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Roads: Repair and Maintenance

Volume 502: debated on Monday 7 December 2009

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport with reference to the answer of 11 November 2009, Official Report, column 370W, on roads: repair and maintenance, if he will publish the submission to the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State setting out (a) the (i) reasons and (ii) justifications for not providing the information requested in question 296881 and (b) the estimated cost of providing the information requested, as required in accordance with section 7.28 of the Cabinet Office's Guide to Parliamentary Work. (302908)

The information requested in parliamentary question 296881 asked for the benefit-cost ratios (BCRs) of all schemes in the targeted programme of improvements at programme entry and at present. The BCR data requested are not held centrally.

The targeted programme of improvements (TPI) comprised 114 major road schemes of which 71 are now open for traffic. The schemes entered the programme at various times, 37 of them in July 1998. For the older, completed schemes, files have been put away into storage and would have to be retrieved at a cost of £20 per file. Extracting the relevant BCR information from the files and putting that information into context in terms of what assumptions were made when the BCR was calculated is not a straightforward task. To quote BCRs out of context would be misleading.

It is not possible to estimate accurately how much it would cost to obtain the BCRs for all 114 schemes. It is thought likely that to retrieve and examine the files of one completed scheme would take around half a day at a cost of £260 (PB 5/6 Full Economic Cost rate). Further work would then be required to enable meaningful comparisons to be made between the present BCR and that calculated at programme entry.