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Fuel Reduction Technology

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his Department's policy is on providing collaboration funding for development of fuel reduction technology with British companies; and whether it is the policy of his Department to seek tenders for other European companies before awarding such funding. [72317]

Mr. Jamieson: The Department's New Vehicle Technology Fund supports the development of clean and low-carbon vehicles and technologies The Fund invites proposals and provides funding towards the costs of successful projects.

Invitations and funding are not restricted to British companies and applications currently being assessed involve a range of British, European and international collaborators.

Alternatively Fuelled Vehicles

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what percentage of road journeys in the UK were made by vehicles powered by biodiesel and alternatively fuelled vehicles in 2001. [72820]

Mr. Jamieson: It is not possible to provide figures in the form requested; traffic data collected by the Department for Transport (DfT) is collected according to vehicle type not propulsion type. Calculating the proportion of journeys for cars powered by alternative fuels such as biodiesel is extremely difficult as they are almost always capable of running on pure conventional fuels.

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The DfT publishes figures for the total number of vehicles registered according to propulsion type based on DVLA records. As table 1 shows, in 2001, of a total of 29,747,100 vehicles licensed in the UK, 46,700 were alternatively powered, representing 0.16 per cent. of total registrations. This figures does not include vehicles capable of being solely or partially powered by biofuels for the reason outlined earlier.

Table 1. Breakdown of vehicles licensed in the UK in 2001 according to propulsion type

Gas/gas Bifuel/Gas-diesel6.0
Electric and hybrid electric15.1
Steam/fuel cells1.6

Further information is available from the DfT's traffic statistics website at:

But this understates the number of alternatively-fuelled vehicles because not all conversions to alternative fuelling are notified to DVLA. There are currently estimated to be over 100,000 alternatively fuelled vehicles in the UK, the vast majority of which are LPG cars.

Vehicle Inspectorate

Mr. Blizzard: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has for the future of the Traffic Area Network and the Vehicle Inspectorate. [72955]

Mr. Jamieson: Following an internal departmental review, I intend to establish a new executive agency (name to be determined) on 1 April 2003 to bring together the work of the Traffic Area Network and the Vehicle Inspectorate. The new agency will play a key role in promoting safe, fair and environmentally responsible road haulage and bus industries. It will also provide support for Traffic Commissioners in their role of regulating the road haulage and bus industries.

The agency will be one of four executive agencies which make up the Driver, Vehicle and Operator (DVO) group of agencies within my Department. The other agencies are the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) and the Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA). The creation of this new agency within the DVO group will allow a more joined up and customer-focused approach to the services provided to road transport industry, and better targeted enforcement to the benefit of road safety. Traffic Commissioners will be wholly independent of the new agency in the same way that they are independent of TAN and VI now.

The new agency is a positive, practical demonstration of the Government's commitment to promoting road safety and delivery of modern customer services.

Hydrogen Fuel

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment his Department has made of the time horizons for the likely impact of hydrogen fuel cell technology on road vehicles. [72201]

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Mr. Jamieson: The Government in December published and invited comment on its proposed "Powering Future Vehicles" strategy for promoting the development, introduction and take-up of new low-carbon vehicles and fuels, including hydrogen fuel cell technology. Following wide consultation, the strategy will be finalised and issued shortly. I shall send the hon. Member a copy of the document.

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what funding his Department is providing for development of hydrogen fuel cell technology. [72202]

Mr. Jamieson: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given today by my hon. Friend the Minister for Energy and Construction.

Driving Licences

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his estimate is of the number of fraudulent driving licences in circulation. [72108]

Mr. Jamieson: It is not possible to provide the estimate which the hon. Member is seeking.

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether the bar code on the (a) driving licence card and (b) counterpart driving licence accesses information additional to the information contained on the face of the driving licence card and the counterpart driving licence. [72116]

Mr. Jamieson: The bar codes on these two documents are only for processing purposes. They do not allow access to any additional information.


Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will initiate a bicycle awareness campaign. [71929]

Mr. Jamieson: The Department is currently developing a cycle safety campaign for teenagers which it intends to launch in early 2003. This is a new departmental commitment and complements existing material for younger cyclists.


Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what national guidelines there are on the use of road signs alerting road users to the presence of cyclists. [71718]

Mr. Jamieson: The primary guidance on the use of traffic signs to alert road users to the presence of cyclists is contained in Chapter 4 of the Traffic Signs Manual, "Warning Signs". Further general guidance on cycle signing is given in Local Transport Note 2–87 "Signs for Cycle Facilities". There is also a wide range of Traffic Advisory Leaflets dealing with the provision of special facilities for cyclists, including guidance on how these should be signed.

Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many road users in the Carmarthen, East and Dinefwr constituency had accidents in the last year for which figures are available; and what the UK average is. [71763]

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Mr. Jamieson: Information is not available for parliamentary constituencies. The table gives the number of casualties in road accidents in 2000 and the number of casualties per 100,000 population in the Carmarthenshire unitary authority and the UK.

Road casualties and casualty rates per 100,000 population: 2000

Road casualties856335,003
Casualty rate per 100,000506560

The casualty rate is the number of casualties per 100,000 people.


Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will estimate the loss of time per kilometre in hours for drivers and passengers on roads in (a) England and (b) Great Britain in each of the last three years as a result of congestion. [71323]

Mr. Jamieson [holding answer 19 July 2002]: We hope to publish the year 2000 baseline for congestion in the autumn.

Road and Bridge Maintenance

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to his answer of 15 July 2002, Official Report, column 668W, on road and bridge maintenance, if he will place copies of the assessment made by his Department on the condition of roads and bridges as set out by the local transport plans and annual progress reports submitted by the highways authorities last year in the Library; and what assessment he has made of the annual progress reports, submitted by the highways authorities last year, as to the progress made in road and bridge maintenance. [71376]

Mr. Jamieson [holding answer 19 July 2002]: The individual assessments of the highway maintenance elements of the Local Transport Plans and Annual Progress Reports were rough working documents. For this reason I have not placed them in the Library. Feedback on the assessments is provided to authorities in their decision letters.

The Annual Progress Reports (APRs) for 2001 showed that most authorities had made progress towards halting the deterioration in the condition of principal roads by 2004, and were tackling the strengthening and structural maintenance work outstanding on bridges. This is of course as a result of the increased investment in roads.

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