Memorandum submitted by the Department
for Transport, Local Government and the Regions
I. Integrated Transport
1. What is the Government's definition
of a "integrated transport"?
The 1998 Integrated Transport White Paper set
out our policy. Integrated Transport broadly means:
Integration within and between different types
of transportbetter and easier interchange between car/bus/rail
etc. with better information on services and availability of integrated
Integration with the environmentconsidering
the effect of transport policies on the environment and selecting
the most environmentally friendly solution whenever possible.
Integration with land use planningto reduce
the need for travel and to ensure new developments can be reached
by public transport.
Integration with policies on education, health
and wealth creation so that cross-cutting policies on issues such
as school travel, cycling and walking, and the profitability of
business work together rather than against each other.
2. (a) Over the last five years,
how has government policy, central government expenditure and
funding to local authorities and to the National Assembly for
Wales assisted the creation and strengthening of links between:
transport and land use;
public and private transport;
motorised and non-motorised transport;
public transport modes?
In England the Integrated Transport White Paper
(para 4.156 http://www.dtlr.gov.uk/itwp/paper/chapter4/25.htmbetter
planning) emphasised the central role of land use planning in
shaping transport demand. Since the White Paper, strengthened
planning guidance on transport was published as Planning Policy
Guidance note 13 in March 2001 (www.planning,dtlr.gov.uk/ppg).
The objectives of the guidance are to
Promote more sustainable transport
choices both for people and for moving freight;
Promote accessibility to jobs, shopping,
leisure facilities and service by public transport, walking and
Reduce the need to travel, especially
At the regional level, revised regional planning
guidance, incorporating regional transport strategies, has been
or is being produced in all English regions to integrate the planning
of major new development and the identification of transport investment
prioritises. Regional Planning Bodies have also taken the lead
in managing the programme of multi-modal studies looking at ways
of tackling the problems on our major transport corridors. The
10 Year Plan for Transport [ref?], which provides the funding
to deliver the investment decisions arising from these strategies
and studies, also emphasised the importance of better integration
between land use and transport planning at the national, regional
and local levels [ref, TYP paras 6.37 and 6.38].
Separate Policy Planning Guidance is issued
by the National Assembly for Wales.
Over the last 5 years we have created and strengthen
the links between public and private transport, motorised and
non-motorised transport and public transport modes through a wide
range of initiatives and policy mechanisms. The main ones include:
"A New Deal for TransportBetter
for Everyone" published July 1998it set out a new
approach to transport policy which has relevance throughout the
Transport 2010The 10 Year
Plan provides for £180 billion of public spending and private
investment primarily in England but £64 billion for railways
in Great Britain;
The Transport Act 2000 is the most
comprehensive piece of transport legislation in over 30 years
enacting many of the measures in the act but notably it set up
the Strategic Rail Authority;
Created Home Zones with 100 schemes
in England and Wales the plan includes road humps, a one way system,
trees and plants and games for children;
Introduced Local Transport Plans
in England to encourage local authorities to work in partnership
with local people and local transport providers to draw up plans
which identify and meet the needs of their own areas. £8.4
billion over next 5 years to enable English local authorities
to implement their local transport plans;
£46 million Urban Bus Challenge
competition launched with £8 million available this financial
year for innovative projects to improve public passenger transport
for deprived English urban areas;
Development of the Transport Direct
Programme which aims by 2003 to provide the traveller with all
the information they need before and during a journey anywhere
in the UK and with the ability to but the associated tickets.
(b) In terms of the Public Sector's expenditure
level of £300 billion, what percentage has been spent on
the construction and operational funding of such schemes?
It is not possible to identify separately what
proportion of Government funding has been spent on schemes specifically,
aimed at creating and strengthening these linkages.
3. (a) What assessment has been made
of the effectiveness of schemes to ease bus movements in urban
areas (eg bus priority schemes, bus boarding platforms in the
carriageway rather than bus stop lay-bys)?
Bus services are highly susceptible to the effects
of traffic congestion, not only in the form of direct delays,
but also in its effects on bus operations and the reliability
of services. Research suggests that bus frequency and reliability
are key factors deterring the public from making greater use of
Bus priority can take many forms, but is essentially
designed to enable buses to avoid general traffic queues and delays.
In its simplest form, bus priority effectively segregates buses
from other traffic through the use of bus lanes, bus-ways or other
devices. More sophisticated forms of bus priority can reduce delays
to buses through advanced forms of traffic signalling or traffic
management. Such schemes can manage traffic queues in such a way
that buses are not impeded; alternatively traffic signal schemes
can be devised to recognise approaching buses and provide extra
green time to enable vehicles to clear a junction.
The effectiveness of individual bus priority
schemes is found in practice to vary widely due to local circumstances.
Bus lane schemes typically reduce bus journey times by one or
two minutes, although some longer schemes do provide significantly
greater benefits. Signal priority schemes may only provide a saving
of 5 to 10 seconds per vehicle at a single junction, but such
schemes working in synchronisation along a corridor can provide
worthwhile benefits to a service. The objective of many schemes
is not to provide huge savings to bus users, but to improve reliability
to the point where operators can run services to an accurate timetable.
Increasingly, bus priority is addressing whole
corridors through initiatives aimed at improving the overall quality
of bus services. Quality partnerships or route strategies such
as the London Bus Initiative and the West Midlands Showcase routes
are aiming to transform the passenger experience through both
improving the comfort and convenience of buses and stops and introducing
priorities along routes to improve reliability. Showcase routes
in Birmingham have resulted in patronage increases approaching
30 per cent and elsewhere similar initiatives have increased patronage
by 10 per cent to 30 per cent.
Bus boarders are kerb build-outs that assist
passengers to board buses conveniently and at the right level,
which is of particular importance to the mobility impaired. They
also avoid the need for buses to pull-in to lay-bys where they
may be delayed re-entering the traffic stream. They require careful
consideration in terms of design and location to ensure that delays
to general road traffic are not increased. Sites should only be
selected where buses can stop and still leave adequate spaces
for other vehicles travelling in the same direction to pass the
stationary bus without delay. Parking controls around bus boarders
would usually be used to ensure that road space is available for
The introduction of carefully designed bus boarders
is aimed at improving both accessibility and bus operations. Local
authorities which have installed boarders consider them to have
been successful. However, at present there is limited structured
before and after data available on how well they achieve these
aims, and sometimes they have been part of a wider range of measures
on a route. The Department plans to work with local authorities
to monitor the introduction of bus boarders as part of its research
programme, with a view to assessing their effectiveness and helping
develop good practice advice.
(b) How important are policies which
actively discourage the use of private cars in creating an effective
integrated transport system?
The aim of the Government's transport policy
is to increase people's choice in travel through better public
transport and improved facilities for cycling and walking, improving
the road infrastructure and reducing congestion and pollution.
It is all about striking a balance and securing improvements across
all modes of transport.
4. The English Tourism Council's report
Tourism and Transport (September 2001) identifies four key areas
to achieve an integrated transport policy for tourism. These were
Information; Interchange; Investment and Integration. Unless the
first three were provided for the last would not take place was
the general thrust of the report.
The Transport Direct project is a part of
the "Information" element. However bus operators already
complain of the cost of "Traveline" a simpler service
currently in use.
(a) How does
the Government intend to finance a scheme which provided the "Information"
element necessary for an integrated transport policy?
(b) How will
a complex system of services, demand patterns and frequent service
changes be met?
The 1998 integrated transport white paper recognised
that information about transport was a key element of an integrated
transport policy. One of the Government's objectives was to see
a national public transport information service developed. Transport
operators and local authorities responded, creating what is now
known as traveline. Regionally organised, it provides information
on routes and times for all public transport services. The National
Assembly for Wales and the Scottish Executive have devolved responsibility
for traveline in their areas. Broadly, capital costs were met
by local authorities (with Government support) and running costs
are being met by transport operators, mainly bus companies. The
exact financial arrangements differ from one region to another
and were decided by each of the consortia. Concerns about running
costs are being addressed, particularly by actions designed to
increase call volumes, reducing unit costs.
Transport Direct will build on traveline but
its exact form has not been decideda business plan is currently
being developed. The Government does not intend to take forward
this project on its own. We recognise the need to work in partnership
with transport operators, information specialists and technology
providers. The money required to develop and maintain Transport
Direct is likely to be generated from a number of sources:
Transport Operators are likely to
see increased patronage for their services, leading to revenue
gainthe carrier benefit;
Commission can be earned for ticket
salesthe retailer benefit;
Some services, particularly those
tailored to an individual's needs, could be charged for (eg a
service which warned a commuter that their train was running late
before leaving home in the morning)value added service
Additional mobile communications
traffic and the opportunity to target non-transport services may
lead to further income.
We expect to provide public funding in areas
where is a social rather than commercial need to develop information
services or where some research is needed to enable a truly comprehensive
service to be available to the public. For example we:
expect to provide some funds via
are developing a research programme,
including in particular market research;
will work with industry, where it
would be helpful to define and agree technical standards.
(c) What progress is being made in obtaining
required timetable information from bus companies?
Timetable information is supplied by bus companies
to traveline regional partnerships for incorporation in regional
journey planners. In many cases, local authorities already receive
the information in a suitable format. Data is often supplied electronically.
The Government is working with the traveline partners to develop
further a standard, which will be used for electronic bus registration,
to make the process simpler still.
(d) Has it been necessary to re-charge
any bus company because of its failure to supply information?
The Transport Act 2000 requires each local transport
authority to develop a public transport information strategy.
The Transport Act creates a duty for local transport authorities
(county councils, unitary councils and Passenger Transport Authorities)
to work with bus operators to ensure the availability of local
bus information, if necessary by stepping in to provide it themselves.
The authority may seek to recover its costs in the latter case.
The relevant provisions of the Transport Act
2000 in England were commenced on 1 February 2001. The National
Assembly for Wales have devolved responsibility for the Transport
Act 2000, and commenced the same provisions there in July 2001.
It is not a requirement that the Government be notified where
an authority exercises the powers on transport information, but
it is reasonable to assume that as yet, no authority has done
(e) What progress is being made on PTI2000
(to be developed into Travel Direct)
Traveline (formerly PTI2000) provides information
on all public transport services throughout Great Britain by way
of call to a single telephone number, 0870 608 2 608. The service
continues to make steady improvements in reliability and accuracy.
The traveline partners review performance regularly, including
by mystery shopping. In September 2001 an internet site, www.traveline.org.uk
was launched. It currently links to information for only a few
regions, but this will increase in the coming months as regional
journey planners become available on the internet.
(f) How have bus and rail timetable/fares
information services been integrated, eg what links are there
between PTI Cymru (or PTI2000) and National Rail Enquiry Service
Traveline (formerly PTI2000) provides information
on bus and rail services in each region, along with all other
public transport services. However, if a caller requires rail
information only, they are when first connected to traveline invited
to call the national rail enquiry service. This reflects the purpose
of each service: traveline is intended to provide multi-modal
journey planning information, while national rail enquiries can
provide more detailed rail information (eg fares, engineering
(g) Why are taxi company phone numbers
TrainTaxi Ltd publishes a listing to the telephone
numbers of up to three local taxi companies for each railway station.
The guide is a commercial initiative, and is available for sale.
Traveline is currently reviewing its future direction, and taxi
information may be considered.
5. The National Assembly for Wales has
indicated its desire to pursue its own integrated transport policy
within Wales (Policy Review of Public Transport Consultation Report,
(a) What additional
powers does the Government consider the Assembly requires to achieve
its own integrated transport policy?
The Government believes the Assembly has adequate
powers to deliver an integrated transport policy.
(b) What plans, if any, does the Government
have to introduce legislation to devolve further powers in respect
of transport to the National Assembly?
The Government has no such plans at present.
(c) Will provision be made to increase
the Block Grant by amounts appropriate for subsidy (operating)
and investment as indicated in Transport 2010?
Changes to the level of the Block Grant within
the period of the Transport 10 Year Plan will be determined within
future Spending Reviews by HM Treasury on the basis of the Barnett
(d) How does the Government believe that
the National Assembly can integrate road and rail investment given
the widely differing sources of investment?
The Government believes that the National Assembly
for Wales should develop links with the Strategic Rail Authority
to take this matter further.
(e) What evaluation techniques do DTLR
currently use for different options? (See Railways section for
DTLR uses the New Approach To Appraisal (NATA)
to appraise different solutions to transport problems. NATA presents
the key economic, environmental and social impacts of projects
in a clear, consistent and balanced way using a one-page Appraisal
Summary Table (AST) and associated worksheets. Impacts are assessed
against the Government's five objectives for transport (environmental
impact, safety, economy, accessibility and integration), each
broken down into a number of sub-objectives. Advice on the use
of NATA is set out in Guidance on the Methodology for Multi-Modal
Studies (March 2000), supplemented by Applying the Multi-Modal
New Approach To Appraisal to Highway Schemes (March 2001) and
Guidance on the Appraisal of Major Public Transport Schemes (July
NATA applies to England only. Understand the
National Assembly for Wales are using a previous version of NATA.
6. What discussions have recently taken
place between the UK Government and the National Assembly for
Wales regarding transport policy and transport funding? In particular
what discussions have been held regarding:
integrated transport policy issues;
Railtrack's failures to maintain
the Wales and Borders franchise
Which offices of the NAW and departments of
the UK Government have been involved?
The DTLR, as the Department with overall responsibility
for transport issues, takes the lead in discussions with the National
Assembly for Wales (NAW) on transport related issues. All of the
matters mentioned, along with other transport issues, have been
discussed in recent meetings between DTLR and Welsh Ministers.
Officials are in regular contact about developments
which may affect devolved policy. There are biannual meetings
between senior officials from the DTLR and NAW to discuss areas
of common interest. A bilateral concordat between the Department
and the Cabinet of the National Assembly for Wales governs our
day-to-day working relations. Copies of the concordant are available
from the DTLR internet site (www.local-regions.dtlr.gov.uk/concordat/welsh/01.htm).
It is currently being updated to reflect machinery of Government
The Office of the Rail Regulator has contact
with the Assembly and, among other things, has explained the Regulator's
powers in respect of the accountability of Railtrack.
7. (a) When improvements are made
to east-west links and to border roads (eg the A483 which enters
England at its northern end), what discussions take place between
NAW and Government officials?
Improvements on roads that lead to or cross
the border are subject to various discussions depending on how
proposals are arrived at. Such proposals may arise from the results
of multi-modal studies, roads-based studies, "schemes to
be progressed" (from the roads review) or as a result of
other studies as appropriate. It is always the intention that
the appropriate Welsh bodies are represented on study steering
groups or that Welsh bodies are fully consulted before schemes
are added to the Targeted Programme of Improvements.
Improvements to local roads are bid for by local
highway authorities and Government Offices would lead on any liaison
issues. However, we are not aware of any such improvements that
involve border roads.
The following is a summary of the studies and
other proposals which have recently reported or are still working:
A5/A483 Shrewsbury to Chester Road Based Study
National Assembly for Wales sits on Steering
Group (chaired by Government Office West Midlands), study will
make recommendations to the regional planning bodies, National
Assembly for Wales, Secretary of State, Highways Agency and transport
operators. Study due to report in Spring 2002.
A483 Pant and Llanymynech bypass
The Highways Agency has been in regular contact
with the NAW on this scheme, which involves a cross-border bypass
with a few hundred metres of the road in Wales. The scheme has
the support of the NAW and will be delivered by the Highways Agency
in partnership with the NAW. The latter are contributing £2
million plus index linking for construction costs and will bear
the acquisition and compensation costs for land and property in
Wales. NAW will be involved in the preparation of the preferred
London to South West and South Wales multi-modal
The decision was taken from the outset to include
the NAW as a steering group member, albeit as an observer. This
invitation was a recognition that the study was principally looking
at east-west movements and would therefore have an impact on South
Wales as well as providing opportunities to travel from South
Wales to London and Heathrow.
A550/A5117 Deeside Park Junctions Road Based
Study area runs up to but does not cross border.
Study now reported and North-West Regional Assembly accepted case.
NAW were on steering group and were fully involved in the development
of, and agreement to, the schemes recommended.
A49 Route Management Strategy
NAW attended Route Seminar for stakeholders,
held in July 2001. NAW will be consulted during public consultation
Preparation of West Midlands Primary Route Network
A regional initiative involving West Midlands
Local Government Association. GOWM has consulted NAW, copying
plans and seeking comments.
(b) How are such schemes fitted into
the construction programme of the two bodies?
We are not aware of any schemes being simultaneously
added to the construction programme of both bodies. The only scheme
which crosses the border is the A483 Pant-Llanymynech which will
be delivered solely by the Highways Agency in the Targeted Programme
of Improvements, albeit with financial support from the NAW. Continued
liaison between the HA and the Welsh Office will pick up issues
of a mutual interest such as forthcoming schemes.
8. The Committee raised concerns about
the requirements of different bodies to consult one another during
its inquiry into the Transport Bill (Second Report from the Welsh
Affairs Committee, HC 287, Session 1999-2000), in particular:
county and county borough councils
must submit LTP's to the National Assembly. (Thus two way consultation
and integration may be achieved.)
no consultation or integration
is required between the SRA plans and LTP's from either body.
the SRA is required only to consult
Has the Government re-considered its view
on these or any other matters covered in its response to the Committee's
Local Transport in Wales is a devolved matter.
The Government's view in relation to rail remains
as stated in its response to the Committee's Second Report. There
is no statutory requirement on the SRA to consult local authorities
in relation to rail, or on local authorities to consult the SRA
in relation to the planning of rail services. However, the Government
expects the process for determining rail needs to be a two-way
process between the SRA and local planning bodies, including those
in Wales, so that local plans and strategies are consistent with
the national framework. We have made this approach clear in our
draft Directions and Guidance to the SRA and in our guidance to
local authorities in England, outside London, on local transport
The draft Directions and Guidance recognise
the broader policy framework within which the SRA operates, and
that many aspects of the Authority's work will have a local or
regional impact. The draft Directions and Guidance make it clear
that the Authority should take into account, among others, relevant
policies of the Welsh Assembly; and that, in formulating its strategies
and carrying out its functions, the Authority should work closely
with the local and regional planning bodies, and should have regard
to Local Transport Plans (LTPs).
In practice, the SRA consults widely with local
authorities on a range of matters. The SRA explains this process
in more detail in its memorandum to the Committee.
9. (a) Is it the case that the Government's
policy is to use the revenue from congestion charges and workplace
parking charges to invest in public transport?
It is for individual local authorities to decide
whether or not to introduce congestion charging schemes in the
context of their local transport plans. The Transport Act 2000
guarantees that the revenue from the charging schemes will then
be retained locally for a minimum period of 10 years from the
scheme's start date. This money will be ring-fenced for the local
authority to spend on improving local transport services. This
revenue will be additional to existing transport funding which
the authorities receive from the central Government. The National
Assembly for Wales is responsible for approving charging schemes
(b) What assessment has the Government
made of the policy in the Netherlands, where investment in public
transport has preceded the introduction of, or increase in, higher
In the Netherlands, as in the UK, responsibility
for parking strategies rests with the local authorities. A number
of local authorities in the Netherlands are running schemes where
investment in public transport is directly linked to an increase
in parking charges, as described. Both the UK and the Netherlands
are participating in a collaborative European research project
which involves the study and analysis of parking policies in town
centres of the participating countries and which will compare
their effects on mobility, traffic demand management and the local
economy. The aim is to develop best practice guidance, which will
inform parking strategies for EU countries. The report of this
study is expected in late 2002.
(c) How will funding be provided where
revenue from road and work place charges is estimated to be well
below the investment needs (eg the cost of a single light rail
route in Cardiff from the Bay to Cathays is estimated at £120
We judge each proposed light rail scheme on
its merits. Schemes are subjected to a full economic appraisal,
which looks at such issues as forecast patronage and value for
money. The 10 Year Plan provided for £2.6 billion for light
rail. However, about half of the assumed investment is expected
to be provided from local authorities, developer contributions
or from the concession value of schemes. Road user charging and
the workplace parking levy are just two means by which local authorities
can aim to raise revenue for a light rail scheme. It is, though,
at the discretion of local authorities, in light of their local
knowledge of traffic problems and the likely solutions to them,
to decide whether road user charging or the workplace parking
levy have a part to play in any light rail scheme development.
The National Assembly for Wales has responsibility
for approving congestion charging schemes in Wales and for providing
unhypothecated revenue funding to its local authorities.
10. Selection of the franchise for Wales
How were the bidders chosen?
What criteria will be used/are
being used to select the preferred bidder?
What criteria will be used to
assess the proposal and how is value for money/best return from
What service improvements on each
of Wales's lines are SRA looking for?
To what extent are the following
criteria to be applied:
(a) the service reflects demand flows.
The through services to Manchester, Birmingham and Bristol will
continue as these are important destinations and appropriate "cut
off" points for adjacent franchises;
(b) the franchise is sufficiently large
to be operationally possible and achieve economies of scale, but
be managed locally to achieve maximum market growth;
(c) it creates a market oriented dynamic
railway whose primary concern is service quality and an efficient
attractive railway, serving customer needs;
(d) services on several currently peripheral
routes (e.g. via Wrexham) will become major services. In a Wales-based
network improved frequencies will lead to increased demand;
(e) the creation of "hubs" at
Chester, Shrewsbury and Cardiff will provide increased main line
frequencies on north-south routes serving those stations and Bangor,
Manchester and Birmingham.
Companies bidding for franchises complain
that they have not been given sufficient insight into the criteria
to be used for selection. The new Draft Directives and Guidance
to the Strategic Rail Authority (June 2001) requires that "all
bidders . . . must be made aware of the criteria upon which their
bids are being assessed". Has this guidance been followed
The SRA has responded to this question in its
memorandum to the Committee.
11. What provisions are now being made
to ensure railway companies participate in multi-modal travel
schemes in areas outside London and the PTEs?
Are these included in the new contracts?
Does this include the provision of integrated
timetables, seamless interchanges and integrated through fares
on buses and trains? If so where is this taking place in Wales?
The SRA has responded to this question in its
memorandum to the Committee.
12. There is real concern and evidence
(according to the Rail Passenger CommitteeCymru Wales)
that the SRA is underfunded in relation to the network needs.
The investment figures contained in Transport 2010 are seen as
realisticon average £6 billion per annum for Great
Britain (about equally split between public and private sectors)
and therefore (using the Barnett Formula) would be £300 per
annum. Whether this includes, or not, the £80m subsidy figure
currently applied to Wales's railways, the estimate by RPC of
£15m capital investment in Wales in 2000 is clearly well
below the DTLR's own estimates.
The Government believes that its current public
expenditure plans will deliver the key rail objectives set out
in its 10 Year Plan for Transport. We recognise that there are
particular problems at present. However, there is no reason to
believe that the priorities and targets committed to in the Plan
cannot be delivered within the spending commitments provided for
in the Plan.
So far as concerns 10 Year Plan funding for
particular projects, there is no reason why Wales should be treated
differently from any other part of Great Britain. Proposals for
projects in Wales will be assessed on a GB-wide basis and in terms
of overall affordability and value for money.
(a) Why was funding not forthcoming from
the public sector in 2000/01?
In 2000/01, a total of £847 million was
paid to train operating companies (TOCs) in Support for Passenger
Rail Services (SPRS) by the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA). Of
that total, £17 million was paid to Cardiff Railway and a
further £414 million to the six TOCs which run services into
and out of Wales.
(b) How is the Government intending to
respond to Railtrack's withdrawal from many investment projects
because of its financial position?
For some time now, we have envisaged that Special
Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) and other such innovative mechanisms would
complement more traditional approaches to financing railway enhancement
investment projects. In particular, we have acknowledged that
major projects over a certain threshold could not be undertaken
by Railtrack alone because of the risks involved. It is likely
that future projects will be taken forward by stand-alone partnership
companiesa concept which the Government has been developing.
(c) A figure of £1.5 billion of
"lifeboat" funding payable to Railtrack has been quoted
extensively by DTLR and the Office of the Rail Regulator (ORR).
Under an agreement between the Government and
Railtrack reached on 2 April 2001, £1.5 billion of grant
funding to the company was re-phased, delivering long-term savings
to the taxpayer. This was not extra money, but provision which
had already been allocated under the Rail Regulator's review of
access charges. The provision was brought forward, within the
10 Year Plan period, to ease financial pressures on Railtrack.
Under the 2 April agreement, Railtrack agreed to give higher priority
to management of the core rail network.
(d) How will this money be accounted
for in terms of its expenditure by Railtrack?
The Government will be bringing forward proposals
for Railtrack's responsibilities to be transferred to a private
company without shareholdersa private sector "company
limited by guarantee" (CLG), run on a commercial basis. The
Government also intends to take the opportunity to streamline
the existing system of regulation, whilst still recognising the
need for some form of independent economic regulation.
The Government believes that the greater management
focus and efficiencies available from a CLG, combined with a more
focussed system of regulation, would help to optimise the value
for money of Government support, including the grant brought forward
under the 2 April agreement.
The new industry and regulatory structure would
offer a clearer line of accountability between Government support
and rail outputs and outcomes. One of the CLG's primary objectives
would be to address Railtrack's lack of knowledge of the condition
of its assets, to allow the new regulatory system clearly to monitor
and enforce the delivery of rail outputs.
(e) What mechanism will there be to pass
these funds from the Treasury to Railtrack?
Funds paid out of the provision brought forward
under the 2 April agreement are paid to Railtrack by the SRA.
So far, one payment has been made: £337 million, paid on
1 October 2001.
(f) How does the Government answer the
concerns of the RPC, the train operating companies and the National
Assembly, all of whom have put forward realistic investment programmes
(easily funded by £300mpa), that the improvements will be
As already noted, investment proposals will
be assessed on a GB-wide basis. Small projects, which could secure
passenger benefits relatively quickly, might be eligible for funding
under the SRA's Rail Passenger Partnership (RPP) scheme. Alternatively,
the SRA has already specified a range of small enhancement projects
in Incremental Output Statements (IOSs).
13. Short term extensions to existing
The SRA plan for 20-year contracts, intended
to achieve new investment, is to be reviewed. The Secretary of
State has in the draft guidance ordered the SRA to "concentrate
on improving services within the existing franchises or through
2-year extensions" so as to improve services for passengers
(by say 2004/2006) in terms of safety, punctuality and comfort.
What are the intended benefits of this guidance?
The Secretary of State's draft Directions and
Guidance for the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) and his draft
statement of policy on passenger rail franchising, which builds
on the draft Directions and Guidance, set out the Government's
priorities for the railway and re-focus its policy on franchising.
The Government regrets that its franchising
policy proposals were misunderstood or misrepresented as narrowly
focused on franchise extension, or as an abandonment of the long
term. Our proposed policy specifically allows for a range of approaches,
whatever is most appropriate in the particular case. No doubt
different approaches will be appropriate in different cases. Where
franchises are replaced it will be for consideration what the
duration of the new franchise should be. The Government's intention
is that the SRA should do whatever is most appropriate to obtain
benefits for passengers, in the short as well as the longer termwhether
that is through agreed enhancements or extensions of existing
franchises, or by replacing them early or in the normal course
The Secretary of State has asked the SRA to
take a fresh look at what can be achieved within existing franchises
to drive up safety, punctuality and comfort across all franchised
services. The Government wants to see improvements in existing
franchises that include:
new passenger performance targets;
investment in additional services;
improvements to rolling stock; and
improved passenger facilities.
The intended benefits are listed below. Not
all of these will necessarily arise on any given franchise. Some
of these benefits may be deliverable through existing franchises
or extensions of them but others may require selective early replacement
of a franchise.
Better punctuality and reliability
eg tougher performance targets, extra drivers, spare trains for
emergency use, enhanced maintenance cover, better arrangements
for dealing with disrupted services;
Reductions in overcrowding eg extra
rolling stock, additional services and longer trains;
Improved personal security eg more
CCTV at stations and on trains, secure parking, more accreditation
under the Secure Stations initiative and extended staffing hours;
Integrated transport measures eg
integrated public transport information systems; better and safer
interchange at and access to stations by local public transport,
by car, cycle and on foot; and new park and ride stations;
Improved accessibility for disabled
people eg at stations and on trains;
Putting passengers first eg better
compensation when things go wrong, no quibble refunds, and a greater
voice for passengers in the level and standard of services;
Improved station facilities eg signage,
information, waiting rooms, and ticket offices;
Improved passenger information and
retailing eg real time travel information and Internet ticket
The need for the safe operation of the railway
is a given. The Government has never suggested that performance
be at the expense of safety, and believes that the two go hand
in hand. The SRA has a duty to take into account the need to protect
all persons from dangers arising from the operation of the railways,
taking into account, in particular any advice given to the SRA
by the HSE. The draft Directions and Guidance say that the SRA
should ensure that HSE is fully consulted whenever railway safety
may be at issue, and that it should be guided by the advice of
HSC/HSE on all health and safety issues.
Franchising is not the only tool available to
the SRA. The Rail Passenger Partnership scheme provides funding
to assist the provision of new or enhanced local and regional
services that cannot be justified on financial grounds but which
contribute to the Government's wider objectives for rail. The
SRA has streamlined the assessment process for smaller schemes.
This will ensure that successful projects are appraised more quickly
and the benefits felt by passengers sooner.
14. Specific Rail Services
(a) Railtrack has put back the Ebbw Vale
freight line development into a passenger service.
Is the Government intending to fund such
a service which the local authority consortium sees as a priority?
(b) The introduction of and hourly service
from Bangor via Chester, Wrexham and Shrewsbury to Birmingham
together with the existing hourly service from Cardiff to Manchester
will provide two vitally necessary improvements to Wales's rail
Wrexham will have an hourly service in both
A Bangor-Birmingham service integrating with
a Cardiff-Manchester service at a same platform hub at Shrewsbury
will (with two through Bangor-Cardiff trains per day as at present)
provide an hourly Bangor-Cardiff (and possibly Swansea) service
over an 18-hour daily period.
This requires reliability and signalling investment
at Shrewsbury. How and when does the new guidance achieve this?
The SRA has responded to this question in its
memorandum to the Committee.
III. Objective 1 Funding for Transport
15. Investment funds for moving assets
(a) What is the Government's view on
the use of Objective 1 funding for moving assets such as buses,
trams or trains given the successful use of such funds in this
type of investment in the Republic of Ireland?
The Government has allowed, indeed welcomed,
Objective 1 funding to be used for the Tyne & Wear Metro extension
to Sunderland. This was announced in December 1999. Similar funding
is being sought for a tram scheme in Merseyside and in South Yorkshire,
and local authorities expect to seek money for other schemes in
(b) Have Objective 1 funds been used
previously in this way in the UK?
Support tends only to have been given in small
community based Structural Fund Community Initiative programmes
in which the economic outputs are less stringent than for Objective
1 and 2 mainstream programmes. Even then, the need and benefit
to the community within the programme area has to be clearly justified.
(c) What conditions, if any, have the
European Commission placed on such investments?
The Regulations require that in the case of
investment in infrastructure, the grant cannot exceed 40 per cent
of the total eligible cost of the project. As well as that, the
Commission requires that any project which will benefit a single
end user or shareholders shall have to make a clear business case
for support. Any subsequent offer of grant then includes the provision
to claw back any excess profits. Issues concerning State Aids
also have to be considered.
(d) Is the Government aware of any conditions
imposed on the use of Objective 1 funds for bus investment and
the Quality Bus Corridors in Dublin or for new rolling stock for
DART suburban railways?
(e) Have discussions ever taken place
with EU officials on the use of Objective 1 funds for Valley Lines
trains (excluding Cardiff) using Objective 1 provisions?
Not an issue for the DTLR.
1 See page 60 for corrected answer to the question. Back