey times to Glasgow and Edinburgh to around three hours 30 minutes via high speed services through-running onto the conventional network.

In the longer-term, the National Infrastructure Plan has set out the Government’s intention to look at the options for further reducing journey times to Glasgow and Edinburgh, on which we will need to work in collaboration with the Scottish Government.

 

Local Sustainable Transport Fund

Dr Huppert: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether the Local Sustainable Transport Fund will be open to bids from voluntary sector organisations. [20194]

Norman Baker: The Department for Transport is currently preparing full guidance on the bidding process for the Local Sustainable Transport Fund which we intend to publish later in the year. This will set out among other things what bodies will be eligible to apply to the fund.

Dr Huppert: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what proportion of the Local Sustainable Transport Fund he estimates will be spent on (a) major public transport schemes and (b) local schemes to promote (i) travel by bus, (ii) cycling and (iii) walking. [20195]

Norman Baker: It will be for local partnerships – local transport authorities working with their communities to identify the right solutions for their areas which are affordable, deliverable and meet the high level requirements of helping the economy and cutting carbon. The proportion of different scheme types that receive funding will depend upon the nature of the bids received.

 

Maritime and Coastguard Agency

David Mowat: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 18 October 2010, Official Report, column 624W, on the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, what estimate he has made of the cost of responding to incidents attributed to, or believed to be caused by, sky lanterns in the last 12 months; and what the average cost of responding to such incidents was when a (a) lifeboat and (b) helicopter responded.[21895]

Mike Penning: The information is not available in the format requested and to provide it would incur disproportionate costs.

The Maritime and Coastguard (MCA) does not routinely collate information relating to the costs of individual search and rescue missions. The majority of the agency’s search and rescue costs, such as their rescue co-ordination centres and their contracted helicopters, are fixed and would be incurred even if not responding to incidents.

The MCA has no visibility of the costs associated with lifeboats as this is borne by either the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) or another independent lifeboat operator.

Roads: Accidents

Jesse Norman: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the effect on the number of accidents involving cars towing trailers of the change in the regulations on competence to drive classes of vehicles following implementation of the Driving Licences (Community Driving Licence) Regulations 1996. [21910]

Mike Penning: No assessment has been made on the effect of the Driving Licences (Community Driving Licence) Regulations 1996 on the number of accidents involving cars towing trailers.


8 Nov 2010 : Column 112W

The number of accidents involving cars towing trailers is collected and is shown in the following table.

Reported accidents involving a car towing, by item on tow: GB 1990 to 2009( 1)

Accidents

Accident year

Single trailer

Double trailer

Caravan

Other

1990

670

3

375

168

1991

740

3

378

196

1992

696

1

347

190

1993

688

1

365

201

1994

739

1

342

183

1995

681

0

302

174

1996

740

0

298

168

1997

744

1

378

140

1998

767

1

295

167

1999

721

9

287

193

2000

658

20

246

169

2001

655

35

240

155

2002

607

23

241

157

2003

622

28

237

124

2004

613

17

203

132

2005

585

42

205

129

2006

501

22

203

131

2007

496

39

173

122

2008

426

22

161

90

2009

388

21

161

93

(1) Includes single trailers, double/multiple trailers and caravans.

 

Rebecca Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the potential effect on the incidence of road traffic accidents of adopting daylight saving time. [22849]

Mike Penning: I refer my hon. Friend to my answer of 2 November 2010, Official Report, column 706W.

 

Tolls: Roads

Mr MacNeil: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress he has made on the implementation of the Lorry Road User Charge Scheme; and if he will make a statement. [19825]


8 Nov 2010 : Column 113W

Mike Penning: We are working towards the introduction of a new system of HGV road user charging to ensure a fairer arrangement for UK hauliers. New legislation will be needed for a national HGV road user charging scheme.The details have not yet been finalised, but the Department for Transport is working with the Treasury to design a charging scheme and measures to offset the charges for UK hauliers.

 

Ferries: Highlands and Islands

Mr MacNeil: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he plans to take to ensure adequate marine emergency coverage for the Highlands and Islands following the removal of the Anglian Prince tugboat in 2011. [21773]


10 Nov 2010 :Column 333W

Mike Penning [holding answer 4 November 2010]: The current contract for the provision of emergency towing vessels at public expense will not be renewed when it expires in September 2011. Between now and the end of the contract, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency intends to work with the shipping and wider maritime industries, and also with local interested parties, local authorities and the Scottish Government, to explore options for ensuring the effective operation of commercial arrangements could operate in the future.

 

AA

Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions he has had with (a) the AA, (b) the RAC Foundation and (c) other motoring organisations on the appropriate weight limits for alloy wheels fitted to vehicles on UK roads; and if he will make a statement. [23348]

Mike Penning: Ministers have regular discussions with a number of organisations, including both the AA and the RAC Foundation, at which a wide range of road safety issues are discussed. However, the issue of the appropriate weight limits for alloy wheels has not been raised.

I also refer the hon. Member to my answer of 28 October 2010, OfficialReport, columns 460-61W.

 

Alloy Wheels: Imports

Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent representations he has received on defective alloy wheel imports; and if he will make a statement. [23349]

Mike Penning: The Secretary of State for Transport has had one representation regarding potentially substandard imported commercial vehicle wheels.

Existing legislation already requires new products, including wheels, which are placed on the market to be safe and fit for purpose. Action can be taken if a product is found to be unsafe. 

Alloy Wheels

Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent discussions he has had with (a) ministerial colleagues and (b) his officials on proposals to introduce a legal weight limit for alloy wheels fitted to vehicles used on public roads; what recent representations he has received on weight limits for alloy wheels since his appointment; and if he will make a statement. [23296]


11 Nov 2010 :Column 406W

Mike Penning: The Secretary of State for Transport has not had any discussions with ministerial colleagues or officials on proposals to introduce a legal weight limit for alloy wheels fitted to vehicles used on public roads.

The Secretary of State for Transport has had one representation on weight limits for alloy wheels. I refer the hon. Member to my answer of 28 October 2010, Official Report, columns 460-461W.nd (b) 2010

 

 

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