HC Deb 17 September 2004 vol 424 cc1845-6W
Mr. Yeo

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the level of road congestion on (a) motorways and (b) all roads has been in each year since 1997. [186853]

Mr. Darling

The measure that has been used is derived from comparing actual traffic speeds with those that would be achievable in the absence of congestion. Full details of the methodology are available on the Department's website at www.dft.gov.uk/stellent/groups/dft_transstats/ documents/page/dft_transstats_021863.pdf

Under this measure the estimated average congestion delay on motorways in England was 3.8 seconds lost per vehicle kilometre in 2000. Congestion in large urban areas in England was estimated as 24.8 seconds lost per vehicle kilometre in 2000 and 24.9 seconds lost per vehicle kilometre in 2002. These are the latest figures currently available. Estimates have not been made for years prior to 2000.

The Department has always acknowledged the limitations of measuring congestion in this way and is currently developing new, more detailed data sources and new measures of traffic congestion.

John Thurso

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his estimate is of the total cost to the Government of public expenditure on road investment taken from the Capital Departmental Expenditure limit, but excluding capital grants to the private sector within the Resource Department Expenditure Limit, in each year from 2001–02 to 2010–11(a) at outturn prices and (b) at today's prices. [164715]

Mr. Jamieson

Figures for outturn and forecast public expenditure on road investment on the English strategic roads network within the Department's Capital Departmental Expenditure Limit to 2005–06 are set out in the following table Future spending is being reviewed as part of the Spending Review 2004 and announcements about spending levels beyond 2005–06 will be announced in due course.

The expenditure in 2001–02 and 2002–03 is higher since in those years structural maintenance was scored as capital expenditure. From 2003–04 onwards it scores as resource expenditure to bring the statistical treatment for budgeting purposes into line with accounting practice under Resource Accounting and Budgeting (RAB).

Financial year Outturn prices 2003–04 prices
2001–02 1,022 1,086
2002–03 1,081 1,111
2003–04 649 649
2004–05 799 781
2005–06 563 537

The Government's policy as set out in "A New Deal for transport: Better for Everyone" (1998 Cm 3950) is that there are a number of trunk roads which mainly serve local and regional traffic and are more appropriately managed at local level. Therefore the Highways Agency has been transferring responsibility (together with an appropriate level of resources) over to local highway authorities to enable decisions to be better integrated with local transport and land use planning issues. The result will be to reduce the trunk road network by 30 per cent. or around 3,000 km in total. So far about two thirds of these roads have been detrunked. The data have not been adjusted to take this into account.

Trunk roads (excluding motorways) within Greater London were transferred to Transport for London in July 2000.

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