Campaigners fighting to dual the A1 in Northumberland received some good news from the Chancellor during his visit to the region when he recognised the strong case being made for upgrades.
As reported on the Gazette website, George Osborne was in north Northumberland last week to unveil a £22.5million fund to help rural businesses and during his visit, he stopped alongside the A1 with campaigner Anne-Marie Trevelyan to see for himself the reasons why upgrades to the single-carriageway stretches are so desperately needed.
Mr. Osborne’s visit comes on the back of a feasibility study commissioned by the Department for Transport that is currently underway and which is closely examining the evidence in support of A1 dualling. The findings of the A1 study will be presented to central government and if strict value-for-money criteria are met, funding could finally be released to upgrade the undualled sections of the A1.
Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Berwick and director of the Dual the A1 campaign Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: “Residents and businesses know very well that dualling the A1 through Northumberland is vital, not only to the local economy but also in terms of safety.
“The benefits that a fully-dualled A1 could bring would be felt both north and south of the border so it must remain a key strategic aim. That’s why I was delighted that the Chancellor accepted my invitation to come and see for himself the potential that is waiting to be unleashed.
“Keeping the issue high on the Government’s agenda is my number one priority and this visit shows that we are making progress, but we must continue to make the case for a better deal and a fully dualled A1. I encourage anyone who wants to see the A1 dualled to support the campaign at www.dualthea1.com.”
Mr Osborne said: “Anne-Marie has personally raised with me the need to support rural businesses and communities and she has put firmly on the table the issue of the A1 and what we can do to make it a better road.
“On the back of Anne-Marie’s campaign we have commissioned the feasibility study and we must wait to see what it finds, though personally I believe there is a compelling case. The very fact that there is a study underway is a huge advance on where we were before and that is down to the tireless campaigning and energy that Anne-Marie and her supporters have put into this cause.”