MP seeks to reassure residents after A1 progress meeting with dualling team

Anne-Marie Trevelyan has insisted that a delay of six months for plans to dual 13 miles of the A1 in Northumberland “is not a cause for alarm”.

By Andrew Coulson
Friday, 28th January 2022, 11:53 am
Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP and members of the A1 dualling project team from National Highways pictured during the online meeting.

The MP for the Berwick-upon-Tweed constituency has met the team behind the project to upgrade of the route between Morpeth and Ellingham to discuss progress since their last meeting in November.

National Highways had hoped for a January decision from the government’s planning inspectorate over whether the scheme should be given the final green light.

However, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has asked for more time – with comments or clarification sought on 12 points, including its assessment of the cumulative effects of greenhouse gas emissions from the scheme.

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As reported earlier this month, National Highways says the decision from the Secretary of State “is now expected in early June 2022”.

But speaking after the meeting with the team, Ms Trevelyan said: “The Secretary of State has asked for further information on the scheme, including an updated environmental impact assessment.

“This is not a cause for alarm, as a number of schemes have received similar requests.

“It is frustrating, but there is a strict planning process and we need to follow it. The National Highways team are preparing their report for the Secretary of State based on the latest data they have.

“They reassured me that in the meantime, they are getting on with work they had planned to run alongside the start of major works, but are now commencing earlier to ensure they are ready once they get the go ahead.

“Meanwhile, I will be ensuring my ministerial colleagues continue to hear about how important this scheme is to Northumberland and pushing them to give the start of works the official go ahead as soon as possible.”

The scheme has been split into two sections, with Government cash worth £290million allocated.

The first stretch, between Morpeth and Felton, will see eight miles of road upgraded to dual carriageway; a bypass constructed between Priests Bridge and Burgham Park; and a new subway and bridge over the River Coquet.

The second section, between Alnwick and Ellingham, will include a five-mile portion of highway converted to dual carriageway and a new junction at Charlton Mires.