Norfolk ready to play key role in Boris Johnson’s ‘Project Speed’ drive
- Credit: Highways England
Norfolk is ready to play a key role in prime minister Boris Johnson’s Project Speed to fuel the country’s economic recovery, say county leaders.
The prime minister will on Tuesday lay out his vision for the country’s revival in the wake of the impact of coronavirus.
He will announced a new taskforce to speed up the building of infrastructure such as schools, roads and hospitals - and leaders in Norfolk say they have projects ripe for acceleration.
The group will sift through the blueprints of major infrastructure projects in the pipeline and look to iron out any inefficiencies which could hold-up their delivery and stall the country in getting back on track.
Known as Project Speed among officials, the taskforce will assess building programmes in every city, town and village.
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“The coronavirus response has shown that it doesn’t have to take years to get essential projects off the ground - the Nightingale hospitals and ventilator challenge were up and running in a matter of weeks,” said a Downing Street spokesman.
“As we recover from the pandemic we must apply that same urgency to the major projects at the foundations of this country and get them done right, to truly level up opportunity across the UK.”
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Andrew Proctor, leader of Norfolk County Council, said, working with the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, a list of some £80m worth of infrastructure projects in Norfolk and Suffolk had already been lodged with the government.
He said that included schemes such as the Food Innovation Centre at Honingham and the offshore wind maintenance base mooted at Great Yarmouth.
He said: “We are already playing our part and driving new infrastructure is key. The government wants to do it and we need them to put their money where their mouth is, because we are ready.”
John Fuller, leader of South Norfolk Council, said he hoped the initiative could trigger faster work to dual more of the A47.
He said: “That has gone on for far too long. Getting that upgraded would be an extra contribution to the national economic effort, to have us properly connected to the Midlands.”