Blog Type, Fellowship Blog | December 2016

December Fellowship Blog

As parliamentarians began to get ready for the Christmas Recess, there were three Fellowship visits of note this month. Bill Esterson MP completed his IPT Fellowship by spending his final day at Liverpool John Lennon Airport. Drew Hendry MP spent time with Virgin Coast East trains and UK Power Networks hosted Bridget Phillipson MP. Read on to find out more in our final blog of 2016.

On Friday 2 November Bill Esterson, MP for Sefton Central, visited Liverpool John Lennon Airport (LJLA) to learn more about the aviation industry and future freight developments on his final Fellowship visit.

During the day, Bill spoke with Mark Povall, Director of Air Service Development about the history of the airport and its future plans for promoting regional connectivity. He also visited Wynne Aviation, and met Tom Hughes, Director of Wynne Aviation Services. They discussed the future plans for Liverpool Airport to take a more prominent role in freight handling in the North-West through the “Liverpool Superport concept”.  Currently much of the UK’s freight arrives into southern ports, but by uniting Liverpool’s regional infrastructure it will provide an attractive freight delivery option in the North of England.

Bill Esterson MP said:

“Liverpool John Lennon Airport is used frequently by thousands of my constituents so it was a great opportunity to see first-hand the way that they operate. I would also like to extend my gratitude to the Industry and Parliament Trust for their role in organising my Fellowship.”

Find out more about Bill’s visit here

On Tuesday 6 December, the MP for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey, Drew Hendry, visited Virgin Trains East Coast in order to examine the UK’s transport infrastructure that connects Scotland and the rest of the UK.

Drew met Gary Smithson, Virgin Trains Station Manager, and spoke about the process of turning a train around. With over 155 services each weekday it is essential that every train is restocked, cleaned and prepared as quickly and efficiently as possible in order to make sure the service runs on time.

Drew was then taken to the signal box, which controls the extensive network of railways and the thousands of trains travelling on the tracks each day. The visit concluded with Drew testing Virgin Trains’ state-of-the-art train driver simulator.

Gary Smithson, Virgin Trains Station Manager, stated:

“With his Transport brief, Drew was of course very engaged in hearing about the big plans we have for our new Azuma fleet and our expanded timetable that will add an extra 12,000 seats, boosting capacity by 28% during the peak into Kings Cross. I would like to express my thanks to the IPT for organising this visit.”

Find out more about Drew’s visit here

On Tuesday 13 December Bridget Phillipson visited UK Power Networks Smarter Energy Storage Facility at Leighton Buzzard. Started in January 2013 this innovative instillation has provided a leading test bed for exploring the capabilities and economics of high voltage energy storage. At the centre of the project is a 6MV/10MWH “big battery” which is the largest of its kind located on a distribution network in the UK.

Bridget was able to see how the project aims to help decrease the future costs of energy storage in the UK and increase network investment efficiency, supporting the adoption of more low carbon technologies on the electricity network. This was the first of two planned visits for Bridget to UK Power Networks and she plans to visit their Ipswich Operation Centre in the New Year.

On that note may I wish all readers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! 2017 is sure to be another busy year for the Fellowship Team.

Words by Alex Reeves, Parliamentary Officer.

If you would be interested in hosting any of our parliamentarians as part of their Fellowship, please get in touch with Liz Dawson, Parliamentary Affairs Manager at or call 020 7839 9405.