M42: Road Traffic Control
Mr Leech: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the effect of the operation of active traffic management between junctions 3a and 7 of the M42 on (a) the number of crashes and injuries, (b) levels of vehicle emissions, (c) average speeds of vehicles and (d) vehicle capacity in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Mike Penning: An assessment of the benefits of active traffic management (ATM) between junctions 3A and 7 of the M42 was made following twelve months of operation of hard shoulder running (HSR). This assessment showed that:
(a) The average number of personal injury accidents (PIAs) reduced from 5.08 per month before the implementation of ATM to 1.83 per month following the introduction of HSR. The average number of casualties reduced from 8.48 per month before the implementation of ATM to 4.00 per month following the introduction of HSR.
(b) The effect of ATM on emissions from all vehicles was:
Carbon monoxide (CO) -4%
Particulate Matter (PM) -10%
Hydrocarbons (HC) +3%
Carbon-dioxide (CO2) -4%
Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx) -5%
Fuel consumption -4%
(c) When HSR was operated at 50mph the average traffic speed was 49mph. When HSR was subsequently operated at 60mph the average traffic speed increased by 5 mph compared with HSR at 50mph.
(d) The operation of HSR on the M42 ATM section increased the observed capacity of the motorway by an average of 7% compared to conditions before the implementation of ATM.
Motorways: Road Traffic Control
Mr Leech: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what changes in the specification for Active Traffic Management (ATM) have been proposed for future use of ATM on the motorway network; and if he will publish the report on the basis of which such changes were made. 
Mike Penning: The Highways Agency is considering the design of Active Traffic Management (ATM) in view of the experience gained from operating the pilot section on the M42. This includes what reduction can be made in the provision of gantries, signing, emergency refuge areas and signalling which will reduce costs but maintains the level of safety.
The M42 ATM pilot operation of a Managed Motorway has shown that opening the hard shoulder to peak time traffic, with speed limit controls in place, improves reliability and reduces the number of accidents. The Highways Agency has demonstrated that Managed Motorways can deliver a substantial proportion of the benefits of conventional road-widening solutions, while securing cost savings of 40%, and the agency is aiming to increase these savings still further by driving efficiencies in how it specifies and deliver projects, encouraging the introduction of standardised solutions.
The evidence base drawn together so far through the experience gained from operating the M42 pilot and sections on the Birmingham Box, has enabled more cost-effective designs to be introduced for future schemes. The agency has shown that it can operate hard shoulder running at 60 mph, and extend the distances between gantries and emergency refuge areas, without adversely affecting the operation of the road or the safety of the road user.
PACTS comments: Active Traffic Management on the M42 has allowed motorists to drive on the hard shoulder at peak times. The analysis of this scheme, details of which appear in the response to Mr Leech’s first question, show that it reduced emissions and increased capacity without any negative impact on safety. Indeed accidents rates actually fell during the first year. The challenge will be to ensure that these reductions are maintained over a full three year period.
These results are very significant and indicate the potential of ATM to be used throughout the UK and beyond. PACTS recommends that future schemes are carefully monitored in order to ensure that they too present the same benefits and that safety is not compromised at any point.
While this Parliamentary Question has given a good deal of information, it is a pity that Mr Penning did not offer to place a copy of the evidence base in the House of Commons library.
Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate his Department has made of the number of persons who habitually travelled to a place of work in (a) England, (b) the East Midlands and (c)Leicestershire by (i) train, (ii) car and (iii) bus in each of the last five years. 
Norman Baker: The requested statistics for England and the East Midlands are shown in the table. These are estimates taken from the Labour Force Survey, which includes questions on mode of travel to work during a three-month period (October to December) in each year.
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|October to December|
|Area/Mode of travel||2005||2006||2007||2008||2009|
|(1) Includes railway trains but excludes underground train and light railway or tram. (2 )Includes car, van, minibus and works van. (3) Includes bus, coach and private bus. (4 )Data are not shown due to the estimate falling below the LFS minimum threshold of 10 thousand. Source: ONS Labour Force Survey (LFS).|
PACTS comments: The figures in this table are interesting, as we can see the use of cars and buses to travel to work in England peaked in 2007, decreasing in following years. Likewise the use of trains decreased in 2009.
A closer analysis would be necessary to fully understand the implications of the figures. Factors influencing the use of train, car and buses as travel modes could include:
– increased use of underground trains, light railways or trams
– increased cycling and walking
– the UK rate of unemployment slowly increasing since February 2008
– employers introducing more flexible working patterns, including working from home
Electric Vehicles: Local Government
Mr Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps his Department is taking to increase the number of electric vehicles used by local authorities in (a) England, (b) the West Midlands and (c) Coventry. 
Norman Baker: The Government are committed to supporting the uptake of electric vehicles in the UK. The Secretary of State has recently announced provision of over £400 million to support measures promoting their use and which will be used for consumer incentives, open to all consumers including local authorities, infrastructure and research and development.
Coventry is part of a Midlands bid for funding under the second wave of the Government’s Plugged-In Places scheme. The winning bids will be announced shortly.
Under the Government funded Low Carbon Vehicle Public Procurement Programme, over 285 vehicles (85 cars and 200 vans) will be bought for use in public fleets of these 41 vans and four cars are for use in the Coventry area.
The Clean Vehicles Directive (2009/33/EC) requires public authorities and utilities to take into account the environmental impacts, when procuring road vehicles. Guidance on this Directive will be issued to all local authorities.
Motor Vehicles: Exhaust Emissions
Justin Tomlinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he is taking to encourage uptake of low-emission vehicles. 
Norman Baker: The spending review announced provision of over £400 million for measures promoting the uptake of ultra-low emission vehicle technologies. These measures include:
Support for consumer incentives for electric and other ultra-low emission cars throughout the life of this Parliament. The Secretary of State for Transport has already announced details of the Plug-In Car Grant, which will reduce the upfront cost of eligible cars by 25%, capped at £5,000. Available across the UK, the scheme will be open to both private consumers and business buyers. We will continue to monitor the most effective way to deliver support for consumer incentives, with the first review of the Plug-In Car Grant taking place in 2012.
Continued investment in electric vehicle recharging infrastructure through the ‘Plugged-in Places’ scheme. The Government are committed to mandating a national recharging network for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. Data derived from the Plugged-in Places programme will inform the design of a national network.
Further investment in research and development activities supporting this next generation of vehicle technologies.
We regard promotion of low-emission vehicles as important to achieve our carbon-reduction targets.
Electric Vehicles: Retail Trade
Stephen Phillips: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions he has had with distribution network operators on the provision of electricity to retail outlets providing charging points for electric cars. 
Norman Baker: Officials from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles have met with distribution network operators (DNOs) as part of the Plugged-In Places scheme and will continue to do so as the Government develops their strategy for the installation of electric vehicle infrastructure. The Plugged-In Places scheme offers match-funding to support the cost of installing a critical mass of electric vehicle charging infrastructure in lead places across the UK; at home, at work, in public areas (such as car parks or on street) and at retail sites.
PACTS comments: This week the Department for Transport announced details of eco-friendly car grants, which will be available from 1st January 2011. As PACTS commented in November, the impact on safety of a vehicle fleet which includes more electric vehicles has yet to be seen. While electric vehicles could be lighter and safer for vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists, we must also consider the danger of nearly-silent vehicles and the possibility of electric vehicle drivers becoming vulnerable road users themselves.
PACTS will discuss this issue with experts at its Vehicle Design Working Party in January.
Other Written Answers:
Cycling: Greater London
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Norman Baker: I welcome the positive impact that the cycle hire scheme has had on journey patterns in central London and the environmental benefits that have accrued. However, I do not intend to issue guidance to local authorities. It is a matter for local authorities to decide whether to introduce a cycle hire scheme in their local area taking into account issues such as their current levels of cycling, cycling infrastructure, current patterns of public transport use and other factors.
Mike Penning: Although there are no requirements to have or use a bell on a bicycle while it is in use, bells must by law be supplied with all new bicycles at the point of sale. In addition, rule 66 of the Highway Code recommends the fitting and use of cycle bells. Failure to observe any of the code’s provisions may be used in evidence at legal proceedings.
Matthew Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 2 December 2010,Official Report, column 920W, if he will estimate the average number of (a) fatalities, (b) injuries and (c)personal injury road accidents per mile of the A1307 between the A143 Wratting Road, Haverhill junction and the A603 Lensfield Road, Cambridge junction in each year since 1996. 
Mike Penning: The estimated rate of (a) fatalities, (b) injuries and (c) personal injury road accidents per mile on the 18 mile stretch of road on the A1307 between the A143 Wratting Road Haverhill junction and the A603 Lensfield Road Cambridge junction in each year since 1996 is given in the following table:
rate per mile
|(1) Serious and slight injuries|
Roads: Snow and Ice
Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will estimate the amount spent by the Highways Agency on (a) grit, (b) salt and (c) potash from (i) domestic and (ii) overseas producers in each of the last five years. 
Mike Penning: Grit and potash are not used for routine winter service on Highways Agency roads, generally referred to as the strategic road network.
The Highways Agency’s routine and winter service is delivered by its contracted service providers. The delivery of these services, including the purchase and application of salt, is paid for within lump sum payments covering a range of defined activities. The amount spent on the purchase of salt is not readily discernable from the service delivery lump sum payments and cannot therefore be provided.
Annual salt usage for the strategic road network varies greatly according to the weather experienced, typically ranging from 150,000 to 300,000 tonnes/annum, at an average cost of salt from domestic suppliers of approximately £25/tonne.
The 2009-10 winter season was the first time that significant supplies had been purchased from overseas suppliers. Detailed usage and cost information for each year is not available for the same reasons given for the purchase of salt from domestic suppliers.
Roads: Snow and Ice
John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he last updated the guidance provided by his Department to local authorities on winter resilience. 
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Norman Baker [holding answer 3 December 2010]: In response to David Quarmby’s final report on Winter Resilience, published in October 2010, the Department for Transport worked with the UK Roads Liaison Group to develop guidance to help local highway authorities to improve their winter service. The guidance, published on 3 November 2010, focuses on the planning, preparation and effective use of salt stocks and other resources, and is available to download at:
The Secretaries of State for Transport and Communities and Local Government jointly wrote to the leaders of all English local authorities on 12 November drawing their attention to this guidance and the other recommendations from David Quarmby’s independent review.
John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) which local highway authorities have fewer than 48 runs of salt capacity; 
(2) whether he plans to convene the Salt Cell in response to the weather in November and December 2010; 
(3) if he will assess the ability of (a) local highway authorities and (b) the Highways Authority to keep key roads open in the event of a prolonged period of severe winter weather. 
Norman Baker [holding answer 6 December 2010]: The independent review on winter resilience led by David Quarmby CBE published its report in October 2010. The report made a number of recommendations both for the Government, local highway authorities and others.
One of the recommendations was for a benchmark of 12 days (48 runs) pre-season salt stockholding to be adopted for local highway authorities. It was recognised by the Review that some authorities would not be able to implement this recommendation in the short term, but in these cases they should carefully review their salt usage history and consider further action if necessary, such as increasing capacity or mutual aid arrangements with neighbouring authorities.
To bolster national resilience, for the first time the Highways Agency is putting in place a 250,000 tonne national strategic reserve of last resort, available to support local authority operators as necessary, along with a further 60,000 tonnes as its own reserve. So overall, we are better prepared than last year should the recent bad weather re-occur.
However, we are not complacent. The Department has arrangements in place for regular monitoring of salt stocks, so that we can identify risks early on and take any further action, including initiating Salt Cell should the need arise.
Given that much of the country has been hit unusually early this winter by severe weather, the Secretary of State has asked David Quarmby to take the opportunity to conduct an urgent audit of highway authorities’ and transport operators’ recent performance in England, their progress in implementing his recommendations and any further steps that need to be taken.
Roads: Snow and Ice
John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether the Highways Agency plans to import salt from overseas to meet winter demands for road salt; and if he will make a statement. 
Mike Penning [holding answer 3 December 2010]: As a result of the Independent Winter Resilience review led by David Quarmby, which delivered its final report in October 2010, the Highways Agency is importing a national reserve of 250,000 tonnes of salt. In addition, following its own internal review, the Highways Agency is importing a reserve of a further 60,000 tonnes of salt, over and above its planned operational requirements for its own purposes.
The Secretary of State for Transport (Mr Hammond) and the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (Mr Pickles) wrote on 12 November to the leaders of all English local authorities. This letter advised on the measures the Government have taken to implement the recommendations following David Quarmby’s independent review on Winter Resilience, published in October 2010. The letter also drew attention to the recommendations in the review panel’s report which were addressed to local authorities.
Given that much of the country is being hit unusually early this winter by severe weather, the Secretary of State for Transport has asked David Quarmby to take the opportunity to conduct an urgent audit of highway authorities’ and transport operators’ recent performance in England, their progress in implementing his recommendations and any further steps that need to be taken.
John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) if he will estimate the amount and proportion of (a) salt, (b) grit and (c) potash the Highways Agency will procure from (i) British and (ii) overseas suppliers in 2010-11; 
It is not possible for the Highways Agency to estimate the amount and proportion of salt to be procured from British and overseas suppliers in 2010-11 or the proportion of its budget that will be spent on procuring salt.
The delivery of winter service is paid for within lump sum payments covering a range of defined activities. The amount spent on the purchase of road salt is not readily discernible from the service delivery lump sum payments and cannot therefore be provided.
In addition to the provision of routine winter services, the Highways Agency has been tasked with a strategic stockpile to provide additional resilience for local authorities. The Government anticipates that the full cost of procuring the strategic stockpile will be recovered from those local authorities which use it.
Driving Tests: Motorcycles
Mrs Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent progress his Department has made in its motorcycle riding licence and testing review; and if he will make a statement. 
Mike Penning: We are making good progress working with stakeholders on reviewing the motorcycle test and I intend to make a statement shortly.
Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many people failed a driving (a) theory and (b)practical test in (i) England and Wales, (ii) Leicestershire and (iii) Leicester East constituency in each of the last five years. 
Mike Penning: The number of people who failed their practical driving test at test centres located in (i) England and Wales, (ii) Leicestershire and (iii) Leicester East constituency in each of the last five years are shown in the following table:
|England and Wales||Leicestershire||( 1) Leicester East|
|(1) Leicester (Gypsy Lane ) DTC is the only test centre in the Leicester East constituency.|
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|Category||England and Wales||Leicestershire( 1)|
|Number test failed||Total number test conducted||Fail rate (percentage)||Number test failed||Total number test conducted||Fail rate (percentage)|
|(1 )There is one theory test centre in Leicestershire; this is based in the Leicestershire South constituency.Note:|
Data for multiple choice and hazard perception sections of the lorry and bus tests was uncoupled in August 2008.
Driving Tests: Administration
Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the average time taken between the (a) initial application and (b) sitting of a driving (i) practical and (ii) theory test in (A) England and Wales, (B) Leicestershire and (C) Leicester East constituency was in each of the last five years. 
Mike Penning: The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) measures waiting times for practical tests for Great Britain. The average waiting times in weeks for each of the last five years are shown in the following table:
|Car||Motorcycle||Lorry, bus and car with large trailer|
For each individual test centre, DSA measures appointment availability, which reflects the first week where 10% of appointments are available to be booked. The following table shows the annual average appointment availability for each of the test centres in Leicestershire and the Leicester East constituency, in each of the last five years:
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|Driving Test Centre (DTC)||Test Category||2005-06||2006-07||2007-08||2008-09||2009-10|
|(1) Motorcycling tests at Hinckley DTC were relocated to Wigston MPTC in 2009|
(2) Leicester (Gipsy Lane) is the only test centre in Leicester East constituency
(3) Leicester Wigston MPTC opened in 2009
DSA aims to give 95% of theory test candidates an appointment at their preferred test centre within two weeks of their preferred date. This is measured nationally (England, Scotland and Wales) and performance for each of the last five years is shown in the following table:
|Preferred date (waiting time) (percentage)|
Stephen McPartland: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will bring forward proposals to provide a statutory definition of overcrowding on rail passenger services; and if he will require train operating companies to take steps to reduce overcrowding on their services. 
Mrs Villiers: There is an agreed rail industry measure for crowding which is used by train operators and the Department for monitoring purposes. We have no current plans to introduce a statutory definition of crowding. Franchise agreements generally include a requirement that train operators minimise crowding within the constraints of available rolling stock and relevant infrastructure. As part of our franchising reform, we are considering what additional or amended duties could be placed on train operators in relation to crowding.
Driving Tests: Qualifications
Graham Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions he has had with industry representative groups on the introduction of the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence; and what estimate he has made of the likely cost to the public purse of the introduction of that certificate. 
Mike Penning: The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) implemented the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (Driver CPC) following three public consultations and with input from stakeholders, including representatives from:
Skills for Logistics (SfL)
Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT)
Road Haulage Association (RHA)
Freight Transport Association (FTA)
Joint Approvals Unit for Periodic Training (JAUPT)
Transport and General Workers’ Union (TGWU)
Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA)
Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)
DSA subsequently established a Driver CPC Advisory Group to consider issues arising from the introduction of Driver CPC, which had its first meeting in November 2010. The group’s membership is similar to that listed
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above but it does not include the Traffic Commissioners, DVLA, or JAUPT. The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport is also a member of the group.
DSA operates as a trading fund. The services the agency provides are funded by driving and riding test fees and other non-statutory activities. The costs incurred by the agency for the implementation of Driver CPC are being recovered from the driver CPC initial qualification test fees, periodic training approval fees, and driver training hours upload fees.