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A round-table discussion was held with Transport for the North, local authorities and other interested stakeholders at the end of February 2015 regarding the scope of the northern trans-Pennine strategic study. That study will consider the possible dualling of the A69 or the A66, or both, and technical work will start in the summer of 2015.
Dualling the A69 is needed for the long-term economic plan of the true north and is supported by all the local MPs and businesses, and by a number of petitions put forward by constituents of mine and constituents in Carlisle. My hon. Friend John Stevenson and I were able to show those to the Under-Secretary, my hon. Friend Claire Perry, last week, and I urge the Department to keep acting on them.
You know, Mr Speaker, that Ruskin said that quality is never an accident and always involves intelligent effort, and my hon. Friend’s effort has been intelligence at its very height. He is right that this road, which runs alongside Hadrian’s wall, is an important route, for the reasons he gave—for the well-being of local people and the local economy. That is well understood by this Minister and by this Government.
From the Romans to Ruskin: the right hon. Gentleman, who is, by common consent in the House, an extraordinary individual, never disappoints.