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Philip Hammond becomes new Transport Secretary

The former shadow treasury secretary and Conservative MP Philip Hammond has been appointed as the new transport secretary.

 

Hammond replaces Theresa Villiers who had been shadow transport secretary until yesterday.

Hammond, who is the MP for Runnymede and Weybridge, has previously held shadow cabinet positions in health, work and pensions, and local government.

The AA has suggested that Hammond needs to stay longer in his new post than his 13 predecessors, who only averaged 20 months.

It says the country needs a “fixed term” transport secretary.

“We have had 13 transport secretaries in 22 years so on average they have served only about 20 months each," explained Edmund King, AA president.

"The real problem is that it can take a new Transport Secretary approximately 12 months to get up to speed with their brief. Transport is essential for the country and our economy yet in the past it has been a merry-go-round for ministers to hop on and off. We wish Philip Hammond well and hope he stays long enough to sort out our transport problems. Perhaps we need a fixed term Transport Secretary as well as a fixed term parliament.”

 

The new minister must act soon on the North review on drink and drug driving law, which is now ready for publication.

He also needs to confirm the target for road injury reduction after 2010. This would be the third road safety target and strategy, and the previous two have been key to the ongoing reduction in death and injury on Britain’s roads.

“We are concerned that road transport did not feature in the election campaign and yet is used by the vast majority of the population every day of the week. The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats seem keen on expensive high speed rail yet roads have the majority of problems and majority of transport users. The AA would not support road funding being diverted to this project," said King.

 

“We are pleased that as part of a strategy designed to create a low carbon and eco-friendly economy there will be a mandate for a national recharging network for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. We are unsure as to how the new government will address the problems of traffic congestion, road infrastructure and maintenance.”

 

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