Parliamentary Questions: 29th April-1st May
Written Statement: Traffic Signs Consultation
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Mr Robert Goodwill): I can today inform the House that the Department for Transport has launched a public consultation on proposed changes to the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002. The consultation will close on 10 June 2014.
These proposals represent significant changes to the existing regulatory regime, arising from the recommendations of a broad range of stakeholders as part of the traffic signs policy review. The proposed changes include: reductions in sign lighting requirements; measures to help improve road user understanding, reduced sign clutter and a range of improvements for cyclists.
To supplement the consultation process. Officials have scheduled a series of industry seminars to be held around Great Britain during May.
The successor regulations will come into force in early 2015.
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Air Traffic Control: Northern Ireland
Mr Ivan Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what consultation he undertook on the content of his Department’s publication, Guidance to the Civil Aviation Authority on Environmental Objectives Relating to the Exercise of its Air Navigation Functions, published in January 2014, with Ministers in the Northern Ireland Executive.
Mr Goodwill: During the public consultation period a meeting was held between officials from the Department of Transport and the Department for Regional Development Northern Ireland where the content of the guidance was discussed. There was no specific consultation with Ministers in the Northern Ireland Executive
Karl McCartney: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he is taking to streamline provisional licences for the drivers of heavy goods vehicles.
Stephen Hammond: There are no plans to change the current process for the issue of provisional driving licences to drive heavy goods vehicles.
Hugh Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what assessment he has made of the Streets Ahead campaign by the charity Guide Dogs; what steps he is taking to reduce parking on pavements; and if he will make a statement;
(2) how many parking tickets were issued against owners of vehicles parked illegally on pavements in each of the last five years; and how many such people were prosecuted in each such year.
Mr Goodwill: In London, there is in general a ban on parking on the footway. Outside London, local authorities have wide-ranging powers to make traffic regulation orders to prohibit pavement parking on designated lengths of highway or over a wide area. The former Transport Minister, the hon. Member for Lewes (Norman Baker), wrote to local authorities in February 2011 urging them to take up these powers. Local authorities with civil parking enforcement (CPE) powers are responsible for parking enforcement, including that relating to the footway.
In addition, the Department has developed and authorised new traffic signs for local authorities to use where pavement parking is prohibited.
With regard to the number of parking tickets issued, individual local authorities are required to keep records of all penalty charge notices issued. The Department for Transport does not record this information centrally.
Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what proportion of applications made to the appeals service for parking on private land have related to parking charge notices on NHS hospital car parks; and what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Health on the issues raised in such appeals.
Mr Goodwill: I refer the hon. Member to my answer of 25 February 2014, Official Report, column 331W (UIN 188122).
Mr O’Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport in which circumstances he uses a calculation of the (a) value of preventing a fatality, (b) willingness to pay and (c) cost-per-quality adjusted life year approach to quantify the value of a policy intervention; what other tools he uses to quantify the benefit of a policy intervention; and if he will make a statement.
Mr Goodwill: The Green Book and associated supplementary guidance is publicly available on the Treasury website. It sets out a range of approaches and methods that may be appropriate in a number of different appraisal circumstances.
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Written Statement: Highways Agency
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Mr Robert Goodwill): In October 2013 the Government began a period of public consultation on proposals for transforming the Highways Agency into a Government-owned company.
Today I am publishing the Government’s response to this consultation. This document summarises the main views and issues raised by respondents on the consultation questions and explains the Government’s final decisions made as a result of the views provided.
Following the broadly positive response to most of the proposals we consulted on, today’s publication confirms our intention to:
Set up the Highways Agency as a Government-owned strategic highways company—with the legal powers and duties to manage and run the roads, appointed by licence from the Secretary of State for Transport which sets clear conditions about how the company must act.
Put in place a robust system of governance for this company—giving the road operator the flexibility needed to operate, manage and enhance the strategic road network effectively, while ensuring clear accountability to the Secretary of State, Parliament and road users. We intend to make drafts of the governance documentation, including licence, the framework agreement and the articles of association, available over the summer to support the legislative process.
Establish—for the first time—a “road investment strategy” which will detail the performance standards the company will achieve and an investment programme it will deliver over the next five years. We will publish this before the end of the year.
Set up new, discrete units within Passenger Focus and the Office of Rail Regulation—to represent the interests of all those who use and rely upon the strategic road network, and to monitor the efficiency and performance of the company.
This change represents a clear break from short-term thinking and the stop-start culture that has characterised the sector in the past, enabling the operator to deliver the biggest ever upgrade of our road network while saving the taxpayer at least £2.6 billion over 10 years.
It will put in place the structures, commitments and relationships to support a more ambitious infrastructure programme, and allow the strategic highways company to operate more like the best-performing infrastructure companies in other sectors. It will allow Government to adopt a more strategic role in managing the road network, meaning those running the roads day to day can be better held to account for the services they deliver, ensuring that the roads are run responsibly and in the public interest.
We believe these reforms will deliver significant benefits to road users and to the country as a whole, including:
a longer term investment programme, which is vital for the many companies who help plan, build and maintain our roads who can start thinking about the skills and equipment needed well in advance;
enabling delivery of national road infrastructure fit for the 21st century, to support jobs and growth up and down the country;
providing road users with a better quality service;
driving down the cost of improvements;
creating a more transparent system with clearer accountability;
ensuring effective scrutiny and a stronger voice for road users.
Transforming the Highways Agency is an essential component of success in delivering these benefits. It will give the road operator the ability to develop a more business-like approach, attract and retain skilled staff and to deliver more efficiently—as proposed by Alan Cook in his 2011 review.
Taken together, these reforms will provide a strong, certain framework for managing our roads. It will strengthen accountability, drive efficiency and increase transparency. It will also create far more certain conditions for investment, enabling the supply chain to gear up for the Government’s ambitious plans for the future. This will support the economy, promote jobs and skills and ultimately transform the quality of our national infrastructure. We look to move to the new model with minimal disruption.
A copy of the Government’s response to the consultation will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses. The document is available at:
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Cycling: Greater London
Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Newport West of 9 April 2014, Official Report, column 231W, on cycling: Greater London, how many (a) men and (b) women cyclists’ in London suffered (i) fatal and (ii) serious injuries in each of the last 10 years. 
Mr Goodwill: The numbers of reported (a) fatal and (b) seriously injured male and female cyclist casualties in Greater London for each of the last 10 years are shown in the table below.
|Reported fatal and seriously injured cyclists by gender, Greater London 2003-2012|
|Number of casualties|
Data for 2013 will be available in June 2014.
Driving Under Influence: Drugs
Dr Huppert: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he is taking to ensure that (a) patients, (b) healthcare professionals and (c) the general public understand the new drug driving offence.
Mr Goodwill: Paragraphs 10.2 and 10.3 of the summary of the responses to the consultation on the proposed drugs and their limits sets out the steps the Department proposes to take in communicating the new drug driving offence. The summary is available at:
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Written Statement: Ultra-Low Emission Vehicles
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Mr Robert Goodwill): I am pleased to inform the House that my right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister has announced today the key elements of a comprehensive package of measures to support ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs) between 2015 and 2020. This follows the announcement by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the 2013 spending round that the Government will make £500 million available to support ULEVs in this period.
The outline package of measures confirms the UK Government’s strong commitment to making the UK a premier location for the design, manufacture and adoption of ULEVs. It aims to provide a long-term, stable and comprehensive policy framework backed by a significant funding commitment. The package gives certainty on grant support for consumer incentives, provides funding for vital infrastructure, recognises the importance of other vehicle sectors including buses, taxis and HGVs and provides guaranteed funding for ULEV-specific R and D. It also encourages innovative measures from cities to turn their areas into exemplars for ULEV take-up.
Key elements include:
At least £200 million for the continuation of the plug-in car grant, with the grant cap remaining at £5,000 per car until a review in 2017, or the first 50,000 vehicles, whichever is the sooner;
£100 million for ULEV-specific R and D;
£35 million for a new city scheme competition, to support flagship cities in introducing innovative local measures;
£20 million for ULEV taxis;
£30 million for low-emission buses;
£32 million for infrastructure including rapid chargers;
£31 million for other ULEV types including vans; and
£4 million for HGV gas refuelling infrastructure.
I can confirm that the Government are also seeking to adopt a flexible approach. Not all the £500 million funding is allocated here, and minimum allocations are given which could be extended to reflect market conditions. Many elements of the package, including the consumer incentives, are also subject to securing the necessary state aid approvals from Europe.
More information on the package can be found at, www.gov.uk/olev and further detail will be made available by autumn 2014.
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Infrastructure: North West
Mark Hendrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much the Government invested in highway and infrastructure construction in the North West in (a) 2010, (b) 2011, (c) 2012 and (d) 2013.
Stephen Hammond: HM Treasury’s ‘Country and Regional Analysis November 2013’ states that identifiable public capital expenditure on transport in the North West of England was: 2009-10 £1,229 million, 2010-11 £1,268 million, 2011-12 £1,261 million, 2012-13 £1,257 million.