Following the news that the main railway line linking Devon and Cornwall to the rest of the United Kingdom is unlikely to re-open for at least six weeks, Dr Adam Marshall, Executive Director of Policy and External Affairs at the British Chambers of Commerce, said:
“It’s high time that the resilience of our transport networks moved higher up the Westminster agenda. For too long, businesses have been warning of key routes that are stretched to breaking point. In too many places across Britain, it takes only a single incident to cause chaos – as recent storms and flooding have shown.
“British businesses demand a transport network that can cope better with accidents, severe weather, and major events. Whitehall must be tasked to immediately identify all the places where the road and rail networks need urgent attention to ensure their resilience – starting with Dawlish – and ministers must then take action. No area should have to suffer being cut off from the rest of the country because successive governments fail to fix obvious black spots on our key transport corridors.”
Request for input from Plymouth Chamber
Further to this week’s storm damage to the railway line at Dawlish and its detrimental economic impact on Devon & Cornwall, the Minister for Transport has agreed to investigate the options for a long term resilient solution for our rail infrastructure difficulties.
In order for a resilient solution to be agreed we need to estimate the cost to the Devon & Cornwall economy should these vital improvements not be carried out.
The Plymouth Chamber of Commerce, working with our partners throughout the two counties, has therefore prepared a short survey questionnaire in order to identify the extent of the economic impact of the disruption. The results will be used to help argue the region’s case for improved rail connectivity in Devon & Cornwall.
The more responses we can obtain from local businesses, the stronger we can make our case. I therefore urge you please to ask all your members to complete the survey questionnaire which can be found here and takes just 2 minutes to complete. We anticipate speaking to the Minister as part of a concerted effort with local MPs and local authorities in the next fortnight and therefore will close the survey for responses on Friday 14 February 2014.
Thank you for assisting with this exercise which could prove to be instrumental in helping achieve a rail infrastructure for Devon & Cornwall that is fit for purpose in the 21st century.
Chief Executive, Plymouth Chamber of Commerce