Weston’s MP John Penrose has responded to the Government’s Road Investment Strategy to ask for support in delivering M5 improvements.
The Road Investment Strategy will make decisions about how and where to invest in our motorways and trunk ‘A’ roads in addition to responding to plans to decarbonise transport.
John’s response follows his well-known concerns that North Somerset Council’s current draft Local Plan doesn’t address the traffic jams around J21 M5 properly at all. In 2019, John secured an intervention from the Transport Minister who invited North Somerset Council to ‘think bigger’ on this issue.
John said: “Covid may have masked the problem slightly, but the M5 jams are still one of our biggest local problems. It hurts commuters who lose hours with their families, it puts tourists off visiting Weston, it makes the town a less attractive place to do business, and is incredibly bad for the environment. We can’t just let the Council stick its head in the sand; this problem with the M5 needs to be faced squarely. Framing the question as “either public transport or a better M5” is wrong too; we need to have both. Cars stuck in jams pollute more than free-flowing traffic and, if lots of us are using electric cars in 10 or 20 years from now, the M5 will be much greener than today. Alongside this, we can continue pushing for better rail services and bus links too.”
John intends to meet with senior officials within the Department of Transport and National Highways in the coming months to discuss how best to take his proposals forward.