PQs 28th Nov – 1st Dec 2011

Cycling: Training
Dr Huppert: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment she has made of the effect on the number of children taking part in Bikeability training of the decision by Cambridgeshire county council to charge those participating. [81651]
Norman Baker: The Department for Transport has not made any assessment, though in general terms the level charge levied is likely to have an impact on the take-up of the scheme. The Department provides a contribution of up to £40 per Bikeability training place to local highway authorities and School Games Organiser host schools. Any costs above the grant need to be sourced locally and it is at the council’s discretion whether or not to charge.
 
Motorways: Speed Limits
 
Mr Evennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what representations her Department has received on its consultation on increasing motorway speed limits to 80 mph. [79693]
 
Mike Penning [holding answer 10 November 2011]: The Department has not issued a consultation about increasing motorway speed limits to 80 mph. The Department has received many representations both for and against increasing the motorway speed limit, since the announcement was made on 3 October of an intention to consult about this soon.
Railways: Accidents
 
Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many incidents with runaway trolleys there have been on the rail network since 15 February 2004; and if she will make a statement. [82347]
Mrs Villiers: The Department is aware of five incidents of runaway trolleys that have been reported to the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) since RAIB became operational in October 2005. All five of these have been subject to a RAIB investigation.
Issues of operational rail safety, and the reporting and recording of these, are primarily a matter for the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR), as well as the relevant rail industry duty holders. The hon. Member may wish to contact the ORR for further information at the following address:
Office of Rail Regulation
1 Kemble street
London
WC2B 4AN
Railways: Safety
 
Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps her Department has taken to prevent children from playing on or near railway tracks. [83433]
Mrs Villiers: Initiatives to prevent children from playing on or near the railway are for Network Rail to develop in the first instance. The company deploys a range of national and local initiatives to raise awareness of the risks and dangers of the railway.
Roads: Accidents
 
Mrs McGuire: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many fatal vehicle accidents have occurred where a visitor to the UK driving on the wrong side of the road was a contributory factor in the last 10 years. [83535]
Mike Penning: Table 1 shows the number of reported fatal road accidents which had “inexperience of driving on the left” as a contributory factor, in Great Britain for the period 2005-10. However, it is not known how many drivers involved in such accidents were visitors to Great Britain, or if they were driving on the wrong side of the road at the time of the accident.
Information on contributory factors to road accidents has been collected since 1 January 2005. Please note that contributory factors are reported only for injury road accidents where a police officer attended the scene and reported at least one contributory factor. These factors are largely subjective, reflecting the attending officer’s opinion at the time of reporting. It is recognised that subsequent enquires could lead to the reporting officer changing his/her opinion.
Table 1: N umber of fatal road accidents (1) with “inexperience of driving on the left” reported as a contributory factor, GB, 2005-10
Year of accident Number of fatal road accidents

2005

8

2006

10

2007

8

2008

12

2009

10

2010

7

(1) Includes only road accidents where a police officer attended the scene and in which a contributory factor was reported.
 
Roads: Lighting
 
Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps her Department has taken to encourage local councils to improve street lighting. [83432]
Norman Baker: It is for each local highway authority to decide what level of service they wish their street lighting network to deliver. Local highway authorities have a duty, under Section 41 of the Highways Act 1980, to maintain the public highways in their charge. The duty to maintain the highway includes street lighting. Authorities do not have a duty to light any particular parts of their networks but, where lighting has been provided, the authority has a duty to maintain it.
The Department for Transport is providing £3 billion over the four years from 2011-12 to local highway authorities in England (excluding London) for highways maintenance which can be used for. the street lighting assets. In addition, the Department has approved long-term funding for 32 local authority street lighting projects (including London) with total annuity value for these projects of £2.5 billion.
The Department for Transport is also a member of the UK Lighting Board, a sector led group that meets quarterly to develop and share best practice on the improvement of street lighting. We also endorse the UK Lighting Board’s code of practice for highway lighting management, well-lit highways, available at:
http://ukroadsboard.org/en/UKRLG-and-boards/uk-lighting-board/welllit-highways.cfm
This code sets out a framework of recommended guidance and standards for authorities to follow.
Cycling
 
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent steps her Department has taken to encourage more people to use bicycles. [82963]
Norman Baker: The Government made clear their support for cycling in their coalition agreement. On 5 July 2011, Official Report, columns 88-94WS, I announced the allocation of £155.5 million to 37 authorities in England to deliver packages of measures that support economic growth and cut carbon emissions as part of the £560 million Local Sustainable Transport Fund, and 38 out of the 39 successful bids included a cycling element. I will announce the remaining allocations for Tranche 2 and large projects in summer 2012. We are also committed to supporting Bikeability cycle training for the remainder of this Parliament, helping to give children the skills and confidence to cycle on today’s roads. In addition, I have established a cycling forum which will, among other things, be looking at barriers that prevent people taking up cycling. We want to get more people cycling, more safely, more often.
 
Manhole Covers
 
Dr Huppert: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans she has to introduce composite manhole covers to reduce (a) the incidence of scrap metal theft and (b) the risk of injury to cyclists. [83957]
Norman Baker [holding answer 30 November 2011]:The majority of manhole covers on the highway network are the responsibility of utility companies, with a small percentage under the ownership of local highway authorities. As such it would not be the responsibility of the Department for Transport to introduce composite manhole covers.
We are, however, aware that local authorities across England are experiencing an increased incidence of theft of metal drain-hole covers and iron railings. These thefts not only present a risk to public safety but are also causing authorities to divert funding from other services. Many authorities who have experienced the theft of manhole covers are now replacing these with covers which do not have any scrap value in order to prevent further thefts.
More generally, the Department has worked with the Institute of Highways and Incorporated Engineers (IHIE) to develop Guidelines for Motorcycling. Section 6.3.16 of the guide encourages designers and maintenance engineers to ensure that covers should not be positioned in the carriageway so as to impose a hazard to motorcyclists. The guide may be viewed on the IHIE website at:
www.motorcyclingguidelines.org.uk
In addition, the British and European Standard (prEN124) on “gully tops and manhole tops for vehicular and pedestrian areas” has been going through revision. One of the areas being considered as part of this work is the in-service skid slip resistance of the covers. Consideration is also being given to an enhanced skid slip resistance value to improve consistency between the road surface and service covers placed in the highway.
Cyclists
 
Questions
Asked by Lord Wills
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what consideration they have given to introducing a licensing regime for cyclists.[HL13754]
Earl Attlee: The Government recognise that there is value in training cyclists to ride safely and confidently on the road. That is why we supported the development of the National Standard for Cycling and the related Bikeability training scheme. We have made a firm commitment to support Bikeability for the lifetime of the current Parliament and are providing £11 million this year to local authorities and School Games Organisers to train up to 275,000 children.
However, the Government consider that the costs of a formal testing and licensing system for cyclists would outweigh the benefits. The safety case for a testing/licensing system is not as strong as that for drivers since, by contrast with motorised vehicles, bicycles involved in collisions on the highway are highly unlikely to cause serious injury to other road users. Furthermore, cycling has clear benefits for cyclists themselves (particularly in terms of health) and for wider society (tackling congestion, reducing CO2 emissions and improved air quality) and the introduction of a licensing system would significantly reduce these benefits, especially over the short term. Over the long term, it would prohibit children and young adults from enjoying the mobility and health benefits cycling brings until they were old enough to pass a formal test.
Asked by Lord Wills
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what consideration they have given to introducing a national system of bicycle lanes.[HL13755]
Earl Attlee: The National Cycle Network, managed by Sustrans, is a network of cycle routes across the UK. It currently runs within two miles of 75 per cent of the UK population and covers 12,600 miles of walking and cycling routes.
However, cycling is best suited to local journeys, and most cycling provision is provided by local authorities. We therefore support local authorities in England in providing local transport infrastructure through the formula grant, Integrated Transport Block settlement (from DfT) and the £560 million Local Sustainable Transport Fund (also from DfT).
The Government are currently providing funding to Sustrans to improve walking and cycling links to schools, and in many cases this will connect schools to the National Cycle Network. In addition, a number of local authorities have successfully bid to the Local Sustainable Transport Fund with schemes that will also link up to the National Cycle Network.
 
Asked by Lord Laird
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what proposals they have to discourage cyclists from travelling past red traffic lights.[HL13811]
Earl Attlee: The Highway Code has a specific section on cycling which details the legal responsibilities for cyclists. Rule 69 states that cyclists, “Must obey all traffic signs and traffic light signals” (Section 36 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 and Regulation 10(1) of the Traffic Signs Regulations & General Directions 2002).
The enforcement of cycling offences is, of course, an operational matter for the police. We support any action taken by the police to deter and reduce the number of cycling offences.
Cyclists: Deaths
 
Questions
Asked by Lord Wills
To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many pedestrians have been (1) killed, (2) seriously injured, and (3) injured, by cyclists in each of the past 10 years.[HL13756]
To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many cyclists have been (1) killed, (2) seriously injured, and (3) injured, on the road in each of the past 10 years.[HL13757]
Earl Attlee: Information regarding reported pedestrian casualties, killed or injured by pedal cyclists, in road accidents: Great Britain, 2001-10 is given below.
Pedestrians
2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010

Killed

0

4

4

1

3

3

4

1

0

4

Seriously injured

60

47

45

49

61

47

48

52

66

77

Slightly injured

198

158

210

186

215

176

177

208

226

260

Total

258

209

259

236

279

226

229

261

292

341

1 Figures refer to accidents occurring on the public highway (including footways).
The information requested regarding pedal cycle casualties killed or injured is available on the department’s website at the link below: http://www.dft.gov.uk/statistics/tables/ras30065.
These statistics are based on personal injury road accidents that are reported to the police. It is known that a considerable number of personal injury road accidents are unreported; in particular it is known that less serious accidents involving pedal cycles are particularly reliable to underreporting. Further information is available from: http://assets.dft.gov.uk/statistics/releases/road-accidents-and-safety-annual-report-2010/rrcgb2010-06.pdf.
Cyclists: Helmets
 
Question
Asked by Lord Laird
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Attlee on 21 November (WA 184) concerning the wearing of cycle helmets, whether they consider that such helmets save lives and prevent injuries.[HL13724]
Earl Attlee: In certain circumstances (eg low speed collisions and where no other vehicle is involved), helmets can be effective in reducing the likelihood of death or the seriousness of the injury suffered by a cyclist. However, most cyclist fatalities occur as a result of collision with a motorised vehicle, and therefore, helmets cannot be seen as a panacea for reducing cyclist fatalities. We do, however, encourage cyclists-especially children-to wear helmets to protect them if they have a crash. However, we believe this should remain a matter of individual choice.
Transport: Certificates of Professional Competence
 
Question
Asked by Lord Willoughby de Broke
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what effect the recently introduced European Union Regulation 1071/2009, which requires operators of vehicles of over 3.5 tonnes to obtain an international certificate of professional competence, will have on small independent road transport businesses.[HL13661]
 
Earl Attlee: This requirement will have no effect on any current holders of operator licences. All existing certificates of professional competence, national and international, remain valid after the 4 December.
From 4 December this year, the current examination for the national-only certificate will be abolished, from that date all examinations for new certificates of professional competence will be at the international standard.
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