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The strategic national corridors were established in 2009 to define the transport links over which the largest proportion of strategic traffic—that is traffic travelling between the 10 largest urban areas, 10 busiest ports and seven busiest airports in England—moves around the country. The original definition also provided for connectivity between the four nations of the United Kingdom, but there was no specific provision for connecting capital cities.
In September 2010, the Department launched a 12-week consultation which proposed that the routes linking Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast to the nearest urban strategic destination should be recognised for the strategic connectivity that they provide. Specifically, the consultation identified two additional routes as having national significance: namely the A1 between its junction with the A19 north of Newcastle and the Scottish border, providing a defined link to Edinburgh; and a route between Bootle and the Twelve Quays ferry terminal in Birkenhead, providing connectivity with Belfast. The additional roads, which extended one of the strategic national corridors to connect via Bootle with the Twelve Quays ferry terminal, included:
the A565 from junction with A5036 in Bootle to A5063 “Leeds Street”; the A5063 “Leeds Street” from junction with A565 to A59 “Scotland Road”; the A59 “Scotland Road” to “Kingsway Tunnel”; the “Kingsway Tunnel” to grade separated junction with A5027; the A5027 to junction with A5139; the A5139 to A554; and the A554 to Twelve Quays Terminal entrance.
After taking account of the consultation responses, the two additional routes became defined as being of national significance in May 2011.
There have been no other changes to the definition of the routes of national importance.