Examination of Witnesses (Questions 700
WEDNESDAY 16 JANUARY 2002
MP AND SIR
700. The question is not?
(Sir Richard Mottram) No. The way it is framed is
701. Parliament should.
(Sir Richard Mottram) That is not a question for me.
(Mr Byers) We will need to double-check but I think
we hand it over to the Electoral Commission.
702. Will you give us a note?
(Sir Richard Mottram) We will.
703. On electoral matters, what consideration
has been given to the cost of the boundary revision and the potential
for reducing the number of councillors in large urban areas?
(Sir Richard Mottram) Is this the number of parliamentary
704. There is a Local Government Boundary Review
taking place at the moment. What are the cost aspects of that
Local Government Boundary Review?
(Sir Richard Mottram) I am afraid I do not know, Chairman.
705. A note might be helpful.
(Sir Richard Mottram) Yes.
706. How does the Government propose to monitor
car manufacturers' progress towards the voluntary agreement on
redesign to promote pedestrian safety?
(Sir Richard Mottram) We have an agency, the Vehicle
Certification Agency, who are in close touch all the time with
car manufacturers about how they are implementing both voluntary
and compulsory European standards. So it would be through them.
707. So how much do the reductions in pedestrian
casualty targets rely on that successful implementation?
(Sir Richard Mottram) I do not know the answer to
that off the top of my head. I can give it to you.
708. Why have you discontinued the cycling target
in the PSA?
(Sir Richard Mottram) We have not discontinued it.
709. There is no target for 2001 to 2004.
(Sir Richard Mottram) What we had on cycling was a
long-term target, which I think is by 2012 (speaking from memory,
but I will check), to quadruple it. That target superceded another
target which wasand I cannot do this one from memoryto
increase it by some certain number, either by this year or last
year, and we certainly have not met that target.
710. So it does away with the interim target?
(Sir Richard Mottram) We have not done away with it
711. The targets are so distant we will forget
them by the time they are not achieved.
(Sir Richard Mottram) Absolutely not. That target
we are thinking about. We do not have further milestones on that
target. We certainly have a focus on how we are going to deliver
that target, which as the Committee, I think, has discussed on
previous occasions, is going to be very difficult. We still have
that target and it is a target we are committed to.
712. Could you just clear up the whole question
on targets. I understood the new target for the department was
to have less targets.
(Sir Richard Mottram) I have a horrible feeling I
have done this before, Chairman, and got into terrible trouble!
What happened was that in the 2000 Comprehensive Spending Review
the Government was introducing many more targets, and the idea,
essentially, was that you got money in return for commitments
to outputs. This was all done in a bit of a hurry, I think, and
produced far too many targetsmany of which were process-based.
If you look at the targets in our annual report, for instance,
a lot of them in the 2000 Spending Review are process-based. I
am sorry, that was the 1998 Spending Review. In the 2000 Spending
Review it was recognised we needed a smaller number of better
focussedwhat are called Smarttargets, and the number
was reduced. In this Spending Review I would expect the number
might be reduced again, but the department has about 80 targets
that I am responsible for.
713. Is the cycling target a Smart target or
(Sir Richard Mottram) The cycling target is a Smart
714. I wonder if you would consider having a
Smart target for the reduction in the number of motorised trips,
because the EU average of motorised journeys is eight out of ten
but in the United Kingdom it is nine out of ten. Would you consider
having a target for reducing the number of car journeys?
(Mr Byers) I think there is a better way of approaching
it, which is not to have a target to reduce the number of motorised
journeys but to have a target to include other forms of transport
and give people a genuine choice. I think that would be a far
better way of approaching it.
(Sir Richard Mottram) We have targets both for congestion
and pollution, and so, as the Secretary of State says, we are
actually focussing on the impact of transport of all kinds rather
than just one mode.
715. Do you think choice is the best way to
(Mr Byers) I do, actually. It is more of a challenge
to us because there are ways in which you can force people off
the road, if you adopt certain policies, but I think that would
be the wrong approach. I think the far better approachbut
more difficult for governmentis to see a real change, a
real improvement, in the standard of public provisionwhether
it is rail or bus.
716. A quarter of all trips in Britain are walking.
Have you done any analysis on the effect on walking in the 10-year
(Mr Byers) The figures that I know, which are quite
significant, are in relation to school children walking to school.
You will be aware that it is the short school run which involves
great use of the car, which we have been looking at. The latest
figures that I have seen show, for the first time, that we have
seen an increase in the number of children walking to school,
because there has been real attempts to try to develop safe routescycling
routes as well as walkingand so on.
717. Are you sure that is not because of the
deterioration in school transport in terms of buses?
(Mr Byers) No, there is a fall in the numbers of people
driving as well. There would appear to be a correlation between
718. The former Pedestrians Association, Living
Streets, certainly said that an unfair and disproportionate amount
of expenditure envisaged in the plan is going into walking. Do
you think that is a valid criticism?
(Mr Byers) That too much is going into walking?
719. No, too small a proportion.
(Sir Richard Mottram) I do not know the answer to
the first point you made about our model. I can go away and look
at what assumptions our model makes about walking. I am afraid
I do not know the answer to that. On your second point, the key
here, I think, is that the Government is investing very much more
heavily in Local Transport Plans. If I think about, certainly,
the areas I have seen in the country where I live, if you look
at the way in which councils are now spending the additional money
they have been given for Local Transport Plans, a significant
part of that is actually about making our streets more pedestrian-friendly.
I always forget the statistics, but the proportion of car journeys,
for instance, that are less than a mile is a big number, and what
we want to do is encourage people not to use cars for those purposes
but to walk. If you create a better environment for them to do
that, then that seems to us to be the right way of doing it. So
there is both local transport moneyand that is a matter
for local authorities to decide to spend some of thatand
there is all the advice and guidance that we and others have put
out about improving the local environment. In the next spending
review we are also looking at public spaces generally, and that,
too, may impact upon people's propensity to walk around rather
than to use transport.