As somebody that regularly uses public transport, Andrew is campaigning for more investment in infrastructure in the North of England.
Investing in our railways
A big step towards greater connectivity came in 2014, when the Conservative-led Government invested millions of pounds to re-open the Todmorden Curve, facilitating direct train travel between Burnley and Manchester. The next few years will see station improvements across the North and all the hated Pacers trains will be faced out and be replaced by a mix of new and refurbished trains upgraded to an as-new standard. These upgrades don’t just allow local people to get to Manchester in just over an hour, but it also attracts more tourist into the area which is a vital boost to the local economy.
Andrew is a Patron of SELRAP (Skipton and East Lancashire Rail Action Partnership), who are campaigning for the old line from Colne to Skipton, which runs through Earby and West Craven, to be re-opened and reconnect the communities across the North. The 12-mile-long railway line from Colne to Skipton was closed to all train services in 1970. Since then, train services in Yorkshire and Lancashire have changed dramatically. The Airedale line between Leeds and Skipton has thrived; the service is now used by 9 million people a year and towns along the line have prospered economically. Whereas Earby, Colne, Nelson and Brierfield have been left behind.
In 2018, Andrew secured Government funding for a study into re-opening the line. The outcome of the study will be published in 2019.
Improving our bus services
Alongside the rail improvements, Transdev who provide the Mainline bus service, has recently invested £4.6 million in the Mainline service. The fleet of 30 new buses were launched in 2018 and will help deliver over 3 million passenger journeys each year at higher standard and ensure local bus users are more comfortable on their journeys. The vehicles, which were designed following a consultation with users, include free wifi, USB and wireless charging, mini-tables, more legroom, next stop information, bigger bins and 'countdown to departure' destination screens.
Road Improvements and Pothole repairs
Lancashire County Council, who are responsible for maintaining our roads, have increased the amount of money they are allocating to repairing potholes. However, their budgets are stretched so Andrew has been lobbying the government for more funding. In the Budget in November 2018 Lancashire County Council was awarded a further £10 million to repair potholes as part of a £420 million injection of funds.
There have recently been junction improvements at Junction 12 (the Brierfield Junction) and Junction 13 (the Nelson Junction). The improvements have seen the installation of traffic lights to help improve traffic flow and reduce the number accidents on these roundabouts that at one time, were crash for cash hotspots. Not only will these junctions help to ease congestion and traffic flow, it should also help to bring down insurance premiums in the BB9 area. These improvements were funded by the Government Growth Deal with Lancashire and there are plans to improve the Colne Junction in the near future.
Pendle is lucky to have many vibrant businesses linked to cycling - companies such as Science in Sport in Nelson, and Hope Technology in Barnoldswick. We also have our own double Olympic gold Medallist Steven Burke MBE, who now has a local cycle hub named after him which opened in 2015. In 2018 a new 400 metre BMX pump track became the latest addition to the Sports Hub and has proved incredibly popular.
The government launched a £1.2 billion strategy to make cycling more accessible to everyone, however many issues remain. Andrew will continue to campaign for improvements to our local area to make cycling an even more appealing option.