Party Conferences 2012 - The Tory Story

Posted on: Thursday, 11 October 2012 by Mike Webb in categories Conservative, Transport Hub

FTA's tour of the party conferences 2012 came to an end with the Conservative party conference in Birmingham; in the midst of the maze of rooms and corridors that is the ICC, surrounded by the imposing glass figure of the Hyatt Hotel and the striking new Birmingham Library.

Monday at the conference saw yet another prominent addition to the local landscape, with cyclists, MPs and policemen all stopping to talk safety at Cemex's stunning Exchanging Places union flag cement truck. MPs such as Caroline Nokes and Mark Pawsey lined up to learn about the vehicle's intelligent safety features, with hundreds more snapping away on their cameras and phones to take pictures of the striking tanker.

Sunday evening saw the Transport Hub take centre stage, with Transport Minister Stephen Hammond joining MPs Iain Stewart and Stuart Andrew for a discussion of Conservative transport policy in the Big Interview feature. This was followed by the Transport Hub dinner, which saw FTA Chief Executive Theo de Pencier take the chance to dig a little deeper into the ministerial thinking of the new DfT team when sat with Hammond.

The third and final instalment of the successful "Sharing the Road Safely" event, held in conjunction with The TImes, saw another lively and well-attended exchange - this time featuring TfL's Director of Surface Access Leon Daniels, Sustrans Policy Director Jason Torrance and the new PPS to the Transport Secretary, Gavin Williamson MP. Mr Williamson seemed very pleased to have the conference so quickly into his new role, as an opportunity to introduce himself to the many transport organisations in the audience; and FTA thanks him for his time.

A varied set of political meetings rounded off the conference season for 2012, wtih European engagement and the future of infrastructure investment on the agenda with Philip Bradbourn MEP. There was also the chance the talk fuel duty and cycle safety with Caroline Nokes MP, and the development of rail freight with her Westminster colleague John Stevenson MP amidst much, much more.

It has been a hectic three weeks, but a time in which FTA has made some real progress communicating members' concerns to those in a position to effect change.

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