HC Deb 21 October 2002 vol 391 cc18-20W
Mr. Don Foster

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he intends to publish a report on progress in reducing road traffic levels as specified in the Road Traffic Reduction (National Targets) Act 1998. [75613]

Mr. Jamieson

The Secretary of State fulfilled his statutory obligations under the Road Traffic Reduction (National Targets) Act 1998 with the publication of "Tackling Congestion and Pollution" in January 2000. Section 2(5) of the Act makes provision for the Secretary of State to publish progress reports "at such times as he deems appropriate". Paragraph 84 of "Tackling Congestion and Pollution" promised that a second report under the Act would detail our progress in developing new benchmarks. It remains our intention to publish such a report in due course.

Tom Brake

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what data he has collated on(a) forecast traffic levels and (b) actual traffic levels since their opening of the (i) A5190 at Burntwood, (ii) Newbury, (iii) A130, Rettendon turnpike to Howe Green, (iv) Silverstone and (v) Ashby bypasses (A) on the bypass concerned and (B) on other roads in the area, including the impact on town centres. [75014]

Mr. Jamieson

The A5190 Burntwood, the A130, Rettendon turnpike to Howe Green and the Ashby-dela-Zouche bypass are not trunk roads and are thus the responsibility of the respective local highway authorities. The Department for Transport has therefore not collated data on these schemes.

Continuous traffic count data is being collected by the Highways Agency on several sites on the A34 Newbury Bypass and on the A339. Data is also being collected on other roads in the area by the local highway authority. The recorded traffic flows will be compared with the original traffic predictions in an evaluation report now being prepared for the situation one year after opening. Further surveys, including journey time surveys, are planned for next year in order to create a five-year post-opening report.

Count data at Silverstone was collected over the British Grand Prix weekend, and also just before and just after the opening of the bypass on 18 September this year. A traffic impact study is being drafted, in partnership with Northamptonshire County Council, and will be available to the public when complete. Further evaluation studies will be carried out in one and five years time.

Mr. Don Foster

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his Department projects the level of traffic in the United Kingdom to be by 2004–05; and how this was calculated. [75610]

Mr Jamieson

Traffic in Great Britain in 2001 was estimated to be 473.7 billion vehicle-kilometres. The Department's publication "National Road Traffic Forecasts (Great Britain) 1997" projects that traffic will grow at a rate between 1.35 per cent. per annum and 1.99 per cent. per annum. Applying these growth rates over a period of 34 years, traffic in 2004–05 is expected to be between 494.8 and 505.0 billion vehicle-kilometres.

Measures in the Government's Ten Year Plan for Transport were projected to reduce traffic levels below trend by around 5 per cent. by 2010, but that forecasting exercise did not consider how such reductions would be spread over different years within the ten-year period. The impact of Ten Year Plan measures is generally expected to be greater in the second half of the period, because of the time needed for major capital projects to come on-stream.

Traffic forecasting for Northern Ireland is the responsibility of the Roads Service, part of the Department of the Environment (Northern Ireland).