At Transport Questions on 10th March, Ellesmere Port & Neston MP, Justin Madders tackled the Secretary of State after finding that the M56 is not mentioned in the government’s new Northern Transport Strategy, which sets out planned work between now and 2020.
Since being elected in May, Justin has challenged Ministers on a number of occasions to commit to improving the M56 between junctions 12 and 14, a stretch which has been blighted by safety issues in recent years. Despite widespread public support for his campaign, evidenced by a petition signed by almost 400 members of the public, Ministers have confirmed that they do not plan to take any action until at least after 2020.
Speaking at Transport Questions, Justin said:
“As the Secretary of State will know, junctions 12 to 14 of the M56 have seen a significant increase in accidents in recent years, and there is an urgent need for some form of managed motorway there. Does he share my disappointment that the northern transport strategy published this week by his Department makes no mention of that at all? When will his Department take action?”
In his response, while the Secretary of State offered to look into the points raised, he gave no commitment to take any action. The Northern Transport Strategy, published on 7th March includes a number of road and rail projects in the North West, but does not identify any investment in Ellesmere Port & Neston and makes no mention at all of the M56.
Commenting afterwards, Justin said:
“When I opened the Transport Strategy, I was shocked to discover that not only is the M56 not mentioned, our entire area has been covered by a text box talking about projects happening 40 miles away.
This is another example of the Government’s rhetoric on the so-called ‘Northern Powerhouse’ not being matched by reality. How many more accidents need to happen before the Government will accept that there is a serious problem and commit to doing something about it?
Our area has a number of nationally significant sites including Vauxhall, Stanlow and Cheshire Oaks, but if we are to build on this, we need better road and rail links. I’ll keep fighting for more investment in transport in this region and ensure that Ministers can’t airbrush us off the map.”
To watch Justin's question, click here.