Fears raised over PM’s plans to dual A1 in road scheme

The start of the A1 single carriageway just north of Morpeth.
The start of the A1 single carriageway just north of Morpeth.

Doubts remain over plans to dual the A1 north of Morpeth, despite the scheme being included in a £15bn project announced by the Prime Minister.

David Cameron gave the green light to fund improvements on the A1 this week, as part of a £15bn investment in the ‘problem hotspots’ on England’s roads.

It will be one of more than 100 projects to benefit from investment on the strategic road network as part of a ‘roads revolution’.

But local MPs Ronnie Campbell and Ian Lavery have voiced their concerns, saying previous government leaders have made such promises with nothing ever developing.

Wansbeck MP Ian Lavery, said: “The Prime Minister and the Chancellor have announced this on numerous occasions. I would welcome it but how many more times will it be announced but not carried out?

“He didn’t say how much it would be costing, what part of the A1 would be dualled, from where to where, when it would start – there are a lot of questions that need to be answered.

“I will be happy when I see the excavators in place – when the plans are in place and people working on the dualling of the A1.

“Until then I will sit back and wait and see what develops, as there has been so many false dawns on such an important project.”

Blyth Valley MP Ronnie Campbell welcomed the announcement but hoped for a full scheme rather than a piecemeal project as suggested by previous governments.

“It’s about time instead of little improvements here and there from successive governments,” he said.

“I hope that it is the entire dualing to Scotland, however, I will also await to hear the full detail on the level of the investment.”

North East Chamber of Commerce policy and research manager, Mark Stephenson, added: “To secure investment in this important route through Northumberland after so many years of lobbying by businesses and communities along the A1 is a step forward although we await detail on the extent of the investment.

“It is a decision that could pay dividends in our region and North of the Border.

“The north east is the closest English region to Scotland’s economic heartbeat and better links with Edinburgh and its industrial hub can only be of benefit.

“Easing movement to and through the county can only help it deliver more to our visitor economy.

“Likewise, access to and from the ports of Blyth and Tyne, Newcastle Airport and some of our key employment centres will all be more efficient with an upgraded A1.”