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23 Feb 2009 : Column 492W—continued

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Motor Vehicles: Licensing

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has of the current number of unlicensed (a) cars, (b) vans, (c) lorries and (d) motorcycles, broken down by make; and if he will make a statement. [256724]

Jim Fitzpatrick: Estimates of the number of unlicensed vehicles in use in Great Britain are available by taxation class. Estimates for 2008 (in thousands) were as follows:

Taxation class Estimated number of unlicensed vehicles (thousand) Rate of unlicensed vehicles in active stock (percentage)

Private and light goods


















All taxation classes



These estimates cannot be disaggregated by vehicle make.

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many unlicensed (a) cars, (b) vans, (c) lorries and (d) motorcycles were (i) clamped and (ii) crushed in each of the last three years for which information is available, broken down by make; what legislation authorises the (A) clamping and (B) crushing of unlicensed vehicles; and if he will make a statement. [256725]

Jim Fitzpatrick: A breakdown of the total number of vehicles clamped and crushed under Department for Transport legislation for the last three years is given in the following table. The figure for each year includes cars, vans, lorries and motorcycles. The statistical data held by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency are not held in such a way to allow figures to be broken down by make.

Calendar year Vehicles clamped Vehicles crushed










The legislation that enables both the clamping and crushing of unlicensed vehicles is the Vehicle Excise Duty (Immobilisation, Removal and Disposal of Vehicles) Regulations 1997, as amended.

Motorways: West Midlands

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent steps the Government have taken to improve the motorway infrastructure in the west midlands. [256815]

Paul Clark: Over the last three years 19 major maintenance schemes, each costing between £1 million and £5 million, have been completed; and one major project costing more than £5 million is under construction. These include resurfacing of carriageways and substantial
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repairs to the structures of the elevated sections of motorway within Birmingham and the Black Country.

The following improvement schemes have also been introduced to tackle particular areas of congestion, improve safety and increase capacity:

In the Secretary of State's announcement ‘Britain's Transport Infrastructure Motorway and Major Trunk Roads’ on 15 January 2009, the following schemes that benefit the west midlands were identified as being expected to enter construction by 2015:

In addition, as part of our longer term plans to roll out hard shoulder running across the core motorway network over the next 10 to 15 years, this innovative technique is planned to be implemented on the following parts of the motorway network relevant to the west midlands:

National Express East Anglia

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he next plans to meet the management of National Express to discuss the (a) level of their fares, (b) quality of their service and (c) morale of their staff. [257163]

Paul Clark: In addition to regular general meetings with the Association of Train Operating Companies and representatives of the train operators, Department for Transport Ministers meet senior representatives of all GB train operators every four weeks specifically to discuss rail industry operational performance.

In addition, Departmental officials meet all franchise train operators every four weeks to discuss the delivery of franchise agreements and obligations.

Newhaven Marine Railway Station

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 3 February 2009, Official Report, column 1135W, on Newhaven Marine railway station, on what date the passenger train service was last delivered by rail. [257002]

Paul Clark: Further to my answer of 3 February 2009, Official Report, column 1135W Newhaven Marine station has not been safe for passengers since August 2006.

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Official Cars: Snow and Ice

Stephen Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) how many sets of snow chains the Government Car and Despatch Agency held for use on the Government car fleet on 2 February 2009; [256912]

(2) how many ministerial cars were in use on 2 February 2009; and how many were fitted with snow chains. [256913]

Jim Fitzpatrick: On 2 February 2009 ministerial transport movements were kept to a minimum, in line with advice given by the emergency services and the Highways Agency. The Government Car and Despatch Agency (GCDA) was able to fulfil all its essential ministerial transport obligations on that day.

GCDA does not fit snow chains to its car fleet.

Park and Ride Schemes: York

Hugh Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many park and ride locations there were in York in each year since 1997. [257837]

Paul Clark: Since 1997 two park and ride locations have opened in York, at the Designer Outlet in 2000 and at Monks Cross in 2004. These are in addition to those opened at Askham Bar in 1990, Grimston Bar in 1994 and Rawcliffe Bar in 1996. Two new park and ride faculties planned on A59 and at Clifton Moor with openings anticipated in 2011-12.

Public Transport

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent steps the Government have taken to encourage people to use public transport. [256816]

Paul Clark: The Local Transport Act 2008, which secured Royal Assent in November 2008, will give local authorities enhanced powers to deliver better bus services and a more integrated transport system tailored to local needs.

We are also investing heavily in improving both bus and rail services. Local and central Government now provide £2.5 billion in supporting the local bus network, double the level of spending a decade ago. This includes £1 billion for free off-peak bus travel anywhere in England for older and eligible disabled people and £57 million through the Rural Bus Subsidy Grant.

We have also launched a new Kickstart bus funding competition which offers local transport authorities the chance to bid for a share of £25 million to pump-prime new or enhanced bus services in partnership with bus operators.

The Government are putting record investment in rail as part of their strategy to give people an alternative to travelling by road and meet our environmental obligations on CO2 emissions. Over £10 billion will be invested in enhancing capacity between 2009 and 2014, with overall Government support for the railway totalling £15 billion.

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Public Transport: Elderly

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent steps the Government have taken to make public transport more affordable for older citizens. [256817]

Paul Clark: The Government introduced the statutory minimum bus concession in England in 2001 giving half fare local bus travel at off-peak times to older and eligible disabled residents. In April 2006 this was improved to give free off-peak bus travel in a resident's local area.

From 1 April 2008, this was extended England-wide so that 11 million older and eligible disabled people are entitled to free off-peak bus travel anywhere in England.

The Government are providing around £1 billion each year to support the England-wide concession. An extra £212 million has been made available to local authorities from 2008-09, through a special grant, to fund the increased cost of the new statutory minimum bus concession. The funding allocation was approved following debate in the House on 25 March 2008.

Railway Stations: Opening Hours

Stephen Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what criteria his Department set for determining whether South West Trains be allowed to close ticket offices within the terms of its franchise agreement; and what criteria will be applied in decisions on First Capital Connect’s proposed closures of ticket offices. [255995]

Paul Clark: South West Trains (SWT) submitted its proposals as a major change under the procedures of the Ticketing and Settlement Agreement (TSA—the approved industry process for such matters), which sets the procedures that operators use to change ticket office hours.

The major change procedure permits operators to make reductions in the opening hours of their ticket offices as long as the appropriate criteria are met. These are that:

Following the required consultation period Passenger Focus (PF) and London TravelWatch (LTW) raised objections to the SWT proposal and the Secretary of State was required to arbitrate.

The Secretary of State reviewed the proposal against the criteria set out in the Ticketing and Settlement Agreement, taking into account the views of Passenger Focus, London TravelWatch and SWT. No SWT ticket offices were closed completely.

First Capital Connect’s proposals are currently under consultation. It would therefore be inappropriate for me to make any comment on them at present as that may fetter the discretion of the Secretary of State if the proposals are referred by the operator for arbitration. However, should this arise the same criteria will be applied.

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Railways: Accidents

Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many (a) injuries and (b) deaths have occurred in accidents on railway crossings in (i) Hemel Hempstead and (ii) Hertfordshire in each year since 1998. [255644]

Paul Clark: There are no level crossings in the Hemel Hempstead area.

The following data, relating to Hertfordshire, are based on incidents reported to the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR), under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR 95). Figures for 2008 are provisional and may change with the receipt of coroners’ findings for inquests that are currently outstanding.

Level crossing accidents in Hertfordshire 1998 to 2008( 1)

Fatalities Injuries Total

















































(1 )Provisional figures.

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