An MP has again slammed the Government over lack of future investment in the M56.
At Transport Questions in the House of Commons Ellesmere Port and Neston MP Justin Madders (Lab) tackled Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin (Con) 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 the MP has challenged ministers on a number of occasions to commit to improving the motorway between junction 12 at Runcorn and 14 at Hapsford.
RELATED STORY: M56 is third most congested motorway in the North West
Despite widespread support for his campaign, backed by a petition signed by almost 400 members of the public, Mr Madders claims ministers have confirmed they do not plan to take any action until at least after 2020.
Speaking at Transport Questions, Mr Madders 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 by his department makes no mention of that at all? When will his department take action?”
In his response, while Mr McLoughlin offered to look into points raised, he gave no commitment to take any action.
RELATED STORY: M56 smart motorway won't happen before 2020
He told Mr Madders: “I will certainly look at the specific point that the hon. Gentleman has raised but the fact is that we have a road investment strategy far superior to anything that existed before 2010. I would have thought that he would have welcomed that.”
Mr Madders argues the recently published strategy includes a number of road and rail projects in the north west but does makes no mention at all of the M56.
Commenting outside the House, Mr Madders said: “When I opened the Transport Strategy I was shocked to discover not only is the M56 not mentioned, our entire area has been covered by a text box talking about projects happening 40 miles away.
RELATED STORY: Weaver Vale MP raises M56 issues in House of Commons
“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 there is a serious problem and commit to doing something about it?”
He added: “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 ministers can’t airbrush us off the map.”
RELATED STORY: Sick of the M56? Yes but let's ensure safety comes first
Mr Madders’s question came just four months after it was first revealed there appeared to be no prospect of work to improve the motorway until the next decade.
He felt local people were being let down by the Government after transport minister Andrew Jones (Con) confirmed in a parliamentary debate that no construction work would be undertaken to improve the motorway until after 2020.