MP’s challenge over lack of progress on A1 work

MP Sir Alan Beith has challenged the Secretary of State to make sure there are no further delays to the study being carried out on the A1 north of Newcastle.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Sir Alan said: “Since the Chief Secretary to the Treasury made a firm commitment a year ago and the Transport Secretary has given the scheme his strong personal support, can he get a move on?

“At the moment, with all these studies, it feels a bit like being stuck in slow-moving traffic on the A1.”

The Transport Secretary replied: “I think we are making progress.

“The Right Hon. Gentleman mentioned in his question the fact that the Chief Secretary is involved.

“If the Chief Secretary and the Transport Secretary are of one mind on this, I very much hope that we will be able to make some progress.

“It is important that when the works are being carried out, measures are put in place to deal with the environmental consequences and the objections that people might raise.”

Sir Alan said the Department of Transport needed to act more quickly.

Following the debate, he said: “We have to keep up the pressure on the Department of Transport which moves at the speed of an old tractor and trailer. Dualling the A1 has the firm backing of the Liberal Democrat Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander, who has seen the state of the road for himself, and Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin, but the Department of Transport needs to get a move on.”

Liberal Democrat campaigner Julie Pörksen is also putting pressure on the Government and has written to the Chief Secretary of the Treasury.

Julie said: “Although we must have the right information which is vital for planning, I hope this will not delay the dualling of the A1, some parts of which are ready to go.

She added: “Work could begin on the shovel-ready schemes, axed by the last Labour government, almost straight away, starting with the dangerous Mousen bends.”