§ Miss McIntosh
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what measures he intends to take to improve road bridges over railway lines as a result of the Great Heck accident. 
§ Mr. Jamieson
I have been asked to reply.
The Minister for Transport announced in the House on 25 February 2002, Official Report, columns 803–04W, that we had accepted all the recommendations in the reports of the Health and Safety Commission and the Highways Agency into the various issues involving road vehicles obstructing the railway following the Great Heck road/rail accident. There are five streams of work arising from these recommendations:
- the development of a protocol for apportioning responsibility and costs of improvements made at locations where roads meet, cross or run close to railways;
- the development of tools and data for use at the local level to assess the risk of vehicles leaving the road and getting onto the railway;
- the development of good practice guidance on measures to help manage risk at specific sites;
- identification of the relevant information that it would be practicable and useful to collect about incidents where road vehicles get onto railway property; and
- updating the standards for safety barriers on major roads in a clear and open procedure.
Representations from highway authorities, rail infrastructure authorities and rail safety organisations are supporting this Department in taking forward the recommendations. Our first priority is the protocol on responsibilities and costs which we aim to have agreed by the end of June 2002 and the Minister for Transport has asked for a report on progress on all streams of work by the end of July 2002.
Any measures taken as a result of this work will be the responsibility of the highway authorities and rail infrastructure authorities.