Berwick MP welcomes PM's backing for plans to dual the A1 through Northumberland to Scotland

The A1 near Felton, Northumberland, where the road goes into a single carriage way.
The A1 near Felton, Northumberland, where the road goes into a single carriage way.

The MP for Berwick-upon-Tweed, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, has welcomed the Prime Minister’s support for plans to dual the A1 all the way to the Scottish border. 

It came as Boris Johnson gave a speech in Dudley in the West Midlands, where he set out what he is calling a New Deal for the future of the UK economy and its recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

A project to dual two sections of the A1 in Northumberland, meaning the road will be dual-carriageway as far north as Ellingham, is already underway, but campaigners have continued to call for it to go right up to the Scottish border.

And in the section of his speech on transport infrastructure, Mr Johnson said:

In December 2014, the then Prime Minister David Cameron visited the county to announce £290million for a scheme that includes two sections of dualling - Morpeth to Felton and Alnwick to Ellingham - as well as other improvements north of Ellingham.

As well as unveiling a £5 billion investment plan, the Prime Minister announced a study of the infrastructure links between the four nations of the United Kingdom to accelerate the rail, road, air and sea links between the nations. 

A1 near Felton. Northumberland Credit: Google Maps

Speaking after the announcement, Berwick MP Trevelyan said:

After years of preparatory works and consultations, a development consent order (DCO) - the equivalent of a planning application for major infrastructure projects - for the sections of dualling was due to be submitted this month.

The bids will be decided by the Planning Inspectorate, on behalf of the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, and a planning inspector will be appointed to conduct examinations into the two proposals.

The inspector has a statutory duty to conclude the examination part of the DCO process within six months - although it is unclear whether this might be affected by Covid-19.

The Highways England website currently states that the start date for work is 2020-21 to 2024-25, with an end date 'to be confirmed'. Previously, target dates were given of work starting in 2021 and the new routes to be open to traffic in 2023.

To the north of Ellingham, a total of 11 junctions are to be improved, after initial proposals for overtaking lanes were dropped due to safety concerns over their proximity to junctions. This project got underway in late 2018.