Parliamentary Questions: 13th-16th January

Parliamentary Questions: 13th-16th January

13th January

Buses: Testing

Mr Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of MOT test requirements for buses when those vehicles are used entirely for the purpose of transporting mountain bikers up and down mountains and hills; and if he will make a statement. [182308]

Stephen Hammond: The Department has not carried out a roadworthiness review in relation to buses transporting mountain bikes as this type of operation would not fall within scope of vehicle roadworthiness testing. Buses used on public roads are expected to have a valid roadworthiness test certificate.

 

Buses: Tyres

 

Mary Creagh: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether his Department is conducting or has commissioned research on the issue of the age of tyres on buses and coaches.

 

Stephen Hammond: The Department has not undertaken research into the effect of age on the performance of tyres fitted to buses and coaches. The Department undertook a sample survey of the age of tyres currently fitted to older buses and coaches during the autumn of 2013. Officials are currently reviewing available evidence from the international community to inform the possible commissioning of future research on this subject.

 

Driving: Licensing

 

Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency has ever exercised discretion in revoking the licence held by a new driver who has accumulated six penalty points since the introduction of the Road Traffic (New Drivers) Act 1995.

 

Stephen Hammond: When the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) receives a notification of endorsement from a court or fixed penalty office of a driver who meets the criteria of the Road Traffic (New Drivers) Act 1995, a letter is produced by the DVLA informing the driver that his/her driving licence will be automatically revoked five days from the date of the letter. There is no discretion or right of appeal.

 

Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the number of new drivers that did not have their licence revoked under the provisions of the Road Traffic (New Drivers) Act 1995 following the accumulation of six penalty points in each year since that Act’s introduction; and under what circumstances each such non-revocation took place.

 

Stephen Hammond: All drivers who accumulate six or more penalty points within their two year probationary period have their driving licence automatically revoked by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) when the DVLA is notified by a court or fixed penalty office of such a driver.

 

Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport at what point a new driver who has accumulated six penalty points has his or her licence revoked.

 

Stephen Hammond: When the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) receives a notification from a court or fixed penalty office of a driver who has accumulated six penalty points in the first two years of becoming a qualified driver and so meets the criteria of the Road Traffic (New Drivers) Act 1995, a letter is produced by the DVLA informing the driver that his/her driving licence will be automatically revoked five days from the date of that letter.

 

Helicopters

Mr Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will examine in conjunction with the Civil Aviation Authority the adequacy of the existing parameters of regulation for helicopter safety.

 

Mr Goodwill: The safety of UK civil aviation is among the best in the world. Each year UK aircraft make approximately 1.15 million flights. Civil helicopter operations are subject to strict oversight and regulation to ensure the highest possible levels of safety.

The Civil Aviation Authority is currently undertaking a review of commercial civil offshore helicopter operations and there may be elements of that work that influence overall civil helicopter operations. As part of that review, the CAA will consider if there are lessons to be learned for the safety of civil helicopter operations more broadly.

 

More information is available here.

14th January

Motorways

Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether a trial of the new managed motorway all lanes running design standard will be conducted before implementation of these schemes.

 

Mr Goodwill: The Highways Agency is not undertaking a trial of the new all lane running design prior to the first scheme opening on the M25 in spring 2014.

The Agency will monitor the operation of the scheme and has agreed procedures to effectively manage this section of the network.

Smart motorways (formerly managed motorways) all lane running is a development of dynamic hard shoulder running which the Highways Agency has operated since 2006.

When the first smart motorway scheme was introduced on the M42 J3a-7 in 2006 as a pilot scheme (known then as active traffic management – ATM), the Highways Agency undertook an extensive programme of performance monitoring.

More information is available here.

 

15th January

Dual Carriageways

Sir Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport for what reasons fencing which obscures drivers’ vision is being erected near traffic islands on the central reservation of dual carriageways.

 

Mr Goodwill: Without more site specific detail we are unable to provide more information on the reasons fencing which obscures drivers’ vision is being erected near traffic islands on the central reservation of dual carriageways.

Fencing may be erected on the Strategic Road Network for different reasons depending upon the needs of the location in question. The Highways Agency produce, maintain and apply standards and guidance for the different types of fencing used on the Strategic Road Network. These standards and site specific evaluations consider the risks and benefits before works commence.

Local Highway Authorities may choose to adopt these standards for use on the local road network.

 

Railways: Cumbria

 

Mr Jamie Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what steps he plans to take to ensure that the Cumbrian Coast railway line is protected from severe storm damage;

(2) what steps he is taking to ensure that rail services in West Cumbria will be less affected by adverse weather conditions in future.

Stephen Hammond: Network Rail own and operate Britain’s rail infrastructure. Included in their plans for Control Period 5 (2014-19) is a weather mitigation strategy, to help reduce the impact of severe weather on the network.

 

Mr Jamie Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many Network Rail delay minutes have been caused by adverse weather in Cumbria in each of the last five years.

Stephen Hammond: The Department does not hold the data at this level of disaggregation. This is a matter for Network Rail.

More information is available here.

16th January

Driving: Licensing

Mr Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when the guidance from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency and the Drivers Medical Group on the process for the restoration of driving licences given to drivers contemplating voluntary surrender of licence was last revised.

Stephen Hammond: The guidance provided through information letters was last assessed and changed in April 2013. The information provided on the website was last amended in October 2012.

The letters and the website are currently being reviewed to ensure that the information contained is accurate and is helpful to customers.

 

Mr Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the accuracy and completeness of the guidance from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency to drivers contemplating voluntary surrender of driving licences.

 

Stephen Hammond: The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency is currently reviewing this information to ensure it is accurate, complete and helpful to customers.

 

Mr Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the service level agreement is between his Department and DVLA on processing times for applications to restore driving licences following temporary voluntary surrender of licence following a health-related incident.

Stephen Hammond: The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) is subject to customer service targets set by the Secretary of State for Transport.

The target for restoring a driving licence following temporary voluntary surrender is to make a decision in 90% of cases within 90 days. This allows time for the DVLA to obtain information from external medical professionals where necessary.

 

Mr Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when his Department last reviewed the effectiveness of the relationship between the Drivers Medical Group and NHS professionals in processing applications for restoration of driving licences following temporary voluntary surrender.

 

Stephen Hammond: The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) keeps all its working practices regarding the handling of medical investigations under constant review. This is done in order to minimise the time scales for reaching a licensing decision and the impact on customers.

 

Unmanned Air Vehicles

 

Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 18 December 2013, Official Report on unmanned air vehicles, whether material is collated by the Cross-Government Working Group on Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems on use of such systems by state bodies or any state bodies in UK airspace.

 

Mr Goodwill: No material has been collated to date, but two Government Departments have given presentations to the Government Working Group on Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems on how they have made use of small remotely piloted aircraft systems to assist them with collecting data to support policy in their respective areas.

 

More information is available here.

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