The boss of one of the country’s biggest haulage dealerships has called on West Midlands businesses to act to make sure a transport plan for the region does not further hamper its road network.
By Campbell Docherty, Transport Correspondent
Chris Kelly, owner of West Bromwich-based Keltruck, has contacted 1,000 truck operators to take part in the consultation on the West Midlands Local Transport Plan – the bid document for Government funds for transport projects, put together by the seven district authorities.
Mr Kelly, an outspoken critic of previous LTPs’ moves to “frustrate” the free movement of traffic in the region, believes the authors of the plan do not want hauliers to have their say.
He has also promised to give £5 to charity if any of the 1,000 operators contacted had actually been informed of the consultation process, which closes on December 9.
In the email to hauliers, Mr Kelly said: “Roads are vital to almost everyone’s future and you will, no doubt like me, be not too happy with either the state of our roads or the progress of our road development in the West Midlands.
“The LTP is the architect for what has happened over recent years with our roads and it is the future ‘Plan’ for our road development.
“The plan could either mean: more unnecessary traffic lights, dual carriageways reduced to single lanes (and trucks then having to run at only 40mph), more bus lay-bys filled in, more bus lanes etc.”
The LTP document, for the first time, includes a willingness to consider road pricing in the region, bids for light-rail and bus development, and with money to complete the planned upgrade of Birmingham New Street Station.
Mr Kelly added: “Until recent times, all of these councils were Labour controlled and readily sang to the Government’s tune in the push for public transport and, if not that, an abandonment of roads and road development.
“Certainly, in my opinion, there was a definite push to frustrate the free movement of road traffic, to assist the desire for everyone to use public transport.
“Remember, they really do not want to have your views – so make sure that they get them. The future of our roads is at stake here.”
A spokesman for the seven district councils said hundreds of regional businesses had been contacted for their views and leaflets are going out to more than 800,000 households.
He said: “We want as many people as possible to respond. We also look forward to continuing our dialogue with Mr Kelly, with whom we are already talking.
“We have been having a dialogue with the business community for many months.”
* People can take part in the consultation by logging on to the LTP website: www.westmidlandsltp.gov.uk