Earlier this month I attended the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester and in my capacity as Secretary of State for Transport, I had the honour of delivering an address to the main conference hall. In my speech, I outlined why it is only the Conservative Party who can be trusted to deliver for motorists across the country, and why it is the Labour Party who will condemn our country to the slow lane.
For most people, especially in rural areas such as the Forest of Dean, the most important mode of transport remains the car, the van, the lorry, or the motorbike and that is why this Conservative Government is taking the necessary long-term decisions to make it easier and cheaper for you to drive.
Our plan includes the creation of a new National Parking Platform, ending the need to install numerous apps just to park your car, alongside a comprehensive package of measures to help local authorities tackle the scourge of potholes. We have seen the benefits of this work in our area recently with Gloucestershire County Council’s ‘Summer of Resurfacing’, which oversaw the repair of over 1000 potholes across Gloucestershire.
The Government is also taking action to crack down on the anti-motorist policies we have seen introduced across the country in recent months. 20 mph zones, for example, whilst being an effective way to protect schools and quiet residential streets, have become another method of punishing drivers, evidenced by the blanket 20 mph speed limit introduced in Labour-run Wales. This is why the Department for Transport will be introducing new guidance, making sure that local authorities will only impose these speed limits where there is a good reason to do so. Default 20 mph speed limits make little difference, may increase pollution and risk motorists ignoring 20 mph zones where they are needed.
As a Conservative, I want to give people a choice as to how they get around and to make their lives easier, not to force them to travel in a certain way. As evidenced by Mark Drakeford’s ideological ban on road building and Sadiq Khan’s ULEZ, Labour politicians instead seek to drive motorists off the roads altogether.
If you are interested, the full video of my speech can be found below:
This column was first published in The Forester newspaper.