POLITICS FEEDBACK: Questioning transport
30 June 2009
This week in our regular politics column we take a look at the transport questions MPs are asking in parliament. Tristan Young reports
Adrian Sanders, Libdem MP for Torbay, asked transport minister Sadiq Khan what research the DfT has commissioned and evaluated on the costs and benefits for the sector of carbon dioxide emissions trading.
Khan replied that although there had been reports for the aviation industry "the Department for Transport has not specifically commissioned research on emissions trading for road transport". Shipping had also not been investigated.
Following the lead story in our 16 June issue, which reveals Labour is looking at business mileage as the next area for green taxes, it doesn't seem to have thought that fleets that cut their vehicle's emissions may be able to use that saving to trade with companies that need to buy more carbon credits. A little short-sighted perhaps?
Conservative East Yorks MP Greg Knight asked transport minister Chris Mole when he expects the roadworks on the M25 between junction 16 and junction 19 to finish.
Mole's response read: "The roadworks and lane closures on the M25 between junctions 16 and 19 are scheduled to end in summer 2011.
"The current roadworks between junctions 16 and 18 form part of the first phase of the widening and are scheduled to be completed in summer 2010. The second phase of widening will then take place between junctions 18 and 21 commencing in summer 2010 and is scheduled to complete in summer 2011."
If you've driven that section of the M25 lately, you'll know the delays it's causing. Knowing you've got to live with these roadworks for two years means it is worth testing other routes for the worst times of day. Interesting that it's an East Yorkshire MP that's asking.
M25 widening continues
Meanwhile, Conservative shadow transport secretary Theresa Villiers asked about the M25 too: "What estimate has the department made for the number of jobs which would be created by widening and applying hard shoulder running on the M25?"
Mole replied: "The number of jobs which would be created for these two projects has not been assessed because the schemes have yet to be designed in enough detail to determine the resources required."
It's amazing that despite the fact the roadworks are underway (although admittedly not for the hard shoulder running part), the Government doesn't know the resources required.
Conservative shadow transport secretary Theresa Villiers has also been asking about biofuels and the differing levels of carbon reduction provided by different types of biofuel.
In response, transport minister Sadiq Khan said: "The Department for Transport is exploring a range of options for the treatment of biofuels with differing carbon savings, under both [EU - one for quality and one for quantity] directives. We will also be setting out the projected volume of biofuel required to meet these directives, following consultation, in a National Action Plan by June 2010."
We're glad the Government is taking biofuels seriously because we don't want a repeat of the farcical attempted introduction of LPG into the UK which killed its chances of ever making a comeback and even harmed other green-fuel initiatives.