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Exclusive: Transport secretary says people will back NDR once it is complete

06:30 03 March 2016

Elizabeth Truss, MP for South West Norfolk, and Matthew Hancock, MP for West Suffolk, visiting the A11 project  with transport minister Patrick McLoughlin in 2013 , centre. Photo: Bill Smith

Elizabeth Truss, MP for South West Norfolk, and Matthew Hancock, MP for West Suffolk, visiting the A11 project with transport minister Patrick McLoughlin in 2013 , centre. Photo: Bill Smith

Archant © 2013

People will back a controversial distributor road around Norwich once it is complete, the transport secretary has said ahead of a visit to the construction site today.

Patrick McLoughlin said they would “go to the nth degree” to make sure environmental assessments were done, as he defended the government decision to contribute £10m to the £30m shortfall last year amid spiralling costs for the Northern Distributor Road (NDR)

He was speaking ahead of a visit to Norfolk, which will also include a stop off at the new aviation academy at Norwich International Airport and a visit to see the new A12/A143 link road.

He said he had not planned any new announcements during his visit, but there would be more to say about the rail links once they had chosen the operator for the lines currently run by Abellio Greater Anglia.

Questioned about his decision to provide an extra £10m for Norwich’s northern distributor relief road against “firm” government policy he said they had given money on the basis that the scheme stacked up.

He said: “Infrastructure schemes are always controversial. We go to the nth degree to make sure we make all the right assessments for the environment. I imagine once the road is completed in two years time most people will say it is a good improvement to the area.”

Questioned on the delays to the construction of a £300m upgrade to parts of the A47, he said they couldn’t carry out all their road investment in one go.

He also backed an East Anglian bid for more devolved powers over transport spending with a “Transport for the East” body set up with Oyster card style ticketing. But questioned about whether it would allow delayed projects like an upgrade to the key Ely North rail junction which will allow more trains between King’s Lynn and Cambridge and Norwich and Cambridge to be brought forward he said: ““We’ll see. It is not for me to tell a combined authority which has not been completely established in the first place what to do. They will have to work out their priorities.”

Adding that it would not allow them to spend what they pleased and some of the money would be spent with Network Rail and Highways England. “Let’s see how the negotiations go,” he added.

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23 comments

  • @dragonfly: agree with you about the NDR being a 'road to nowhere' and the thousands of trees, but your reference to the Wensum Valley as 'a few newts' reveals a lack of understanding of how important the site is for nature conservation.

    Report this comment

    beeston bump

    Saturday, March 5, 2016

  • "I imagine" Says it all! If the need for this road was essential then there wouldn't be any need to 'imagine' whether or not people would use it or think it necessary. Unfortunately, with typical indifference to the electorate, the government have simply decided it would support NCC & build the damn thing. 'If' this government had a credible transport policy they wouldn't be supporting roads to nowhere!

    Report this comment

    Bad Form

    Saturday, March 5, 2016

  • wymspen, i, and no doubt, many thousands of others will have no choice BUT to use this road. as so many minor roads are being closed as it cuts a swathe through the area. here in horsford, drayton lane is being re-routed and church st closed to through traffic. so if i want to get anywhere near the city i will have to use it. but no doubt all cars on it will be counted and proclaimed a justification of its building by those who think this thing will actually reduce congestion... well... anywhere!.

    Report this comment

    blueboy

    Thursday, March 3, 2016

  • What about Taverham , Costessey and Easton ? This Road To Nowhere will make things much worse in all these areas . It should have been a Northern Bypass , coming across the Wensum Valley . Who cares about a few newts , that may have been disturbed ? Look at all the trees being cut down along this new route .

    Report this comment

    dragonfly

    Thursday, March 3, 2016

  • It will be interesting to see the lengths of the traffic jams on the NDR when it gets to the Postwick Junction. The roundabouts are too restrictive with odd camber and kerbs which will act as choke points for traffic. And of course it will back queues up onto the Southern bypass which will also be overwhelmed by increased traffic and the junction. What fun its going to be!

    Report this comment

    andy

    Thursday, March 3, 2016

  • For someone representing a political party that is supposed to be financially astute compared to Labour, Mr McLoughlin shows a remarkable degree of ignorance. The cost of this Trojan horse to concrete vast swathes of land has gone up and up and the costing for the compensation hasn't even been estimated. I'm poised with my pen to apply for compensation here in Taverham, awaiting gridlock on the A1067. There never was a chance of getting it through an SSSI and councillors have been disingenuous to suggest it.

    Report this comment

    NorwichAbs

    Thursday, March 3, 2016

  • For someone representing a political party that is supposed to be financially astute compared to Labour, Mr McLoughlin shows a remarkable degree of ignorance. The cost of this Trojan horse to concrete vast swathes of land has gone up and up and the costing for the compensation hasn't even been estimated. I'm poised with my pen to apply for compensation here in Taverham, awaiting gridlock on the A1067. There never was a chance of getting it through an SSSI and councillors have been disingenuous to suggest it.

    Report this comment

    NorwichAbs

    Thursday, March 3, 2016

  • our traffic systems in the city are a huge joke we will soon be the only city in england with three uncompleted ring roads. the postwick hub is a nightmare. not enough signs and too close to exits allowing you to get into correct lane. we will get the same old answer ,lessons have be learned.will not effect me much at 78 but what will it be like in 30 years time

    Report this comment

    AOTWAY@BTINTERNET.COM

    Thursday, March 3, 2016

  • When it's complete? It isn't even going to properly join up (Ringland as usual-not in my back garden mentality) so what the hell is the point. I give up worrying about it now, we will always be that little backwater place that nobody wants to invest in because of the rubbish roads.

    Report this comment

    Maggot

    Thursday, March 3, 2016

  • Quick everyone - make a comment before the EDP's Tory moderator blocks any more comments criticising Brandon Lewis as its just done on the "360 NDR" story on the same subject.

    Report this comment

    One Horse Town

    Thursday, March 3, 2016

  • In the picture the ministers are reacting to a journalist's question: "Will you be meeting with Brandon Lewis, given that he's previously committed to fighting for improvements to the Acle Straight?"

    Report this comment

    One Horse Town

    Thursday, March 3, 2016

  • @VoiceOfReason - Is that quote something else which has been spouted by someone in Westminister trying to appease the dis-affected in Norfolk? @Wymspen - It was my intention when it was first muted to support the NDR as I personally could see it being useful to me, then as it has mutated the real purpose of the road has become clear to me as the scales fell from my eyes. When first opened I am sure that it will benefit me in some way, I might even decide that I am being silly by not using it and allow my car to venture on this road. But, in time I believe that it will not help, it does very little to solve the existing traffic issues in and around Norwich, it may well even exacerbate them when the migrants want to visit their relatives in the Midlands and have the choice of driving through Ling, Ringland or Sweetbriar Road.

    Report this comment

    George Ezekial

    Thursday, March 3, 2016

  • When it is built I am sure I will occasionally drive on it. Presumably those who do not back it will refuse to let their car tyres have contact with it, so a measure of traffic flows will indicate just how many people do back it in the end.

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    Wymspen

    Thursday, March 3, 2016

  • ''The vast majority'' VoR? Where was the poll taken? I haven't a clue which side public opinion lands on but the amount of objections for a multitude of different reasons and agendas that I have seen tend to show your assumption to be well off the mark. Oh, and ted, when are you going to get your ''shift'' key fixed?

    Report this comment

    Green Ink from Tunbridge Wells

    Thursday, March 3, 2016

  • We need more houses and roads, thats due to net migration of +- 300,000 people a year coming here. Thats why houses are so expensive. Its really simple maths with a very simple answer.

    Report this comment

    Jimhow

    Thursday, March 3, 2016

  • The vast majority of people already back and eagerly await the opening of this much needed road.

    Report this comment

    Voice of Reason

    Thursday, March 3, 2016

  • It is not just the NDR which is not joined up-nor is housing and transport policy. Just this week East Cambridgeshire council was floating the need for 10,000 + more homes for Ely. Littleport has been expanding rapidly, Downham is now a commuter zone. Virtually every village along the Lynn to Cambridge railway and the A10 is seeing persistent demand from commuters forced out of Cambridge by prices and housing shortages. The A10 is a single carriageway nightmare from Lynn to Cambridge. But this government doesnt see improvements to Ely junction to enable more trains as essential ! How can an idiot government back a road where the houses are not built yet but fail to improve a railway and a road which are already straining under the burden of existing use, never mind imminent extra demand?

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Thursday, March 3, 2016

  • Coming next, minister says the Postwick Hub is a master piece or world class design! SMH, keep going, sometime soon everyone will take notice of what you are saying which is 100% spot on. I notice that the council devolution is a done deal then? Did I miss all the necessary processes to get it agreed and approved?

    Report this comment

    andy

    Thursday, March 3, 2016

  • well i have backed it from the start, in an ideal world it needs to connect up with the dereham rd, i fully expect in the fullness of time it will, as for the dreadful cardboard housing estates we already have them spring up every where, some people actually like living in them i am lead to believe, still not in my back garden, so what do i care.

    Report this comment

    ted

    Thursday, March 3, 2016

  • @Mrs Meldrew The road is nothing compared to all the eyesore cardboard box housing estates which will be springing up along it's route, it's going to be a horrid, cheap crowded suburbia which Mr McLoughlin won't have to live in or ever see again.

    Report this comment

    Rob_H

    Thursday, March 3, 2016

  • Mrs Meldrew - his words were "I imagine ... most people will say it is a good improvement to the area." That's not the same as "I speak for most people". It was a personal opinion that he thinks attitudes will change. However, once again on the radio I heard a council spokesman saying that it will improve traffic in Norwich, despite their own traffic reports for the inquiry saying it'll make very little difference to traffic in the city. That traffic is trying to get in and out on radial routes, not around the city. For those going north-south, yes it will be easier, but that's about it. Commuters in the city will be just as gridlocked as they are now. Check the reports on the inquiry website for the evidence.

    Report this comment

    So_Many_Haters!

    Thursday, March 3, 2016

  • Oh I'm so glad he can speak for us all! I won't be backing it its just a complete waste of money and will be a blight on our lovely countryside. Seeing the decimation of the fields and trees around the route already makes me want to cry

    Report this comment

    Mrs Meldrew

    Thursday, March 3, 2016

  • "people will back new distributor road one it is complete"...are there two of them now? Or is the sub-editor on holiday?!

    Report this comment

    Stephen Strange

    Thursday, March 3, 2016

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EDP motoring editor, journalist who loves wheels and engines but hates cleaning them.

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