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Written Question
Large Goods Vehicle Drivers: Facilities
7 Jan 2022

Questioner: John Spellar (LAB - Warley)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to improve roadside facilities for HGV drivers.

Answered by Trudy Harrison

The Government recognises the need to ensure hauliers have access to appropriate services and facilities.

We will be investing £32.5 million in roadside facilities for HGV drivers on the road.

The Department continues to engage with key stakeholders to encourage the development of more safe, secure, and high-quality lorry parking to improve driver welfare.


Written Question
P&O Ferries: Safety
6 Sep 2021

Questioner: John Spellar (LAB - Warley)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment his Department made of the effect of (a) crew numbers and (b) working hours at P&O ferries on crew and passenger safety.

Answered by Robert Courts

The Department has not made an assessment of the effects of crew numbers and working hours on P&O Ferries operations. P&O have no UK-flagged vessels and operate on international routes. Their vessels are primarily subject to the laws of the country in which they are registered but are inspected by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency as UK Port State Authority to ensure compliance with relevant safety standards and regulations.


Written Question
Vehicle Number Plates
12 Jul 2021

Questioner: John Spellar (LAB - Warley)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what his Department's regulations are for GB stickers and vehicle licence plates for travel abroad; and if he will publish the impact assessment that preceded the recent change of that designation from from GB to UK.

Answered by Rachel Maclean

We have made no changes to the regulations on number plates which continue to allow motorists of vehicles registered in Great Britain to display:

UNITED KINGDOM, United Kingdom or UK

GREAT BRITAIN, Great Britain or GB

ENGLAND, England, ENG or Eng

SCOTLAND, Scotland, SCO or Sco

CYMRU, Cymru, CYM or Cym

WALES or Wales

All options remain available to motorists. A UK sticker or identifier is only needed for those travelling abroad.

As there were no changes to regulations, an Impact Assessment has not been prepared.


Written Question
Road Traffic Control: Fines
10 Jun 2021

Questioner: John Spellar (LAB - Warley)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment has he made of the proportionality of the level of fines issued to people driving in low traffic neighbourhoods.

Answered by Rachel Maclean

The Department has not made any such assessment. ‘Low-traffic neighbourhoods’ have been around for many years but have only recently become known by this name. It describes a collection of measures designed to remove rat-running traffic from streets. The key feature is generally a road closure, which prevents through motor traffic from accessing the road but permits cycling and walking. Access is maintained for residents and their visitors and for essential services.

Closures may be implemented using existing standard traffic management measures such as signed access restrictions to through motor traffic. These are enforceable in the same way and with the same penalties as when used on any other part of the road network.


Written Question
Motor Vehicles: Excise Duties
27 Apr 2021

Questioner: John Spellar (LAB - Warley)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking on untaxed vehicles without a statutory off road notification which are parked on private land.

Answered by Rachel Maclean

The DVLA operates a comprehensive package of measures to tackle vehicle excise duty evasion. These range from reminder letters, penalties and court prosecutions through to the use of Automatic Number Plate Recognition cameras, wheelclamping and the removal of unlicensed vehicles.

It is an offence to keep an unlicensed and/or uninsured vehicle. During the initial stages of the pandemic, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) took a pragmatic approach to enforcement action. This ensured that those impacted by the pandemic were not further disadvantaged and that a vehicle that might have been needed in an emergency was not immobilised or removed. However, the onus remains with the registered keeper of a vehicle to ensure that their legal obligations are fulfilled and that vehicles are licensed on time and covered by an appropriate insurance policy.

Unlicensed vehicles kept in certain off-road areas can be subject to enforcement action. These locations include, but are not limited to, public house car parks, private and municipal car parks, retail car parks, housing association roads, unadopted/privately maintained roads and common land. However, enforcement action cannot be taken against unlicensed vehicles being kept on land associated with a dwelling, for example a driveway.


Written Question
Motor Vehicles: Excise Duties and Insurance
27 Apr 2021

Questioner: John Spellar (LAB - Warley)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on enforcement action against (a) untaxed and (b) uninsured vehicles.

Answered by Rachel Maclean

The DVLA operates a comprehensive package of measures to tackle vehicle excise duty evasion. These range from reminder letters, penalties and court prosecutions through to the use of Automatic Number Plate Recognition cameras, wheelclamping and the removal of unlicensed vehicles.

It is an offence to keep an unlicensed and/or uninsured vehicle. During the initial stages of the pandemic, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) took a pragmatic approach to enforcement action. This ensured that those impacted by the pandemic were not further disadvantaged and that a vehicle that might have been needed in an emergency was not immobilised or removed. However, the onus remains with the registered keeper of a vehicle to ensure that their legal obligations are fulfilled and that vehicles are licensed on time and covered by an appropriate insurance policy.

Unlicensed vehicles kept in certain off-road areas can be subject to enforcement action. These locations include, but are not limited to, public house car parks, private and municipal car parks, retail car parks, housing association roads, unadopted/privately maintained roads and common land. However, enforcement action cannot be taken against unlicensed vehicles being kept on land associated with a dwelling, for example a driveway.


Written Question
Traffic Lights: Artificial Intelligence
1 Mar 2021

Questioner: John Spellar (LAB - Warley)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to integrate artificial intelligence into traffic light systems.

Answered by Rachel Maclean

The operation of traffic signal systems and the employment of new technologies is a matter for individual highway authorities and the traffic equipment supplier community. However, the Department is working with the Cabinet Office GovTech Challenge programme to fund public / private consortia to undertake trials of the use of artificial intelligence in the management of congestion, and these trials are developing various forms of artificial intelligence to enhance existing urban traffic control services.


Written Question
Driving: Sanitation
26 Feb 2021

Questioner: John Spellar (LAB - Warley)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of access to toilets for taxi, bus, van delivery, lorry and other professional drivers.

Answered by Rachel Maclean

The government recognises the hard work and commitment from transport workers since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and expects them to have easy and safe access to toilets and hand washing facilities to support their health and wellbeing whilst carrying out their important work, which supports the economy.

All motorway service stations in England are open to Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) drivers and critical workers, providing takeaway food only, toilet facilities and fuel. Operators of Motorway Service Areas (MSAs) have also been given an exemption, along with other transport hubs, to have their seating within the concourse still available throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, because they offer a safe place for HGV drivers and other critical workers to stop and rest.

In addition, the Department for Transport has published a joint letter with the Health and Safety Executive on gov.uk, reminding businesses of their legal obligation to provide toilet and handwashing facilities to drivers visiting their premises to deliver or collect goods as part of their work. The joint letter with the Health and Safety Executive is available to download and print, via the following link: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/ attachment_data/file/887867/dft-hse-letter-drivers-facilities.pdf


Written Question
Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation
23 Feb 2021

Questioner: John Spellar (LAB - Warley)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of extending the renewable transport fuel obligation to include existing renewable capacity.

Answered by Rachel Maclean

The Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) has been successful in promoting a market for a broad range of low carbon fuels. Low carbon fuels eligible for reward under the RTFO include renewable hydrogen made using renewable energy from existing production capacity. We plan to consult on potential changes to the RTFO scheme later this year. This will include proposals on how renewable hydrogen can be further supported, whilst respecting the principle of not diverting renewable energy away from existing uses and causing additional greenhouse gas emissions. The consultation will be accompanied by a cost benefit analysis.


Written Question
Railways: Coronavirus
22 Feb 2021

Questioner: John Spellar (LAB - Warley)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of changes to (a) volumes and (b) patterns of (i) intercity and (ii) commuter rail travel as the UK emerges from the covid-19 outbreak.

Answered by Chris Heaton-Harris

The Department continues to actively work to understand the impact of coronavirus on rail demand, including close working with industry. As part of this we are ensuring that we use a range of rail demand scenarios based on a series of factors that could drive rail demand over the short and long term to influence decisions. These scenarios consider the impact of Coronavirus on levels of passenger demand, including on commuting and long-distance travel.

Given the considerable uncertainty that the pandemic has caused, these scenarios cannot be used as forecasts. However, they do reflect some of the possible impacts of the pandemic on future rail demand.


Written Question
Railways: Skilled Workers
22 Feb 2021

Questioner: John Spellar (LAB - Warley)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of the (a) (i) age profile and (ii) adequacy of the supply of skilled workers and (b) potential merits of policies to maintain a skilled workforce in the rail industry.

Answered by Chris Heaton-Harris

My Department is aware of analysis from the National Skills Academy for Rail (NSAR) indicating that a significant proportion of the rail industry workforce is aged over 50. Some of this analysis was included as part of the Williams Rail Review evidence collation and published at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-rail-sector-in-numbers.

We are considering this and other issues affecting the supply of skilled workers over the next decade, and will set out details in due course.


Written Question
Felixstowe Port
11 Jan 2021

Questioner: John Spellar (LAB - Warley)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment his Department has made of the reasons for (a) congestion and (b) delays at Felixstowe docks.

Answered by Robert Courts

The last quarter of 2020 saw an unprecedented global demand surge for container freight, with shipping lines and ports worldwide handling volumes in excess of usual peak capacities and duration.

This is not an issue unique to Felixstowe, or UK ports, but is being experienced at many locations internationally.


Written Question
Buses: Hydrogen
17 Dec 2020

Questioner: John Spellar (LAB - Warley)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what financial and other support his Department is providing for the roll-out of hydrogen powered buses; and how many of those buses have been (a) ordered and (b) delivered.

Answered by Rachel Maclean

The Government has supported the use of a range of low carbon bus technologies, including hydrogen buses and supporting infrastructure, through funds including the Low Emission and Ultra-Low Emission Bus Schemes.

As set out in the Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution and the Spending Review 2020 the Government will invest £120 million in 2021-22 to start the delivery of the 4,000 zero emission buses announced by the Prime Minister in February. The Department is considering all funding mechanisms, and the role that all technologies can play, in delivering these ZEBs and the infrastructure needed to support them. Further details on how funding will be distributed will be announced in due course.


Written Question
Taiwan: International Civil Aviation Organisation
20 Nov 2020

Questioner: John Spellar (LAB - Warley)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he has taken to support Taiwan's membership of the International Civil Aviation Organization.

Answered by Robert Courts

The UK believes that the people of Taiwan have a valuable contribution to make on issues of global concern. We therefore support Taiwanese participation in International Organisations, where there is precedent for their involvement and where there is no pre-requisite of nationhood for participation. This includes meetings of the International Civil Aviation Organization.


Written Question
Diesel Fuel: Renewable Fuels
25 Sep 2020

Questioner: John Spellar (LAB - Warley)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what his Department's policy is on the use of (a) food and (b) animal feed crops for the production of renewable diesel.

Answered by Rachel Maclean

The Government recognises that some crop derived biofuels can lead to an increase in greenhouse gas emissions due to indirect land use change factors, and concerns regarding the potential for increases in food prices as land and crops are diverted to fuel rather than food production.

Given these concerns the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO), a certificate trading scheme which promotes a market for sustainable renewable fuels, limits the contribution crop based biofuels can make towards a suppliers obligation (both bioethanol and biodiesel). This sliding cap on crop based biofuels decreases from 4% in 2020 to 2% in 2032. The RTFO provides additional support for low carbon fuels that do not compete with food and save significant greenhouse gas emissions compared to fossil fuels. Biofuels made from wastes and residues receive twice number of tradeable certificates than would be rewarded for the supply of biofuels made from crops.