Parliamentary Questions: 31st March-3rd April
Road Traffic Control: Motorways
Dr McCrea: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what commercial products his Department or the Highways Agency has mandated for use in road traffic management on the motorway network in the last 10 years.
Mr Goodwill: There are no products used by the Highways Agency which have been mandated in terms of what is used for road traffic management. These products are used by staff and contractors for the Highways Agency and such items are procured using a specification via a tender arrangement and not directed by the Department for Transport, or Ministers.
Dr McCrea: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress his Department and the Highways Agency have made in delivering the Government’s small and medium-sized enterprise procurement policy in road traffic management on the motorway network since 2010; what goods and services have been procured from which companies; at what cost; and what processes were used for the procurement of those goods and services.
Mr Goodwill: The Highways Agency has made the following progress in supporting the Department in delivering Government small and medium enterprises (SME) procurement policy:
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Roads: Repairs and Maintenance
Dr McCrea: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps his Department and the Highways Agency are taking to reduce the risk of death or serious injury to road workers on the motorway network.
Mr Goodwill: As part of its Aiming for Zero safety programme, the Highways Agency established a Road Worker Safety programme designed to reduce risk exposure to road workers, a particular focus of which is to reduce the incidences of carriageway crossing by road workers. Within this programme, a number of projects have been commissioned to test simplifications and other changes to temporary traffic management arrangements to reduce road worker exposure to live traffic while maintaining standards of safety for road users. Some of these projects have been completed already; for example Signs Simplification, implemented December 2011, and Offside Signs Removal techniques, implemented November 2012.
The introduction of these innovative changes has already enabled a very substantial reduction in the number of carriageway crossings, leading to a proportionate reduction in road worker risk exposure. In March 2014 the Highways Agency published further guidance on the Offside Signs Removal technique, allowing it to be used to close a four lane carriageway. The Highways Agency is continuing to work with its supply chain to take forward further projects within this programme with the aim of further reducing road worker risk.
Stephen Barclay: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent estimate his Department has made of the cost per mile of building cycle lanes; and what steps he is taking to reduce this cost in rural areas.
Mr Goodwill: The Department does not estimate the cost per mile of building cycle lanes. Cycling infrastructure varies in design and cost due to the location and scheme design. The provision of cycling facilities is a matter for local authorities and as such they are best placed to determine the spend per mile for building cycle lanes. The Department does provide best practice information in cycle infrastructure design through its publication “Cycle infrastructure Design” (Local Transport Note 2/08). The Department encourages local authorities, both in urban and rural areas, to obtain best value in the provision of highways infrastructure.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he plans to take to relieve congestion on roads.
Mr Goodwill: This Government is committed to investing in infrastructure to reduce traffic congestion. This means spending £24 billion on strategic roads over this and the next Parliament, and accelerating the pace of delivery so that people affected see a difference more quickly.
This includes a £500 million programme of pinch point schemes specifically targeted at tackling congestion on both the strategic and local road network, and a further £800 million being invested in 25 local major road schemes.
We have previously announced £183.5 million for road repairs following the severe weather this winter and in the recent Budget, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, my right hon. Friend the Member for Tatton (Mr Osborne), announced a further £200 million funding for pothole repairs. Of this, £168 million will assist councils in England, with the remaining £32 million allocated to the devolved administrations.
Roads: Repairs and Maintenance
Robert Halfon: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much money has been spent on repairing potholes in (a)Harlow and (b) Essex since 2004.
Mr Goodwill: The Department for Transport provides capital funding to local highway authorities, including Essex county council, from the local highways maintenance capital block grant. Harlow falls within Essex county council’s area of responsibility and therefore we do not allocate any funds directly to the borough council for road maintenance.
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Driving: Young People
Andrea Leadsom: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he plans to announce the findings of the Green Paper on improving the safety and reducing risks to young drivers.
Mr Goodwill: The safety of young people on our roads is very important to us. Too many young people die, too often; we are wrestling with how to make things safer, while not unduly restricting the freedom of our young people. We want young people to be able to get to work and training, to education and to leisure activities, and we want them to do so safely. We are finding this a difficult balance, with passionate voices on both sides.
On 27 January 2014, we held a meeting with the insurance industry and agreed the Department would commission new research into how telematics can change the behaviour and attitudes of learner drivers. We look forward to insurance companies sharing their data so that we can undertake this research.
We are also in the process of undertaking some focus groups with parents, young people and employers to get a better understanding of the issues from their perspective.
Mr Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent estimate he has made of the number of schools that undertake cycling training; whether his Department provides information to schools on the wearing of cycle helmets by children; and if he will take steps to ensure that a Travel to School Policy becomes compulsory for all local education authorities in relation to schoolchildren and safety.
Mr Goodwill: The Department for Transport provides funding for the delivery of Bikeability cycle training in England. Currently approximately 8,177 schools take part in training delivered by either their Local Highway Authority or School Games Organiser Host School.
Bikeability courses include discussions on helmets during the equipment check. Those wearing helmets are taught how to fit and adjust them correctly and there are also wider discussions on safety equipment and what to wear.
The Department for Education expects local authorities to meet its Home to School Transport Duties which includes ensuring safe walking routes and sustainable local travel. There are no plans to change the legislation or the policies that underpin this.