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Parliament has been dissolved until after the General Election and I am no longer an MP.

It’s been a while since I last updated you on the work I have been doing to tackle the proliferation of telegraph poles across Hull West and Hessle. I know that many of my constituents have contacted me directly to express their frustration and I would like to reassure everyone that I know how much you care about this issue and that i’m working hard to ensure a positive outcome for my constituents and our local area.

I’m pleased to say that, since my last update in January, there has been some positive developments regarding infrastructure sharing and we now know that talks between KCOM and Connexin are underway.

if you’ve contacted me about telegraph poles or seen me on TV, you will know that I believe that infrastructure sharing, that is, new providers using KCOM’s telegraph poles and ducts, rather than installing their own, is the only way to stop vast numbers of telegraph poles being installed all across Hull West and Hessle like we have seen in recent months. The beginning of talks between KCOM and Connexin has also meant that Connexin has ‘paused’ the installation of any new telegraph poles for the time-being (although you may still see engineers wiring telegraph poles that have already been put up).

Since January, I have tried my best to respond this issue locally by meeting with KCOM, MS3 and Connexin to urge them all to work together and to reach an agreement on infrastructure sharing. and also by raising it with the government. In my last update, I told you that I had written to the Minister, Julia Lopez, to ask that she in her a role as government minister, instruct Ofcom to take action to review guidance around infrastructure sharing.

Following this, I attended a ’roundtable event’ hosted by Minister Lopez and attended by several other MPs. In this meeting I made clear the issues faced by my constituents and the impact of the continuous works on the environment and in our local area. After the meeting, I also signed a joint letter (below) to the Minister to reiterate all of the concerns raised in the meeting. I know some of you have contacted me about the use of creosote on telegraph poles and this was again addressed with the Minister.

You will see from the response I received below that the Minister has listened to the concerns raised by myself and the other MPs. One of the things the government has done is to take steps to issue further guidance to the local councils as to how they might prevent providers from simply turning up and installing telegraph poles and clarified Ofcom’s role should new providers not adhere to the requirements and guidelines put in place.

You will see that the government has given confirmation that the substance creosote has undergone rigorous safety checks and is currently approved for use to preserve telegraph poles.

Regrettably, the government has stopped short of introducing legislation that would force providers to share infrastructure, instead preferring to focus efforts on delivering better working practices in the industry. This is is disappointing given the impact that the lack of this type of legislation has had on the local area, i.e. numerous providers digging up streets to install cabling or installing telegraph poles.

Although there has been some positive developments and Connexin has currently paused its works whilst infrastructure sharing is explored, please be assured that I will continue to work with and to urge these local providers to share infrastructure for the benefit of all.

I hope this update reassures you that I have and will continue to work hard on this issue – by liaising with local providers and the government – to ensure that our streets are no longer blighted by the installation of broadband infrastructure.

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