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Newspaper Columns

KM Column - Meeting with Transport Secretary - 25 October 2018

The plans for the M26 are not good. Turning a motorway into a parking lot for lorries will have a huge impact on the communities in the area. That’s why I met with the Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling MP and the Roads Minister, Jesse Norman MP to explain why they plans should not be used.

I made clear to the Transport Secretary that this was an unworkable idea and shared my concern that these plans only became clear once the works had started. I also made him aware of my frustration that not one person who may be affected by these plans was consulted. The Transport Secretary apologised, but I am still concerned about what led to these actions and the impact it’s going to have.

However, overall it was a productive conversation, and the Transport Secretary agreed that using the M26 would be a last resort and only used if all other options for parking were full.

While I am reassured that there are no solid plans for the M26 and it is unlikely to be needed, I made clear that the local infrastructure could not cope with the plans without investment, should it ever happen. The impact on villages like Platt, Borough Green and Wrotham, as well as the wider area, could be significant, and would need to be given serious consideration.

With this positive news I will continue to be in close contact with the Department for Transport to make the case for our communities. The M26 is unsuitable for holding HGVs and I will do all I can to ensure it comes off the plans.

Georgie Welford