Region unified behind campaign to fully dual A47
11 May 2018
Representatives from Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and Suffolk – the three counties the A47 trunk road runs through – stand united in calling for the Government to fully dual the road between Peterborough and Lowestoft, a meeting heard today.
Members of the A47 Alliance came together at County Hall in Norwich today (Friday, 11 May) to discuss ongoing efforts to convince the Government to invest in the A47. Currently just 47 per cent of this major route is dual carriageway and while Highways England have committed to making £300m of improvements to the road, including dualling some stretches, this will still leave substantial sections of the A47 as single carriageway with no current plans to dual them.
The Just Dual It! campaign, which is being led by Norfolk County Council, Norfolk Chamber of Commerce and the Eastern Daily Press, is calling on the Government to commit to make funding available to dual the entire length of the A47 by 2030.
Since launching at the end of March, the campaign has received more than 2,000 messages of support from residents, businesses and political figures, whose reasons for wanting the route fully dualled range from road safety, shortening journey times and improving journey reliability and creating a better transport link between the east of England and the Midlands and beyond.
At today’s meeting representatives heard updates on the campaign from Chairman of the A47 Alliance and Norfolk county councillor Martin Wilby, MP for Mid Norfolk George Freeman and Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough James Palmer.
Martin Wilby said: “We knew a lot of people felt very strongly about getting the A47 fully dualled but the widespread support for Just Dual It! has shown that this campaign crosses borders and matters to people from all walks of life. As it stands, the road is a source of regular frustration and concern. Fully dualled, the A47 would be an asset to counties in the east of England, supporting business growth, boosting tourism and improving day-to-day life for hundreds of thousands of people.
“We’ve waited long enough, it’s time for the Government to commit to fully dualling this major route – and we won’t rest until they do.”
George Freeman MP said: “While I am very proud that we have managed to secure the £300m required for the first phase of A47 dualling, it is imperative that we now get the rest dualled in order to improve safety and ensure that Norfolk has the 21st century transport system it deserves. Only then can we unlock the true economic potential of our great county.”
James Palmer said: “Dualling the A47 is essential for the future prosperity of the northern part of East Anglia.
“I have been only too pleased to lend my support to the A47 Alliance and the Just Dual It! campaign. When I became Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough last year, I made the A47 one of my key transport priorities. I felt the Highways England proposals already on the table – the dualling of 2.5km of road from Wansford to Sutton and improvements at the Guyhirn roundabout by 2021 – were not nearly ambitious enough.
“Big regional campaigns like Just Dual It! really do make a difference to decision makers in Whitehall and I stand ready to make the case for dualling the A47 as loud and as clear as possible on behalf of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.”
The importance of dualling the road to the regions’ businesses was also stressed at the meeting, and their support for the campaign is seen as key to getting Westminster to invest in the road.
Nova Fairbank, Public Affairs Manager for Norfolk Chamber said: ”The full dualling of the A47 is a ‘must have’ for Norfolk Chamber and the local business community in order to deliver greater economic growth and jobs in this region. From tourism to logistics, manufacturing to research, all sectors across our region rely heavily on the A47 as our main road artery East to West and onwards to the Midlands. Improvements to this route are vital to help us to remain accessible and competitive.”
Richard Perkins, Suffolk Chamber representative to the A47 Alliance, said: “Suffolk Chamber of Commerce have been supporting their members in North East Suffolk for a long time in seeking to substantially improve the A47, which is the only trunk road serving the area and provides vital links to Great Yarmouth, Norwich and the UK in general. The creation of a fully dualled A47 is robustly endorsed by Suffolk Chamber, its members and the business community in general and will greatly facilitate the accelerated economic growth of the Energy Coast areas of Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth.”
People can show their support for the campaign to get the A47 fully dualled by tweeting their message and using the hashtag #justdualit or by adding a comment beneath today’s Just Dual It! post on the Norfolk Facebook page, which can be found at www.facebook.com/norfolkcc. These messages will be transferred onto a Just Dual It! postcard, which will then be hand-delivered to Westminster in the summer to evidence the strong support that exists for getting the A47 dualled.
For more information about the campaign visit www.norfolk.gov.uk/justdualit.