Karl McCartney: Current transport infrastructure plans still not enough for Lincoln

The summer seems a long time ago. The heating is now back on, the nights are drawing in and some of the mornings are certainly fresher.

Following the tremendous referendum result in June there is also a freshness in Westminster, heightened by the various conferences.

This is matched by a freshness closer to home with recent improvements to the city of Lincoln’s transport system, the increasing vibrancy of our myriad of businesses and of course, we have a new wave of students settling in to our two universities.

They, along with all the other positive changes to our city will certainly add some seasonal colour and a huge welcome to them all.

I have always been clear that in addition to representing the good people of my Lincoln constituency both locally and in Westminster and Whitehall, a Member of Parliament has a national role.

It is important to seek to make a difference and raise issues that affect those in Lincoln, Lincolnshire and also across the United Kingdom.

These issues should always be where there has been a lingering injustice, are just hovering into view or have been overlooked – sometimes on purpose. It is where a Member of Parliament can make a real difference.

Last year, I campaigned on escalating false whiplash claims resulting from minor or deliberate vehicle accidents, fuelled by greedy personal injury lawyers playing the system.

This year, amongst other issues I helped defeat the extension of Sunday trading hours in the spring, campaigned across Greater Lincolnshire and the East Midlands to secure our exit from the European Union in the early summer, and this autumn I am raising the issue of the underperformance of boys within our education system. This has been clearly a problem for 30 years or more.

Boys are behind girls when it comes to exam results, becoming apprentices and going to university.

We also need far more male teachers, and to retain those we already have. I recently led a debate in Parliament on this subject, have also written newspaper articles in the Telegraph and Guardian and elsewhere on the issue and have asked the government to take some decisive positive action.

I will be doing more over the coming months. We cannot continue to keep letting generations of boys and their families down.

With Brexit thankfully happening soon, we need to make sure everyone can fulfil their potential.

Locally, the city is moving apace and proving it is the jewel in the East Midlands crown, if not the whole country.

The past few years have seen a worthy celebration of the city’s past with the Magna Carta celebrations, the Lincoln Castle restoration and the coming transformation of the Lincoln Cathedral environs.

The next few years is about putting the final pieces of the transport infrastructure jigsaw together so it is far easier to get in, out and around the city and in some cases bypass it altogether.

We have seen many improvements including recently the opening of an East-West Link road and vital railway footbridges in the centre of the city. We also have more to come including an Eastern Bypass and a central Lincoln transport hub.

However, it is still not enough.

It is why I, alongside Councillor Richard Davies who is responsible for transport across the whole county, held a successful transport summit earlier this month with all those with a big stake and a big say in Lincoln’s transport system invited to discuss a plethora of issues.

For instance, we still need new pieces of infrastructure such as the Southern Relief Road, a fully dualled Western Bypass, a park and ride system, and more common sense traffic management systems in the city to help keep traffic moving.

Positively, there were lots of areas of agreement, and a clear sense of urgency and strategy.

These twin roles, speaking up for the City of Lincoln and Lincolnshire in Westminster and Whitehall and championing national causes, is why being a Member of Parliament is so rewarding.

In the coming months, I will keep readers up to date with progress on these fronts, and many more.