CLOSING down parts of Britain’s road and railway networks over bank holidays and during major sporting events is costing the economy in lost tourism, says VisitEngland’s chairwoman Lady Penelope Cobham.
‘We are trying to run a first world tourism service for local and overseas visitors, and there are certainly a number of overseas visitors around over Christmas. But we are more than hampered by a third-world service over Christmas,’ she told the Daily Telegraph.
‘I understand completely the need to do major works, but when they say they are going to end working on a particular day, we have to be able to depend on that.’
Lady Cobham said rail operators had in recent months been willing to hear her concerns, ‘but we have a long way to go to really explain, embed into their thinking and forward planning, how this might be done better.’
Network Rail has come under fire for over-running improvement work on the East Coast main line, which left thousands of passengers stranded in London during the Christmas holiday.
The Highways Agency has said that 219 stretches of road had roadworks in place during the festive period, though it suspended or accelerated more than 150 projects to help keep traffic moving over Christmas.
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