|MP meets Roads Minister on Long Stratton bypass|
Mr Bacon said:
“Long Stratton is an appalling bottleneck and there is widespread agreement that a bypass would bring major benefits to the local community. It would eliminate the dreadful tail backs, which can be up to three miles long, and ease congestion on a key strategic route into Norwich. There would also be benefits for safety and air quality”.
However, the government has introduced a new approach to funding under which regional assemblies are asked to rank road schemes on the basis of their 'regional significance'.
Mr Bacon said: “We know that the bypass is unlikely to meet the new test of being 'regionally significant'. The bypass is locally significant, very good value for money with huge benefits, and is a top priority for Norfolk. We explained to the minister our concerns that the new approach to funding could mean Norfolk's priorities are overridden”
“It is possible there is now a structural problem with the government's approach to funding local authority major road schemes. Yet Norfolk has a good reputation for scheme delivery and an enormous amount of effort and expenditure has already gone into preparing this bid”.
“The Long Stratton bypass is now 'oven-ready' and could be delivered very quickly with low risk. We pointed out to the minister that this is potentially a very quick win for the government in terms of producing results that people can see”.
“The minister was unable to comment in detail, which in advance of a decision is fair enough. However, she did say that if clear evidence of a systemic funding bias against local schemes were to emerge then this would be a cause for concern and that the Department for Transport would want to examine the position very carefully. It was a useful meeting and Long Stratton is now certainly on the minister's radar”.
25 January 2006
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SPEECHES: Transport in the Eastern Region
|© Richard Bacon 2010|