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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 October 2007, 17:25 GMT 18:25 UK
Blow to campaign for A1 dualling
Traffic on road
Only a limited section of the A1 in the North East is dualled
Hopes of major improvements to the A1 in the north-east of England between now and 2015 have been all but dashed.

Speaking in the Commons on Wednesday, Tyne Bridge Labour MP David Clelland urged Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly to fund improvements to the route.

Councils and business leaders want the A1 dualled, claiming it will boost prosperity and reduce road deaths.

But Ms Kelly said attention was being focussed on "incredibly important" improvements to the existing M1 and M6.

Mr Clelland called on the Transport Secretary to override the Chancellor Alistair Darling and back the A1 improvements.

Rigorous priorities

Mr Clelland said: "The Chancellor referred to a number of major road improvements throughout the country.

"He mentioned the M1, M6, anywhere but the A1 north of Yorkshire.

"Therefore we feel that these targets, which look very good on paper, do not seem to apply as far as the North East is concerned, because we have been told we cannot expect any major improvements before 2015."

Ms Kelly said: "We have to prioritise rigorously. If the case is made for the A1, then in due course that will come into the rota programme.

"But before that case is properly examined and determined in the light of the overall priorities, I'm afraid I cannot make any commitment."

In 2002 Mr Darling, then Transport Secretary himself, said that experts had advised against upgrading all of the A1 from Northumberland to the Scottish border.

However, he admitted that the situation could change at some point in the future.


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