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Provincial Airports

Mr. David Atkinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement of security arrangements in the handling of passengers' baggage in provincial airports in the European Union following the events of 11 September 2001. [63533]

Mr. Jamieson: International standards for aviation security are set down by the International Civil Aviation Organisation and, within Europe, by the European Civil Aviation Conference. Responsibility for the implementation of those standards, which apply to all airports handling relevant flights, including provincial airports, rests with the appropriate states. The UK has a programme in place to meet international standards. In addition, the UK has a programme of security measures for UK airlines to follow when operating overseas to supplement the host states' requirements.

Following the events of 11 September, legislation is before the European Parliament to strengthen aviation security standards throughout the EU, including a requirement to screen all hold baggage by 31 December 2003. In the UK, hold baggage on international flights has been screened since 1998. Screening of cabin baggage has been in place in the UK and throughout Europe for many years.

10 Jul 2002 : Column 975W

Birmingham Northern Relief Road

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the progress of construction of the Birmingham northern relief road. [66890]

Mr. Jamieson: The construction of the M6 toll motorway, formerly known as the Birmingham northern relief road, is the responsibility of the concessionaire, Midland Expressway Ltd. The road is on programme for opening early in 2004.

Road Accidents

Mr. Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the percentage of the elderly involved in road accidents in the last available year; and what plans the Government have to reduce these numbers. [68525]

Mr. Jamieson: Information is not available about the total number or percentage of elderly people involved in road injury accidents. However, a provisional estimate for 2001 is that around 10 per cent. of those killed or injured in road accidents in Great Britain were aged 60 or over.

The Government has set out a wide range of proposals for reducing road traffic casualties significantly by 2010, including casualties among the elderly, in the Road Safety Strategy document, "Tomorrow's Roads—Safer For Everyone", copies of which are in the Libraries of the House.

Mr. Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent representations he has received on road accidents, with specific reference to the elderly. [68475]

Mr. Jamieson: My right hon. Friend receives many representations about all aspects of road accidents, some of which relate to elderly road users.

Mr. Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many road accidents there were in each region; and what was the regional total as a percentage of the total, in each of the last five years. [68473]

Mr. Jamieson: The numbers of personal injury road accidents in each region are shown in the table:

Injury road accidents by region: Great Britain 1997–2001(10)

Year of accident
Government office regions 19971998199920002001
South East33,85833,35033,04732,91532,270
North West31,96731,93730,99330,91729,298
West Midlands21,57020,87921,09921,39121,112
Yorkshire & Humberside21,16421,59121,15220,67420,326
South West18,09318,39518,62918,18818,760
East Midlands16,66516,98716,55216,56316,089
North East8,9158,7008,2238,3678,136
Great Britain240,287238,923235,048233,729228,825

(10) Figures for 2001 are provisional

The percentage of personal injury road accidents in each region are shown in the table.

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Percentage of injury road accidents by region: Great Britain 1997–2001(11)

Year of accident
Government office region19971998199920002001(11)
South East1414141414
North West1313131313
West Midlands99999
Yorkshire and Humberside99999
South West88888
East Midlands77777
North East44344
Great Britain100100100100100

(11) Figures for 2001 are provisional

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport in what proportion of (a) road accidents and (b) fatal road accidents excess speed was identified as a major factor on (i) all roads and (ii) minor single- carriageway roads in each year since 1982. [68225]

Mr. Jamieson: The effect of excess speed on accident causation has been extensively researched based on accident data taken from a number of sources including national road accident statistics. The overall conclusion is that excessive speed, is a contributory factor in about one third of all accidents.

Specific information about particular roads is not held centrally but reference to TRL Report 421 "The effects of drivers' speed on the frequency of road accidents" published in 2000 and TRL Report 511 "The relationship between speed and accidents on rural single-carriageway roads", published in 2002 would provide a fuller explanation of the effects of excess speed on accident causation. Copies of both reports are available in the Library of the House.

Road User Charging

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will ask the Highways Agency to start work on developing a policy for road user charging for inter-urban motorway and trunk roads. [68081]

Mr. Jamieson: There are no plans to do so.

Road Traffic Forecasts

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what research and work has been conducted (a) by and (b) for his Department in relation to the revision of targets under the national road traffic forecasts; and if he will make a statement. [66672]

Mr. Jamieson: The Department publishes forecasts, but not targets, for road traffic. The Department has been conducting and commissioning work to improve its modelling capabilities, with the aim of developing from the National Road Traffic Forecasting framework a fully multi-modal approach, as announced in the 10 Year Plan for Transport. This work continues.

10 Jul 2002 : Column 977W

Road Noise

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what proposals he has to reduce road noise levels. [68229]

Mr. Jamieson: The Government's proposals for reducing the noise levels near the strategic network of English trunk roads, including motorways, were published in the 10 Year Plan for Transport. These include a commitment that over 60 per cent. of the network, including all lengths having concrete surfaces, will be resurfaced with quieter materials by the end of the plan period. All proposals for new or improved trunk roads will include the use of quieter surfacing. In addition, other noise reducing measures will be provided in the most serious and pressing cases where there is no early prospect of the road being resurfaced. Priority in such cases will be given to roads where there are severe effects on adjacent properties and no such measures were provided when they were built or last improved.

Variable Speed Limits

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list the roads covered by variable speed limits, sub-divided by road classification, indicating the total length of these roads in each case; what plans there are to change the length of roads covered by variable speed limits; and if he will make a statement. [66006]

Mr. Jamieson: Local highways authorities are responsible for setting speed limits on their roads, and the roads on which particular limits apply are a matter for local decision. This information is not held centrally.

Bus Services

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to his answer of 1 July 2002, Official Report, column 105W, on bus punctuality, what information he collates on the punctuality of buses; and if he will provide such statistics for the last six years. [68471]

Mr. Jamieson: Bus punctuality information is not collected or collated by the Department centrally. However, Bus Compliance Officers employed by Vehicle Inspectorate survey the performance of bus operators in each Traffic Commission Area where a complaint has been made about an operator's bus services. Traffic Commissioners have set operators a target of running 95 per cent. of registered bus services within a six minute 'window of tolerance'—no more than one minute early or five minutes late.

Transport for London (TfL) monitors punctuality on the London bus routes operated under contract to London Buses. Results are published on the TfL web site:

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