Switch Island, Sefton

Oral Answers to Questions — Transport – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 30th March 2017.

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Photo of Bill Esterson Bill Esterson Shadow Minister (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Shadow Minister (International Trade) 12:00 am, 30th March 2017

If he will make an assessment of the adequacy of road safety at the Switch Island junction in Sefton; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Andrew Jones Andrew Jones Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

Highways England acknowledged concerns about the safety performance of the Switch Island junction following the opening of the new Broom’s Cross Road and has since implemented interim measures to improve safety. Highways England has also identified options for a further safety improvement scheme and is discussing them with the hon. Gentleman’s local council. Those options include changes to lane markings and traffic signs and the introduction of gantries to make the road layout clearer.

Photo of Bill Esterson Bill Esterson Shadow Minister (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Shadow Minister (International Trade)

I had two letters from the Minister of State last week, one describing work on the M25 and the other about Switch Island, which he describes. We all know that the Government have a Surrey-first approach to spending money, but my constituents want to know about Switch Island. It has a very serious safety problem. There are accidents nearly every week, and there was one just two days ago. Will he change the priority of this scheme? I was told it would happen next year, but it needs to happen much sooner than that. Safety must come first.

Photo of Andrew Jones Andrew Jones Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

I would have thought the hon. Gentleman would be delighted to hear about our range of plans right across the country. The funding for the Switch Island project has been identified, and the various options are being worked through. Highways England has to work out what is feasible, plan the design side of it and implement the plan. The implementation is planned for the early part of 2018, but of course the hon. Gentleman’s concerns about road safety are part of the consideration.

Photo of John Bercow John Bercow Chair, Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, Speaker of the House of Commons, Chair, Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, Speaker of the House of Commons, Chair, Commons Reference Group on Representation and Inclusion Committee

No, no. The junction would have to be the biggest in human history if it were to stretch from Sefton in the north-west of England to Stroud in Gloucestershire, and it does not. We will accommodate the hon. Gentleman at a later stage, but for now he can resume his seat. We are grateful to the fella.