Prior to the Parliamentary recess, we voted through the second reading of the Public Order Bill, which I will be helping to take through the House of Commons and the House of Lords in the coming weeks. The right to protest is something which I fundamentally respect, but the public cannot be hindered from going about their daily business by activists engaging in acts of vandalism such as glueing themselves to roads or blocking oil terminals. This new legislation will ensure a proper balance between the rights of the people to exercise their freedom of speech and the rights of people to conduct their affairs without impediment.
Back in the constituency, I have been busy meeting with constituents and businesses including the incredible Coswarth House and Padstow Touring Park. Our local economy relies heavily on the tourist industry, and I am pleased to see that the sector is gearing up for its first full season since the pandemic. During the public health emergency, I made it clear to colleagues in Government that we must protect our businesses so that when the crisis lifted these key employers remained afloat in our communities. North Cornwall showed great resilience despite the hardships we faced during COVID-19. I’m very proud to see things going back to normal. The biggest issue we now face is of course the cost of living, and I am aware that many people are struggling with paying their household bills. At the time of writing the Chancellor is preparing to put forward a new package of measures to support the public but the economic realities we now face are due to many factors which are outside of our control, such as the situation in Ukraine. No government can solve all these issues, but we can help, and I am very pleased to see swift action being taken.
Baroness Vere of Norbiton, the government minister responsible for road safety, has responded directly to me and confirmed that National Highways is committed to making sure that the safety performance of the A30 can be improved where possible. There will also be patrols in place between the M5 junction at Exeter and Bodmin during the summer between July and September this year to ensure support can be offered to drivers. I have also arranged to meet with National Highways and personally take their officers on a visit to some of the more dangerous areas of the A30 in North and mid-Cornwall so they can see first-hand some of the conditions and problems we face. I’m also aware that there continues to be a high level of interest amongst the local community on the section west of Launceston, focused at A30/B3257 at Plusha Junction. I'm told that there have been unprecedented traffic flows recorded on the A30 following recovery from the pandemic with increased traffic associated with staycations. Currently, a Highway Safety Study is underway between A30 Kennards House Junction West of Launceston and Five Lanes/Trewint. This is due to conclude in the Autumn.