Norfolk and Waveney leaders who want to see the A47 fully dualled are calling for a new study to demonstrate how the road's condition is 'hindering" growth in the region.

MPs and council leaders want roads minister Guy Opperman to provide money for fresh analysis of the road, to help build the case to get millions of pounds for full dualling.

Watton & Swaffham Times: Guy OppermanGuy Opperman (Image: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire)

Conservative MPs Sir Brandon Lewis, George Freeman, Liz Truss and Peter Aldous have called for the Department for Transport (DfT) to release money for the study, which would be carried out by National Highways and the A47 Alliance.

Watton & Swaffham Times: Mid Norfolk MP George FreemanMid Norfolk MP George Freeman (Image: PA)

Mr Freeman, the Mid Norfolk MP, said: "For 30 years, we have waited for the A47 to be upgraded to stop the accidents, congestion and pollution which have blighted the lives of people who rely on this key Norfolk artery.

"Only with full dualling of the entire A47 will we be able to unlock Norfolk and the east's full economic potential – and make the most improvement to safety along the route.

"We need this road upgraded. There’s nothing green about ongoing pollution, congestion and accidents."

Watton & Swaffham Times: The A47 Acle StraightThe A47 Acle Straight

The A47 Alliance, made up of councils, business leaders and transport groups, commissioned consultants last year commissioned consultants to look into dualling the remaining single carriageway sections between Lowestoft and Peterborough.

But, in a blow for supporters of full-dualling, that study revealed traffic using the road had fallen in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

It focussed on possible journey time and accident benefits, rather than wider economic benefits - which the mooted new study would explore.

Watton & Swaffham Times: Graham Plant, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for highways, infrastructure and transportGraham Plant, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for highways, infrastructure and transport (Image: Norfolk County Council)

Graham Plant, chairman of the A47 Alliance: said: “A strategic study is needed to show the DfT how the condition of the A47 is holding the east back from growth and a safe network, and identify where improvements need to be made for the economy, communities and the environment to thrive.

"The study should investigate challenges and opportunities the A47 – from the A1 at Peterborough to Lowestoft – presents to communities, businesses and industries. This would help build an evidence base to inform much needed investment in the road.

"We propose this piece of work is funded by the DfT and led by National Highways, in collaboration with the A47 Alliance.”

Watton & Swaffham Times: The A47 Thickthorn roundaboutThe A47 Thickthorn roundabout (Image: Mike Page)

Meanwhile, progress on three A47 schemes  - Thickthorn Roundabout, the dualling of the A47 between Blofield and North Burlingham and Easton to North Tuddenham - which have got permission remain in limbo.

In 2014, when David Cameron was prime minister, he announced £300m would be spent on the A47 in Norfolk and Cambridgeshire, including on those schemes.

Transport secretaries approved the projects in 2022, but construction was delayed amid a continuing, crowdfunded, legal challenge by former Green county councillor Dr Andrew Boswell.

Watton & Swaffham Times: Dr Andrew BoswellDr Andrew Boswell

Dr Boswell had argued the government acted unlawfully when it granted consent, because it had not properly considered the cumulative environmental impact of the A47 schemes.

His argument was rejected by the High Court last summer and by the Court of Appeal in February.

But he has asked the Supreme Court for permission to appeal and is waiting to hear if that will be granted.

Officials at National Highways have previously said the ongoing legal challenges have delayed the Norfolk A47 projects by 20 months.

They said that has added tens of millions of pounds to the costs, amid rising inflation.

With the Supreme Court application decision pending, National Highways cannot start the bulk of the work on the A47 schemes.

The work which is being done is restricted to activities including archaeological studies and re-routing utilities, such as water and electricity.