Fresh doubts over A1 dualling

The A1 in Northumberland
The A1 in Northumberland
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Labour’s Shadow Transport Secretary has waded into the debate on upgrading the A1 in Northumberland, casting doubt over whether it will happen.

Reports today suggest that Mary Creagh MP has said that the Government is only looking at the scheme for political gains and that there are serious questions over funding.

Referring to the A1 and other road projects, Ms Creagh is reported to have said: “These were looked at in 2006, and rejected.

“Roads are important. They need to be planned alongside housing and we need to be sure they are built in the right place.

“But I think it’s interesting that eight years after they were looked at and scrapped, they are resurrecting some of them again now. And I’m genuinely not sure how far they were going to get.”

She said that it doesn’t mean the A1 dualling would not happen, but that Labour is carrying out a review of all spending and cannot commit to any specific projects.

As reported by the Gazette earlier this month, Chancellor George Osborne has revealed that dualling the A1 in Northumberland will be a ‘key priority’ for the Government in his Autumn Statement.

In an exclusive interview at No 11 Downing Street, Mr Osborne said he has been persuaded by the compelling case to invest in a project which will strengthen the economic ties between Scotland and England and boost businesses operating in north Northumberland.

“Judge us by our actions,” he said as he received a petition from Dual the A1 campaigner and fellow Conservative Anne-Marie Trevelyan.

A final decision cannot be made until a feasibility study commissioned by the Government is published in the coming weeks. That report is understood to be at the draft stage, but the Chancellor hopes to make the formal announcement during his Autumn Statement to the House of Commons on Wednesday, December 3.