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Driving Tests: Southend

Volume 477: debated on Friday 20 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many car and motorcycle tests were conducted at the Southend driving test centre in each of the last 10 years. (210593)

The number of practical car and motorcycling tests conducted at the Southend driving test centre in each of the last 10 years is shown in the following table:

Car

Motorcycling

Total

1998-99

7,687

479

8,166

1999-2000

6,620

697

1,359

2000-01

6,477

518

6,995

2001-02

6,314

355

6,669

2002-03

7,284

453

7,737

2003-04

7,780

571

8,351

2004-05

8,756

390

9,146

2005-06

9,687

392

10,079

2006-07

9,231

431

9,662

2007-08

9,045

393

9,438

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much the proposed move of driving tests from the Southend Driving Test Centre to the Multi-Purpose Test Centre in Basildon will cost. (210595)

Based on similar relocations in the recent past the Driving Standards Agency would expect to spend around £5,000 in removal costs for moving from Southend Driving Test Centre to the Multi-Purpose Test Centre in Basildon if that is the final decision.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many staff are employed at the Southend driving test centre; and how many positions will be available for these staff if the centre is co-located with the Multi-Purpose Test Centre in Basildon. (210596)

The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) employs seven driving examiners at the Southend driving test centre.

DSA will offer the driving examiners employed at Southend driving test centre the opportunity to take part in a preference exercise for alternative posts prior to any potential redeployment.

If the centre is co-located to the Multi-Purpose Test Centre in Basildon, positions would be available for all the driving examiners currently employed at Southend.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the projected cost is of providing services to users who live within the current Southend catchment area if the Southend Driving Test Centre is co-located with the Multi-Purpose Test Centre in Basildon (a) in total and (b) per test. (210597)

The Driving Standards Agency does not hold the information required in this format and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment has been made of the feasibility of Southend driving test centre being used for car driving tests only. (211057)

The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) is currently reviewing the responses received to the recent consultation on the future of Southend driving test centre before a decision is made.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether any steps have been taken by the Driving Standards Agency to identify a site in Southend that is suitable for motorcycle tests compliant with European Community Directive 2000/56/EC. (211058)

The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) initially focused its search for a suitable site for a multi-purpose test centre on the Chelmsford area. Following poor availability of suitable sites in Chelmsford the search area was widened to include Basildon.

The search areas used are intended to bring the widest possible population coverage within DSA's criterion that most motorcycle customers should be within 20 miles or 45 minutes of a multi-purpose test centre.

Owing to operational concerns over the potential redevelopment of the area around the existing Southend driving test centre, Southend was not considered as a specific search area for the location of a multi-purpose test centre.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what account was taken of the Driving Standards Agency's travel distance criterion in proposing to co-locate the Southend Driving Test Centre with the Multi-Purpose Test Centre in Basildon. (211060)

The “Code of Practice on Written Consultations—Driving Test Centres” used by the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) states that candidates in areas with a population density equal to or more than 1,250 persons per square kilometre customers should not have to travel further than seven miles to a driving test centre.

The proposed site for the Multi-Purpose Test Centre in Basildon is some ten miles away from Southend. Therefore DSA has run a public consultation about the future of Southend driving test centre. This commenced on 13 February and closed on 9 May 2008. DSA is currently reviewing the responses received before a decision will be made. This is expected to be announced in August 2008.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment has been made of the environmental impact of co-locating Southend Driving Test Centre with the Multi-Purpose Test Centre in Basildon; and what account was taken of (a) people travelling from Southend to Basildon for driving lessons and (b) time spent in traffic. (211061)

No environmental impact assessment has been prepared for the co-location of Southend Driving Test Centre with the Multi-Purpose Test Centre in Basildon. There is no requirement for the Driving Standards Agency to do so.

All learner drivers should be taught to drive safely and confidently on a variety of roads rather than to follow test routes. So it should not be necessary for learner drivers to travel to Basildon from Southend for driving lessons, unless it is for pre-test familiarisation. This should minimise the environmental impact of those journeys and reduce the time spent in traffic.