It is an honour to serve under your chairmanship, Mr McCabe. I, too, congratulate my hon. Friend David Tredinnick on securing this hugely important debate and on his thoughtful speech, which was excellent in covering the sensible and reasonable A5 improvements that are much-needed. Watling Street and Fosse Way cross in my constituency. I often wonder what my ethnic ancestors would think if they were to look at that stretch of the road today, with its high level of traffic. When the Romans first built that junction, it was busy, but it was never heavily congested. Perhaps we have something to learn from my ethnic-Roman ancestry.
Many Members will no doubt be aware of the huge strategic importance of the midlands to Britain’s thriving industry. Whether it is logistics parks, rail freight terminals or international airports, the midlands is a beacon for British industry and innovation. I am proud that much of that industry can be found in my constituency of South Leicestershire. As my hon. Friend said, the area is known colloquially as the golden triangle. That refers to the intersection of major motorway networks in the local area, which provide crucial links for commercial and residential traffic.
The A5 shares that commercial and residential importance. As my hon. Friends will be aware, the A5 is a major road in my constituency and theirs. Like my hon. Friend Mr Jones, I have experienced the long queues of traffic on the A5 at various times of the day. As my hon. Friend the Member for Bosworth correctly stated, unless the Minister takes into account the strategic needs of the road, the problems will only be exacerbated by the further planned industrial and housing developments.
Further consideration should be given to the villages in the vicinity of the A5, particularly those in and around my constituency. I am thinking of the Claybrookes, Ullesthorpe, Wigston Parva, Sharnford, Cotesbach and Shawell, to name but a few. Having listened to the chairman of the Leicestershire Fosse villages neighbourhood plan group—a voluntary organisation that speaks for constituents in the south Leicestershire villages of Sharnford, Stoney Stanton and Sapcote—I think we need to take account of the ever increasing traffic demands in and around those areas. These rural, idyllic villages already suffer from a swathe of large HGVs and other commercial traffic. While I have been working closely with constituents in Sharnford, for example, to help to remedy the problems, I fear that the issues will only get worse if we see the increase in development outlined by my hon. Friends without any significant increase in the associated infrastructure, in particular the improvements on the A5 that we seek.