Council leader says Whitehall geography blunder could have been avoided

A Department for Transport blunder that placed Plymouth in the North West in an official announcement could have been avoided if the department used a strategic map that included Devon and Cornwall, Plymouth City Council Leader Tudor Evans says.

Councillor Evans, who wrote to Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin last week asking for a progress update on his call for the Strategic National transport corridor to be extended beyond Exeter to Plymouth, says the minister has a map of the strategic transport corridors on his office wall that completely misses off Devon and Cornwall.

He said: “You’d think the ministry responsible for transport across the UK would have a basic grasp of geography and wouldn’t make the mistake in an official document of putting the 15th largest city in the wrong region, but I suppose that is to be expected if the Transport Secretary himself uses a map that misses off Devon and Cornwall.

“I was horrified when I visited him and saw that the map on his office wall covers up both Devon and Cornwall. It is difficult to have confidence that his department is taking the South West Peninsula’s priority of faster and more resilient road and rail connectivity seriously when the maps that he is working to leaves the peninsula off.

“We have been lobbying hard for long-awaited investment in the South West peninsula’s road and rail networks and this is less likely to happen if Devon and Cornwall are left off the strategic transport network. This matter is particularly important as we await the outcome of the West of Exeter Route Resilience Study