MP demands action after number of M6 closures rise ‘spectacularly’

Motorway Bridge at Junction 33 (Galgate) of M6.
Motorway Bridge at Junction 33 (Galgate) of M6.

An MP has demanded answers after figures revealed the number of times the M6 has been shut in Lancashire and Cumbria has rocketed.

Across both counties, the motorway was closed for 24 hours in 2010 but more than 133 hours last year.

And it took more than three times as long to re-open the M6 after accidents.

John Woodcock, the Labour MP for Furness in South Cumbria, obtained the figures through a parliamentary question and has written to Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin for an explantion as to why serious accidents and lengthy road closures had “risen spectacularly”.

Among several concerns Mr Woodcock has is the impact on emergency services after vascular care was stripped from the Royal Lancaster Infirmary a year ago.

He said: “The M6 is central to the region’s transport network, so safety on the road and reliability for its users is absolutely essential – these worrying figures show big steps backwards in both those respects.

“Ministers made a lot of noise about getting motorways re-opened more quickly after accidents, yet in the north west at least, it seems to be taking longer and longer, increasing delays and damaging the local economy.

“The lack of reliability on the M6 will also be having an impact on our local emergency services and needs to be considered when proposals are made to centralise services.

“Last year, vascular services were moved from Lancaster to Preston, relying on the motorway being open to transport very ill patients from south Cumbria.”