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Greater investment in road network could be on the cards


Posted on 28/02/2013 by Wayne Brophy FCILT

The importance of the UK's road networks is being highlighted by politicians and business leaders alike in an attempt to convince the government to re-double its efforts in improving this vital resource.

Due to an increase in freight movement over the past few years – largely due to the changing nature of retail, with e-commerce now resulting in more B2C deliveries – the value of the nation's motorways and other roads to logistics firms is increasing all the time.

The secretary of state for transport, Patrick McLoughlin, is currently touring Northumberland and has been met by a number of local politicians who are keen to convince him of the need to expand the A1 in the region.

Sir Alan Beith, MP for Berwick, has been talking Mr McLoughlin round to the idea of dualling the road, which he describes as "a prime contender for job creation investment".

According to the Berwick Advertiser, Sir Alan is disappointed at the fact that previous works on a number of stretches of the A1 have been abandoned, but insists he "will press [the government] repeatedly on this issue until we see work beginning on the ground".

Mr McLoughlin also met with Anne-Marie Trevelyan, director of the Dual the A1 campaign, who is calling for improvements to be made to the Adderstone-Belford stretch of the road, with the ultimate goal of creating a fully dualled transport link running all the way from Newcastle to Alnwick.

If these projects get the go-ahead then not only are they likely to provide short-term construction jobs, but could also help logistics firms to expand their operations, therefore opening up large numbers of new supply chain jobs.

Meanwhile, the Black Country County Chamber Transport Group (BCCTG), which represents the interests of business leaders in the area, is calling on authorities to invest more in the road network in order to boost the operational power of transport and logistics firms.

Among the suggestions put forward are the subsidising of toll charges on the M6, with BCCTG chair Colin Leighfield saying: "There is an urgent need for a solution for the Toll Road and the introduction of a shadow toll, or subsidised tolls at certain times of the day should be carefully considered."

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