PQs 10th – 13th October 2011

House of Commons
Aviation: Working Hours
Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he is taking to notify pilots of the entry into force of the new European-wide flight-time limitations; and if he will make a statement. [72320]
Mrs Villiers: The Civil Aviation Authority will notify pilots of the entry into force of European flight and duty time limitations. Currently, we expect the Commission regulation giving effect to the proposed requirements to come into force in the autumn of 2013. We anticipate that airlines will be given an additional period to transition to the new requirements.
Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent discussions his Department has had with the US Federal Aviation Administration on pilot fatigue; and if he will make a statement. [72321]
Mrs Villiers: At this stage in the development of the European requirements, neither the Department nor the Civil Aviation Authority has had any formal discussions with the Federal Aviation Administration on this subject.
Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent discussions (a) he and (b) Ministers in his Department have had with the Civil Aviation Authority on the Notice of Proposed Amendment on Flight-time Limitations. [72322]
Mrs Villiers: Neither Ministers nor the Secretary of State for Transport, my right hon. Friend the Member for Runnymede and Weybridge (Mr Hammond), had recent discussions with the Civil Aviation Authority on this topic. However, officials have regular discussions with the Civil Aviation Authority about the development of European requirements on aviation safety including those on flight time limitations.
Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what contribution his Department has made to establishing new flight-time limitations for pilots; and if he will make a statement. [72323]
Mrs Villiers: Officials from the Department for Transport and the Civil Aviation Authority have responded to the European Aviation Safety Agency’s consultation on draft implementing rules on flight time limitations. The CAA has published its comments on its website at:
www.caa.co.uk
EASA are in the process of reviewing the responses to the consultation and will be issuing an amended proposal in due course. The Department, taking account of advice from the Civil Aviation Authority, will put forward the UK’s views on the proposed requirements. Ministers will determine how the UK will vote when a legislative proposals is made.
PACTS comments: PACTS will be joining BALPA, the British Airline Pilots Association, at a briefing event for MPs at Westminster this week. The main messages that BALPA wants to get across regarding the EU proposals are:
– The increased risk of pilots falling asleep at the same time. 
– A tired pilot performs like a drunk pilot.
Large Goods Vehicles: EU Action
John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions he has had with the EU Transport Commissioner relating to proposals to increase the permitted length of HGVs; and whether he plans for further such representations. [72189]
Mike Penning: I have not discussed this matter with the EU Transport Commissioner. We intend to announce our conclusions and proposed way forward on longer semi-trailers, in the light of the responses to the recent consultation exercise, early in the new parliamentary session.
Road Signs and Markings
John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects to complete consideration of the final recommendations of the Traffic Signs review. [72188]
Norman Baker: Consideration has been completed and I expect to make a full announcement shortly.
PACTS comments: John Woodcock now has responsibility for national transport infrastructure and investment (inc. HS2, national rail, strategic roads, freight) following the reorganisation of Labour’s front bench transport team.
He will lead a review looking at how transport infrastructure and procurement could contribute to growth and jobs through longer term planning. The review will also look at how investment in different modes, such as road and rail, could be better integrated and jointly planned. In addition, John Woodcock will lead a review into how surface transport’s contribution to climate change should be tackled. It will look at what the different roles of government and industry should be.

 

 
A64
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent representations he has received on road safety on the A64 between York and Scarborough. [72614]
 
Mike Penning: Representations about safety issues on the Strategic Road Network (SRN) are handled by the Highways Agency.
The Highways Agency maintains a regular dialogue with all relevant stakeholders about the A64 between York and Scarborough. This includes regular meetings with North Yorkshire police and North Yorkshire county council and various local committees and transport groups. Safety is a standing item for discussion at each of these meetings. However, no specific representations about road safety have been made to the Highways Agency at these meetings.
I can confirm that the Highways Agency has received a number of representations from the residents of the village of Ganton since 24 January 2011. These representations commenced following a fatal accident at the neighbouring village of West Heslerton. This tragic incident is currently the subject of ongoing police investigations and a coroner’s inquest.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he last met (a) the Highways Agency, (b) North Yorkshire County Council and (c) local community groups to discuss road safety on the A64 between York and Scarborough. [72615]
Mike Penning: I meet regularly with the Highways Agency but there have been no specific discussions about safety on the A64 between York and Scarborough.
I have not discussed road safety matters relating to the A64 at this location with North Yorkshire county council or local community groups.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to improve road safety and reduce congestion on the A64 between York and Scarborough; and if he will make a statement. [72616]
Mike Penning: Any plans for the A64 will be developed through continuous routine network management, and will be delivered subject to prioritisation and the availability of funding.
Passenger Focus
Mr Offord: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what changes he plans to make to the functions of Passenger Focus. [72622]
Mrs Villiers: There are no plans to change the functions of Passenger Focus. However, it has reduced the scope of its activities as part of a major restructuring programme to fit in with a substantial reduction in its budget. The inclusion of Passenger Focus in schedule 3 of the Public Bodies Bill could facilitate changes to the Passenger Focus Board.
Railway Stations: Manpower
Emma Reynolds: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what criteria will be used in determining which railway station ticket offices should remain staffed. [72273]
Mrs Villiers: The proposal for the removal of ticket offices at certain stations was the recommendation of an independent study by Sir Roy McNulty on the value for money of the railways. The aim of the study was to examine the overall cost structure of all elements of the rail sector to identify the options for improving value for money to both passengers and to the taxpayer, while continuing to expand capacity as necessary and drive up passenger satisfaction with the railway. Government are currently considering the findings of this independent report but no decisions have yet been made.
Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the effect on (a) safety of and (b) crime levels against rail travellers of unstaffed category E stations. [72329]
Mrs Villiers: No such assessments have been made by the Government. Health and safety matters at individual stations are the responsibility of railway safety duty holders such as train operating companies or infrastructure managers. These are regulated by the Office of Rail Regulation. Crime levels at individual stations are monitored by the British Transport Police (BTP).
However, the Department for Transport’s Secure Stations Scheme, run jointly with the BTP, accredits stations that have good security practices in place. Accredited stations have introduced packages of security measures to cut down crime and enhance security. There are currently 1,271 accredited secure stations across the railway network.
A proposal for the removal of certain ticket offices was the recommendation of an independent study by Sir Roy McNulty on the value for money of the railways. The Government are currently considering the findings of this independent report but no decisions have yet been made.
Railways
Kwasi Kwarteng: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent progress he has made on implementing the recommendations of the McNulty report. [71802]
Mrs Villiers: The Department has been working closely with industry and the regulator to examine the proposals in Sir Roy McNulty’s independent review of Rail Value for Money. We have already accepted Sir Roy’s recommendation to conduct a review of fares policy, the terms of which we expect to announce shortly. Over the coming months, we will be finalising a package of priority proposals to be delivered through the refranchising programme and during Control Period 5.
Roads: Accidents
Andrew Stephenson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he is taking to prevent injuries (a) caused by and (b) to cyclists. [71774]
Mike Penning: We take the issue of cycle safety very seriously. Everyone who uses the highway has a responsibility to behave safely and with consideration for others, in May we launched the Strategic Framework for Road Safety:
http://www.dft.gov.uk/publications/strategic-framework-for-road-safety
which sets out our approach to continuing to reduce killed and seriously injured casualties on Britain’s roads. In addition the Government are also progressing measures with regards to improving European vehicle safety regulations, supporting Bikeability cycle training for the rest of this Parliament, raising the standard of lorry driver training, and promoting the Highway Code. There are also a range of measures local authorities can take, for instance, safer road infrastructure, cycle lanes, local safety campaigns, 20 mph zones and better traffic management. These will, however, depend on local decisions and need to reflect local priorities.
Safety Belts
Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what recent research his Department has evaluated on installing seat belt reminders in cars; if he will place in the Library a copy of each such piece of research; and if he will make a statement; [R] [72220]
(2) what recent reports he has received of the effectiveness of advanced seat belt reminder systems with visual and audible warnings for increasing seat belt use; and if he will make a statement. [R] [72221]
Mike Penning: The Department for Transport has not evaluated any research on installing seat belt reminders in cars, nor has it reviewed any reports regarding the effectiveness of advanced seat belt reminder systems.
However, requirements for fitting seat belt reminders with both visual and audible warnings to the driver’s seat of passenger cars were included within the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe regulations in 2008.
Many manufacturers already build their vehicles to conform to these regulations on a voluntary basis, in order to achieve higher ratings in consumer tests, but these provisions will become mandatory across Europe for all new types of passenger cars from November 2012, as part of a suite of harmonisation and simplification measures.
Bus Services: Finance
Brandon Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) whether his Department has undertaken an impact assessment on the provision of bus services in (a) shire and (b) non-shire authorities following changes to the Formula Grant in April 2011; [72180]
(2) what assessment he has made of the impact of local authority decisions on funding for subsidised bus services on the provision of community transport. [72184]
Norman Baker: I am aware that, as a result of local decisions, in some areas of the country bus services are being reduced. The latest statistics on bus services can be found at the Department for Transport website and are updated periodically:
http://www.dft.gov.uk/statistics/series/buses/
Changes to bus and community transport services are a matter for bus operators and local transport authorities; the Government do not and cannot make an assessment of every individual change but are working with local transport authorities to get an overall picture.
The Government understand that community transport, which provides essential services for those unable to access conventional public transport, has a role to play in filling gaps left by the withdrawal of both commercial and supported bus services. This is why the Government announced a one-off funding package of £10.2 million for rural local authorities to kick-start and support community transport.
Bus Services
Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what consideration he has given to allowing delegated driving examiners to provide tests for multiple bus companies where there is no conflict of interest. [73740]
Mike Penning: The appointment of ‘delegated driving examiners’ is provided for in legislation. This requires the company appointing the examiner to be approved by the Secretary of State and provides for the Secretary of State to impose conditions on that approval.
Under the approvals given to bus companies allowance can be made for testing of candidates employed or potentially employed by those companies or ‘sister companies’ i.e. another company within the same holding company. These companies have a vested interest in ensuring tests conducted are of a high quality. There is no provision for multiple companies to be approved and no such change has been proposed.
Motorways: Speed Limits
Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 19 July 2011, Official Report, column 959W, on motorways: speed limits, whether his Department plans to review default speed limits on classes of road other than motorways. [72255]
Mike Penning: The Department’s review of default speed limits is focused on the national motorway speed limit. It is not actively reviewing the national 30 mph speed limit for built up (lit) roads, the 60 mph limit for non-built up single carriageway roads or the 70 mph limit for non-built up dual carriageway all purpose roads.
In the course of considering the national motorway speed limit, the case for parallel changes on sections of high standard dual carriageway all purpose trunk roads is being considered.
A consultation on these issues will be published in due course.
House of Lords
Railways: European Train Management System
Questions
Asked by Lord Bradshaw
To ask Her Majesty’s Government from where the proposal to pilot the European Railway Transport Management System (ERTMS) originated; who took the final decision to pilot the ERTMS; and who took the decision to pilot the ERTMS on the Cambrian Line.[HL11869]
Lord De Mauley: The Cambrian Coast was identified as an early deployment site for ERTMS by the Strategic Rail Authority in 2003, after consultation with the rail industry and key stakeholders. Consequently the Rail Regulator, in his Access Charges Review 2003: Final Conclusions, allowed for Network Rail to be funded to commence development during Control Period 3 (2004-05 to 2008-09).
Asked by Lord Bradshaw
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what have been the total costs to date of (a) installing, and (b) operating and maintaining, the European Railway Transport Management System on the Cambrian Line.[HL11870]
Lord De Mauley: The Department for Transport does not hold this information. Network Rail is funded to deliver, operate and maintain the Cambrian ERTMS deployment. The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR), which is responsible for the economic regulation of the national rail network, will consider the costs of the Cambrian deployment as part of its regular reviews.
Asked by Lord Bradshaw
To ask Her Majesty’s Government by how much the European Railway Transport Management System has reduced signal failures on the Cambrian Line. [HL11871]
Lord De Mauley: This is an operational matter for Network Rail as it is responsible for monitoring infrastructure performance. Network Rail can be contacted as follows: David Higgins, Network Rail, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9AG.
Asked by Lord Bradshaw
To ask Her Majesty’s Government by how much the European Railway Transport Management System has improved punctuality on the Cambrian Line. [HL11872]
Lord De Mauley: This is an operational matter for Network Rail as it is responsible for monitoring performance and punctuality. Network Rail can be contacted as follows: David Higgins, Network Rail, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9AG.
Transport: Sleep Apnoea
Questions
Asked by Lord Clement-Jones
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they plan to implement screening of large goods vehicle and passenger service vehicle drivers for sleep apnoea in the light of cases of serious injury and death caused by drivers suffering from this disorder. [HL12042]
Earl Attlee: Those who drive goods vehicles and passenger carrying vehicles are already subject to a medical examination when they apply for a driving licence at the age of 45 and every five years thereafter until 65 when an examination is required every year.
The reporting doctor must record whether there is a history of or evidence of sleep apnoea.
There are no plans to implement additional screening measures of large goods vehicle and passenger carrying vehicle drivers for sleep apnoea.
Asked by Lord Clement-Jones
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will reconsider their position that the current arrangements for the medical screening of large goods vehicle drivers, including in relation to the control of sleep apnoea, are “adequate”, as stated in the Department for Transport’s November 2008 response to coroner Christopher Sumner’s rule 43 report of 5 August 2008.[HL12043]
Earl Attlee: There are no plans to change the current arrangements for ensuring that those who drive large goods vehicles and passenger carrying vehicles meet the appropriate health standards.
Those who drive large goods vehicles and passenger carrying vehicles undergo a medical examination and report on application, at the age of 45 and every five years thereafter until 65 when an examination is required every year.
Since the rule 43 report from coroner Christopher Sumner, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) has made changes to the medical report and accompanying notes to make doctors consider more carefully whether sleep apnoea may be present. The reporting doctor must record whether there is a history of or evidence of sleep apnoea.
All drivers diagnosed with sleep apnoea at any time are required by law to notify the DVLA.
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