Supporters of the proposed Norwich Western Link have reaffirmed their backing for the scheme, after a petition calling for the road to be built secured more than 2,700 signatures.

In a joint statement issued this afternoon, local chambers of commerce, the fire service, Norwich Airport and an MP all restated the case for the route, which would link the the NDR and the A47 to the west of the city.

It comes after the Build the Norwich Western Link petition, which was started a week ago by Gary Blundell, vice-chairman of Costessey Town Council, reached 2,750 signatures.

Critics of the road have highlighted its environmental impact and are organising a protest this weekend.

But Broadland MP Jerome Mayhew said: “The need for the Norwich Western Link is very evident to people living in communities to the west of Norwich who have suffered decades of worsening traffic congestion and rat-running.

"Most of the small rural roads in this area, some of them single track lanes or roads going through the heart of villages, simply can’t cope with the level of traffic using them.

"Norfolk, its residents and its economy need this missing link to be completed.”

However, Emma Corlett, deputy leader of the opposition Labour group at Norfolk County Council, which is against the scheme, said: "The Western Link road is incompatible with the commitment for Norfolk to be net zero carbon by 2030.

“It remains a financially and environmentally reckless project.

“The risk of planning failure because of environmental damage and of costs spiralling out of control increase day by day.

“Residents blighted by rat-running can’t wait for years for a road that likely won’t get built.

“The county council needs to work urgently with residents on a ‘plan B’ that is less environmentally damaging."

Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) says it believes the plans would make the roads around Norwich safer.

Chief fire officer Stuart Ruff said: “In addition to the objective of improving overall road safety for our community, the key outcome of the Norwich Western Link which NFRS would specifically welcome is reduced traffic congestion and increased traffic flow.

“We believe this will bring a significant benefit in reducing our overall attendance time to incidents in the affected area.”

Norwich Airport and Norfolk Chambers of Commerce said they believed the road would open up new opportunities and make them more accessible.

Richard Pace, managing director at Norwich Airport, said: “Norwich Airport wholeheartedly supports the ambition of Norfolk County Council to see the Norwich Western Link Project come to fruition.

"The Western Link is a critical improvement that will have direct benefits to the accessibility and sustainability of the airport."

Nova Fairbank, chief operating officer at Norfolk Chambers of Commerce, said: “The Norwich Western Link will support many of Norfolk’s key industries including agriculture, tourism and manufacturing by reducing journey times and transport costs and opening up new markets.

"It will also better connect people to key employment, retail and leisure sites in and around Norwich, and provide an attractive link to Norwich Airport and areas north of the city from the Midlands along the A47 trunk road.”