Motoring groups have welcomed the Government's road plans which they hope will end "the stop-start mess experienced over the last few decades".
AA president Edmund King said:
All road users are entitled to safe and uncongested national arteries.
We can no longer ignore the inadequate resources going into the mainstay of the UK transport system - our roads - which carry 86% of passenger journeys and more than 90% of freight.
RAC Foundation director Professor Stephen Glaister 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.
Nick Clegg says the Government's £15 billionn funding for road improvements is a "big moment" for the UK that will help "rebalance" the economy.
Speaking to BBC Breakfast, the Deputy Prime Minister said:
The funding is there and I think it will really represent a big moment, that we're not just balancing the books, which of course is essential, but we're also rebalancing the economy as a whole so that all parts of the country can be connected with each other.
So we're not just rescuing the economy, which of course has been the central mission of this parliament, but also renewing it in the next parliament and beyond.
Michael Dugher MP, Labour’s shadow transport secretary, said:
This is just yet another re-announcement on promised road improvements.
The Government has 'announced' plans for road investment at least three times since 2013. And no additional money has been announced.
We know David Cameron’s record on infrastructure is one of all talk and no delivery. Infrastructure output has fallen significantly since May 2010 and less than a third of projects in the Government’s pipeline are actually classed as ‘in construction’.
If Ministers were as good at upgrading roads as they are at making announcements about upgrading roads, life would be considerably easier for Britain's hard-pressed motorists who have been consistently let down by this Government.
“I promised when I was in the North East that we would address this area’s economic needs for the future.
''Our long term economic plan means today we can invest £2.3 billion into the infrastructure in the North East and Yorkshire to improve, repair and expand our roads. This is all about investing in the Northern Powerhouse we are seeking to build.
“Our plans will transform some of the country’s most important strategic routes, will boost productivity and help the local economy of the North East.
“For years our roads have been neglected. Now that this government is fixing the economy, we can afford to invest properly in our roads – unlocking jobs and local growth by creating a road network that is fit for the 21st century.”
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin is due to announce the £15 billion roads investment to parliament.
“Today I am setting out the biggest, boldest and most far-reaching roads programme for decades. It will dramatically improve the network and unlock Britain’s economic potential.
“Roads are key to our nation’s prosperity. For too long they have suffered from under-investment.
“This government has a long term plan to secure the country’s future and this £15 billion roads programme is demonstration of that. It will directly benefit hardworking families acrossYorkshire and the North East.”
The Government has announced plans to spend £15 billion by the end of the decade improving England's roads. The North East and Yorkshire will benefit from 18 new schemes, estimated to create 1,500 construction jobs.
In the North East the works will involve:
- £290 million to upgrade the A1 from Morpeth to Ellingham. Including two stretches of dual carriageway between Morpeth and Felton and Alnwick and Ellingham.
- In addition to the £300 million widening scheme already underway between Coal House and the Metro Centre, work will begin to widen the section south from Coal House to the A194.
- The addition of extra lanes from Scotswood to North Brunton.
Shoppers in Byker queued for hours to grab the bargains on Black Friday.
Police across the region said they were called to several stores overnight as so-called Black Friday started.
Northumbria Police said they were called to Tesco in Kingston Park in Newcastle and Norham Road in North Shields.
A spokesman said they were called by members of staff but no one was arrested.
Officers from Cleveland Police said they were called to Tesco stores in Stockton and South Bank.
They also confirmed that no one was arrested.
Graeme Mason, from Newcastle Airport, says allowing Scotland to set its own tax agenda could open a 'Pandora's box' in our region. He's concerned, particularly, that air passenger duty (usually around £80 to £100 per person) could be scrapped north of the border, meaning passengers might choose to fly from elsewhere. The proposals are yet to be finalised.
The transport union the RMT has criticised the re-privatisation of the East Coast mainline. North of England representative Craig Johnston said they had heard similar promises before from franchise holders which had not been fulfilled.
For Craig Johnston's full comments click below.