Dualling the A1: The road to growth

Dualling the A1 has been the subject of years of campaigning led for a time by The Journal’s own crusade and a great lot of public debate besides. Tim Evans reports

The single carriageway on the A1 road near Felton in Northumberland
The single carriageway on the A1 road near Felton in Northumberland

Two points are clear. North of Morpeth it is for the most part a single lane until it reaches Dunbar.

The fact that a great deal of this part of the road is subject to traffic calming for safety’s sake is in itself a reason to improve the road. Cameras, no overtaking zones, double white lines and so on create frustration and inefficient driving made worse by legal speed limits for heavy goods vehicles.

Above all it is a commercial conduit from England to Scotland – it is a principal, economic, lifeline connecting our region and the rest of England with the Lothians, Edinburgh and its principal bridge across the Forth and the east coast of Scotland in particular Aberdeen. We have so many important synergies with Scotland in term of economies and culture it is essential that we are better connected.

South of the river is also strategically important in terms of road infrastructure and improvements too, need to be programmed to future proof these important routes for the economy & growth . North & South of the English & Scottish borders need to thrive as one.

However transport as an issue has the potential to hold back the region’s prosperity. The vision needs to be delivered as it was with the M6 & M 74 on the West Coast of England & Scotland.

A motorway from Tyneside to Edinburgh is not on the agenda but merely a dual carriage link that is required to speed up this important form of communication.

It will not only have a positive economic impact of communities along the way but in the wider area a stimulus to our regional economy and the creation of new jobs.

There is already recognised economic synergy between the counties north and south of the Border. One side of the country has the aforementioned M74 link but this must be balanced by a comparable link on the east to increase the efficiency of the flow of goods , people , money and cultural tourism both north and south of the Border.

Both sides of the argument for or against an improved A1 will doubtless have well rehearsed arguments to support their views. From G9’s perspective it requires political awareness of the economic benefits and a political will to invest in new jobs and a more prosperous region.

Interestingly a leading trade unionist in North America recently said of that the greatest beneficiary of each millimeter (of road built) is economic prosperity. It also brings greater safety and environmental sustainability to the benefit of society as a whole. Roads create growth. Any country that wants a brighter economic future is obliged to make certain that its roads can permit growth.

:: Tim Evans, partner in charge, Knight Frank, and a member of Developing Consensus and the G9 group of chartered surveyors which includes Gavin Black & Partners and chairman, the G9 group of chartered surveyors which includes BNP Paribas Real Estate, DTZ, GVA, Jones Lang LaSalle, Lambert Smith Hampton, Naylors Chartered Surveyors, Sanderson Weatherall, Storeys Edward Symmons and J K Property Consultants.

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