Select Committee on Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Minutes of Evidence


Examination of Witnesses (Questions 80 - 87)

WEDNESDAY 10 JANUARY 2001

MR D BIZLEY, MR P ATKINSON AND MR K CAMERON

  80. Do you have average times that it takes you to get there to remove that obstacle, if it is an obstacle?
  (Mr Bizley) Yes, in fact we have agreements with the police. The AA/RAC/Green Flag and the Association of Chief Police Officers have agreements so that on motorways and high speed dual carriageways we would expect to get there in 30 minutes or less. Nationally across the country, across the 2.4 million breakdowns per annum which we attend on all sorts of roads, we average 40 minutes.

  81. In a way then you have a very seminal part in this. You are saying that a large percentage of these breakdowns are removed by the private sector.
  (Mr Bizley) Yes; the vast majority.

  82. You still feel that it is appropriate that the Highways Agency itself might supplement that by removing vehicles themselves to these safe havens.
  (Mr Bizley) There is a very close linkage between the risk to the motorist and the period they are stranded at the side of the road. The hard shoulder is actually an extremely dangerous place. Many people think of it as a safe haven, but there are some 250 people killed or injured on hard shoulders each year and therefore speed is of the essence. The advantage of a dedicated service of the type we are talking about is that through the use of CCTV and other detection means you can very rapidly get a vehicle there to remove it. If each organisation individually were trying to do that, then the economics simply would not stand up. If there is a single organisation which is simply picking up the vehicle, removing it to a place of safety, then there is sufficient demand for that to be well utilised as an asset.

  83. Although the Chairman will not allow me an extra question at this point, I should like to seek your views before you go on the way in which the Highways Agency's objective of reducing traffic congestion, which is part of its remit, might be assisted by any kind of information which you could input to that because I think that is a very important part of examining what these agencies can and cannot do to improve the speed of traffic on our motorways. But I may not be allowed to ask you that at this stage.
  (Mr Bizley) There are obviously several strands to the strategy of the Highways Agency and we have had a number of discussions with them over a number of years on the issue of traffic control where we have input RAC experience and indeed other organisations have done the same thing.

Chairman

  84. Are you continuing to do that?
  (Mr Bizley) We are continuing to do that.

  85. ADI tests. Are they a real burden?
  (Mr Atkinson) They are.
  (Mr Cameron) Again, waiting times cause problems.

  86. How long?
  (Mr Cameron) They vary dramatically dependent on what manpower the Agency has.

  87. Is it a burden?
  (Mr Cameron) Yes.

  Chairman: Gentlemen, thank you very much. You have been very tolerant.





 
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