Business of the House
Jim Fitzpatrick (Poplar and Limehouse, Labour)
I have just come from a meeting with News International in Wapping in my constituency, during which I took the opportunity to congratulate it on today’s issue of The Times, which launches a campaign for safer cycling. Given the Leader of the House’s personal interest in the subject, will he advise me on whether there will be a statement from the Department for Transport, or a debate on cycling safety and the campaign, in the near future?
George Young (Leader of the House of Commons, House of Commons; North West Hampshire, Conservative)
I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for raising the subject, and to The Times both for the front-page spread and the profile it is giving to making cycling safer, not just in London but everywhere. Along with many other Members, I bicycled into the House today. I know that the Under-Secretary of State for Transport, my hon. Friend Norman Baker, takes cycling seriously. I would welcome a debate in which we could set out some of the steps that we have taken to promote cycling. I went on a trip with the all-party cycling group to Holland, where the lesson was that there is safety in numbers. When there are more cyclists, the terms of trade with the motorist begin to change, and cycling becomes safer. I welcome some of the steps that have been taken to promote cycling, as that will in turn change the terms of trade and make it a safer mode of transport.
PACTS comments: PACTS welcomes the media interest in cycle safety, and urges the Government to do more to protect vulnerable road users, particularly given the figures published this week which show a continued steady rise in killed and seriously injured cyclists. Details of the Times Cycle Safety Campaign can be found on their website at http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/public/cyclesafety/. PACTS comments on the casualty figures published this week are available at https://www.pacts.org.uk/articles-and-press-releases.php?id=32.
Large Goods Vehicles
Kelvin Hopkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 11 October 2011, Official Report, columns 24-25WS, on high-volume semi-trailers, on what type of roads the longer lorry trials will take place. 
Mike Penning: The high-volume semi-trailers will not be restricted to any type or types of roads.
Kelvin Hopkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 11 October 2011, Official Report, columns 24-25WS, on high-volume semi-trailers, how many lorries will be involved in the longer lorry trials. 
Mike Penning: This information—1,800 lorries—is contained in the written ministerial statement.
Kelvin Hopkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 11 October 2011, Official Report, columns 24-5WS, on high-volume semi-trailers, what (a) information, (b) advice and (c) guidance she has issued to local authorities in advance of the longer lorry trials. 
Mike Penning: No material has been issued specifically for local authorities. Department for Transport officials have answered questions received from two local authorities.
Dr McCrea: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) how many motorway lanes were closed by the Highways Agency in each of the last three years for which figures are available; 
(2) what proportion of lane closures on the motorway network were between the hours of 8.00 pm and 6.00 am in each of the last three years. 
Mike Penning: The information requested is not currently available, but will be placed in the Libraries of the House by Friday 3 February.
Dr McCrea: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many (a) deaths, (b) serious injuries and (c) slight injuries occurred on the motorway network in accidents or incidents at points of lane closures in each of the last three years for which figures are available. 
Mike Penning: Neither the Highways Agency nor the central Department holds information on the number of deaths, serious or slight injuries which occurred at the point of lane closure on motorways.
Dr McCrea: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the Highways Agency’s policy is on the use of traffic management methods using (a) one and (b) two vehicles (i) with and (ii) without the use of impact protection; and what proportion of road closures have been implemented using each method in each of the last three years for which figures are available. 
Mike Penning: Highways Agency service providers undertake urgent repairs and routine maintenance to the strategic road network, plus renewal and improvement work, as part of their maintenance contracts. They determine the method of traffic management required in each case based on a wide range of factors e.g. nature of the issue requiring a road closure, type of road, speed limit and traffic flows. The full criteria for traffic management carried out by its service providers, including the use of vehicles with and without impact protection are set out in three documents: the Agency’s Network Management Manual; Routine and Winter Service Code; and Chapter 8 of the Traffic Signs Manual, which is the Department for Transport’s standard for signing and management of traffic at static and mobile road works.
For incident management and other exceptional circumstances, in accordance with the Highways Agency Traffic Officer Service Procedures Manual, Traffic Officers use the Rolling Road Block procedure and technique to control traffic flow and speed as an emergency traffic management method. The procedure requires traffic officers to perform a dynamic risk assessment considering factors such as traffic flows, weather conditions, general visibility and the number of running lanes to determine whether the technique should be executed with the use of one or two vehicles. At the scene, traffic officers use traffic management equipment such as cones and signs if required.
Information on the proportion of road closures implemented, broken down by the number of vehicles used and whether or not they had impact protection is not readily available and could be obtained only through scrutiny of service provider individual traffic management provision records, at disproportionate cost to the Agency.
Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 16 January 2012, Official Report, column 484W, on roads: safety, what assessment she has made of the level of compliance with the Specification for the Reinstatement of Openings in Highways; and how many fines have been issued in respect of a failure to comply with (a) the current edition of the Specification and (b) previous editions of the Specification since the commencement of section 71 of the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991. 
Norman Baker: Inspection of works to monitor compliance with the Specification is a matter for individual highway authorities, and accordingly the Secretary of State for Transport, the right hon. Member for Putney (Justine Greening), has made no central assessment of the level of compliance. Where authorities identify instances of non-compliance with the Specification, they normally exercise their powers under section 72 of the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991 to require the responsible person to carry out the necessary remedial works (at their own expense), rather than seeking to pursue the matter through the courts. It is in the interests of the local authorities themselves to identify below standard replacements works.
Persons proceeded against for offences under the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991 cannot be separately identified on the Ministry of Justice Court Proceedings Database, as they form part of a miscellaneous group.
Mrs Ellman: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment she has made of the risks of proposed changes to the Incident and Support Unit (ISU) service in respect of (a) the public and (b) employees of the ISU. 
Mike Penning: The Highways Agency is responsible for operating and maintaining the strategic road network (SRN). When reviewing the specification of incident response the agency has ensured that its primary objective is the safety of road users, Highways Agency traffic officers, road workers and emergency service personnel.
Currently, managing agent contract (MAC) service providers are contractually required to attend all incidents on the SRN within a specified time and incident clear up times are not specified. In over 60% of cases incidents are resolved by Highways Agency traffic officers or emergency service personnel and therefore do not require service provider involvement. The new incident response requirement mandates service providers to clear up incidents within set times. The revised requirement is based on current clear up times and hence the outcome for road users should be similar in most cases.
The development of the incident response requirements included an approach which identified hazards and evaluated and mitigated associated risks.
Traffic management will continue to be provided in accordance with current guidance (DFT, Traffic Signs Manual, chapter 8—roadworks and temporary situations) in a manner which maintains a safe working environment.
Mr Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many young people have been killed on Merseyrail railway lines in each of the last 10 years. 
Mike Penning: The Office of Rail Regulation and the RSSB collate figures of incidents and accidents on the railway that are reported under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases, and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995.
Both these bodies publish annual reports in which such rail safety statistics are set out. Page 127 of the RSSB Annual Safety Report for 2010-11
provides data on the number of public fatalities on the railway occurring to children since 2001-02 at a national level.
The right hon. Member might wish to contact these organisations direct to discuss figures applicable at specific local or regional levels.
Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps she is taking to ensure the enforcement of 20 mph speed limits and other traffic calming measures outside schools. 
Norman Baker: Enforcement is a matter for the police along with local traffic authorities who also have responsibility for traffic calming. The Department has been working with ACPO to revise their guidance in this area. We are also currently reviewing our own guidance on speed limits, and are liaising with the police and local authorities as part of this.
Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many times accidents involving one or more vehicles on the Birmingham New Road, Dudley, between Priory Road and Tipton Road, have required the attendance of the emergency services in each of the last five years. 
Mike Penning: The number of reported personal injury accidents on the Birmingham New Road, Dudley, between Priory Road and Tipton Road in each of the last five years where police attended the scene and reported details of the accident to the Department is given as follows:
|Number of accidents|
|Police attended scene of accident||Total (1)|
(1) Includes accidents reported to police where police did not attend the scene of accident (ie reported later at a police station)
The Department only collects information on personal injury road accidents reported to the police. Information on the attendance of other emergency services in road accidents is not collected.