PQs 25th Feb – 1st March

Speed Limits
 
3. Michael Ellis (Northampton North) (Con): What progress he has made on devolving speed limits to local authorities. [145052]
 
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Norman Baker): In January 2013 the Department for Transport launched new guidance for local authorities on setting local speed limits, including guidance to help them assess the full costs and benefits of proposed speed limit changes. We have also taken steps to make it easier for councils to introduce 20 mph limits and zones where they believe this is appropriate.
 
Michael Ellis: Many of my constituents would like to see 20 mph speed limits, particularly near schools and in sensitive areas. Will the Minister explain what is being done to adapt the localism agenda and give local authorities in Northamptonshire and elsewhere the devolved power in this respect?
 
Norman Baker: I welcome the hon. Gentleman’s support and that of his constituents for what the coalition Government is doing. Following on from the document “Signing the Way”, which I launched in October 2011, we have provided every English authority with a traffic sign authorisation to use speed limit repeater signs in place of physical measures in 20 mph zones, and that will reduce the costs for local authorities in Northamptonshire and elsewhere. This authorisation also enables local authorities to place advisory part-time 20 mph speed limit signs in the vicinity of schools without the need for central Government approval. Councils can also now use roundels on the road to replace some upright signs.
 
Mr Barry Sheerman (Huddersfield) (Lab/Co-op): Many of us involved in transport safety welcome the ability to have 20 mph limits, but if they are not done in the context of targets for national performance, they will come to nothing in terms of reducing terrible road casualties, which are rising steadily in this country. Most other progressive transport safety countries have targets and they work. Why is he abandoning them?
 
Norman Baker: If I may say so, the important thing is the measures we take to make roads safer, rather than the arbitrary targets that the hon. Gentleman seeks to introduce. The Secretary of State has made plain, since his appointment to office, the significant importance that he attaches to road safety, and that runs through the Department.
 
Jim Fitzpatrick (Poplar and Limehouse) (Lab): A previous coalition Secretary of State suggested that an increase in 20 mph zones could be a trade-off with 80 mph limits on some of our motorways. Doing a U-turn at 80 mph would be crazy and dangerous; may
28 Feb 2013 : Column 457
I invite the Minister to do a U-turn here safely, and formally announce that the coalition will not proceed with 80 mph trials?
 
Norman Baker: I have heard the hon. Gentleman’s point. The matters about 80 mph are being carefully evaluated and the Secretary of State will make a statement on that in due course.
 
Roads: Safety
 
Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what steps his Department is taking to promote an awareness of road safety amongst school children; [145004]
(2) how much funding his Department allocated to promote awareness of road safety for school children in (a) 2009, (b) 2010, (c) 2011 and (d) 2012. [145005]
Stephen Hammond: Overall, road deaths are at a record low and child casualties (aged 0-15) have fallen considerably (child fatalities in 2011 were 53% below the 2005-09 average; killed/seriously injured down 21%).
Recent published figures also show that child KSIs fell by 1% between the year ending September 2011 and 2012. However, we know that one death is one too many, which is why we are focusing our THINK! campaigns where they will have the greatest impact.
We are working closely with local authorities and other partners who engage with children directly to ensure our road safety messages are reaching children and teenagers in schools as well as providing educational resources to allow these important messages to be incorporated into the curriculum. We are enhancing the resources provided to schools—both at primary and secondary level—to make them easier to use in the classroom and will be engaging with teachers to encourage greater use of road safety examples in core curriculum subjects such as maths, science and citizenship. We also intend to make THINK! resources available to other groups who engage with children and young people.
Expenditure on the THINK! road safety campaign and the sums allocated to promoting child/teen road safety is shown below by fiscal year spend.
£
Fiscal year THINK! campaign Child/teen expenditure

2009-10

18,602,057

3,783,253

2010-11

2,342,563

1,285,509

2011-12

3,995,586

705,600

2012-13

(1)3,570.000

(1)78,000

(1) Provisional out-turn
The current major areas of spend for the THINK! campaign are motorcycling safety, where accident rates are highest and drink driving, where people continue to flout the law.
Our THINK! campaigns are only one part of our road safety work. We are also investing in infrastructure to make our roads safer and more efficient; taking steps to make it easier for the police to enforce against drivers who break the law; and we have streamlined the process for councils to implement 20 mph zones and limits on their roads.
Cycling
 
Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) if he will consider issuing the summary of outcomes of the cycling demonstration towns and cycling cities and towns programmes as a written statement to the All-Party Parliamentary Cycling Group as part of its Get Britain Cycling inquiry; [144198]
(2) when he plans to publish the summary of the outcomes of the cycling demonstration towns and cycling cities and town programmes and other elements of the same research programme; and if he will consider doing so before bids for cycling funding are due from local authorities. [144205]
Norman Baker: Reports looking at the outcomes from the cycling demonstration towns (CDT) have been published. These two reports give a good summary:
Analysis and synthesis of evidence on the effects of investment in six cycling demonstration towns:
http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20120607215928/http://assets.dft.gov.uk/publications/analysis-and-synthesis-of-evidence-on-the-effects-of-investment-in-six-cycling-demonstration-towns/cyclingdemotowns.pdf
Making a Cycling Town:
http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20110407094607/http://www.dft.gov.uk/cyclingengland/site/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/making_a_cycling_town_qualitative_report1.pdf
With regards to the report on monitoring levels of cycling in the cycling city and towns (CCT) and the CDTs, analysis is currently being undertaken and a report is now being drafted. Therefore, it is not possible to release data until the analysis is complete. The CCTs and CDTs have themselves produced end of programme reports which may be of interest to the APPCG. These can be found at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cycling-england-cycling-city-and-towns-end-of-programme-reports
The CCT evaluation reports and dataset are currently unavailable. The contractor employed by the Department to work on this project, AECOM, have advised that the documents and data are removed from the website while they are being reviewed. These documents will be published again as soon as possible once the review is complete.
A120
 
Mr Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many collisions there have been at the junctions of the A120 known as Hare’s Green and Pellens Corner since junction improvements were completed in 2012; and if he will consider applying a 40 mph speed restriction to this stretch of road until such time as a roundabout or grade separated junction is constructed. [144583]
Stephen Hammond: Since safety improvements to the A120 junctions were completed on 3 April 2012 there have been have been three serious and six slight personal injury accidents.
In view of continuing collisions occurring at these junctions, the Highways Agency has brought forward a road safety audit, usually commissioned 12 months post completion of the scheme, to review junction performance, and has also commissioned a further speed survey. The Highways Agency will use this information to consider any further measures that may be required at the junctions to improve safety.
Cycling
 
Mr Bradshaw: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what progress his Department has made on implementing the Cycle to Work guarantee; [144464]
(2) whether his Department has signed up to the Government’s Cycle to Work scheme. [144477]
Norman Baker: The table below sets out the progress being made by the Department of Transport and its six Executive Agencies on implementing the Cycle to Work guarantee and the Cycle to Work scheme.
AgencyProgress on implementing the Cycle to Work guaranteeSigned up to the Cycle to Work scheme
Department for Transport (Central) DFT(C)
The Department provides lockers and showers facilities, and secure cycle parking facilities and a bike pump for staf f use.
All staff have access to the Cycle to Work scheme.
Driving Standards Agency (DSA)
Since joining the scheme DSA has improved facilities where feasible. The main administrative sites have secure cycle shelters, showering facilities and tools for basic maintenance. The Agency also provides Sheffield hoops and showers at test centres where space and financial restrictions allow. DSA plan to trial the use of enclosed cycle lockers at a test centre were there is a history of vandalism and staff are concerned about the safety of their bicycles.
All staff have access to the Cycle to Work scheme.
Highways Agency(HA)
The Highways Agency meets most of the commitments set out in the Cycle to Work guarantee in the main office buildings. The only commitment which is not met is the Cycle to Work Scheme but staff can apply for an advance of salary to purchase their own bike. Whilst some of the commitments are met at Regional Control Centres and outstations, cycling is not a practical way to travel to these buildings. This is because they are mainly in remote locations that can only be accessed from the motorway network or major trunk roads.
The Highways Agency took the decision to discontinue the Cycle to Work salary sacrifice scheme in 2010 when the scheme was closed to new applications. The decision has been reviewed subsequently and remains closed to new applicants. The agency provides an interest free cycle loan to staff.
Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)
Where feasible, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) provides secure, safe and accessible cycle parking facilities at its offices. To further support this and encourage cycling to work, showers, changing and locker facilities are provided. These facilities are provided in all of Swansea campus sites which includes Swansea regional office and where more than 5,000 staff are based. The facilities are also provided at more than 50 per cent of DVLA’s 38 regional based offices.
DVLA is not signed up to the Cycle to Work scheme but does provide an interest free cycle loan to staff.
Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA)
VCA provides secure, safe and accessible cycle parking and good quality shower/changing and locker facilities for all staff who want to make use of them. VCA organises regular ‘Bike Roadshows’ in conjunction with the local authority for staff to have their bikes serviced. Staff are regularly informed of the scheme electronically by regular bulletins.
All staff have access to the Cycle to Work scheme.
Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA)
Where space has allowed the agency has implemented secure, safe and accessible bike parking facilities, good quality changing and locker facilities for all staff who want them in all locations. In HQ (Southampton) the agency . has negotiated with the local authority for staff to use their bike doctor service. In other locations staff are helped to locate similar services. MCA have implemented a plan that includes targets for take-up, training and incentives to cycle.
All staff have access to the Cycle to Work scheme.
Vehicle Operator Services Agency (VOSA)
VOSA has not implemented the ‘Cycle to Work guarantee” as it cannot comply with some of the requirements. Due to the nature of the business it is not possible to guarantee safe and secure storage and shower facilities at all sites across the UK, and with the increase in privately owned Authorised Testing Facilities, it cannot be guaranteed that they will offer these either.
All staff have access to the Cycle to Work scheme
Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency: Databases
 
Mr Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many companies are registered to have access to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency database of registered vehicles; and under what conditions such access is granted. [143501]
Stephen Hammond: At present, 50 private companies have arrangements in place with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency to make electronic requests for vehicle keeper information. Five of these companies also act as intermediaries, providing information to a further 216 companies. An additional 36 private companies make requests via electronic links on behalf of local authorities.
The lawful purposes for which data may be requested are specified under contract. Companies that are not subject to formal regulation must belong to a relevant accredited trade association and must satisfactorily serve a six-month probationary period, making manual requests before they are permitted to establish an electronic link.
Driving Under Influence: Drugs
 
Mr Hanson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for the Home Department on the potential effect of the proposed drug driving offences in the Crime and Courts Bill [Lords] on the (a) size of the prison population, (b) number of community sentences and (c) training requirements of court officials. [143801]
Stephen Hammond: In completing the impact assessment, the Department liaised with the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice where we estimate that each year approximately (a) 279 people will serve a custodial sentence and (b) 1,694 people will receive a community order sentence once the provisions are in force. We do not anticipate any additional training requirements for court officials as the new drug driving offence will be very similar to the existing drink-driving offence. The impact assessment for the new drug driving offence is available on the Home Office website at:
http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/about-us/legislation/crime-courts-part3/
Pedestrian Crossings: Schools
 
Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) how many school crossing patrol officers were employed by local authorities in (a) 2009, (b) 2010, (c) 2011 and (d) 2012; [145001]
(2) how many school crossing patrol officers were funded by each local authority in (a) 2009, (b) 2010, (c) 2011 and (d) 2012; [145002]
(3) what funding was given to each local authority for school crossing patrol officers in (a) 2009, (b) 2010, (c) 2011 and (d) 2012. [145003]
Stephen Hammond: The figures requested on the numbers of school crossing patrol officers and their funding are not kept centrally but individually by each borough.
Cycling
 
Mr Bradshaw: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport who his Department’s cycling champion is. [144446]
Norman Baker: I take the view that the promotion of cycling should be a matter for all Ministers all parts of the Department, rather than the responsibility resting with one individual.
Roads: Accidents
 
Robert Flello: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress he has made in establishing a cross-stakeholder group to have input into the Department Justice’s proposed review of how the criminal justice system operates when people are injured or killed on the road. [144061]
Stephen Hammond: We have established a stakeholder group to look at the criminal justice system. It comprises the Home Office, Sentencing Council, Ministry of Justice, ACPO, CPS, British Cycling, CTC, RoadPeace and the Department for Transport.
Driving Tests
 
Mr Woodward: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the average age is of people who pass the driving test and obtain a full driving licence in (a) St Helens South and Whiston constituency, (b) the North West and (c) England. [145636]
Stephen Hammond: In 2012 the average age of candidates who passed their practical car driving test and obtained full driving entitlement was:
(a) 22.5 years in St Helens South and Whiston constituency
(b) 23.3 years in the North West
(c) 23.6 years in England
Rail Value for Money Review
 
Richard Fuller: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress his Department has made in achieving the 30 per cent savings identified in the McNulty Review. [145336]
Mr Simon Burns: Network Rail is due to achieve significant efficiency savings between April 2009 (i.e. the baseline year used by McNulty) and March 2014. Its Strategic Business Plan for 2014-19, published in January 2013, sets out how it will achieve further savings over the period 2014-19. Its goal by 2019 is to close the efficiency gap against the best international comparators identified by Sir Roy McNulty.
Meanwhile, following the pause in our franchise programme, we will set out this spring our proposals for future franchise competitions that can facilitate key train operator efficiencies.
Driving Tests
 
Mark Hendrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many driving tests were carried out in languages other than English, Welsh or Scots Gaelic in 2012; which languages such tests were carried out in; and how many tests took place for each such language. [145313]
Stephen Hammond: The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) conducted 36,770 practical driving tests with a foreign language interpreter present in 2012. DSA records the presence of an interpreter but does not record the language for which the interpreter was required.
In the same year DSA conducted a total of 99,427 driving theory tests with a foreign language voice-over. The numbers of tests delivered using foreign language voice-overs, broken down by language and test type are:
Language Test type Number of tests

Albanian

Bike

1

Albanian

Car

281

Arabic

Bike

19

Arabic

Car

5160

Bengali

Bike

12

Bengali

Car

6600

Cantonese

Bike

8

Cantonese

Car

7656

Dari

Bike

1

Dari

Car

767

Farsi

Bike

57

Farsi

Car

4964

Gujurati

Bike

9

Gujurati

Car

2027

Hindi

Car

986

Kashmiri

Car

4

Kurdish

Bike

7

Kurdish

Car

6486

Mirpuri

Car

287

Polish

Bike

480

Polish

Car

12049

Portuguese

Bike

107

Portuguese

Car

2344

Punjabi

Bike

20

Punjabi

Car

8401

Pushto

Car

384

Spanish-Castilian

Bike

27

Spanish-Castilian

Car

983

Tamil

Bike

7

Tamil

Car

6409

Turkish

Bike

41

Turkish

Car

8891

Urdu

Bike

38

Urdu

Car

23914

Total

99427

In 2012, DSA also conducted a total of 2,085 driving theory tests with a foreign language translator present. The numbers of theory tests delivered with a foreign language translator present broken down by language and test type are:

Language Test type Number of tests

Bosnian

Car

1

Bulgarian

Car

24

Cantonese

Car

1

Czech

Car

2

Farsi

Car

1

French

Car

5

Hebrew

Car

16

Hungarian

Car

30

Hungarian

Bike

4

Italian

Car

1

Lithuanian

Car

301

Mandarin

Car

420

Mongolian

Car

1

Punjabi

Car

5

Romanian

Car

677

Romanian

Bike

3

Russian

Car

314

Serbian

Car

1

Slovak

Car

30

Somali

Car

201

Spanish-Castilian

Car

1

Thai

Car

17

Turkish

Car

5

Urdu

Car

21

Vietnamese

Car

3

Total

2085

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