PQs 15th – 18th October 2012

Motor Vehicles: Insurance
 
Mark Hendrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions his officials have had with Co-operative Insurance and Insure The Box on smart box technology. [122004]
Stephen Hammond: Departmental officials met with Co-operative Insurance on 9 July to discuss their smart box technology. Additionally, the Department held its first working group meeting with industry, including Co-operative Insurance, to discuss young drivers. Smart box technology formed part of this discussion.
Mark Hendrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what meetings (a) he and (b) Ministers in his Department have had with the Association of British Insurers on how to reduce insurance premiums for motorists. [122050]
Stephen Hammond: The Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Transport met with representatives from major motor insurers on 14 February 2012 to discuss action that can be taken to reduce the number of claims for whiplash which contribute significantly to the cost of settling motor insurance claims. The Secretary of State chaired a further meeting with the insurance industry on 2 May. The Association of British Insurers (ABI) was present at both meetings.
In addition, the Secretary of State met with ABI on 23 April 2012 for a wider discussion on motor insurance issues.
Association of British Insurers
 
George Galloway: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many times (a) Ministers and (b) officials in his Department have met representatives from the Association of British Insurers in the last 12 months. [122709]
Stephen Hammond: The Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Transport met with representatives from major motor insurers on 14 February 2012 to discuss action that can be taken to reduce the number of claims for whiplash which contribute significantly to the cost of settling motor insurance claims. The Secretary of State chaired a further meeting with the insurance industry on 2 May. The Association of British Insurers (ABI) was present at both meetings.
In addition the Secretary of State met with the ABI on Monday 23 April 2012 for a wider discussion on motor insurance issues.
As a result of these discussions the Department has met with industry on a further four separate occasions to discuss the work the Department is collectively doing with industry on young drivers.
Insurance
 
George Galloway: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many times (a) Ministers and (b) officials in his Department have met representatives of individual insurance companies in the last 12 months. [122710]
Stephen Hammond: The Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Transport met with representatives from major motor insurers on 14 February 2012 to discuss action that can be taken to reduce the number of claims for whiplash which contribute significantly to the cost of settling motor insurance claims. The Secretary of State chaired a further meeting with the insurance industry on 2 May.
As a result of these discussions the Department has met with industry on a further four separate occasions to discuss the work the Department is collectively doing with industry on young drivers.
PACTS comments: Young drivers are always high on the road safety agenda, and PACTS addressed this issue at our Road User Behaviour Working Party in September. The group had presentations on telematics insurance and post-test driver training. At the January 2013 meeting the group will discuss Graduated Driver Licensing, and further to this discussion, PACTS will produce a briefing paper on this topic. 
Aviation: Working Hours
 
Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) whether the relevant trades unions representing airline pilots in the UK have agreed to the implementation of the new rules on flight time limitations proposed by the European Aviation Safety Agency; [121918]
(2) what medical evidence his Department has gathered on the capacity of the new rules on flight time limitations proposed by the European Aviation Safety Agency to ensure the same level of safety for the travelling public as the existing Civil Aviation Authority rules; how many additional hours commercial airline pilots may be required to work in any given duty period under the new rules compared to the present system; and what comparative assessment he has made of the new rules and rules governing flight time limitations in the US; [121919]
(3) what steps he plans to take to integrate the European Aviation Standards Agency’s proposals on flight time limitations into UK aviation safety requirements; [121920]
(4) what steps he plans to take to maintain UK standards and protections for airline pilots’ flying time limitations after the implementation of the European Aviation Standards Agency harmonisation proposals; and if he will take an active role in protecting and promoting UK standards on airline pilots’ flying time limitations in the development of European standards; [121921]
(5) what plans he has for implementation of new flight time limitation rules proposed by the European Aviation Safety Agency. [121922]
Mr Simon Burns: The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is still considering the responses to its consultation on flight time limitations. We do not yet know what the final proposal will contain. We will
consider our position, taking into account advice from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), once a final set of rules has been proposed.
Voting on the European Commission regulation adopting implementing rules on flight time limitations will be by qualified majority voting; we will not support the proposed rules if the CAA advises that they do not provide an adequate level of protection against fatigue. The rules will be directly applicable in all member states; opt outs from the proposed implementing rules are not permitted by the enabling legislation, adopted in 2008.
The relevant trade unions representing airline pilots in the United Kingdom have responded to EASA’s consultation; we are aware that they have some concerns on the proposals which we have discussed with them on a number of occasions.
The CAA has reviewed the latest draft of the proposals published by EASA on 18 January 2012. The CAA has advised that the package of proposals as currently drafted contains a number of welcome provisions that will deliver a significant improvement in safety across the European Union as a whole. The CAA also considers the package provides a similar level of safety to the rules adopted in the United States and will not lead to any diminution in safety in the UK. I am satisfied with the CAA’s advice which takes into account relevant operational, scientific and medical opinion.
The CAA’s detailed evidence to the Transport Select Committee inquiry on flight time limitations, including comparisons on flight duty periods, and the Government’s Response to the Committee’s report are published on the Parliament website at:
www.parliament.uk
Speed Limits: Cameras
 
Neil Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his policy is on local parish councils in co-operation with their local police constabulary introducing average speed cameras and using proceeds from fines to finance their purchase. [121722]
Stephen Hammond: It is not possible for local parish councils or the police to receive fine revenue from average speed cameras. It is not departmental policy to change from that position.
The coalition agreement included a commitment to ‘stop central government funding for new fixed speed cameras’. This commitment has been delivered.
Motorcycles: Driving Tests
 
Karl McCartney: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the effect of the introduction of the two part motorcycle test on the number of qualified motorcyclists; and what assessment he has made of the effect on the economy of the change in the number of qualified motorcyclists. [121752]
Stephen Hammond: The format of the motorcycle practical test is currently under review. The Department for Transport is working with stakeholders to identify ways in which the test could be improved.
Immediately prior to the introduction of the two-part test, the demand for the practical motorcycling test increased markedly—approximately 19% from 2006-07 to 2008-09—as candidates sought to pass the test in its existing, familiar format.
Following the introduction of the two-part test there was an initial fall in demand of approximately 35%. However demand has been gradually increasing ever since.
The Driving Standards Agency is not aware of any effect on the economy that is attributable to the fall in demand for practical motorcycling tests.
Research
Chris Kelly: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what external policy research his Department has commissioned in each of the last six years; from which organisation each such piece of research was commissioned; and what the cost of each such piece of research was. [123186]
Norman Baker: Research to inform policy is commissioned by all relevant policy directorates and agencies. I regret that the information requested is not held centrally and can be provided only in the form requested at disproportionate cost.
Information on research commissioned by the Department, including details of supplier and cost, is generally reported through websites including:
DFT(c):
http://www.dft.gov.uk/rmd/
HA:
http://www.highways.gov.uk/specialist-information/knowledge-compendium/
MCA:
http://www.dft.gov.uk/mca/mcga07-home/aboutus/mcga-aboutus-research2.htm
Aviation: Remotely Piloted Aircraft
Question
Asked by Lord Laird
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what United Kingdom aircraft legislation currently in place addresses the use and ownership of drones; and whether they have plans to create new powers or laws to control and regulate their use.[HL2414]
Earl Attlee: The safe operation of civil remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) in the UK is governed by the requirements of the Air Navigation Order 2009 (ANO). RPA with an operating mass of more than 20 kg are subject to regulation as though they are manned aircraft. Article 5 specifically deals with ownership of UK registered aircraft, including RPA. Those with an operating mass of 20kg or less (referred to as small unmanned aircraft) are exempt from the majority of the regulations that normally apply to manned aircraft. However, their use is specifically covered by two articles within the ANO, which legislate for the general flying aspects and the flight of those equipped for surveillance (articles 166 and 167). Article 138 concerning endangering the safety of any person or property also remains applicable.
Full details of the policy for the operation of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) within UK airspace is contained in Civil Aviation Publication 722 (CAP 722), which has recently been amended and is internationally regarded as being one of the leading documents on the subject. Guidance on the operation of model aircraft is contained within CAP 658.
The Department for Transport and the CAA are actively participating in the development of internationally harmonised UAS operating standards through a number of European and International bodies, up to and including the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). These developments may lead to new regulations being put in place in the future.
Aviation: Regulations
Question
Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark
To ask Her Majesty’s Government which airlines previously banned from operating flights to the United Kingdom having failed to meet International Civil Aviation Organisation requirements have subsequently been allowed to operate, since 1 January 1990.[HL2552]
Earl Attlee: Any airline which has been banned from entering the United Kingdom after failing to meet the requirements of the International Civil Aviation Organisation will not be permitted to resume services until the airline has demonstrated that all safety deficiencies have been rectified.
Before 2006, decisions on banning airlines from entering the United Kingdom were taken by the Department for Transport on the advice of the Civil Aviation Authority. Information on decisions taken before 2006 is not readily available.
Since 2006, the European Commission has been responsible for banning unsafe airlines from operating within the European Union. Commission Regulation 474/2006 contains the list of banned airlines and is updated regularly, to add or remove operators as appropriate. Regulation 474/2006 and its amending regulations are published in the Official Journal of the European Union which is available online at http://eur-lex.europa.eu/en/index.htm.
Roads: High Visibility Jackets
 
Question
Asked by Lord Dykes
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they support the use of high visibility safety jackets by motorists suffering breakdowns on busy roads and motorways; and what assessment they have made of the frequency of their use.[HL2505]
Earl Attlee: The Government do support the use of high visibility safety jackets by motorists suffering breakdowns on busy roads and motorways.
Rule 274 of The Official Highway Code advises that if your vehicle breaks down, you should think first of all other road users and, help other road users see you by wearing light-coloured or fluorescent clothing in daylight and reflective clothing at night or in poor visibility.
No assessment has been made of the frequency of their use.
Driving: Drink-drive Limit
 
Question
Asked by Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will reduce the legal driving limit to 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood, in line with the proposal of the Scottish Government.[HL2261]
Earl Attlee: The Government have no plans to lower the drink-drive limit in England and Wales. The power to decide the prescribed alcohol limit for Scotland is being devolved in accordance with Scottish Ministers’ powers in relation to alcohol misuse.
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