27th June 2017

Following the recent delays in and around Peterborough due to the closure of the slip road on to the A1 (M) southbound at junction 17, Shailesh Vara MP wrote to Mr Jim O’Sullivan, Chief Executive of Highways England, on 20th June 2017 asking what action could be taken to alleviate the problem.

Mr Vara’s letter raised concern about the limited advance warning to motorists about the closure, the absence of engagement with parish councils and local councillors and the lack of thought and planning given to the diversion along the A15; a route with roadworks already taking place.

Having written a week ago today, Mr Vara has had no response from Mr O’Sullivan and has only this afternoon received a standard acknowledgement, which says that further investigations may need to be carried out with 'a number of departments' and they hope to come back to Mr Vara within 15 days.

Given that the work is scheduled to finish this Friday on 30th June it is perfectly clear that Highways England are not giving this matter any priority whatsoever and expect the problem to have gone away by the time they get around to writing to Mr Vara.

Commenting on the situation, Mr Vara said:

“The response from Highways England to the misery of thousands of motorists is appalling.

While thousands of people continue to suffer it has taken a week for me to receive a standard acknowledgement to my letter to Jim O’Sullivan, the Chief Executive. The acknowledgment states that before a response can be provided they may need to carry out 'further investigations with a number of departments’. It is clear that Highways England have done little if anything in the last seven days and are simply dragging their feet until the problem goes away when the work finishes this Friday.

This is not the way for an organisation such as Highways England to operate. Ignoring the huge inconvenience to so many people in this way and burying its head in the sand is simply not acceptable.”