Giving evidence yesterday (4 December) to the Commons transport committee's exhuastive (and exhausting) enquiry into cycle safety, recently appointed transport minister Robert Goodwill MP put in an 80 minute stint, flying solo without the support of DfT officials.

Unsurprisngly the subject of training LGV drivers to look out for cyclists came up and Goodwill gave a ringing endorsement of the honest majority of the haulage industry.

"The vast majority of road haulage companies do have a very responsible attitude to safety," he declared. "Large transport companies also have a responsible attitude to training. There are problems with some smaller operators who are not as aware of their responsibilities."

There are of course a number of Driver CPC courses available covering cycle safety, and many thousands of drivers have already taken advantage of just such a course offered free by TfL.

But Goodwill either changed DfT policy on the hoof or made something of a gaff when he told MPs on the committee: "Driver CPC is a good opportunity. Drivers have to do five days training by September next year and thereafter they have to do one day a year training."

Actually, in its official response to the current EU consultation on the future of Driver CPC, the DfT wrote: "We also support maintaining the flexibility that allows the 35 hours of periodic

training to be undertaken at any time during the 5 years according to the needs of the trainee rather than being phased as 7 hours each year."

It is no secret that the UK industry lobbied hard to make Driver CPC as flexible as possible, and fought to ensure drivers can do the five seven-hour courses at any time in the five year period - including five consecutive days if they so choose - rather making a mockery of the term "periodic training".

Goodwill was more on message when he added that the UK is also against any moves by the EU to require national authorities to have a greater say in the type of training that drivers can undertake as part of the Driver CPC.

"We would wish to see Driver CPC modules covering cycle awareness but we can't be too prescriptive, as for many operators other aspects are more important," said Goodwill. "It is not a good idea to have a national curriculum for Driver CPC."

But Goodwill did promise a clampdown on the rumoured cowboy training providers who have been giving the Driver CPC a bad reputation.

"I have heard the horror stories about low quality training in rooms above pubs and I promise the committee I will be taking a personal interest in how these courses develop and become a useful contribution to road safety rather than just ticking the box," Goodwill pledged.

Interestingly enough, the DSA had started a process to find a replacement for the much maligned Driver CPC accreditation body Jaupt when its contract runs out next year - but all mention of this has now disappeared from the DSA website.