Pressure put on new Transport Secretary to deliver A1 dualling in Northumberland

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Newly-appointed Transport Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan has been warned ‘there will be no hiding place’ if she fails to deliver the dualling of the A1 in Northumberland.

The Berwick MP has long called for full dualling of the route between Morpeth and the Scottish Border but campaigners believe she is now in ‘prime position’ to make it a reality.

Cllr Georgina Hill, member for Berwick East on Northumberland County Council, said: “It is potentially really good news for this area that our MP holds the transport portfolio and there can now be no excuses for more transport failings here.

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"Our MP has also long set her stall on dualling the A1 - she is now in a prime position to deliver this, as the Transport Secretary. However, there can be no hiding place if this does not happen.”

The A1 between Morpeth and Alnwick.The A1 between Morpeth and Alnwick.
The A1 between Morpeth and Alnwick.

The former International Trade Secretary takes on the transport role previously held by Grant Shapps in Prime Minister Liz Truss’s new-look cabinet.

Cllr Gordon Castle, Alnwick ward county councillor, said: “A very shrewd move by the PM, though Transport Minister is a notoriously rough ride for the incumbents.

"I think it means that the long delayed dualling of the A1 is a certainty and we might even get it extended to Berwick!”

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There is already a £290m commitment to dual an eight mile stretch of the route between Morpeth and Felton and a further five miles between Alnwick and Ellingham.

Transport Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan.Transport Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan.
Transport Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan.

However, a final decision on the scheme – to be taken by the Transport Secretary – is currently due by December.

Ms Trevelyan said she was ‘thrilled’ to have been appointed to the role.

She tweeted: ‘Transport is crucial to our lives - bringing people together, creating jobs and connecting the UK with the world.

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‘Looking forward to getting to work on the many challenges and opportunities transport brings.’

Earlier this summer, she also reaffirmed her commitment to dualling, stating: “Having campaigned on and stressed to Government the importance of this scheme for over a decade, I have no intention of stopping now.

"There is no one more keen than me to see this project come into effect, and you have my word I will not rest until the A1 dualling scheme gets fully underway.”

While Ms Trevelyan will no doubt be seeking to resolve the on-going rail dispute as a priority, there have also been calls for her to address local rail needs.

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Cllr Hill said: “As a matter of urgency we need confirmation that the travel centre at Berwick station will not close - we need later trains, better connectivity and her support for a local train service.”

Her appointment was also welcomed by Henri Murson, chief executive of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership.

He tweeted: ‘Delighted the North has one of its own parliamentarians running @transportgovuk. @annietrev is an excellent appointment - and will be just what the job needs as someone who takes closing the North - South divide by investing in infrastructure so seriously.’