As we Londoners know all too well, a delayed train journey, traffic jams on the roads or disrupted flights have the power to ruin our day and grind away at our general quality of life. Yet transport has remained a Cinderella area for too long.
Rather than continually tinkering at the edges, I believe we require a proper visionary strategy to deal with our interconnected transport problems. In representing the Cities of London and Westminster since 2001, I have consistently pressed the government over its transport policy:-
- In 2007 I led a debate in parliament against building a third runway at Heathrow. To expand that airport would be to entrench a planning disaster. We instead require a new airport fit for the challenges of servicing a modern international capital.
- More recently I have walked the tracks of our underground and visited the Blackfriars Thameslink construction site to see for myself the huge challenges of upgrading London’s infrastructure. It is clear that we desperately need the increased capacity in central London offered by Crossrail. Equally as the legislation for this vital project went through parliament, I repeatedly and vigorously raised the worries of local residents about compensation, noise and disruption. That work continues.
- I have never been dazzled into ignoring the serious flaws of PFI funding for large-scale infrastructure projects such as the disastrous deal negotiated for the upgrade of our tube network. I initiated a parliamentary debate three years ago to warn of the debt and inefficiency that can come from blindly pursuing PFI.
- Aside from big projects, I have regularly raised smaller scale transport issues. I recently introduced a Bill to try to control unlicensed rickshaws in areas like the West End. I also led a campaign against the proliferation of speed cameras which too often seem much more about revenue-raising than road safety.
Only a Conservative Government will improve Britain’s transport system to strengthen our economic competitiveness, provide better services for travellers and help promote environmental goals.