Three counties now united in dual carriage way campaign
- Credit: Archant
Representatives from Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and Suffolk – the three counties the A47 runs through – stand united in calling for the government to fully dual the road between Peterborough and Lowestoft, a meeting heard today.
Members of the A47 Alliance came together at County Hall in Norwich on Friday, May 11 to discuss ongoing efforts to convince the government to invest in the road.
The Just Dual It! campaign, which is being led by Norfolk County Council, the Eastern Daily Press and Norfolk Chamber of Commerce is calling on the government to commit to make funding available to dual the entire length of the A47 by 2030.
Representatives heard updates on the campaign from Martin Wilby, chairman of the A47 Alliance and Norfolk County Councillor, George Freeman, MP for Mid-Norfolk, and James Palmer, Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.
Mr Palmer said: 'Big regional campaigns like Just Dual It! really do make a difference to decision makers in Whitehall and I stand ready to make the case for dualling the A47 as loud and as clear as possible on behalf of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.
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'Cambridgeshire and Peterborough is not an island. The boundary is an illusion - it's only politicians really that speak about boundaries.'
Attendees agreed that the best course of action was not to place all hope in Highways England, but to directly lobby the government, an event which will take place this summer.
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Mr Freeman said: 'Either give us the money or give us the freedom to raise the money but don't promise it in 20 years.'
It was agreed that the best way of making an argument for dualisation was to point out the economic possibilities of a more connected East Anglia, and to encourage businesses to support the campaign.
Mr Freeman said: 'I think there is a powerful argument in economic growth. If we get the top 100 businesses in the region to support us we can say it's not just public agencies it's businesses that want this.'
Mr Palmer said that he would not have trouble finding investors to fund the dualisation, but that convincing the government will be the difficult part.
Mr Freeman said: 'While I am very proud that we have managed to secure the £300 million required for the first phase of A47 dualling, it is imperative that we now get the rest dualled in order to improve safety and ensure that Norfolk has the 21st century transport system it deserves.
'Only then can we unlock the true economic potential of our great county.'
People can show their support for the campaign to get the A47 fully dualled by tweeting their message and using the hashtag #justdualit or by adding a comment beneath Friday's Just Dual It! post on the Norfolk Facebook page, which can be found at www.facebook.com/norfolkcc.
These messages will be transferred onto a Just Dual It! postcard, which will then be hand-delivered to Westminster in the summer to evidence the strong support that exists for getting the A47 dualled.
For more information about the campaign visit www.norfolk.gov.uk/justdualit