Parliamentary Questions: 30th June-3rd July

Parliamentary Questions: 30th June-3rd July

3rd July

 

Debate

Tour de France

Hugh Bayley (York Central) (Lab): What long-term cycling legacy he expects from the Tour de France grand départ in Yorkshire.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (Mrs Helen Grant): There has been a strong legacy of cycling from the London 2012 games and I am sure that the grand départ in Yorkshire will inspire cycling across the region and the UK as a whole.

Hugh Bayley: I sincerely hope so. I know the Minister will join me in congratulating City of York council and the other local authorities involved, along with the cycling organisations, on all the preparations they have made for the race. In terms of public participation, cycling is the third most popular sport in the country. The biggest single disincentive for cyclists is the state of the roads and the danger. Will her Department set up a joint initiative with the Department for Transport to improve road safety and so get more people on their bikes and cycling?

Mrs Grant: I think that the Tour de France grand départ will be a tremendous success. All plans are on track, and I join the hon. Gentleman in thanking all those involved in the preparations—the teams in Yorkshire, Essex, London and Cambridge. It will be an amazing highlight for the year and one we will never forget. I am happy to have a chat with him about his suggestion. Thank you.

Mr Speaker: We are uncharacteristically ahead of schedule today, but as all the principals are present we should now proceed straight away to topical questions.

 

Written Answers

Rescue Services: Liverpool

Katy Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many times the Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre at Liverpool was staffed at below risk-assessed levels in (a) April 2014 and (b) May 2014.

Stephen Hammond: Liverpool Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) was staffed below risk assessed levels during:

(a) April 2014—30 occasions out of 60 shifts

(b) May 2014—six occasions out of 62 shifts

Where there are specific issues at a MRCC Her Majesty’s Coastguard is using the current long established pairing arrangements between MRCCs. This enables each MRCC to be connected to at least one other MRCC which is available to provide mutual support.

The information is accessible from the parliamentary website.

 

1st July

Motorways: Accidents

Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what investigation his Department plans to undertake into the causes of the increase in motorway deaths from 2012 to 2013.

Mr Goodwill: The Highways Agency will be undertaking a review of the recently published data for 2013 to identify any trends or causation factors that may help to determine what improvements can be made to reduce deaths on the agency’s motorway network in England. Motorways in Scotland and Wales are a devolved matter and not for the Department for Transport to lead on.

 

Rescue Services

Mr Arbuthnot: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether his Department took over responsibility for long-range search and rescue at sea when the Ministry of Defence abandoned its acquisition of Nimrod aircraft.

Stephen Hammond: The Department for Transport and its predecessor organisations have held the responsibility for maritime and civil aeronautical search and rescue since the Convention for International Civil Aviation and the International Maritime Search and Rescue Convention came into force in 1944 and 1979 respectively. The Department for Transport will work closely with other Government Departments on search and rescue matters where it is appropriate to do so.

Mr Arbuthnot: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when his Department intends to acquire aircraft to carry out long range search and rescue at sea; and if he will make a statement.

Stephen Hammond: The Department for Transport uses its own search and rescue helicopters and those of the military to provide search and rescue today. The Department for Transport will also draw upon other resources including other military assets and assets from neighbouring states under long established arrangements for international cooperation. The Convention of the High Seas also enables the Department to divert merchant ships to provide assistance to those in distress where it is reasonable to do so.

Mr Arbuthnot: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his Department’s responsibility is for long range search and rescue at sea.

Stephen Hammond: The UK’s responsibilities for search and rescue are set out in Annex 12 of the Convention on International Civil Aviation and the Maritime Search and Rescue Convention. The Convention of the High Seas and the International Convention on the Safety of Life at Sea are also relevant. All four Conventions ask that the Department for Transport establish arrangements for search and rescue in the United Kingdom’s Search and Rescue Region and formalises international co-operation with neighbouring states by agreeing common response plans and the sharing of resources. The Conventions also compel ships’ masters to render assistance to those in distress at sea. The UK’s responsibility for search and rescue responsibilities extends out to 30º west in latitude and covers some 1 million square miles. The Department for Transport discharges this responsibility on behalf of the Government.

 

30th June

Driving Licensing

Mr Denham: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many drivers who have provided the necessary medical evidence are waiting to have their driving licence restored following temporary suspension for medical reasons.

Stephen Hammond: The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency does not temporarily suspend driving licences. Drivers may have their licence revoked or choose to surrender their licence voluntarily if their medical condition affects their fitness to drive.

Customers applying in these circumstances are not easily identifiable. An estimate based on information available suggests around 9,000 applicants who have produced the necessary medical evidence are awaiting assessment. Once a decision has been made to re-issue the licence this is done immediately.

Mr Denham: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how long drivers who have produced the necessary medical evidence have waited before their licence is restored following suspension for medical reasons.

Stephen Hammond: The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency does not temporarily suspend driving licences. Drivers may have their licence revoked or choose to surrender their licence voluntarily if their medical condition affects their fitness to drive.

On average, drivers who have produced the necessary medical evidence following revocation wait eight weeks before their licence is restored.

Mr Denham: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the longest period waited was on the receipt of the necessary medical evidence, to restore a driving licence for those drivers who have temporarily had their licence suspended for medical reasons in the latest period for which figures are available.

Stephen Hammond: The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency does not temporarily suspend driving licences. Drivers may have their licence revoked or choose to surrender their licence voluntarily if their medical condition affects their fitness to drive.

Each case must be fully assessed before determining whether sufficient medical evidence has been supplied. More information is needed in some cases and may involve detailed consultation with medical professionals.

Figures are not routinely kept of the amount of time an applicant may wait in these circumstances. An exercise in February 2014 suggested some customers may have waited up to 20 weeks. Once a decision has been made to re-issue the licence this is done immediately.

Information available on the parliamentary website.

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