§ Mr. Caborn
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what functions his Department carries out at the regional level; where the regional offices are located in each of the regions; what staff are employed and at what grades; what proportion of his Department's budget is spent in each of the regions; and what geographical boundaries determine his Department's regions.
§ Mr. Atkins
The Department has a wide range of functions, most of which are undertaken outside London. Some 80 per cent. of its 16,500 staff are based outside London. It has nine regional offices which deal with local aspects of road traffic, road safety and public transport in Newcastle, Leeds, Manchester, Nottingham, Birmingham, Bedford, London, Dorking and Bristol with a sub-office in Exeter. The new motorway widening unit will be in Coventry. We have recently announced our intention to relocate the highways computing division from London to Leeds.
The Department's marine directorate and Her Majesty's Coastguard have their own regional organisations, as do the vehicle inspection agency and the driver and vehicle licensing directorate, the new driver standards agency and traffic areas which supervise driver testing, vehicle safety and operator licences. The transport and road research laboratory is at Crowthorne. The different boundaries of each organisation are set in order to ensure value for public money and to best deliver each organisation's objectives.
Maps showing the nine regional offices and their schemes were published in February in "Trunk Roads, England, Into the 1990s". The roads vote of £1.3 billion is almost entirely spent by the regional organisation and the effort of the agencies and directorates listed above is deployed in the regions.