§ Norman Baker
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on his plans in respect of the Beddingham level crossing on the A27; and whether his plans will include options for consultation with the public. 
§ Mr. Jamieson
I have asked the Chief Executive of the Highways Agency, Tim Matthews, to write to the hon. Member.
Letter from Tim Matthews to Norman Baker, dated 30 October 2002:I have been asked by David Jamieson to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question in respect of the Beddingham Level Crossing on the A27 and plans for public consultation.Because of the urgent need to improve safety for both road and rail users at the level crossing, the Highways Agency is consulting on proposals to provide a bridge over the crossing. This was announced in the recent Press Notice (HA483/02) giving details of the Government's rolling programme for dealing with congestion and safety at junctions on the trunk road. The proposals being developed take into account the recommendations from the South Coast Multi Modal Study (SOCOMMS)The safety issues with the level crossing are long standing and are likely to increase in future due to possible increases in train services along the south coast line. Traffic management measures have been installed with some beneficial effect but the Agency, Railtrack and the Health and Safety Executive (HOUSE) do not see these as the solution. The HSE (Railway Inspectorate) consider that whilst the number of incidents has reduced the crossing is a high risk site and the highest in the south east. Without grade separation soon the Executive will instruct Railtrack to install full barriers at the crossing instead of the existing half barriers. Should this happen the lost time to road traffic will rise to approximately 20–24 minutes in any hour. This would have a dramatic effect on road capacity and result in a significant increase in the delays that already occur and the amount of queuing currently experienced during peak periods along the A27 in both directions. This in turn would lead to greater pressure on parallel routes as traffic sought to avoid the delays.We are arranging a public exhibition for the first week in December, with a Preview exhibition for Councillors, and other elected representatives on the 5th December. A newsletter will be issued to local residents shortly, explaining our proposals and inviting them to an exhibition. We will write to you again nearer December with a formal invitation to the Preview and exhibition 856W If you would like any further details Phil Barnett (Project Manager on 01306–878481) or Paul Arnold (Team Leader on 01306 878475) in our Dorking office would be pleased to help you.