PQs 27th – 30th June 2011

Motorways: Carbon Emissions
Dr Huppert: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the potential change in carbon emissions attributable to any increase in the national speed limit on a motorway from 70 to 80 miles per hour. [61637]
Mike Penning [holding answer 23 June 2011]: We are undertaking some preliminary analysis of the possible effects of changing the national motorway speed limit. This includes the potential change in carbon emissions.
Driving Offences: Insurance
Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many uninsured drivers have been issued with a fixed penalty notice for the offence in each year since its introduction; and how much accrued in fixed penalty fines in each such year. [61279]
Nick Herbert: I have been asked to reply.
The information requested on the number of fixed penalty notices for vehicle insurance offences issued (and paid), from their introduction on 1 June 2003 to 2009 (latest available) is provided in the table.
The charge imposed for these fixed penalties is £200.

Fixed penalty notices issued (1) for vehicle insurance offences, England and Wales, 2003-09
Number

2003(2)

458

2004

1,463

2005

2,688

2006

6,652

2007

12,960

2008

16,388

2009

20,045

(1) Includes only fixed penalty notices paid. (2) Offence introduced in June 2003.
Driving: Diabetes
John Thurso: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will bring forward proposals to (a) amend the rules for issuing Group 2 medical licences to drivers with insulin-dependent diabetes in line with EU Directive 2009/113/EC and (b) permit insulin-dependent diabetics to obtain a Group 2 licence where, in the opinion of a qualified medical practitioner, their condition is properly controlled and they pose no risk to themselves or other road users. [62190]
Mike Penning: Proposals to revise the medical standards for vision, epilepsy and diabetes and driving were detailed in a public consultation which closed on 28 April. The responses made are now being analysed and further input from some of those who have responded may be necessary. The outcome of this will inform our decisions on what changes, if any, are appropriate.
The medical licensing standards currently in place contribute to the UK having some of the safest roads in the world. Any decisions about changes, which may potentially relax these standards, cannot be taken lightly.
First Capital Connect
Nadine Dorries: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he has any plans to investigate the events surrounding the train failure incident involving a First Capital Connect service near Kentish Town on the evening of 26 May 2011. [61885]
Mrs Villiers: The Rail Accident Investigation Branch has confirmed that it will be conducting an investigation into the incident on 26 May 2011, and in particular, looking into First Capital Connect’s response to the train failure.
Her Majesty’s railway inspectorate is also carrying out an investigation in line with its regulatory role.
I await the findings of these bodies who are responsible for investigating such incidents.
Level Crossings: Safety
Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the name is of each level crossing which (a) has had and (b) will have additional safety features introduced as a result of the recommendations of the Office of Rail Regulation report on the fatalities at Elsenham in 2005; and by what date he expects all such installations to have been completed. [61264]
Mrs Villiers: Details of the specific level crossings to which safety recommendations from the Elsenham report can be applied, the nature of any changes and their installation dates, are an operational matter for Network Rail. The hon. Member may wish contact Network Rail’s chief executive at the following address:
David Higgins
Chief Executive
Network Rail
Kings Place
90 York Way
London, N1 9AG
The Office of Rail Regulation, as the independent health and safety regulator of Britain’s railways has a role in monitoring the progress of safety recommendations and that they are appropriately acted upon.
 
Motor Vehicles: Insurance
Michael Fallon: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his policy is on the availability of motor insurance to motorists over the age of 80. [62621]
Mike Penning: Any motorist irrespective of age must have statutory minimum third party insurance cover. Motor insurers are responsible for setting the terms and conditions of the policies that they offer and it is for them to decide the level of risk that they take in issuing a policy. A driver’s age is one of the factors that insurers can take into account.
We would not wish to introduce any measures that would discourage elderly drivers from obtaining insurance.
 
Public Transport
Graham Stringer: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Health on the role of public transport, cycling and walking in promoting better health outcomes. [59714]
Norman Baker [holding answer 15 June 2011]: The Secretary of State has had no direct discussions with the Secretary of State for Health on this issue. However, I met with the Under-Secretary of State for Health, my hon. Friend the Member for Guildford (Anne Milton), last September to discuss the role of active travel in promoting better health outcomes. This is discussed in Chapter 5 of the Local Transport White Paper: ‘Creating Growth, Cutting Carbon’, which we published in January this year. My officials also worked closely with the Department of Health and contributed to the White Paper: ‘Healthy Lives, Healthy People’, published in November 2010.
 
Roads: Accidents
Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many local authorities he expects to publish (a) casualty rates on local roads and (b) speed camera information; and what information his Department holds on the date on which each such authority plans to do so. [61235]
Mike Penning: I expect each English local highway authority with active cameras outside London, plus Transport for London, to arrange for the publication of speed camera information, in order to enhance transparency and local accountability. Different local highway authorities may publish this material together, for example where they share the same police force.
There is no requirement arising from the Department for Transport for local authorities to publish casualty rates on local roads. However they are able to do so. Both the Department and other organisations do publish material about the distribution of casualties between local areas.
Roads: Regulation
Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 9 June 2011, Official Report, column 406W, on roads: regulation, which regulations (a) relate to and (b) do not relate to cyclists; and for what reason some road regulations do not affect all road users. [60521]
Norman Baker: The five regulations that specifically apply to cycling are:
Cycle Racing on Highways Regulations 1960;
Pedal Cycles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1983;
Cycle Tacks Regulations 1984;
Cycle Racing on Highways (Tour de France 1994) Regulations 1994; and
Pedal Bicycles (Safety) Regulations 2010.
There is another regulation which although not specifically related to bicycles could be included here: Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycles Regulations 1983.
Even though the above specifically relate to cycling, we do expect cyclists and other road users, to abide by all general road and traffic regulations.
Speed Limits: Cameras
Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport for what reason the section in his Department’s Departmental Business Plan on speed camera data was changed in May 2011 from a commitment to working with local authorities to publish speed camera data to a commitment to issue guidance on how to publish such data. [61234]
Mike Penning: The change in wording reflects progress on this important commitment. A working group, including local authority representation, completed its work with us in April advising the Department for Transport about the data publication. The Department then undertook further work to enable guidance to be issued—hence the change in wording in May to the business plan’s action.
Transport: EU Law
Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his policy is on the standards to be agreed in the Intelligent Transport Systems Directive. [61273]
Mike Penning: We will seek to ensure that development of Intelligent Transport Systems standards and specifications are consistent with the principles set out in Annex II of the Intelligent Transport Systems Directive (2010/40/EU).
 
Vehicle and Operator Service Agency: Northern Ireland
Sammy Wilson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many vehicles from Northern Ireland have been stopped by Vehicle and Operator Service Agency officials in England in each of the last three years. [61981]
Mike Penning: The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) holds data on the number of safety checks it conducts, rather than the number of vehicles stopped. Each vehicle is often subject to more than one type of safety check. VOSA checked the following number of Northern Ireland vehicles in England in the last three years.
2010-20112009-20102008-2009
Mechanical checks1,3462,2902,225
Drivers hours and weighing checks 2,1803,0462,680
Vehicle and Operator Services Agency
Sammy Wilson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) how many vehicles stopped by Vehicle and Operator Services Agency officials were found to have defects in each of the last three years; [62167]
(2) how many vehicles were stopped by Vehicle and Operator Services Agency officials in each of the last three years. [62168]
Mike Penning: The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) holds data on the number of safety checks it conducts, rather than the number of vehicles stopped. Each vehicle is often subject to more than one type of safety check. The following table shows the number of checks and defects VOSA carried out in the last three years:
2010-20112009-20102008-2009
NumberDefectsNumberDefects NumberDefects
Mechanical checks 148,86952,808157,00559,944131,47553,944
Drivers hours and weighing checks142,22128,097160,44238,703121,50935,981
 
A1: Speed Limits
Mr Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport for what reason a 50 mph speed limit has been imposed via temporary speed limit signs on the A1 southbound north of Alwalton. [62412]
Mike Penning: A temporary 50 mph speed limit has been put in place on the A1 southbound just north of Alwalton for a distance of approx one mile. It is necessary to mitigate a risk relating to the integrity of the central reserve safety fencing which no longer reaches acceptable performance standards.
Driving Instruction
Mr David: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his policy is on the distance from home drivers are required to travel to attend driver awareness courses. [62937]
Mike Penning: There is a national framework organised by the police for driver awareness courses, which enables motorists to attend courses near where they live. I strongly support a national framework, although it is for each police force to decide whether to participate. I welcome the choice of the vast majority of English and Welsh police forces to take part and would encourage the few forces that are not yet participating to follow this approach.
Driving Offences: Insurance
Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport with reference to the Strategic Framework for Road Safety, by how much his Department proposes to increase the fixed penalty for uninsured driving. [61280]
Mike Penning: There is no specific proposal to increase the fixed penalty of £200 issued by the police for using an uninsured vehicle. However, as stated in the Strategic Framework for Road Safety we will consider the level of this along with other motoring offences and fixed penalties. At the same time we are keen to see the courts make full use of the range of penalties for this offence. We do recognise there is a strong case for better correspondence between penalties and the cost of purchasing insurance.
A new offence of keeping a vehicle without insurance has recently been introduced. Under the Continuous Insurance Enforcement scheme, keepers of vehicles which appear to be uninsured, but have no Statutory Off Road Notification in force will be fined a fixed penalty of £100 by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency with further enforcement action—wheel-clamping, impounding and ultimately prosecution by the courts. The scheme, including the penalty, will be reviewed as part of the post implementation review.
 
Driving Offences: Unpaid Fines
Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport with reference to the Strategic Framework for Road Safety, what measures his Department is considering for the recovery of unpaid motoring fines. [61277]
Mike Penning: The recovery of unpaid motoring fines is the responsibility of the Ministry of Justice.
Driving Under Influence: Drugs
Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress his Department has made in its work to establish that driving under the influence of drugs constitutes an offence of driving while impaired; and what progress it has made on research into (a) impairment of and (b) technology for the detection of drugs in drivers. [61278]
Mike Penning: There are complex issues associated with the introduction of an additional offence. Preparatory work is at an early stage following the Government’s response to the North review on drink and drug driving in March.
The specification for drug screening kit in police stations has already been published. Field trials for six devices are just being concluded and these will then move to the laboratory testing.
Large Goods Vehicles
Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of trends in the ratio of actual tonnes to capacity tonnes per kilometre carried for (a) articulated lorries over 33 tonnes and (b) all heavy goods vehicles under 33 tonnes since 1985. [62382]
Mike Penning: Statistics on heavy goods vehicle lading factors (the ratio of goods moved to the maximum achievable tonne kilometres) are available on the Department for Transport website. Figures are available from 1999-2009 in Table 1.12 of “Road Freight Statistics 2009” and from 1991-2001 in Table 7 of “Transport of Goods by Road in Great Britain 2001”.
Statistics prior to 1991 are only available in hardcopy format. A copy of Table 7 in Transport of Goods by Road in Great Britain 1995 is as follows.
The tables show statistics for rigid and articulated heavy goods vehicles and for different weight groups; however, the specific split for all heavy goods vehicles less than 33 tonnes is not available for this time period.
An assessment was made in research commissioned by the Department entitled “Longer and/or Longer and Heavier Goods Vehicles (LHVs)—a Study of the Effects if Permitted in the UK”.

Table 7: Proportion of empty running and lading factors (1) : by vehicle type: 1985 to 19 95
Vehicle type and size (gvw tonnes) 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995

Percentage of empty running

Rigid vehicles

Over 3.5 to 7.5

28.7

28.0

29.3

28.6

27.5

28.5

27.3

26.6

27.8

26.2

28.0

Over 7.5 to 17

29.6

28.3

28.6

28.5

27.7

27.2

27.1

25.9

26.6

26.3

27.3

Over 17 to 25

43.1

42.6

41.8

41.1

39.7

40.1

39.6

39.0

38.5

38.1

38.2

Over 25

44.8

44.7

45.2

44.8

43.7

44.6

43.7

42.4

43.1

42.4

40.7

All rigids

32.2

31.1

31.9

31.5

30.6

30.8

30.1

29.1

30.0

29.1

30.2

Articulated vehicles

Over 3.5 to 33 tonnes

29.3

29.1

29.7

29.0

29.5

28.1

27.1

25.2

26.1

26.7

27.6

Over 33

28.1

28.5

28.7

28.4

28.9

28.4

27.8

27.7

28.6

28.2

28.6

All artics

28.9

28.9

29.3

28.7

29.2

28.3

27.6

27.0

27.9

27.8

28.3

All vehicles

31.0

30.3

30.8

30.4

30.0

29.8

29.1

28.2

29.1

28.5

29.4

Lading factor

Rigid vehicles

Over 3.5 to 7.5

0.41

0.38

0.40

0.45

0.42

0.43

0.43

0.40

0.43

0.42

0.44

Over 7.5 to 17

0.49

0.46

0.46

0.49

0.46

0.46

0.44

0.45

0.45

0.45

0.45

Over 17 to 25

0.76

0.73

0.71

0.72

0.69

0.70

0.68

0,66

0.65

0.65

0.63

Over 25

0.91

0.89

0.90

0.88

0.86

0.88

0.86

0.84

0.82

0.80

0.78

All rigids

0.60

0.57

0.58

0.59

0.57

0.58

0.56

0.55

0.55

0.55

0.56

Articulated vehicles

Over 3.5 to 33 tonnes

0.65

0.61

0.59

0.58

0.56

0.54

0.51

0.48

0.49

0.50

0.49

Over 33

0.76

0.75

0.75

0.75

0.73

0.71

0.70

0.69

0.70

0.69

0.70

All artics

0.69

0.67

0.68

0.68

0.67

0.66

0.65

0.64

0.65

0.65

0.66

All vehicles

0.66

0.63

0.64

0.65

0.64

0.63

0.62

0.61

0.62

0.62

0.63

1 The ratio of the actual goods moved to the maximum tonne-kms achievable if the vehicles, whenever loaded, were loaded to their maximum carrying capacity.
Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what assessment he has made of the changes in the average payload of heavy goods vehicles attributable to the introduction of maximum payloads for heavy goods vehicles in (a) 1999 and (b) 2001; [62383]
(2) what estimate he has made of the average payload of heavy goods vehicles in the latest period for which figures are available; and what assessment he has made of trends in average payloads for heavy goods vehicles since 1985. [62384]
Mike Penning: Average domestic payloads for British-registered heavy goods vehicles from 1982 to 2009 (the latest year for which figures are available) are shown in the following table. These figures are derived from the Department for Transport Continuing Survey of Road Goods Transport.
An assessment was made in research commissioned by the Department entitled “Longer and/or Longer and Heavier Goods Vehicles (LHVs)—a Study of the Effects if Permitted in the UK”.

Domestic road freight average payload: 1982 to 2009
Average payload (tonnes)

1982

8.4

1983

8.5

1984

8.5

1985

8.5

1986

8.4

1987

8.8

1988

8.9

1989

8.8

1990

8.8

1991

8.6

1992

8.5

1993

8.8

1994

8.7

1995

9.2

1996

9.1

1997

9.0

1998

9.0

1999

8.9

2000

8.9

2001

9.1

2002

9.2

2003

9.3

2004

9.3

2005

9.5

2006

9.5

2007

9.9

2008

10.1

2009

9.7

Note: Average annual payload is calculated by total annual tonne-kilometres divided by total annual loaded kilometres.Source: Continuing Survey of Road Goods Transport, DfT.
Large Goods Vehicles: Safety
Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what consideration his Department has given to the safety equipment to be (a) required and (b) recommended for use on any heavy goods vehicle over 16.5 metres long authorised for use on UK roads. [61232]
Mike Penning: Research commissioned by the Department for Transport considered the use of safety equipment, such as steering technology, on articulated lorries combined with semi-trailers over 16.5 metres long. Various options for such equipment were included in the Department’s consultation on whether or not to allow an increase in the length of articulated lorries. The Government are now analysing the consultation response and will make an announcement later in the year.
Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if his Department will participate in the EU collaborative research project on truck safety. [61274]
Mike Penning: The Department for Transport has no current plans to participate in an EU collaborative project on truck safety. Careful consideration will be given to any such proposals that would improve road safety in the UK.
Motorcycles: Safety
Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps his Department has taken at EU level to encourage the development and deployment of safety technologies for motorcycles. [61275]
Mike Penning: The Department for Transport part funded the recently completed EU project, Powered Two Wheeler Integrated Safety (PISa). The aim of this project was to demonstrate the potential of a number of advanced safety systems such as ‘active’ braking.
The Department is also satisfied that a proposal from the European Commission to require advanced braking systems on new motorcycles has the potential to prevent a significant number of accidents. We will continue to work with the Commission and other member states to develop the details of the proposal and seek a cost-effective approach to the introduction of these new braking measures.
Speed Limits
Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport with reference to the Strategic Framework for Road Safety, when he plans to revise and reissue guidance on speed limits in urban areas. [61276]
Mike Penning: Revised guidance is planned to be published in six to 12 months time. The revision and reissue of the guidance about speed limits may involve consultation and will be co-ordinated with the development of an economic tool to assist local authorities make robustly defensible decisions about speed limits.
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