§ Mr. Don Foster
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what research has been conducted and is planned by or for his Department on the benefits of slipformed concrete barriers on motorways and other Highways Agency roads. 
§ Mr. Jamieson
The Highways Agency led the development of concrete vehicle containment barriers in the UK. The bulk of this work was completed by the early 1990s. This supported the use of concrete barriers in road widening schemes, where space was at a premium. The Agency has subsequently undertaken further research and development to refine the systems. Concrete barriers have been promoted as one of the options acceptable to the Highways Agency in tender documents for new work.
The Agency has also recently contributed with industry towards the costs of investigating the procurement practices in mainland Europe where concrete barriers appear to be used more extensively. Further research is also examining whole life benefits and costs of all vehicle safety barriers to gain a better understanding of the whole life performance of the different types of barrier. There is some evidence that concrete barriers have higher performance characteristics that could be of benefit in particular locations.