PQs 4th – 7th March

Cycling: Accidents
Andrea Leadsom: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the rise in cyclist casualties in the third quarter of 2012 compared to the same period in 2011; and what plans he has to address that issue. [146245]
Norman Baker: We take cycle safety very seriously and we are working hard to reduce the number of cyclist casualties. The rise in the number of cyclists seriously injured may be, at least in part, due to the increase in cycling we have seen in recent years and we will continue to progress initiatives to improve cycle safety.
We have announced £107 million additional investment in cycling infrastructure over the last year including £35 million to tackle dangerous junctions for cyclists across the country. We launched a THINK! Cycle safety campaign last September and have also made it simpler for councils to put in place 20 mph zones and limits and install Trixi mirrors to improve the visibility of cyclists at junctions.
Cycling: Accidents
Mr Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what information his Department holds on (a) the number of pedal cyclist casualties attributable to the opening of a vehicle door in (i) 2009, (ii) 2010 and (iii) 2011 and (b) the severity of the injuries received in each case. [145360]
Stephen Hammond: The numbers of pedal cyclists injured, by severity, in reported personal injury road accidents in Great Britain, as a result of hitting an open door of a vehicle, or as a result of a vehicle door being opened or closed negligently (e.g. injured due to evasive action), for the last three years are:
Casualties
Severity200920102011
Killed 011
Serious557792
Slight413449501
Motor Vehicles: Insurance
Mr Woodward: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent discussions he (a) has had and (b) plans to have with (i) insurers and (ii) young people to develop proposals to make car insurance affordable for young drivers. [145635]
Stephen Hammond: The Secretary of State for Transport, my right hon. Friend the Member for Derbyshire Dales (Mr McLoughlin), and I regularly meet insurers to discuss road safety which includes how we can make car insurance more affordable for young drivers. My officials also meet representatives from the insurance industry regularly. We have arranged an insurance summit on 25 March with interested partners to discuss young driver safety and insurance.
Mr Ward: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he has taken to follow-up on the Insurance Summit held at Downing street in 2012. [146532]
Stephen Hammond: The previous Secretary of State for Transport, my right hon. Friend the Member for Putney (Justine Greening), hosted a follow-up summit on 2 May 2012.
Consequently we are considering several options to reduce the risk of young drivers and in-turn their premiums.
The Ministry of Justice consultation on whiplash, which closes on 8 March, builds upon the significant reforms to no win no fee conditional fee agreements contained in Lord Justice Jackson’s Review of Civil Litigation Costs.
We have arranged another summit on 25 March.
Motorways: Lighting
 
Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what his Department’s policy is on the section of defective motorway lighting columns on the M60 from the River Tame in Denton to Junction 23 in Audenshaw; and if he will make a statement; [145832]
(2) what his Department’s policy is on the section of defective motorway lighting columns on the M67 from Junction 1 to the River Tame in Denton; and if he will make a statement; [145833]
(3) what his Department’s policy is on the section of defective motorway lighting columns at the M60/M67/A57 roundabout at Junction 24 in Denton; and if he will make a statement. [145834]
Stephen Hammond: The Highways Agency’s policy is to manage and maintain road lighting to a defined level. The performance requirements in the agency’s maintenance contracts recognise that there will be lighting failures and not all lighting units will be lit at the same time. If the lighting falls below the defined level, the contractor is required to rectify the situation within seven days, unless the cause of the fault is such that fault rectification requires substantial remedial works needing extensive planning and scheduling.
The lighting at Junction 24 of the M60 was inspected on 25 January 2013 and again on 22 February 2013. Work to repair the inoperative lighting units is planned for the last week in March 2013.
The lighting along the M60 between Junctions 23 and 25 was last inspected on 15 February 2013, and failed equipment replaced during the visit. However, the repairs to some lighting units proved unsuccessful and require further investigations, which will soon take place.
The lighting along the M67 between Junction 1 and the River Tame, was inspected on 25 January 2013 and again on 22 February 2013. 73 lighting units were found to be inoperative. From these inspections a cable fault has been identified as the root cause of the problem. Further investigations are required to identify a way forward, and the Highways Agency will now programme this work.
I have asked the Highways Agency to inform you of the results of its investigations once they have been completed. A copy of the letter will be placed in the Libraries of the House.
Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his Department’s policy is on the section of defective lighting units at Oldham street/M67 underpass in Denton; and if he will make a statement. [145835]
Stephen Hammond: The Highways Agency has recently reached an agreement, in principle, with Tameside metropolitan borough council, in respect of their respective maintenance responsibilities, for the fours pairs of lighting units in the underpass beneath the M67 motorway at Oldham street, Denton. This agreement will remove the uncertainty about ownership of and responsibility for lighting the underpass.
The Highways Agency has agreed to repair the defective lighting in the underpass within the next two weeks and is working with the council to develop a new lighting scheme at this location. The council has agreed, in principle, to assume full responsibility for the lighting in the underpass upon completion of the scheme.
Office of Rail Regulation
Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects to publish proposals for reforming the role of the Rail Regulator referenced in his Department’s Business Plan as being due for publication by July 2012. [146105]
Mr Simon Burns: The Government and the Office of Rail Regulation intend to publish our joint plans for reforming the role of the regulator shortly.
Transport
 
Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects to publish the transport strategy according to his Department’s Business Plan due for publication by December 2012. [146104]
Mr McLoughlin: As indicated on the No. 10 transparency website we plan to publish the Transport Strategy in 2013.
Driving Under Influence: Drugs
Fabian Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what assessment he has made of the potential effect of legislative proposals on drug driving on the ability of patients taking long-term prescription medication to manage chronic pain to drive on a regular basis; and if he will make a statement; [142302]
(2) what assessment his Department has made of the statutory defence included in proposed drug driving legislation relating to drivers who have taken medicines containing specified controlled drugs in accordance with medical advice; and if he will make a statement. [142275]
Stephen Hammond: I refer the hon. Member to the written ministerial statement I made on drug driving on 7 March 2013.
Mr Hanson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport with reference to clause 37 of the Crime and Courts Bill, (1) when he expects to receive the report of the advisory panel of experts on the (a) level and (b) type of drug required to be in the bloodstream, [142877]
(2) when he expects to receive the report on the advisory panel of experts regarding the (a) level of and (b) type of drug in blood in relation to the proposal in clause 37 of the Crime and Courts Bill. [143224]
Stephen Hammond: I refer the right hon. Member to the written ministerial statement I made on drug driving on 7 March 2013.
Mrs Riordan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what meetings (a) he, (b) his Ministers and (c) officials of his Department have had with other Departments to discuss the effect of proposed drug driving legislation on patients taking prescribed medication to manage chronic pain. [144018]
Stephen Hammond: Ministers and officials regularly meet with the Home Office, Ministry of Justice and Department of Health to discuss the effect of proposed drug driving legislation on patients taking medication. This issue was also recently discussed at the Inter Ministerial Group on Drugs on 10 January 2013, which comprises all the key Government Departments responsible for implementing the drug strategy.
Sentencing
Mr Hanson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will publish an estimate of the number of people who will serve (a) community sentences and (b) custodial sentences under clause 37 of the Crime and Courts Bill in the event of that Bill receiving Royal Assent. [142876]
Stephen Hammond: In undertaking the impact assessment for the new offence of drug driving we estimate that each year approximately (a) 1,694 people will receive a community order sentence and (b) 279 people will serve a custodial sentence once the provisions are in force.
Cyclists: Speed Limits
 
Question
Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Attlee on 13 February (WA 169), whether cyclists are subject to 20 miles per hour speed limits; and, if so, what penalties are available for cyclists who break the limit.[HL5730]
Earl Attlee: Cyclists are not subject to the general prohibition on exceeding the maximum speed limit on the road.
Transport: Heavy Goods Vehicles
 
Question
Asked by Lord Vinson
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the 40 miles per hour speed limit for heavy goods vehicles on the number of overtaking accidents.[HL5710]
Earl Attlee: On 9 November 2012, the Department for Transport published a consultation to examine proposals for raising the speed limit for heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) over 7.5 tonnes on single carriageway roads.
An impact assessment and related research report were published alongside the consultation. They identified how many fatalities could be prevented if dangerous overtaking manoeuvres were reduced. However the information used in accident statistics identified only some of the incidents involving motorists overtaking HGVs, so the estimate covers only part of the problem.
The consultation asked for views, and evidence, on whether among other things, the current 40 mph speed limit causes congestion or avoidable overtaking collisions.
The consultation closed on 1 February 2013. We will carefully consider the responses received and evidence presented before publishing a response report.
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