Minister tells Norfolk to ‘strengthen the case’ for A47 dualling
- Credit: Sonya Duncan/Chris McAndrew/Parl
A campaign seeking to entirely dual to A47 has been told it must strengthen its argument if it is to win government funding to make the scheme a reality.
The complete dualling of the A47 was omitted from a list of schemes to be funded by the Department for Transport between 2020 and 2025 published earlier this year, meaning work to add a second carriageway to the Acle Straight will be not funded for at least another five years.
The decision prompted Martin Wilby, chairman of the A47 Alliance campaign group, to write to Baroness Vere of Norbiton, the minister for roads, buses and places, urging the department to reconsider.
However, in her response, the baroness called for the campaign to strengthen its arguments and return for the next phase of funding - for schemes to be funded between 2025 and 2030.
She wrote: “I appreciate that you and other members of the A47 Alliance had hoped to see further dualling schemes included, but the competition for funding was fierce and it was necessary to make hard choices on prioritisation.
“We will shortly begin the process of develop Road Infrastructure Strategy 3, expected to cover investment between 2025 and 2030 and I encourage the A47 Alliance, working with Transport East as the sub-national transport body, to review and strengthen the case for further A47 upgrades to inform that process.”
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But Mr Wilby said the alliance would continue to lobby for funding opportunities before then.
He said: “While it is disappointing that Baroness Vere has stated that the settlement for this round of funding is final, members of the alliance, including Norfolk County Council, will continue to press the case of dualling of three sections of the A47 as a priority; the Acle Straight, Tilney to East Winch and Wisbech to Peterborough.
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“A long-term government spending review is due in 2021 and we believe that presents an opportunity for further funding to be announced for infrastructure projects. We will continue to work with partners to ensure this key route which can unlock growth and jobs stays high on the agenda.”