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Click below for Professor Burn's comments.
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Cllr Nick Forbes, regional transport lead for the North East Combined Authority, says today's Government announcement in highways infrastructure in the north east 'should be welcomed'.
The North East Combined Authority (NECA) together with the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has been lobbying the Government for improvements to the A1 and to the A19 for some time.
Today’s announcement is to be welcomed, particularly given the history of underfunding of transport investment in the North East.
We will need to continue to press the case, since announcements on the A1 have been made in the past and not delivered.
We will therefore be working closely with the Highways Agency and the Department for Transport to ensure that these much needed investments are delivered quickly and with the minimum disruption to road users.
The North East sector of the Civil Engineering Contractors' Association, which represents 75 firms in the region, has welcomed the Government's roads announcement but says that more detail is needed for when starts will be made, particularly on the A1 between Morpeth and Ellingham.
It’s excellent news altogether that out of a total spend promised of £15bn some £2.3bn is pledged to 18 schemes in the North East and Yorkshire. Unfortunately, we shall have to wait for the small print to find out the when and how of the projects. It is also unclear whether this is totally new money, or whether it includes money previously promised for some of these schemes that are already under way. All the improvements detailed for the North East are much needed.
One instinctively questions speed of intent considering it is more than four decades since dualling of the A1 right through Northumberland was first raised in the Commons. There will still be 25 miles yet to be dualled on this key link between England and Scotland and some of the worst bottlenecks are on those 25 miles where lesser improvements are now promised.
But if what is promised for our region goes ahead soon it will be brilliant not only for our industry but also for our region’s economy.
Andy McDonald, MP for Middlesbrough, says the announcement of the Governments Road Investment Strategy "only serves to confirm that David Cameron and his colleagues are totally out of touch when it comes to Tees Valley."
This announcement today pays scant regard to our transport needs. We have appalling congestion on the Tees Flyover which was recently exacerbated by the lengthy closure of Newport Bridge and it’s obvious that we need another road crossing of the Tees. As a sop, we are given improvements to the A19 between Norton and Wynyard.
That is all well and good but we need much more than the stated investment in such a short stretch of roadway. In addition to improvements to the A1, we also need the A19 upgrading to motorway status as well as improved east –west connections between the two major highways.
They simply do not comprehend the importance of our region to the nation’s economic prosperity both now and in the years ahead.
Anne-Marie Trevelyan, the Founder and Director of the 'Dual the A1 Campaign' and the Conservative parliamentary candidate for Berwick has personally pledged to “see the job through” following the Prime Minister's announcement of a £290m investment package to dual the A1 from Newcastle to Ellingham.
The £290m package includes the first 13 miles of road fully dualled, then 2 crawler lanes on the most stretches north of Ellingham and 3 major junction improvements, including the Holy Island turning.
The package of investment aims to reduce bottlenecks and improve road safety.
This is fantastic news for the North East and for every family who has suffered a loss on the road.
The Prime Minister has assured me that the work can start straight away.
The Dual the A1 campaign, and myself personally, hopefully as the member of parliament, will maintain the pressure for the A1 (north of Ellingham) to also be dualled so that the road from London to Edinburgh is 21st century road all of the way up.
Now we have managed to cross the starting line, I personally pledge to see the job through.
North East Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive, James Ramsbotham, has backed road upgrades across the North East, saying it will help the region deliver more to UK Plc.
“We welcome the announcements made ahead of the Autumn Statement, particularly the upgrades to the A1 North of Newcastle, A19 in Teesside and the feasibility studies announced for the A69 & A66.
“Successive Governments have failed to capitalise on the potential and huge capacity of increased development in the North of our region and upgrading this vital stretch of road will go some way to addressing that.
“North East business is driving forward growth and creating jobs and the estimated £900m plus of infrastructure announcements that have been approved for our region in the last 18 months is a necessary step change.
“However, it must not be forgotten that the North East is still a long way short of receiving the levels of infrastructure investment that will help to unlock further growth and job creation relative to other areas of the country. It is only by levelling the playing field in this way that we can be assured the private sector can reach its full potential in a region with enormous capacity for further growth.”
David Cameron has spoken about where the improvements to the A1 will be made. When asked why the dualling will not reach the Border, the Prime Minister said there will be improvements but they must consider value for money.
David Cameron says dualling the A1 will happen and that the money can be spent tomorrow. Our correspondent Dan Ashby challenged the Prime Minister on the decision and the fact the announcement has been made a few months before an election.
The Prime Minister, David Cameron has said that the North East will get the road infrastructure it needs to be a premier exporting region.