Harrogate and Knaresborough MP Andrew Jones has been re-appointed as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport by Theresa May in the new prime minister’s cabinet re-shuffle.
Jones will now have responsibilities that include sustainable travel, in particular cycling and walking provision, but will also be tasked with projects such as the costly HS2 rail line.
In accepting the re-appointment, Jones’ focus was largely on HS2, but he did point to an ambition to get freight off the road and onto rail.
He said: “I am really pleased to be staying at the Department for Transport and taking on new and exciting responsibilities.
“It is a significant step taking on responsibility for HS2; probably the biggest capital project in Government. This is an exciting project which will see a huge injection of investment in our rail network.
“Strategically, the UK’s rail network is behind those of our European and Asian competitors who have already invested extensively in high-speed rail. Also, the West Coast Main Line is forecast to reach capacity within 15 years. HS2 is the only option that provides enough capacity to meet this challenge.
“HS2 has many other advantages; it is carbon neutral helping our air quality and evidence from high-speed rail abroad shows that it encourages what is called ‘modal shift’ getting freight particularly off our roads and motorways and on to the railways.
“There are many other exciting opportunities in the portfolio. I am particularly interested in the sustainable transport section of the job. I am looking forward to working closely with local authorities to deliver a real step change in sustainable transport like cycling and walking.”
Previously the MP has also defended the £15 billion set to be spent on roads, stating earlier this year: “As our roads get more popular, our record £15bn investment is improving motorways and major A-roads to make journeys better for all.”
To read more on proportional spend per transport mode, click here (if you’re a cyclist, prepare to be disappointed).