Our Chamber representatives explained that they believe there are three parties in the dispute; the employer, GTR; the RMT Union; and the Government. However Mr Grayling made it clear that he was not prepared to get involved in the dispute and was also not prepared to introduce any compromise to bring the dispute to an end.
Mr Grayling was also asked to look closely at the senior management team of GTR. When ACES representatives met them earlier his year they were asked how they planned to build rapport with their staff and customers after the damaging dispute was over. Unfortunately they were unable to describe how this might be achieved and were not able to explore these basic business practices to improve their customer relationships and service.
Mr Grayling said that it was not possible to give permission to both Heathrow and Gatwick to build another runway as this would "legally endanger the decision" and "jeopardise the investments concerned". He also said that Gatwick had no freight infrastructure and that Heathrow was the strategic hub. He did not accept our argument that lack of competition was likely to increase prices and said that all the airlines favour Heathrow.
On a positive note Mr Grayling said that £3 million would be ring-fenced to conduct a full study into the potential route of any new road. This money will be allocated from the £75 million promised before the 2015 election to carry out small scale improvements to the existing road in order to make access easier and safer for residents along the route.
ACES welcomes a site survey and environmental study to redirect the road north of the railway, away from both the South Downs National Park and the villages bisected by the existing A27.
Note added in 2019 - The survey has now been completed and we await the outcome with baited breath.