I can’t back HS2 as main & branch railway lines in Devon are not fit for purpose - Express & Echo column

I can’t back HS2 when the main and branch railway lines in Devon simply are not fit for purpose. Simon Jupp MP has been elected to the Transport Select Committee and plans to use the new platform to highlight the need for investment in the South West.

January is often considered a dull, dreary and non-eventful month. That wasn’t quite the case this year as I entered my second month as the MP for East Devon.

The Fire Authority voted to close two fire stations in East Devon despite energetic and vocal campaigns in both Budleigh Salterton and Topsham. I firmly disagree with the decision and met with the Chief Fire Officer and Chair of the Fire Authority to push for steps to ensure our communities remain safe.

It is absolutely essential to agree and introduce the new crewing plan for Exmouth to main 24/7 full-time cover before closing Budleigh or Topsham. One of the original proposals included turning Exmouth into a part-time station which is unacceptable for such a large town, especially if the crew is expected to cover a wider area as a result of the closures.

I will share updates on the fire services plans and they agreed to publish regular reports of response times in Budleigh Salterton and Topsham. I won’t rest until I’m satisfied the plans will keep residents across East Devon safe.

Flybe also hit the headlines with fears the company could fold with around 1,000 job losses at its headquarters at Exeter Airport. I played a part in the response from government which gave the shareholders of the company the confidence to continue operating. The government has agreed to review Air Passenger Duty which I feel needs reform and unfairly hits regional airlines more than international operators.

While I recognise the need to reduce carbon emissions, we must take society and the airline industry with us and I’m certain new technology will help make flying a greener option in future. I am in regular contact with Flybe as a major employer in the constituency and I will do everything possible to protect the livelihoods of many people in East Devon.

Transport is one of many pressing issues affecting East Devon and the South West region. Whether it’s the future of South Western Railway, improving the A303 or protecting the railway line at Dawlish, we have plenty of issues and opportunities.

I decided to stand to be a member of the Transport Select Committee and was successfully elected on February 4. I plan to use this new platform to scrutinise the government’s transport plans and highlight the need for investment in the South West. I can’t back HS2 when the main and branch railway lines in Devon simply are not fit for purpose.

I’m also holding regular advice surgeries across the constituency and appointments are filling up quickly. If you need my help with an issue, I might be able to help and it’s my job to stand up for you when you need me. If you want to meet me to discuss an issue affecting your life in East Devon, drop me an email at  simon.jupp.mp@parliament.uk   and I’ll be in touch. 

https://www.devonlive.com/news/news-opinion/cant-back-hs2-main-branch-3812988