Amber’s October Summit
On 8th July Amber Rudd MP headlined her Hastings & Rye constituency website with news that she had met with then Roads Minister, Michael Ellis, and “secured” a commitment from Highways England “to improve the A21”.
Reading the smaller print below, it was apparent that the “improvements” would only cover relatively small-scale projects for “road safety”. And when three weeks later the local authority consortium, Transport for the South East, released a “top ten” list of high-priority road improvement schemes “to cut congestion, speed up journeys and support economic growth across the South East” – a wish list covering the next six years to 2025 – there was no mention among them of any road systems within almost 20 miles of the constituency boundary. At the same time, Mr Ellis was dispatched from office, a victim of Boris Johnson’s ministerial cull.
Notwithstanding these apparent setbacks, Ms Rudd announced on 9th August that her annual “Transport Summit”, to be held at East Sussex College on 11th October, will involve not only consideration of rail networks, as per our main feature article, but also, as an extension of her previous focus, local road transport issues – discussion of bus services and “the progress being made on the A21”.
“We need to focus on transport in and between our towns rather than just to and from London”, she wrote on her website. “Improving our connectivity is important not only for our convenience but for local business to thrive”.
Representatives from “the new Department for Transport ministerial team” and from East Sussex County Council, South East Local Enterprise Partnership, Highways England and and Stagecoach South East have all been invited to speak at the Summit, as well as executives from Network Rail, Govia Thameslink Railway and South Eastern Railway.
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