With the general election not quite going the way anyone expected, it now seems that Theresa May will look to form a minority government. This means that the Conservative transport policies we blogged on last month will be impacted. So what’s next for travel?
If a minority government is formed with the DUP (Democratic Unionist Party) then some compromises will have to be made between the two parties – and the DUP’s primary focus will be, of course, Northern Ireland.
The election result having ended in a hung parliament, the pound has dipped and so have the markets. This leaves many anxious as to the possibility of investment into infrastructure.
Marie-Claude Hemming, director of external affairs at the Civil Engineering Contractors Association, said: ‘Our most recent member survey showed orders dropping for infrastructure contractors for the first quarter since 2013. A lack of clear leadership in Westminster creates a real risk that this potential future downturn will become entrenched due to an inability to get vital decisions over the line. We hope that there will be an early resolution to the current uncertainty over the shape of any new Government, allowing decisions on projects such as HS2 to be made and work to get underway on building the infrastructure that the UK needs.”
The new make-up of seats in parliament means that over of London’s MPs could now oppose a third runway at Heathrow airport, whereas previously the Conservative party were in favour of runway expansion. Tory MP Zac Goldsmith who had previously resigned over the issue of the airport runway was re-elected into his Richmond Park seat, which will add to pressure on the issue.
Air pollution standards will also be re-addressed, with an increased Labour presence in parliament and less Tories, who have twice failed to put forward to court an agreed process or plans.
The Lower Thames Crossing plans could also be affected, with Labour previously saying they would review spending on the project, despite its support from current Conservative Transport Secretary Chris Grayling.
The DUP have expressed a desire to invest heavily in North Irish transport infrastructure, with the need to better link rural and built-up areas, and work faster and more effectively on the Belfast Transport Hub scheme. These may be given more priority if the party works in conjunction with the Conservatives.
It’s too early yet to say what priorities will rise and fall, and what will be passed through parliament with a different make-up of seats. We will keep you updated and of course, write about anything involved prioritised shared transport!
Author Lex Barber