Question over whether A47 to get share of budget highway fund
PUBLISHED: 20:03 28 October 2018 | UPDATED: 08:34 29 October 2018
A question mark hangs over whether a major Norfolk road will get a share of a war chest to improve the nation's highways.
Chancellor Philip Hammond has put improvements to the UK road network at the top of his agenda in Monday’s Budget, with £28.8bn set to be announced to upgrade the country’s motorways and major local routes.
Of that, £25.5bn will go to Highways England for major road upgrades between 2020 and 2025. This will largely be funded by road tax, the first time the tax has been “ring-fenced” for use on roads.
A further £3.5bn will be allocated to major local routes, and will come under the remits of local councils.
But it remains to be seen whether the A47 will see any of this cash to support a bid to fully dual the road.
Councillor Martin Wilby, chairman of the Environment, Development and Transport committee at Norfolk County Council said he does not know if any of the funds will be made available for the A47 but that details of how the money will be spent will become public later.
The Just Dual It campaign was launched by the Eastern Daily Press, Norfolk County Council and Norfolk Chamber of Commerce in March, calling on the government to put more money into the A47 – a major trunk road into the region of which only 47pc is currently dualled.
At the time the campaign was launched there were some £300m of improvement works in the pipeline for the 115 mile road, but only another eight miles was set to be dualled.
The Just Dual It campaign calls for Highways England to include funding to dual the Acle Straight and Tilney to East Winch sections of the A47 in its next round of road improvements, with work to be carried out between 2020 and 2025.
Clive Lewis, MP for Norwich South, said that, while infrastructure in Norfolk does need to improve, funding should be focused on “21st century” solutions to reduce environmental damage and vehicle emissions.
“We have a chance in Norfolk to leapfrog over other parts of the country and look to the future for our infrastructure needs: infrastructure that incorporates sustainability, resilience and an appreciation of future not past needs,” he said.