Justin Madders, MP for Ellesmere Port & Neston feels that local people are being let down by the Government after the Transport Minister confirmed in a parliamentary debate that no construction work will be undertaken to improve the M56 until after 2020.
The debate was raised by Weaver Vale MP Graham Evans whose own constituency covers part of the M56 and follows Justin’s campaign to “fix the M56”.
Justin raised concerns about the recent increase in incidents on the M56 motorway in a parliamentary debate yesterday (17th November) and also questioned the Minister about the decision to cut Highways England Incident Support Units. In the years between 2012 and 2014 following the cut in the number of Incident Support Units, the average incident length on the eastbound carriageway increased by 10 minutes to 32 minutes and doubled from 30 to 60 minutes on the westbound carriageway.
Commenting, Justin said:
“I attended the debate hoping that the Minister would outline some action to respond to a serious and ongoing issue which can have a profound impact on those affected by incidents and their families. The admission that no construction will take place to upgrade the M56 to a smart motorway until 2020 is deeply disappointing.
“I was also disappointed that there was a lack of willingness to improve the way that incidents are dealt with when they occur. I have no doubt that there is a direct link between the cuts to those responding to incidents and the increase in time that people have to wait for the incident to be resolved. I asked the Minster to consider reinvesting in the Incident Support Unit officers and I was deeply disappointed by his refusal to do so.
Whilst I accept that improvements to the physical layout of the motorway do sometimes take longer to organise and fund the reintroduction of Incident Support Units could take place much sooner and provide some much needed relief in the short term. Clearly if delays following incidents are longer, then the damage caused to the local economy will be deeper.
“I will continue to press the government to take action to make the improvements that are needed as soon as possible and I would urge local people to sign my petition at www.justinmadders.com/fix_the_m56 to send the strongest possible message to the Government.”