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Essex Chambers of Commerce welcome A12 improvements

The A12 at Kelvedon Credit: Victoria Lampard, ITV Anglia

"It's greatly needed. The A12 is a road that carries a tremendous amount of traffic, both private users but particularly business users. We're forever having problems with it. If you have accidents you see complete lanes shut down. On one occasion the whole length of the road from Marks Tey down to Chelmsford was closed and diversions were put in via Braintree on the A120 up to Marks Tey. A journey that should take just half an hour was then taking an hour and a half so this is extremely good news for businesses and road users in Essex."

– David Burch, Essex Chambers of Commerce

A47 to be extended to Lowestoft in £1.5b roads plan

The A47 is to be extended to Lowestoft in Suffolk as part of the government's roads plan which will see £1.5 billion being spent on transport projects in the East of England.

The A12 between Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft will be redesignated as the A47 to reflect the routes nature as a continuous east-west corridor.

Chancellor George Osborne talks to Conservative MPs Chloe Smith for Norwich North and Peter Aldous for Waveney. Credit: Submitted

£10 million has been set aside for safety improvements on the A47 Acle Straight although there are currently no plans to dual the notorious accident blackspot.

The Conservative MP for Waveney, Peter Aldous, says the focus must now be on dualling the entire length of the A47 to Peterborough.

“Poor roads to Lowestoft and the Waveney area have been a major obstacle to attracting new business for far too long and thus I very much welcome this significant investment in the A47, which will make us more accessible to the rest of the country and which will help bring new jobs to the area, building on the great start which has been made by the Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth Enterprise Zone."

– Peter Aldous, Conservative MP for Waveney

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Motoring groups welcome roads spending

The government has made a pre-election pledge to spend £1.5 billion on road improvements in the Anglia region. Credit: Chris Radburn/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Motoring groups have welcomed the Government's road plans which they hope will end "the stop-start mess experienced over the last few decades".

Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said: "This is not about concreting over the countryside with new roads but upgrading many existing routes which have been the source of misery to motorists for years if not decades."

"That the Government is investing money along whole lengths of roads and not just a mile or two here and there is to be welcomed. Roads like the A303, A1, A27 and A47 are seared into drivers' consciousness for the congestion and accidents that routinely litter their course."

– Stephen Glaister, RAC Foundation

AA president Edmund King said: "We spend less than a quarter of motoring taxes on this critical national asset whilst many key competitor countries spend much more. At long last the Government has recognised that we need a long term coherent plan for our roads, with guaranteed funding, to end the stop-start mess experienced over the last few decades."

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Essex: Police launch probe into Lord Hanningfield's expenses claims

Lord Hanningfield. Credit: PA

Former Essex County Council leader Lord Hanningfield has been interviewed by police after he was found to have claimed a £300 allowance for days in which he did no parliamentary work.

Lord Hanningfield is currently suspended from sitting in the Lords after wrongly claiming over £3000.

He has made it clear he intends to return after the suspension and says he was unaware that what he was doing was wrong.

He was jailed in 2011 for a separate abuse of his expenses.

Libyan soldiers seek asylum

It's emerged a "handful" of Libyan soldiers who were being trained at the Bassingbourn army base in Cambridgeshire have claimed asylum to remain in the UK.

More than 300 troops were sent home after five cadets were charged in connection with a string of sex attacks in Cambridge last month. The Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has now confirmed that some of the soldiers have refused to return to Libya, despite the Prime Minister insisting that none should be granted asylum.

Watch below to see Michael Fallon make his announcement in the Commons

Ambulance service warns of disruption due to strike

Staff on strike in Ipswich in October Credit: ITV News Anglia

The East of England Ambulance Service (EEAST) says there could be disruption to 999 responses today as health workers go on strike in a continued row over pay.

In October thousands walked out over the Government's decision not to accept a recommended 1 per cent pay rise for all NHS staff. Today midwives, paramedics and hospital porters will be among those taking part in four hours of national action, from 7am to 11am.

The EEAST says it does not know how many staff will take part, but that it has been working with the unions to make sure that those who need an emergency ambulance get the service they need.

"A considerable amount of contingency planning has taken place in preparation for this strike. We have been working closely with our union colleagues to ensure that those who need an emergency ambulance response get one...

"As always we are urging the public to think about using alternative services especially during the hours of strike action. "If you need medical help but it is not an emergency, consider your options, such as calling 111, contacting your GP or visiting your local pharmacist. This will help keep ambulances available to those in the greatest need."

– Steve Wheaton, Assistant Chief Ambulance Officer for Resilience and Specialist Operations
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