Chris Grayling – 2018 Statement on the EU Transport Council

Below is the text of the statement made by Chris Grayling, the Secretary of State for Transport, in the House of Commons on 6 November 2018.

I attended the informal meeting of members of the Transport and Environment Councils in Graz, Austria on 29 and 30 October.

The programme for the informal meetings included separate sessions for transport and environment Ministers and a joint session for both Ministers entitled “Starting a new Era: clean, safe and affordable mobility for Europe”.

On 29 October, Transport Ministers were invited to discuss the Commission’s proposal on “Discontinuing seasonal changes of time (summer time)”. My noble Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Lord Henley, represented the UK at this session and explained that the UK Government do not support the proposed directive. He also noted the Commission had fallen short on the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality as has been highlighted by the decision of the House of Lords to issue a reasoned opinion. (The House of Commons European Scrutiny Committee has subsequently recommended that the House of Commons also issue a reasoned opinion on this matter.)

There was broad consensus in Council that the timetable proposed by the Commission was too short and thus there was widespread support for the presidency’s intention to provide for an extension. A small minority of member states were notably critical of the proposal while the majority welcomed the initiative, albeit noting its deficiencies. Several member states advocated the need to co-ordinate across borders in order to know the final time zone arrangements before taking the decision to abolish daylight saving.

Environment Ministers were then invited to discuss “The future of European environmental policy”. The Secretary of State for the Environment was represented by officials from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Ministers broadly agreed on the need for an eighth environment action programme (EAP) with a consensus that it should take full account of climate change given the report from the Inter- governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on global warming of 1.5 °C published last month.

At the joint session for Transport and Environment Ministers on 30 October, interventions were wide-ranging with common themes being the need to move towards zero emissions vehicles and enabling people to choose sustainable ways to travel. These themes were reflected in the presidency’s “Graz declaration” published after the meeting. For the UK, I stressed the importance of ambition to accelerate the development and introduction of zero emission vehicles, recalling that the Prime Minister had hosted the world’s first zero emission vehicle summit in Birmingham recently.​
The subject for the afternoon session was road safety. Transport Ministers shared experiences with progress to date in reducing casualties and their perception of the challenges in making more progress. In my intervention I noted that human error was a factor in over 85% of road accidents, and that connected and automated vehicles offered opportunities to make our roads safer.

In the margins I met with a number of EU Transport Ministers to discuss current EU transport business and how relationships will evolve as the UK leaves the EU.

Chris Grayling – 2018 Speech on Airports

Below is the text of the speech made by Chris Grayling, the Secretary of State for Transport, on 29 October 2018.

Good morning everyone.

It’s a real pleasure to join you again for your annual conference.

And to start what I’m sure will be a day and a half of stimulating debate.

When the AOA was first formed in 1934, the conference’s theme – the Airport of the Future – might have been an equally apt topic.

But a keynote speaker 84 years ago would have needed a vivid imagination to predict the airports of the 21st century.

Who would have dreamt that Gatwick, a former horse racing track, would become Britain’s second busiest airport?

Or a couple of farms and a vicarage in leafy Cheshire would be transformed into Manchester Airport – with flights to every corner of the globe?

Or that a collection of fields would one day make way for Birmingham Airport – now the Midlands’ gateway to the world.

So Britain’s airports have undergone a remarkable change within a single lifespan – transformed from their early roots to the incredibly successful and safe industry represented in this room today.

Importance of industry

An airports industry that supports hundreds of thousands of jobs.

That every week directly generates £270 million for the UK economy.

And that plays a vital role in attracting inward investment to our country by connecting businesses at home and overseas.

You are the reason why Britain today has the third largest aviation network in the world.

Why we imported and exported £170 billion of air freight last year to countries outside the EU.

Why passenger numbers have surged by 64 million in just 5 years.

With 284 million people passing through our airports in 2017.

And recent events have shown that the pace of change in the airport sector is accelerating.

We’ve ended decades of dithering over Heathrow expansion with overwhelming support in Parliament for the National Policy Statement.

There is massive investment going into airports around the country.

At Manchester, Luton and Leeds Bradford for example.

And you’ve rolled out new routes to cities in some of the fastest growing parts of the world – for instance the Middle East and China.

Airports are becoming increasingly innovative.

Finding new and diverse ways to benefit the economies and communities you serve.

For example hosting business parks, where SMEs can grow with easy connections to markets and suppliers.

And by providing education and training opportunities to attract more people into aviation careers – as we’re seeing at Stansted.

And let’s not forget the smaller airports that maintain essential links for more isolated parts of the country.

From Newquay in Cornwall to Inverness in the Highlands – these busy transport hubs help boost their local economies – making them even more vibrant.

Brexit

And it’s absolutely crucial that UK airports continue to thrive after we leave the European Union.

Of course securing the best possible access to European markets is the ultimate goal of our negotiations.

And with 164 million passengers travelling between the UK and EU last year – maintaining current agreements on air transport is clearly in the interests of everyone.

But as we’ve made clear, it’s just common sense that we also plan for all possible scenarios – even if they are unlikely.

The recent aviation technical notices we released set out the pragmatic approach that the UK would take in the event of a ‘no-deal’ exit.

Those actions would help avoid disruption to air services, while supporting businesses and consumers. Not just here in the UK, but across Europe.

We will also continue to seek new and improved bilateral Air Services Agreements with the rest of the world.

Aiming, as we always have, to improve connectivity, choice and value for money for businesses and consumers.

We want to continue participation with the European Aviation Safety Agency.

But whatever the conclusion of negotiations, EU safety rules will be brought into domestic law through the withdrawal act.

So we look forward to an outcome which not only maintains connectivity, but also allows British aviation to grow and thrive.

And of course that includes capitalising on new, global opportunities.

It has never been more important to demonstrate that Britain is open to the world.

Open to collaboration.

Open for business.

And there can be no better way of doing that than through international air connections and our world class aviation industry.

Aviation strategy and airspace modernisation

Projections show that 435 million passengers a year could be passing through our airports by 2050.

Passengers who are a benefit to Britain.

Boosting tourism.

Building business relationships across continents.

Hundreds of millions of opportunities for Britain to grow.

But we can’t take future success for granted.

We need a long-term plan for sustainable growth.

So that we better manage the impact of airport expansion on local communities.

So that we improve surface access – making journeys to airports quicker, easier and greener.

So that we address the environmental concerns of growth.

And consider the passenger in everything we do.

These things won’t happen on their own.

They can only be achieved by government and industry working in partnership.

And that’s why we are developing our aviation strategy.

A comprehensive, long term vision for the sector up to 2050.

A vision for enterprise and growth.

That provides the right framework for the sector to grow responsibly.

Let me give a couple of examples.

Just as important as building new infrastructure or making best use of existing runways is how we optimise use of our skies.

As air traffic grows, modernisation of airspace is an increasingly pressing issue.

We need to get it right, for the benefit of the industry, passengers, and communities living under flight paths.

We’ve already made good progress on this front with the publication of our airspace change framework last year.

And as part of the aviation strategy we will be examining whether further policy is needed to support these changes.

But we need your help and engagement too.

To help us make best use of airspace.

And growth cannot take place without considering the environment and local communities.

Our recent Airports National Policy Statement highlights the government’s expectation that expansion will be supported by a strong package of environmental and community mitigations.

And the forthcoming aviation green paper will set out proposals to enable sustainable growth across the country.

But to do those things we need you to work with local neighbourhoods, the government and each other to the benefit of every airport across the UK network.

And ultimately to the benefit of passengers.

That’s what the aviation strategy is all about.

We have to look at every stage of the passenger journey.

Analyse key trends, and examine how airports can continue to respond to travellers’ changing needs.

For while you generally do a great job at innovating to meet new customer demands.

For instance your investment in new screening technologies that could speed up passengers’ journey through security.

There is still more to be done to ensure all consumers can travel with confidence.

Inclusive travel and borders

Like providing full accessibility, for instance.

Last year there were 3 million requests for assistive services in airports – a leap of two thirds in 6 years.

And our aging population means demand is likely to further grow.

There’s already been some excellent progress.

This year 16 airports, including Edinburgh, Liverpool, Cardiff and Derry, were rated as very good in the CAA’s accessibility review.

Up from just 6 in 2017.

But there are still distressing stories.

And the CAA reviews have found that some airports still need to make vital improvements.

So it’s important we all up our game.

That’s why in July we launched our Inclusive Transport Strategy – to ensure disabled people can travel confidently, easily and at no extra cost.

And the aviation strategy provides a great opportunity to explore these issues across the airports sector.

We are considering a range of measures including improved training for airport and airline staff and boosting awareness of assistive services at airports.

While the CAA has recently released new guidelines on supporting passengers with hidden disabilities.

In addition it’s vital that we demonstrate that the UK is fully open for business and to the world.

So we want to limit delays at our borders too.

As part of the strategy we are working with Border Force on ways of creating a smoother crossing for travellers through passport control.

Without compromising security.

And I thank the AOA and the aviation industry for your help so far on this work. Your input has been greatly valued.

Green paper

And I know that many of you have already contributed to the strategy‘s development so far.

But we hope to hear even more from you.

We will lay out the next steps of its development in a green paper this December (2018).

To be followed by another consultation period before the final document is published next year.

So I urge you to participate.

This will be a great chance to shape the final strategy.

And an opportunity for us to benefit from your experience and that of your customers.

I can’t predict what will be top of the agenda at the AOA conference 8 decades from now.

Or imagine how our airports will look in 2102.

But I can promise that through the aviation strategy we are looking ahead to the challenges of the coming decades.

I can tell you that your future in this country is bright.

And I can guarantee that by working together we will set a course that allows Britain’s airports to continue to flourish.

Thank you.

Chris Grayling – 2018 Statement on the Rail Review

Below is the text of the statement made by Chris Grayling, the Secretary of State for Transport, in the House of Commons on 11 October 2018.

Mr. Speaker,

I would like to update the House on the government’s Rail Review, which we will use to build on the successes of our busy railway, to deliver a network that is fit for the future and better serves passengers.

I will also update the House on the current performance of Northern and GTR.

For a generation before the 1993 Railways Act, British Rail was in seemingly terminal decline. Passenger numbers where falling. Stations were closing. Short term decisions were being made at the expense of the traveling public. The Railways Act brought investment, new services and better reliability.

A quarter of a century later, the situation is very different. Our UK rail network is at capacity in commuter areas, with many of the most intensively used lines in Europe. On many routes, it simply isn’t possible to squeeze more trains onto the network.

As we now know, the railways were not in terminal decline after all – they had simply been starved of investment. Privatisation has reversed the decades of decline and heralded the fastest expansion of our railways since they were built by the Victorians. It has also delivered billions of pounds of investment and radically improved safety. Our railways are now among the safest in the world.

But this welcome expansion has brought new, acute challenges. On major commuter routes across the country, trains are packed each morning. Network Rail, which represents a third (38%) of the industry (based on spend), is nationalised. It is also responsible for over half (54%) of the daily disruption.

But no matter whether it is a failure of the track, a fault with a train, or a customer incident, it is because there is little resilience or margin for error in the system that, when things go wrong, the knock-on effect can last for hours.

This problem is compounded because the railway is run by multiple players without clear lines of accountability.

When I took over as Transport Secretary in 2016 I said that change was needed. I started to bring together the operation of the tracks and trains, which had been split up in the 1990s, to be controlled by single operational teams. This is helping overcome the problems caused by fragmentation, and creating a railway that is more responsive to passenger needs.

I also said that change needed to be evolutionary and not revolutionary, to avoid destabilising the industry. So we have started to shape alliances between the teams running trains and track to create a more joined-up and customer-focused structure.

But the difficulties with the introduction of the new timetable over the summer and the problems we are experiencing with many major investment projects has convinced me that evolution is no longer enough. The collapse of Virgin Trains East Coast has also highlighted the need for radical change.

Simply, we need this change to ensure that the investment going into the railways, from both the government and the private sector, results in better services for passengers and delivers the improved reliability, better trains, extra seats and more frequent services we all want to see.

Last month, my department announced a root-and-branch review of the rail industry.

Keith Williams, deputy chairman of John Lewis and Partners and former chief executive of British Airways, is leading this work and I expect him to make ambitious recommendations for reform to ensure our rail network produces even greater benefits for passengers and continues to support a stronger, fairer economy. Keith Williams’s expertise in driving customer service excellence and workforce engagement will be incredibly valuable as we reform the rail industry to become more passenger-focused.

Keith will be assisted by an independent expert challenge panel from across the country, with expertise in rail, business and customer service.

The panel will ensure the review thinks boldly and creatively, challenging received wisdom, to ensure its recommendations can deliver the stability and improvements that rail passengers deserve. They will be supported by a dedicated secretariat and will now begin engaging with the industry, passengers, regional and business representatives and others across the country, drawing on their expertise, insights and experiences to inform the review.

It will consider all parts of the rail industry, from the current franchising system and industry structures, to accountability and value for money for passengers and taxpayers. It will consider further devolution and the needs of rail freight operators, and will take into account the final report of Professor Stephen Glaister into the May 2018 network disruption, due at the end of the year, which I will turn to shortly.

When we establish what we think is the right approach to mend our railways, it must be properly tested and scrutinised independently.

I have today (11 October 2018) published the Rail Review’s terms of reference, and have placed copies in the libraries of both Houses, together with the names of the Rail Review’s independent panel.

The review will build a rigorous and comprehensive evidence base, and it will make recommendations regarding the most appropriate organisational and commercial framework for the sector that delivers our vision for a world-class railway.

The private sector has an important part to play in shaping the future of the industry, but it is important that the review considers the right balance of public and private sector involvement.

Mr Speaker, some have called for the return to a national, state-run monopoly, and for us to go back to the days of British Rail. There is an expectation that taking on hundreds of millions of pounds of debt onto the government books will magically resolve every problem.

This fails to recognise that many of the problems that customers faced this year were down to the nationalised part of the railways.

It also creates the sense that a government-controlled rebrand would somehow make every train work on time. Those who make this argument fail to tell passengers that the much-needed investment that is taking place today would be at risk, and that taxpayers’ money would be diverted from public services to subsidise losses.

The review will look at how the railway is organised to deliver for passengers. It will look forensically at the different options, and then make recommendations on what will best deliver results in different areas of the country.

The review will conclude with a White Paper in autumn 2019, which will set out its findings, and explain how we will deliver reform. We expect reform to begin from 2020, so passengers will see benefits before the next election.

I have commuted by train for most of my career; over 35 years. I still do. I am proud to be in a government that is supporting a major programme of investment in rail, from Thameslink to the Transpennine upgrade, with new trains in the north, south, east and west.

But I can’t stand by while the current industry struggles to deliver the improvements that this investment should be generating. So it’s time for change.

The review will not prevent us taking every opportunity in the short term to improve passenger experiences. That is the government’s focus, and that is why we are committed to an investment of £48 billion in the railways over the next 5 years.

Mr Speaker, Professor Stephen Glaister’s interim report has provided us with an accurate account of the series of mistakes and complex issues across the rail industry that led to the unacceptable disruption that passengers experienced earlier this year.

We know that in the north, delays to infrastructure upgrades, beyond the control of Northern Rail, were a major factor in the resulting disruption. Richard George, the former head of transport at the London 2012 Olympic Games, is now working with the industry and Transport for the North to look at any underlying performance issues.

In the 4 weeks ending 15 September, over 85% of services met their punctuality targets; the highest level delivered for Northern Rail’s passengers since the timetable introduction in May. Northern is now running 99% of the planned May timetable, and we are working with Transport for the North and the industry to plan further uplifts in services, while prioritising reliability.

In the coming months, passengers across the north will begin to benefit from the brand new trains that were unveiled last week. There will be over 2,000 extra services a week, all the Northern and TransPennine Express trains will be brand new or refurbished, and all the Pacers will be gone.

Mr Speaker,

I now want to turn to GTR which has new leadership and where the reliability of its services have significantly improved; since the introduction of the interim timetable in July, 85% of trains arrived at their station on time.

In addition to this, in the last week, the first of the new Class 717 trains that will run on its Great Northern routes begun testing.

GTR is now operating 94% of the weekday services it planned to run from 20 May, including all services during the busiest peak hours. By December 10 it plans to introduce all planned off-peak services. There is, however, more work to do to improve services at weekends.

Since the disruption in May there has been intense scrutiny from the government and its independent regulator, the Office for Road and Rail, on what went wrong and why.

GTR must take its fair share of the responsibility – its performance was below what we expect from our rail operators.

Officials in my department are taking action to finalise how we will hold GTR account for the disruption and the Rail Minister will keep the House updated.

Mr Speaker, our action demonstrates that when passengers experienced severe disruption, this government took action.

To help passengers plan ahead.

To reduce delays.

To reduce cancellations.

To properly compensate disrupted fare-payers.

The Rail Review that I have announced will continue this approach, ensuring the rail industry is always focused on the passenger first and that record investment delivers the services that passengers want and deserve.

Chris Grayling – 2018 Speech on West Coast Partnership

Below is the text of the speech made by Chris Grayling, the Secretary of State for Transport, in the House of Commons on 27 March 2018.

With your permission I would like to make a statement about the future of the West Coast Main Line, about our plans for the integration of track and train on our railways and our plans for the transition to the operation of HS2 as it opens up in 2026.

I have already set out for the House our plans to bring the operation of track and train together on a day to day operational basis around the country, with the creation of new alliances between Network Rail and the train operators on South Eastern and Midland Mainline, and the strengthening of the existing alliance arrangements on South Western and Southern.

I have also set out our plans for a new partnership between the public and private sectors to operate the East Coast mainline.

Today I want to explain how this approach could start to inform the development of the West Coast Mainline and HS2. I am also today publishing the invitation to tender to be the new West Coast Partner which – subject to them delivering on their commitments – will operate the route until 2031 and which will work with HS2 to pave the way for the opening of HS2.

The West Coast mainline is one of the busiest mixed rail routes, if not the busiest in Europe. It carries commuter traffic to 6 of our biggest cities, it carries express trains between them, it provides essential intermediate services to places like Milton Keynes, Coventry, Warrington and Preston. It is an essential link to North Wales, Scotland and Ireland. And it is also one of our busiest freight routes.

It is this complex mix of traffic which is a key part of the case for building HS2 so that we have the capacity to meet these growing needs in the future.

The West Coast franchise has been very successful in recent years, with high passenger satisfaction and substantial revenue growth for the taxpayer. It is my intention that the new contract will build on this up to and including 2026. There is already a close working relationship between Network Rail and the train operator, and I intend that this should be deepened under the new contract with the new operator.

After that, though, Mr Speaker, the way we run this railway will change. After 2026 the express services will start to move off an increasingly congested part of the existing network and onto the new HS2. Brand new and more frequent trains will provide additional capacity on faster services. Space will be freed up on the existing routes for improved services to other destinations.

This will require a carefully managed transition, as initial services begin to Birmingham and then gradually the HS2 network provides more and more of the intercity service.

I want to explain today how this new contract will ensure that this smooth transition takes place and set out what we are working towards. I should emphasise that final decisions on the transition and the operational details are years away, but I do think it’s right that as we publish this new invitation to tender that we start to look towards what that end point could be.

For example, one option could be an integrated railway operation, in charge of both its infrastructure and its services, akin to some Japanese high-speed lines, and in line with the government strategy of bringing together track and train. It could also be structured as a public-private partnership and there will also be other options that we should explore before any final decisions are made.

While the exact shape and end-state of the organisation does not need to be decided now, I am very clear of one thing, I want HS2 to become a strong, British organisation, potentially capable of not just building but also operating a successful railway here. It should also become a strong international champion for the UK – in the way, for example, that the organisation that runs Manchester Airport has.

Manchester Airports Group is a strong and effective public private partnership organisation that has expanded in the UK running first great operations in the UK, and is now doing so internationally. It has proved itself effective at managing major projects and delivering good customer service.

Today’s announcement is not about creating a long term organisational model for HS2, though.

As we get into the 2020s we will need to prepare for the introduction of services. So through this new arrangement my department is paving the way for that introduction.

The winner of this new competition will help design the new HS2 services and develop a new customer offering to take advantage of 21st century technology to revolutionise the way we travel on high speed rail, and provide input to my department and to HS2 Limited.

They will run the existing West Coast Mainline services until HS2 passenger services are introduced.

After that they will continue to run successor services on the West Coast main line until 2031, albeit to a different set of timetables and priorities, with a refocused service aimed at those intermediate locations.

During the period between now and the start of HS2 services they will also help plan the introduction of the express trains to the new line, the move from one line to the other, and put in place all of the customer facing resources needed to deliver an excellent service on day one.

If they perform strongly, they will also operate on behalf of HS2 services for a limited period after 2026.

During this period, my department will be closely involved with operations to ensure that the envisaged connectivity benefits of HS2 are realised.

What the contract also includes a number of safeguards such as restrictions on branding, transfer of intellectual property and collaboration requirements with HS2, which mean that while we will harness the innovative thinking of the private sector no bidder will be able to create something that only they could run in the future.

During this period, the operator will also work with the department and HS2 to consider the options for the end state, including what would be required for fully integrated operations to be undertaken by an eventual combined organisation.

This short term arrangement will be very similar to the modus operandi that which will be operating on Crossrail next year after it formally begins services as the Elizabeth line for Transport for London.

Throughout this period, the new operator will also deliver a high quality experience for passengers and continue to drive growth on the existing West Coast Mainline route.

Passengers will benefit from enhanced compensation for delays of greater than 15 minutes, simpler to understand fares and ticketing. And also a more accessible railway, we are introducing an accessibility panel to advise on all aspects of how this railway is operated.

I want to ensure that passengers are placed firmly at the heart of all planning decisions.

So what I am setting in train today for the West Coast Partnership is our plans to:

keep industry leading services on the West Coast until HS2 enters operation
ensure that the first HS2 services are delivered by an experience operator that has been working hard to plan for their introduction and use this approach to help inform decisions on what the future shape of the organisation should be

I believe that this is the best way of ensuring a smooth transition to what will be an exciting new future for our railways

I commend this statement to the House.

Chris Grayling – 2018 Speech on Aviation

Below is the text of the speech made by Chris Grayling, the Secretary of State for Transport, on 24 January 2018.

Good evening.

Thank you for that introduction and welcome.

It’s a real pleasure to join you for tonight’s (24 January 2018) annual dinner.

And if it’s not too late, to wish Airlines UK and all its members a prosperous new year.

In fact 2018 marks the 99th anniversary of a momentous event in airline history, the launch of the first regular, international, passenger air service in the world.

Like so many transport ‘firsts’, it happened here in Britain.

Pioneering British airline AT&T began operating daily flights from Hounslow Heath aerodrome to Le Bourget.

With a maximum capacity of 4 passenger, a journey time of 2 and a half hours and the pilot exposed to the elements.

Conditions aboard the de Havilland biplane may have been somewhat primitive.

But it was the start of something big.

Within a few months, there were converted WW1 bombers flying scheduled flights from Cricklewood to Paris, new services from Croydon Airport to Amsterdam, the first opportunity for cargo as airmail flights began serving European destinations and if you were lucky enough to get a ticket on the new London to Brussels route, you’d be served the world’s first in-flight meals.

From this modest beginning, our commercial aviation industry grew.

Within 5 years, Imperial Airways had been formed.

Linking Britain with its vast global empire.

And suddenly it was possible to travel to the other side of the world in a fraction of the time it would take by ship.

Aviation importance

Why do I mention this?

First – to explain how quickly commercial aviation became critical to the fortunes of Britain after World War One.

And second – despite almost a century of economic, social and technological development – to show how little has changed.

How air travel and the prosperity of our country remain inextricably linked today.

Just as airlines benefit from a strong UK economy the whole of the UK benefits from a flourishing aviation sector.

Without the £52 billion that aviation adds to our GDP, the million jobs it supports and all the inward investment it generates, we simply could not have reduced our deficit by three quarters over the past 7 years or achieved the record employment levels which we see in Britain today.

It’s because we have the largest aviation network in Europe and airlines competing to give the customer a wide choice, and a great deal that so many multinational firms invest in Britain.

And it’s because we have a fundamentally strong economy that demand for air travel has grown so fast in recent years.

Aviation strategy

It’s against this background of success that the government is now working on a future strategy for aviation.

And I’m delighted that Baroness Sugg – who is attending her first Airlines UK dinner tonight – will be spearheading that work at the DfT.

Liz is going to be a fantastic Aviation Minister.

Some of you will already have met her, but I know that over the coming months she’ll be getting around the industry, and listening to what you have to say about the strategy.

After our call for evidence last year, we will publish our response next month.

Once the response is out there, we want to test policies with different partners.

We want practical feedback on the measures we’re proposing.

And if you think they can be improved, then we want to work with you to make them better.

It’s crucial we get this right.

As Britain prepares to leave the European Union and as we develop plans for the new north-west runway at Heathrow, it’s right that we all focus on long-term prospects for British airlines and airports.

We want a strategy that will support growth across the country while tackling aviation’s environmental effects.

And we want to be ambitious.

Ambitious to be the best.

To lead the world – as we’ve led the world in the past.

So this will be far more than ‘just another statement of intent’ from government.

There have been enough of those over the years.

Instead it will be a wide-ranging blueprint for the sustainable growth of aviation over the next 30 years and beyond.

And it’s not just the government’s strategy.

I want it to be yours too.

A shared plan for how we can make best use of existing capacity, how we can create new capacity.

How we can improve surface access to airports.

How we can modernise airspace to tackle flight delays and reduce the need for stacking.

How we can further reduce noise.

And how we can put the passenger at the heart of everything we do.

I’m grateful to everyone in this room who has contributed so far.

After the call for evidence response, there will be 3 more consultation phases.

So please, continue to engage.

Because we need your voice, your insight and your understanding of the market to design a policy framework that reflects our common priorities in the decades ahead.

Heathrow

I also welcome your continued contributions on expanding capacity in the south-east.

We are currently considering responses to the draft Airports National Policy Statement.

Plans remain on track for a vote in Parliament in the first half of this year.

This is a particularly important few months for the project, a project that will deliver immense benefits for aviation in Britain.

So we need to work together to support it.

A new runway at our biggest hub airport would offer significant growth opportunities for UK airlines and keep Britain plugged in to a rapidly changing global economy post Brexit.

In fact the case for the new runway capacity in the south-east is even greater than we thought.

After consulting on new evidence last autumn, updated forecasts showed that passenger numbers are growing much faster than we predicted even a few years ago.

Specifically, the new evidence reinforced the case for expansion at Heathrow supported by a world-class package of measures to limit the effects on local communities.

Compared to all other proposals, a north-west runway at Heathrow delivers the greatest benefits soonest.

More choice for passengers.

More business for airlines.

And more jobs for Britain.

Heathrow already handles more freight by value than all other UK airports combined.

That’s partly because its accessible to the rest of the country.

In this way, Heathrow drives growth in regional freight.

For example, helping fishermen in Scotland to sell their fresh produce to Japan.

An expanded Heathrow would also be better served by transport connections – for example to HS2 and Crossrail.

But I’ve been clear that landing charges should be kept as close as possible to current levels something I know is close to many of your hearts too.

Heathrow charges have increased substantially over the past decade.

So that needs to be factored in to future plans.

I welcome the £2.5 billion savings to the scheme already announced by the airport.

I also welcome that progress that’s been made in discussions between airlines and Heathrow.

The CAA’s section 16 commission has been helpful here.

We must maintain the momentum after it expires in the spring.

So I shall announce an appropriate replacement in due course.

Because we have to make further progress.

I expect airlines and Heathrow to reach a deal on landing charges that will keep the airport competitive so extra costs are not ultimately passed on to the customer.

However, I also want to stress that now is not the time to undermine the scheme in any way.

Until the Parliamentary process is complete and the vote in Parliament has been delivered, we need the whole aviation industry to support the new runway.

With such manifest benefits for airlines, other UK airports, and the wider economy, we need to keep focused on the prize to come and work together as an industry to deliver the right expansion programme at the right price.

Brexit

The next 12 months will also be instrumental in setting a future direction for aviation after we’ve left the European Union.

Brexit remains at the top of the government’s agenda for 2018 and securing a good deal for UK airlines, with the best possible access to European markets, remains one of my biggest Brexit objectives.

No other transport sector will have such a key role to play when we leave the European Union.

I remain confident that we’ll get a good deal, and that UK airlines and airports will continue to flourish.

This confidence comes from knowing that it’s in the interests of all European countries and everyone who travels between them that we seek an open, liberal arrangement for aviation following Brexit.

Now, I know that the aviation industry wants certainty, and quickly.

So does the government.

So does the rest of the EU.

On the 15 December the European Council confirmed that sufficient progress had been made.

This is an important milestone.

The guidelines published by the Council point to the shared desire of the EU and UK to make rapid progress on an implementation period.

Formal talks will begin very soon.

This will provide reassurance for both industry and consumers.

And then talks will start on the future economic partnership.

The future framework for aviation will of course be a central part of those discussions.

And we are ready for those discussions.

As we move forward it is important to be clear that it is in everyone’s interests to do a deal quickly and to make it a good deal.

Let’s remind ourselves why:

The UK is the largest aviation market in Europe and remains one of – if not the – most important markets for EU member states.

Good aviation connections between the UK and Europe are critical for tourism, business, and trade – in both directions.

And of course the UK will see significant extra valuable capacity at one of Europe’s main hub airports – Heathrow – which airlines from all countries will want to make good use of.

A few days ago, the Article 50 Taskforce in the European Commission published a paper noting that, in the event of an overall ‘no deal’ scenario, it would be essential to agree a deal to ensure flights continue.

This shows how important it is for both sides to ensure aviation market access continues uninterrupted.

And the demands of airlines across Europe to access Heathrow means we have strong cards in our hand for the negotiations.

With that need to ensure ongoing connectivity in mind, we are working hard to deliver another priority – to quickly replace EU-based third country agreements, with countries like the US and Canada.

I can confirm that discussions on replacing these agreements have begun and are progressing well.

We will be meeting with US officials for a further round of talks in the coming weeks – many of you in this room will be involved in those discussions

And we are confident that these arrangements will be ready for exit.

But whatever the final deal, measures to support UK industry after 2019 are well developed.

And looking beyond Brexit, we have to make sure we capitalise on our new position in the world.

So we will continue to work with other countries to expand our aviation connections.

And through the aviation strategy, we will also look at how the UK can open up more long haul routes to markets like China, India and South America.

Monarch

Despite the healthy demand for flights I spoke about earlier, I know it’s tough out there.

Sadly Monarch was unable to stay afloat.

But today I can announce that Peter Bucks has been appointed Chair of the independent insolvency review set up after Monarch’s demise.

I welcome the regulatory and finance experience he’ll bring to aviation.

The review I’ve asked him to carry out will help us explore options for a new framework to deal with the failure of airlines and travel companies so that airlines can be wound down in an orderly fashion, and passengers repatriated or refunded with minimal or no government intervention.

Today I’d also like to thank everyone across the industry who helped bring back Monarch passengers who could otherwise have been stranded abroad.

It was a massive effort, with government working alongside airlines and airports to deal with a complex and difficult logistical challenge.

I’d also like to thank British Airways, Virgin, TUI and Thomas Cook Airlines for assisting the Hurricane Irma relief operation last September.

Both responses reflected the airlines industry at its very best.

Conclusion

So in conclusion.

Nearly a century of history has shown the importance of a thriving, sustainable, commercial aviation sector to this island nation.

Whatever success we’ve had over that period, it’s been won by being proactive.

Innovative.

By taking risks.

And by working together.

We’re certainly not sitting around waiting for things to happen this time round either.

Through the aviation strategy, Heathrow expansion and Brexit planning we will stand side by side with our partners in the airline industry.

Because Britain needs the connections you provide.

The jobs you bring.

The growth you support.

99 years after that first flight, aviation remains absolutely critical to the national interests of Britain.

That’s why we can be confident about the future.

A future we will build together.

Thank you.

Chris Grayling – 2017 Speech on Automated Cars

Below is the text of the speech made by Chris Grayling, the Secretary of State for Transport, on 6 November 2017.

Good morning ladies and gentlemen.

Thank you for that welcome.

I’m delighted to join you for today’s (6 November 2017) conference.

To have this chance to talk about how we’re getting ready for automated vehicles.

And what they mean for you and your businesses.

You may have seen over the weekend – hundreds of magnificent old cars taking part in the world’s longest running motorsport event.

The annual London to Brighton Veteran Car Run.

They were continuing a tradition which goes all the way back to 1896.

The year of the first London to Brighton.

Which was known as the Emancipation Run.

Because it celebrated a recent increase in the speed limit from 4 miles per hour (mph) to an eye-watering 14 mph.

We tend look back on those early motoring years with nostalgia.

Pioneering manufacturers like Daimler and Panhard producing cars for an enterprising and extremely rich clientele.

But 1896 was a landmark motoring year for less romantic reasons too.

It was the year in which a London woman became the first recorded pedestrian to be killed by a car.

When she stepped off a curb and was hit by a gas powered vehicle, driven by a certain Arthur Edsall.

There was no precedent for such an accident.

So Edsall was released without charge.

And the coroner was quoted as saying he hoped such a fatality would never happen again.

Of course it didn’t take long to realise that these new horseless carriages were not just temperamental to drive.

They were also dangerous – for a society wholly unprepared for their arrival.

So perhaps it’s not surprising that 1896 was also the year when the first UK car insurance policy was sold.

Details of those early policies are long lost.

But the service they provided was fundamental.

To establishing a framework that protected the victims of accidents, and focused attention on road safety.

But that also made car ownership viable, and ultimately allowed the market to grow.

With all the benefits of driving that we take for granted today.

Since then, of course, motor insurance has grown into a massive industry.

An industry that’s innovated in response to changing technology.

Changing legislation.

And changing driving conditions.

But despite this progress, we’ve seen nothing in our lifetimes that can compare with the motoring revolution that’s just around the corner.

A revolution that will transform the way we travel.

The way we buy, run and power our cars.

And the way we insure them.

The autonomous, ultra-low emission vehicles that are in development now will be as different to today’s family saloons as those early vehicles which participated in the first London to Brighton run.

They represent an unprecedented leap forward in the history of the automobile.

So much so that future generations will see 20th century motoring with a driver at the wheel controlling a vehicle powered by an internal combustion engine as merely a quaint stepping stone on the journey to cleaner, fully autonomous and more efficient road transport.

Social and safety implications

The potential benefits of these new technologies for human mobility – and for wider society – are tremendously exciting.

Many who can’t currently drive will be able to take to the road.

Elderly people.

Or people with disabilities which prevent them from travelling today.

They’ll discover a new sense of freedom and independence.

And there is also the potential for us to make much more efficient use of the road network.

There are currently 6 cars for every 10 people in the UK.

But they are only used about 3% of the time.

Connected and autonomous taxis could deliver the same number of trips with just 10% of the vehicles, according to one recent study.

An autonomous car fleet could reduce delays by 40% on the strategic road network, and 30% in urban areas.

But just as importantly, there are huge safety implications.

Self-driving cars should make road travel far safer.

By eliminating the biggest contributory factor to accidents today – human error.

Which in 2016, was responsible for over 85% of all reported UK road incidents.

And these benefits are coming soon.

Sooner than most people expect.

In fact, I expect the first self-driving cars to reach the market – and to be used on UK roads – by 2021.

The government is already taking steps to make this happen and consulting with industry partners for their views.

Never before have we experienced such a profound change in motoring technology in such a short space of time.

And there are major opportunities in this fast emerging market for those who are best prepared.

Exports of low emission vehicles are already worth £2.5 billion to our economy.

But it is estimated that the market for autonomous vehicles could be worth £28 billion to the UK by 2035.

That’s why we are so committed to becoming a global leader in the design, development and use of autonomous vehicles.

The UK code of practice for testing automated vehicles on public roads is recognised as one of the most open in the world.

Leading manufacturers like Nissan and Volvo have already announced test programmes in the UK.

And to support further growth, we’re investing £100 million in R&D – match-funded by industry – across more than 50 collaborative projects.

Such as Pathfinder pods in Milton Keynes.

We’re also investing £100 million – again match-funded by the industry – to provide a comprehensive range of virtual, yet real-world testing environments for developers and investors to use.

The scheme will be co-ordinated through MERIDIAN.

A new government-backed and industry-led hub.

To co-ordinate and promote connected and autonomous vehicle technology in the UK.

In October we announced the winners of a £51 million government competition to develop self-driving car testing infrastructure.

Including new facilities at 2 of the motor industry’s biggest proving grounds.

And our third open R&D funding competition closed just a couple of weeks ago.

Meanwhile colleagues at the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles recently attended the Intelligent Transport Systems World Congress in Montreal.

Where they were busy explaining why we’re the leading country for the research and testing of new autonomous technologies.

And the ‘go to’ location for global investors in this field.

So we’re making real progress.

Preparing the UK for change.

Though we can’t be complacent.

That’s what the Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill is all about.

Keeping ahead of the curve.

The bill’s making smooth process through Parliament.

And I’m sure that will continue through to Royal Assent.

As you know, one of the key objectives of the bill is to set the legislative groundwork for automated vehicle insurance.

We have worked very closely with the insurance industry to get it right.

So I’d particularly like to thank the ABI and its members today for the support we’ve received.

The measures in the bill will help us provide certainty to the insurance industry – and clarity to the public – about the changes ahead.

Automated vehicles will make collisions rarer.

But when cases do come to market, our current compulsory insurance framework might not fully protect the people and businesses involved.

As things stand, they may not be covered for collisions caused by autonomous vehicles, because only the driver’s use of the vehicle is insured.

Victims might have to take vehicle manufacturers to court, which would be time consuming and expensive, undermining the quick and easy access to compensation that is a cornerstone of our insurance system.

If we fail to address this beforehand, we risk jeopardizing consumer protection, and undermining the competitiveness of our automotive industry.

Having consulted widely, we are creating a new compulsory insurance framework that covers motorists when they are driving, and when the driver has legitimately handed control to the vehicle.

This will ensure that victims have quick and easy access to compensation.

And that insurers can recover costs from the liable party, which in the majority of cases is anticipated to be the manufacturer.

It will allow consumers to buy insurance in the same way they do today.

And in turn, it could also reduce premiums.

One of the UK’s largest insurers has said that “as well as making our roads safer, insurance premiums are based on the cost of claims and therefore we expect substantially reduced premiums to follow.”

So automated vehicles, introduced alongside the effective insurance framework proposed in this bill, could deliver significant financial and safety benefits for ordinary road users.

We have already had many productive debates when these measures were included in the previous Vehicle Technology and Aviation Bill.

Changes have been made to the current bill that take some of those concerns into account.

However, we know that there are still wider issues to be discussed.

Issues that can’t be settled until automated vehicle technology has evolved further.

Since we do not yet know how the technology will fully work, regulating early could diminish the benefits we want to achieve.

It is imperative that we do not over regulate – or worse, regulate badly – while the technology is still developing.

This could potentially result in regulation that is unsafe for the public.

Or compromise the UK’s position in the market.

There are a number of important conversations about regulations taking place at an international level, and it would not be in UK interests to act unilaterally before decisions have been made.

So, our proposed regulatory programme will allow us be flexible and agile in response to future developments.

On the question of data handling.

This is clearly a matter for vehicle manufacturers and service providers.

There is a regulatory framework currently within the Data Protection Act.

But research projects will help provide evidence of how data should be recorded and shared.

Where we see barriers, we will act to remove them in a pragmatic manner.

Where necessary, we will help lead international negotiations.

As we are doing at the moment on harmonising guidelines, standards and regulation on cyber security for the global automotive industry.

So to sum up.

We are well positioned not just to follow changes in motoring technology over the next couple of decades.

But to lead them.

And part of our preparation is to make sure our regulatory framework is ready for the arrival of driverless vehicles.

Just as we saw at the dawn of motoring in the late 19th century, the success of tomorrow’s cutting edge automotive industry will depend on an effective and affordable insurance framework.

Once again, insurance will be the enabler that helps the vehicle market to grow.

So millions more people can enjoy the benefits of motoring.

So we can reduce congestion and harmful vehicle emissions.

And so we can look forward to significantly safer road conditions.

There’s still a long way to go.

And there’s much about the technology we don’t yet know .

But I can promise you that we will continue to work closely with you.

To secure a motor insurance framework that is fit for the future.

Not just for consumers.

And for the car industry.

But for you and your businesses too.

Thank you.

Chris Grayling – 2017 Statement on Monarch Airlines

Below is the text of the statement made by Chris Grayling, the Secretary of State for Transport, in the House of Commons on 9 October 2017.

Mr Speaker, with permission I would like to make a statement about the steps the government has been taking to support those affected by the collapse of Monarch Airlines, in particular the 110,000 passengers this left abroad without a flight back to the UK and the almost 2,000 people who have lost their jobs.

Mr Speaker, this situation is deeply regrettable and all parties considered options to avoid the collapse of the company. Ultimately, however, Monarch’s board took the decision to place it into administration and it ceased trading at around 4am on Monday 2nd October (2017). The engineering arm of the group remains a viable business and continues to trade.

Ahead of the collapse my department had been working closely with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and several departments across Whitehall to prepare contingency plans, and the response has been swift and substantial.

To put this into some context, this is the largest operation of its kind ever undertaken and has meant the CAA has essentially set up one of the UK’s largest airlines in order to conduct this operation.

To give members a sense of the scale:

we have put arrangements in place to bring back 110,000 people to the UK
this requires 700 flights over a 2 week period
a maximum of 35 aircraft in operation at one time
the CAA are working with 27 different airlines, more than 200 CAA staff working on the project with thousands more in partner organisations
there are over 40 airports involved – in the UK, around the Mediterranean and beyond
it has required 267 coaches carrying over 13,000 passengers
so far there have been over 39,000 calls to our customer service centres, all swiftly answered by more than 250 call centre staff
there have been over 1,000,000 unique visitors to a dedicated website monarch.caa.co.uk – and 7,000,000 page views
furthermore more than a million people have been reached through our Facebook promotion
and there have been 10 government departments and agencies involved, including the FCO in London and our extensive diplomatic and consular network in the affected countries

I have seen first-hand the work being done across government and the CAA to make this operation a success and spoken to some of the passengers who have returned to the UK on government flights. I have been hugely impressed by what I have seen and the response from passengers has been overwhelmingly positive – with many praising the CAA and government themselves for a well-organised and professional response.

Normally, the CAA’s responsibility for bringing passengers back would extend only to customers whose trips are covered by ATOL. However this is the largest airline failure in UK history and there would have been insufficient capacity in the commercial aviation market to enable passengers to get home on other airlines. With tens of thousands of passengers abroad and with no easy means of returning to the UK, I therefore instructed the CAA to ensure all those currently abroad were offered an alternative flight home.

As of last night, around 80,000 passengers have returned to the UK – almost three quarters of the total number who were abroad at the time of the collapse. We have also deployed teams of government officials to overseas airports to provide advice and assistance to passengers.

Mr Speaker, despite robust plans and their success so far, this is a hugely distressing situation for all concerned. One of my top priorities has been to help those passengers abroad get safely back to the UK.

Employees

But in addition to supporting passengers, we have also been working across government to ensure the almost 2,000 former Monarch employees receive the support they need.

I am pleased to report that airlines have already been directly appealing to Monarch’s former employees. For instance, Virgin Atlantic are offering a fast track recruitment process for cabin crew and pilots, and easyJet have invited applications for 500 cabin crew vacancies. EasyJet are also calling for direct-entry Captains or First Officers who meet Captain qualifications.

All former Monarch employees will have received information from Jobcentre Plus outlining the support available to them. In total, Jobcentre Plus has pulled together a list of more than 6,300 vacancies across the major UK based airlines – around 3 times the number of people made redundant – which will help former Monarch employees remain in the airline industry.

Both I and the Aviation Minister have been in contact with those members whose constituencies will have been hardest hit by these job loses, and given assurances that we will work with the industry to offer what support we can.

Taxpayer

However, I am also aware of the duty this government has to the taxpayer, and while affected passengers have been told they will not have to pay to be flown back to the UK, we have entered into discussions with several third parties with a view to recovering some of the costs of this operation.

The ATOL scheme will of course provide the financial cover for those with ATOL protection. We are currently engaged in constructive discussions with the relevant credit and debit card providers in order that we might recoup from them some of the cost to taxpayers of these repatriation flights. We are also having similar discussions with other travel providers through which passengers may have booked a Monarch holiday and I would like to thank them for their constructive behaviour and approach.

Mr Speaker, the initial response to this unprecedented situation would not have been as successful were it not for the support and cooperation of many players.

The loss of a major British brand, which was close to celebrating its half-century, is undoubtedly a sad moment. However this should not be seen as a reflection on the general health of the UK aviation industry, which continues to thrive.

We have never had the collapse of an airline or holiday company on this scale before. We have responded swiftly and decisively. Right now our efforts are rightly focused on getting employees into new jobs, and passengers home. But then our efforts will turn to working through the reforms necessary to ensure passengers do not find themselves in this position again. We need to look at all the options, not just ATOL, but also whether it is possible for airlines to be able to wind down in an orderly manner and look after their customers themselves without the need for government to step in. This is where we will focus our efforts in the weeks and months ahead.

This has been an unprecedented response to an unprecedented situation, and I am grateful to all parties who have stepped in to support those affected.

Chris Grayling – 2017 Statement on EU Transport Council

Below is the text of the written statement issued by Chris Grayling, the Secretary of State for Transport, on 28 June 2017.

The only Transport Council under the Maltese Presidency (the Presidency) took place in Brussels on Thursday 8 June. The UK was represented by the UK’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the EU, Katrina Williams.

The council adopted a general approach on lorry and bus driver training (Driver CPC Directive) as well as council conclusions on road safety and the EU’s maritime priorities. All 3 were widely supported by member states. The UK intervened to support the road safety conclusions, welcoming the elements related to safer road infrastructure and connected and autonomous vehicles, and highlighting the UK’s Safer Road Fund.

Under any other business, a range of items were discussed. The Commission presented its new mobility package of proposals which aims to modernise the road transport framework and strengthen the competitiveness and social standards of the EU road haulage sector. Some member states supported stronger social standards in the road transport sector while others felt the Commission’s proposals did not sufficiently support liberalisation in the sector. A number of member states called for the political and geographical balance of the proposals to be carefully considered.

The Presidency provided information on the progress of the trilogue discussions with the European Parliament on a Professional Qualifications in Inland Navigation Directive and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Regulation. Overall member states welcomed the substantial efforts of the Maltese Presidency in negotiations to date with the European Parliament.

The Commission presented an overview of the ‘open and connected Europe’ aviation package which was published on the morning of the Transport Council. The package includes a proposal to revise Regulation (EC) No. 868/2004, guidelines on airline ownership and control, guidelines on public service obligations and best practice on minimising air traffic control disruptions.

Sweden provided information on her approach to protection against acts of terror in road transport in light of the terrorist attack that occurred in Stockholm in April. The UK intervened to express its solidarity and emphasise the importance of this issue and of sharing best practice, supported by other member states. Those who intervened offered condolences to the UK following the London Bridge attack on 3 June.

In addition, the Commission updated the council on recent developments on aviation security and the Netherlands asked the Commission to provide information on their work on social issues in aviation. Luxembourg urged member states to speed up the implementation of the European rail traffic management signalling system (ERTMS) and presented the work she had done to develop a blue-print EU cycling strategy. Germany flagged the high-level dialogue on connected and autonomous driving that would take place in Frankfurt on 14 and 15 September and the Estonian Presidency presented its work programme for its presidency beginning 1 July 2017.

Over lunch Commissioner Bulc led a discussion on an initial strategy at the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) on reducing greenhouse gas emissions from ships.

Chris Grayling – 2017 Statement on South Western Rail Franchise

Below is the text of the statement made by Chris Grayling, the Secretary of State for Transport, in the House of Commons on 27 March 2017.

I am pleased to inform the House that following a rigorous competition I intend to award the South Western rail franchise to First MTR South Western Trains Limited pending the successful completion of a standstill period of at least 10 days.

The House will know that this government is determined to transform the way that the railways work to deliver a revolution in services for passengers. In December 2016, I set out my vision for achieving this through a new era of joined up working between train operators and Network Rail. Earlier this month my Department announced a consultation on the South Eastern franchise which explained our ambition for bringing together the operation of track and train, so that one team of people is focussed on providing the best service to passengers. Today’s announcement that First MTR South Western Trains Limited has been awarded the South Western franchise means we are a step closer to achieving that ambition.

The new franchise will see closer partnership working between track and train. A railway that is predominantly run by an integrated local team of people with a commitment to the smooth operation of their routes, improving services and performance is at the heart of my vision for the network, and First MTR South Western Trains Limited expects to work even closer with Network Rail with the shared aim of giving passengers exactly that. The joint teams will work to drive higher performance, achieve greater productivity in operations, improve maintenance delivery and infrastructure renewals, and support infrastructure improvement delivery, all for the benefit of passengers across the South Western network.

The new franchise will run for 7 years from 20 August 2017 to 18 August 2024, with an extension of 11 railway periods callable at my discretion.

This is the thirteenth franchise award since 2013: a rapid programme of renewal which represents the government’s determination to transform the travel experience for rail passengers across the country. In the last 12 months alone, new franchise agreements have released private funding for brand new trains in the north and the east of England. The new South Western franchise will also see investment in brand new and refurbished trains.

This government is funding the biggest investment in rail since Victorian times, and the award of this new franchise is the latest step in making journeys better: simpler, faster and more reliable. Passengers across the South Western network will see improvements to their journeys, whether travelling into central London, or between the towns and cities in the southern and south-western counties of England. The new franchise will support the communities and boost economic growth in the regions it serves.

Passengers, local authorities, businesses and other stakeholders across the area contributed to a highly demanding and challenging specification for the new South Western franchise. Bidders were invited to demonstrate how they would meet this specification, and I am delighted that First MTR South Western Trains Limited set out an exciting plan for the franchise that will not only meet but significantly exceed these expectations.

First MTR South Western Trains Limited will oversee a £1.2 billion investment programme to improve services for passengers on all parts of the network from London to the South West. There will be 22,000 extra seats into London Waterloo each morning peak and 30,000 extra seats out of Waterloo each evening peak, and a fleet of 90 new trains will provide more space for passengers on Reading, Windsor and London routes.

The plans were designed to make optimum use of our major investment to increase platform capacity at London Waterloo. First MTR South Western Trains Limited will use the experience of one of its major shareholders MTR, who operate the busy Hong Kong metro, to deliver smooth and rapid journeys for passengers travelling around London’s suburban network. Faster journeys will be delivered through a consistent fleet of new suburban trains offering a regular, metro-style service. Passengers can look forward to more space, ensuring that the railway can support London’s growth.

The train journey is only one part of the passenger experience, so we were very pleased with First MTR South Western Trains Limited’s plans for significant investment in station improvements. They will deliver at least 1,500 new car park spaces, refurbished waiting rooms, more seats and new waiting shelters. There will be investment to make Southampton Central station a destination fit for the community it serves, with a new entrance canopy, improved retail, and better facilities for passengers.

The use of smart cards will be expanded, and there will be a new smart card product, automatically offering the cheapest walk-up single or day return fare. A new flexible season ticket will benefit people working fewer than 5 days a week, there will be a discount offered for people buying 12 consecutive monthly season tickets, and new discounts for student travel. Season, single and return tickets will be made available on smart cards across all of the franchise.

I am pleased to announce also that the new South Western franchise will introduce new delay repay compensation, including for delays of 15 minutes or more, and with automatic claims for smart card season tickets and advance purchased tickets bought through their digital channels.

There will be better information for passengers, so that they can make more informed decisions about their journeys. Real time information will be available on screens on trains and at stations, as well as on the website, and through the new customer app. Station staff will also be well informed through innovative use of smart devices so they can better help passengers, especially during times of disruption. There will also be live information about seating availability and crowding levels, so that passengers know the best place to stand to board the train.

Reflecting the government’s commitment to create 30,000 apprenticeships across all transport modes by 2020, First MTR South Western Trains Limited will offer more than 100 apprenticeships each year. Their plans also include funding to support community rail partnerships, station adoption groups, and to encourage community use and regeneration of available station space. The franchisee will reduce energy use at stations and depots by over 40%, and water use by over 18%.

This government has set a clear vision for the future of rail travel and is investing to deliver on that vision for passengers across the country. Over the past few years the franchise renewal programme has resulted in significant new investment and exciting innovations for passengers. The new South Western franchise represents the next chapter in that journey and we look forward to working closely with First MTR South Western Trains Limited and Network Rail to ensure that passengers receive the improvements they have demanded as we transform their rail travel experience.

Chris Grayling – 2016 Speech on Public Transport in County Council Areas

chrisgrayling

Below is the text of the speech made by Chris Grayling, the Secretary of State for Transport, in Guildford on 7 November 2016.

Introduction

Thank you for inviting me to speak today.

It’s a pleasure to join you.

And it is a particular pleasure to be here to speak about transport.

I make no secret that, before the reshuffle, I let it be known to the Prime Minister that if a vacancy were to become available, I would be happy with a post in transport.

And one reason is because transport is intrinsically local, to an extent that few other parts of government can match.

Transport is, above all, about places and people.

It’s about particular towns and villages,

Their particular roads and bridges; particular stations, ports and airports; and the people who live near them, use them, and depend on them.

In transport, there are no generalities.

No transport policy can ever be divorced from the places and people it is designed to serve.

That is why everyone has a view about transport in their area.

Transport is sometimes controversial.

Often contested.

But always important.

Pragmatism about devolution

Today I’d like to mention some of the things we’re doing to improve transport in county council areas.

But first I’d like to say something about my approach to devolution.

And if I could sum-up that approach in a single word, it would be pragmatism.

I want structures of power, accountability and responsibility that work.

And when I say that, I don’t mean structures that work for the Department for Transport, for Parliament, for transport operators, or even county councils.

I mean structures that work for passengers.

I have a straightforward test for any transport network.

Does it enable people to get where they need to go, safely, quickly, cleanly and affordably?

If so, it is working, and we are succeeding.

But if journeys are beset by congestion, delay, crowding, needless cost, or preventable pollution, then we are not succeeding, and we need to take action.

Now, in some cases, devolution will be part of the solution.

Transport for London is an obvious example.

TfL has been at the forefront of innovation in areas like smart ticketing and cycling.

The devolvement of responsibility for rail services on Merseyside is also working well for passengers.

We are now seeing other metropolitan areas take advantage of the opportunities provided by devolution.

Greater Manchester, for example.

And the West Midlands.

But the devolution we’ve seen for cities might not be the right choice everywhere.

Counties, for example, have different requirements.

Your transport challenges include maintaining extensive local road networks.

Providing rural bus services.

And keeping widely-dispersed populations connected.

In the north-east, areas have not been able to agree on what improvements should be delivered by whom.

So devolution should not be seen as automatically beneficial for every area.

It’s also important to recognise that county councils already hold significant transport powers, and they use them well.

So I welcome any county’s proposal for how things could work even better.

But when we talk about devolution we should do so on the basis of evidence of what’s likely to improve things for passengers and other transport users.

That means the commuter catching his or her daily train to work; the motorist trying to avoid congestion; the truck driver moving freight for a living; the young person on their way to school; or the retired person taking the bus to the high street.

I’m no fan of devolution for devolution’s sake, or of changes that might be attractive from an administrative or political perspective, but that to drivers and passengers look like the endless rearrangement of deckchairs.

The same goes for sub-national transport bodies.

If we are to set up new public bodies, funded by taxpayers, we need very good reasons for doing so.

In several places, we have those reasons.

Bodies such as Transport for the North and Midlands Connect are doing fantastic work, proving the benefits that come from local decision-making.

I am sure bodies like these could be part of the solution in other areas too, even if they are not the answer for every part of the country.

So I am happy to talk devolution with any county council.

But as Transport Secretary, I will never forget that, just like county councils, I am ultimately accountable to the public, particularly the passenger and the everyday transport user.

Investment in local areas

And, sometimes, the best way to get things done is just for the government to stump up the cash.

That’s exactly how, in many areas, we are already making significant, long-overdue improvements.

The Bay Gateway Road in Lancashire, for example.

It was first proposed in 1948.

Lancashire County Council made the case and in 2013 we backed it with over £100 million of government funds.

The road opened to traffic just last week.

It’s the biggest new road to open in the county for decades, giving better access to Morecambe and the Port of Heysham.

Then there’s the new Bedale Bypass in North Yorkshire.

It opened this summer following £30 million of government investment.

It’s reduced congestion in the town centre, improved journey times into the Yorkshire Dales, and provided better access to the Leeming Bar Industrial Estate.

And in Cornwall we’re funding improvements to the A30, meaning that by the spring it will be possible to drive from Central London to Cambourne on dual-carriageway-standard roads for the first time.

In Nottinghamshire there’s the Hucknall Town Centre Improvement Scheme, currently under construction with the government’s support.

It’s going to take traffic out of the town centre, improve local quality of life and increase access to public transport.

And in Suffolk, we’ve provided £150 million for new bridges at Ipswich and Lowestoft.

These are major schemes that will open sites for economic development, improve connectivity and stimulate growth in the region.

Local Enterprise Partnership working well

Yet across the country as a whole, I’ve been impressed by the achievements of the Local Enterprise Partnerships.

They’ve done a great job considering transport in the context of local needs, such as housing, employment and economic development.

Thanks to their work, over 500 schemes are in planning or construction for completion this Parliament.

So there’s a huge amount of work going on; all of which will make everyday life better for passengers, drivers and cyclists, and all of it proof that it isn’t just the big cities benefitting from the government’s investment in transport, but the whole country.

Conclusion: thanks to councils

In closing I’d like to turn the focus onto what you do every day to keep transport moving.

Often, the newspaper headlines focus on big projects such as Crossrail, HS2 or Heathrow’s new runway.

Yet I’ll never forget the local services that are maintained by county councils.

The local roads that people travel on every day.

The concessionary bus passes you issue to older and disabled people.

Last year, almost 10 million of them.

And all this, and more, underpinned by the local transport plans that guide my department in the allocation of funds.

Keeping on top of all that isn’t easy.

But, overwhelmingly, county councils do a brilliant job.

And, ultimately, local transport is what keeps businesses in touch with their local markets, connects families and friends, and gives people access to jobs, education and training.

So, thank you for working for people in your area.

And thank you for keeping your areas moving.

Thank you.