Aldous raises importance of dualling of A11 in House of Commons

Waveney MP Peter Aldous yesterday raised the importance of the dualling of the A11 between Barton Mills and Elvedon in a Westminster Hall Debate in the House of Commons.

The scheme estimated to cost £134 million is projected by the Highways Agency to generate £19 million in indirect taxes, with economic benefits of £550 million for consumers and £1.1 billion for businesses

In the debate secured by Matthew Hancock, MP for West Suffolk, Mr Aldous argued that:

“In the past 27 years, the A11 has gradually been improved and today the only section that remains to be dualled is that between the Fiveways roundabout at Barton Mills, and Elvedon....It is vital that that dualling work is carried out as soon as possible. This section of the A11 is a dangerous stretch of road. In rush hour, there are long tailbacks and it is a bottleneck that is holding back the creation of jobs. Those jobs may be in the logistics sector in the Thetford area, in the research and development sector around Norwich, or in the green energy sector in my own constituency, which is further to the east in the Lowestoft area.”

Peter Aldous commented:

“It is vital that as well as looking to secure transport improvements in Waveney, we upgrade the road and rail links to the area. The A11 is an important link to the national road network and I was pleased to join up with colleagues across Suffolk and Norfolk to emphasise to the Minister the importance of completing the dualling of the road.”

FULL TEXT:

Peter Aldous (Waveney) (Con): I am grateful to you, Mr Williams, for giving me the opportunity to speak in this debate. I thank my hon. Friend the Member for West Suffolk (Matthew Hancock) for securing a debate on a matter that is of such importance to the future prosperity of Norfolk and Suffolk. He has already spoken eloquently and passionately and I want to say a few words in support of the case that he has put forward. I speak not only as a fellow Suffolk MP but as someone who has lived in the county his whole life and who, until 12 weeks ago, spent his whole working life of 27 years in Suffolk and Norfolk.

When I started work as a trainee surveyor in Norwich in 1983, only two parts of the A11 from Cambridge to Norwich were dualled. They were the Cringleford bypass on the southern outskirts of Norwich, which at that time was the only dual carriageway in Norfolk, and the section of the A11 around Newmarket where it combined with the A14.

In the past 27 years, the A11 has gradually been improved and today the only section that remains to be dualled is that between the Fiveways roundabout, which is at Barton Mills, and Elvedon, which is in my hon. Friend's constituency. It is vital that that dualling work is carried out as soon as possible. That section of the A11 is a dangerous stretch of road. In rush hour, there are long tailbacks and it is a bottleneck that is holding back the creation of jobs. Those jobs may be in the logistics sector in the Thetford area, in the research and development sector around Norwich, or in the green energy sector in my own constituency, which is further east in the Lowestoft area.

In East Anglia, we have particularly poor infrastructure. We only have motorways along the western edge of the region; we have a rail network that is creaking at the seams; we have poor broadband connections, and we have an electricity network that is in need of a major upgrade if we are to realise the full potential offered by the offshore renewable sector.

Nevertheless, our economy is performing remarkably well. My hon. Friend recently hosted a reception at which various East Anglian businesses launched their "blueprint for growth". That highlighted the fact that the eastern counties are an economic powerhouse. Indeed, the eastern counties are one of only three parts of the UK that make a net contribution to the UK Exchequer.

That success is in spite of our poor infrastructure. If proper investment is made, we can be at the forefront of the country's drive out of the recession. We can play a crucial role in helping the coalition to secure its goal of rebalancing the economy across the regions and across a wide range of new industries. Dualling this stretch of road across the Brecks will help to achieve that goal and it will also help East Anglia to become a more attractive location that new companies can move to and where existing businesses can grow. As I have said, that growth will be in such sectors as scientific research and development around Norwich and renewable energy in Lowestoft and Yarmouth.

I wholeheartedly support my hon. Friend in his efforts to secure funding for the dualling scheme. However, there is a wider issue to address. It is important that Britain moves away from the piecemeal approach to the provision of infrastructure. We have pursued that approach for far too long and it is putting the brake on economic activity and holding back the creation of jobs.

I recognise that we are in challenging times, with money in short supply. However, if we are to secure long-term economic growth in Britain, including in East Anglia, local businesses and local government need to work together to set out a blueprint of the infrastructure that they need and we then need to consider new ways to secure the investment for that infrastructure. By adopting such an approach, East Anglia can realise its full economic potential and play its full part in delivering the more balanced and diverse economy that Britain needs.

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Peter holds regular surgeries at various locations in the constituency. Please call 01502 586568 to make an appointment.

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