FURNESS independent MP John Woodcock brought together transport bosses to find ways of solving road and rail problems across the area.

Cumbria Better Connected, a taskforce set up by Mr Woodcock to call for better transport infrastructure, met at the Coronation Hall in Ulverston on Friday to discuss a host of transport issues.

The meeting heard a funding announcement is still pending for the A595 bypass at the notorious Dove Ford bottleneck near Grizebeck and Cumbria County Council has pledged to keep villagers informed of progress.

It was also announced that Cumbria County Council are now working closer with Highways England to minimise disruption during utility works on the A590. Officers from both organisations will assert more control to reduce tailbacks.

Mr Woodcock said: “It was encouraging to hear that Highways England and the county council are now going to assert their powers over when the utility companies are able to do their work.

“For too long now these works have caused chaos on the A590 and had a negative impact on local businesses.”

Statistics show that the number of rail cancellations in July and August were as bad as last year despite new timetables and rolling stock.

Northern executives told the meeting the problems were twofold, partly down to a rise in sickness and more holidays over the summer as well as the on-going driver dispute around Sunday working.

There is still no development from Northern on the split ticketing issues affecting people making purchases from local ticket offices, but Stagecoach and Northern have agreed to meet to look at the possibility of connecting timetables.

Mr Woodcock added: “Although we welcome the introduction of new services to Manchester airport and the significant improvement to rolling stock, but there is clearly some way to go. I am encouraged that there is the offer of collaborative working to improve connectivity across the region but until we can resolve the number of cancellations the Furness line we are not getting the service we deserve.”