PRESSURE on ministers to fully dual the A1 through Northumberland is being increased with the launch of a cross-border campaign group.
The A1 Action Group is campaigning for improvements to the A1 from Dunbar in Scotland to Morpeth in Northumberland after successive Governments have failed to act to boost the economy and safety.
Representatives from business, government, transport groups and local communities are being invited to join the group, which will meet for the first time next month. Borders MSP John Lamont, co-chairman of the group, said “The issue of dualling the A1 from Dunbar to the North of England has been bounced between Government bodies for many years to little effect. I believe that the time has come to step up the pressure for action and I hope that the new A1 Action Group will be able to achieve this by bringing together a range of organisations.”
He stressed: “Improving the A1 will have benefits for businesses, commuters, tourists and of course local residents.
“Recent figures show that dualled sections of the A1 see far fewer fatal accidents than single carriageway stretches. I believe that dualling the remainder of the road would improve road safety and reduce fatalities,” said Mr Lamont.
Andrew Sugden, director of policy at the North East Chamber of Commerce, said: “It is the missing link in the UK strategic road network. The sooner it is resolved, the better it is for both sides of the border.”
Blaydon MP Dave Anderson said: “I welcome anybody who is putting ideas forward to try and get this done.”
The Journal has backed the argument to dual the A1 since 2005, when the Go For Jobs campaign was launched.
Along with our sister paper, the Evening Gazette, on Teesside and the North-East Chamber of Commerce, we called on the Highways Agency to lift Article 14 notices which block developments that, the Agency says, could put extra traffic on the A1 or A19. It achieved success when former Roads Minister Stephen Ladyman promised that Article 14 notices should be used “very infrequently”.
The campaign now calls for sensible alternative measures to ease congestion on the roads – including effective public transport systems.
MPs from across the political spectrum have praised the campaign and pledged to fight on to improve crucial routes such as the A1 through Northumberland.
For previous stories on the A1 campaign, click the links below