Strategic Road Network: South West

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 11:12 am on 19th July 2017.

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Photo of Jesse Norman Jesse Norman Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport) 11:12 am, 19th July 2017

I am glad of that intervention, and if I may, I will proceed with my remarks.

To return to the A358, of course my hon. Friend the Member for Bridgwater and West Somerset made some quite colourful remarks about that. I am sure he will understand if I do not take a position on the issue, but he has made his concerns, and the public concerns of others, very well, and they sit in the record for further excavation and inquiry.

As my hon. Friend will know, Highways England recently held a public consultation on the routes that the A358 should take, and it will work closely with local partners to advise the Secretary of State and myself on the preferred route. Those schemes are just the first part of the £2 billion plan I mentioned to create a new dual carriageway route from the south-west to London.

If I may range slightly further outside the specific issue of the A358 and the A303, improvements to the A30 in Cornwall—both a planned improvement and one nearing completion—will extend dual carriageway standard road as far as Camborne. The Temple to Higher Carblake section opened last week and Highways England announced the preferred route for the Chiverton to Carland Cross scheme earlier this month.

Highways England is also creating a new junction on the M49 to support development at Avonmouth. The port of Avonmouth and the Avonmouth Severnside Enterprise Area to the west of Bristol currently have no direct access to the M49, which is hindering proposals to support economic growth in the area. A new junction on the M49 will improve access to those areas, ease congestion and contribute to the economic growth of the region.