MPs back newspaper campaign to keep readers ‘in the know’

CHAD is campaigning to put the brakes on plans to remove the requirement for traffic orders to be published in local newspapers.

We have called on local MPs to support our opposition to a proposal which will allow councils to stop placing public notices on changes to road regulations in the news pages of papers like Chad.

The Department for Transport plan will mean details of road closures, diversions and other disruption will no longer necessarily appear in the Chad or on our website.

Mansfield MP Sir Alan Meale has already tabled an early day motion in Parliament calling for a re-think and stating that ‘no other medium has the same reach as local press’.

Sir Alan has also written to Transport Secretary Justine Greening and says he will try to raise the issue on the floor of the House of Commons because it is so important to have ‘an active and vibrant local media’.

“The best and easiest way for ordinary people to access this information is through local media,” he said.

“If you look at the figures they are clear that local media is miles ahead of the other sources of information. Simply to place it on local authority websites is a nonsense and undermines the whole point of getting the information to as many people as possible.”

Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero also raised concerns about the plan.

“I have always given my whole-hearted support to our local newspapers and I know how concerned they are, so I’m going to write to the Secretary of State for Transport to find out what the current position is regarding the proposals,” she said.

Bolsover’s MP Dennis Skinner has lent his support by writing to the Transport Secretary requesting her comments on the points local newspapers are making.

Business leaders in Mansfield have joined politicians in raising concerns that the changes could mean people will not know where to get details of road closures and other disruption.

Irvin Robinson, chairman of the Mansfield 2020 group, says Chad continues to play an important role in the regeneration of the town.

“As a representative of local business, we believe that if the proposal goes ahead it will have a serious effect on the local newspaper, depriving them of an important source of advertising and revenue,” Mr Robinson added.

The Newspaper Society has also held meetings with ministers and says the proposals will lead to less transparent local government.

The Department for Transport believes councils across the country could save £20m a year through the proposal, with consultation running until 23rd April.

It plans to let authorities use ‘whatever ways they consider appropriate’ such as Facebook, Twitter and their own websites.

The other 22 MPs who have signed the early day are: Peter Bottomley, Fiona Bruce, Ronnie Campbell, Martin Caton, Jeremy Corbyn, Alex Cunningham, Ian Davidson, David Davis, Jim Dobbin, Mike Hancock, Kelvin Hopkins, John Leech, Stephen Lloyd, Anne Main, John McDonnell, Ian Mearns, Albert Owen, Bob Russell, Dennis Skinner, Graham Stringer, Valerie Vaz and Hywel Williams.