Thursday, 15 August 2019

Up to speed

I wanted to check that the Department for Transport knew that Maria Caulfield MP had changed her mind about the A27, and now wants funds to be spent on improving the existing road between Lewes and Polegate. I wrote before Ms Caulfield got a job at the Department, but it's good to know that the civil servants analysing new projects know what she thinks....

Dear Mr Rogers

A27 East of Lewes

Thank you for your email of 8 August asking if the Department is aware of the views expressed by Maria Caulfield MP regarding potential offline and on route options for enhancement of the A27 between Lewes and Polegate. 

I am happy to confirm that we are aware of the MP’s comments on this topic as reported in the local press.

Yours sincerely,

Michael Read-Leah
Road Investment Strategy Futures Division

Monday, 5 August 2019

Maria from the Ministry

Another from the You-Couldn't-Make-It-Up Department of Politics.

Saturday, 3 August 2019

Pop pickers

The non-elected shadow group "Transport for the South East", led by Rupert Clubb (above), has submitted its own list of priority schemes for major roads in the area, bidding for a share of a £3.5bn pot.

The problem is that TfSE is a shadow body, going through the early stages of public consultation about basic strategy and mission, and there's been no public consultation on these "Top Ten", and certainly no involvement from you and me in 'shortlisting': "Shortlisted schemes for the South East were assessed against a range of national criteria as well as Transport for the South East’s strategic objectives for the region, which focus on sustainable economic growth, improved quality of life and the environment."

If this new body really cared about the environment, do you think they should be so excited about their favourite roads ?

Thursday, 25 July 2019

Boris the Road Builder

Boris Johnson taking questions in the Commons today.

"I lost count in the course of this recent campaign of the number of dualling schemes and bypasses that I seemed to commit myself to. But I will certainly make sure that we invest massively in road, because although I believe passionately in mass transit, there's no doubt that for many people investment in our roads, improving our roads is absolutely essential for economic progress".

Turn off the lights

The decision on an offline A27 between Lewes and Polegate now (barring a snap election) rests with new Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.

Grant, a qualified pilot with experience of simulation, likes cars. In 2004 he wrote in an advertising leaflet for one of his business brochures “That’s me… and I’m sitting in my brand-spanking-new Crossfire Convertible 3.2L (delivered Saturday July 24). It’s one of the first dozen on the road here in the UK.”  He went on that the car came “complete with in-car DVD, SatNav and just about every other refinement you could imagine in a vehicle. Why it even has a fridge!”

A picture of Grant and his son was captioned "Everyone needs a hobby. Mine’s flying. But buying and maintaining an aircraft (and this is my second machine) isn’t cheap! “But I just hate to rent… So I took out my pocket-book and bought a plane. That’s me and my son in the cockpit. (One of us is a three-year-old with a passion for flying :)”

He's set up something called the British Infrastructure Group, and in 2016 issued a report called "We're Jammin'". Here's an example of Shapps' clear thinking putting motorists first.

"This report urges local authorities to call time on installing increasing numbers of traffic control measures without first considering the wider impact. It is clear that rather than speeding up journeys, they are slowing them down. Removing many of these controls, particularly traffic lights, would go a long way to making road travel more efficient and better for the economy and saving individual motorists money."

Monday, 22 July 2019

Progress ?

Written answer, House of Commons Hansard, 19th July

Stephen Lloyd Independent, Eastbourne:
What progress has been made on the proposed dualling of the A27 east of Lewes to Eastbourne ?

Michael Ellis Minister of State (Department for Transport):
The Department is considering this proposal alongside the many others put forward for possible inclusion in the second Road Investment Strategy. We intend to announce our decisions towards the end of this year.

Monday, 8 July 2019

Diary date ?

The people who run the annual Big Road Beanfeast Conference known as Highways UK think we should know the outcome of Road Investment Strategy 2 by November 6. The indicative programme for their first day runs...

09.30-09.50 Ministerial address
09-50-11.00 Lessons learnt from RIS 1 and priorities for RIS 2
09.50-10.10 Highways England’s progress and priorities
Jim O’Sullivan, chief executive, Highways England
10.10-10.50 Perspectives on meeting RIS 1 objectives and priorities for RIS 2
Tricia Hayes, DG Roads, DfT
Anthony Smith, chief executive, Transport Focus
John Larkinson, interim chief, executive, ORR
10.50-11.10 RIS 2 – putting flesh on the bones
Elliot Shaw, executive director, strategy and planning, Highways England

In case you're wondering, yes, Rupert Clubb of East Sussex County Council and Chief Officer of Transport for the South East is down to speak.