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Volume 450: debated on Wednesday 11 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the 10 most congested (a) motorways and (b) non-motorway roads were in each of the last 12 months. (90371)

The Department’s measure of congestion on the Strategic Road Network in England is journey time reliability, measured by looking at the slowest 10 per cent. of journeys on each route and calculating the average vehicle delay (in minutes per 10 miles travelled) comparing observed journey times with reference journey times. The measure can only be calculated by looking at the distribution of journey times over a whole year, so figures are not available for individual months.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his Department’s policy is on reducing noise nuisance caused to residents living near motorways. (92452)

The Government are committed to using low noise surfacing materials on new strategic roads, and on existing strategic roads when resurfacing is required, to reduce road traffic noise levels and nuisance resulting from their use. The strategic road network includes all motorways in England.

As part of the 10-year plan, published in 2000, the Government proposed to install quieter surfacing on 60 per cent. of the strategic road network including all concrete stretches, dependent on funds available. To date the Highways Agency has resurfaced approximately 30 per cent. of the strategic road network with quieter materials.

In addition, on 22 March 1999, the Government announced a ring-fenced budget of £5 million a year to deal with the most serious and pressing cases of traffic noise arising from the existing strategic road network, where there was no early prospect of resurfacing with low-noise materials due to maintenance need. A list of 79 locations was published on 11 November 1999, Official Report, columns 681-83, and studies carried out to identify the most cost-effective measures to reduce noise. To date, 60 of these locations have been addressed.