A47 misses out on strategic roads list

Campaigners pushing for better road and rail links fear Norfolk will be left further behind in the slow lane after a government consultation on proposed national links omitted the county from its plans.

Campaigners pushing for better road and rail links fear Norfolk will be left further behind in the slow lane after a government consultation on proposed national links omitted the county from its plans.

The Department for Transport is drawing up a list of 'strategic national corridors' as part of a consultation on how to improve transport in England beyond 2014.

The corridors include the M4 to Bristol and the M1 linking London with the Midlands, Yorkshire and the Scottish border.

But neither the A11 to Norwich nor the A47 made the shortlist.


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And despite commuter frustration at the state of the trains, there is no mention either of the rail links from Norwich - though Ipswich to London is mentioned, as are links to Stansted.

The news means that Norwich will be the largest city furthest from any national strategic transport link, and last night business and local government leaders urged ministers to rethink the plans and recognise the crucial role the county plays in the national economy.

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Peter Barry, chairman of Shaping Norfolk's Future's transport forum, said the government should include the A11 link and recognise the importance of the rail link from Norwich to the capital.

'This review on delivering a sustainable transport system for the UK post 2014 completely ignores the needs of Norfolk,' he said. 'It is another example of a complete lack of joined-up thinking in relation to our needs.

'If government expects us to absorb a significant amount of housing growth around Norwich, King's Lynn and Thetford, and get our new port at Yarmouth up and running, there needs to be a rethink on the lack of any strategic transport corridors from Norwich to London and from Yarmouth to the East Midlands.

'Yet again we see more funds being ploughed into the larger urban areas without much consideration of where growth might actually take place.'

Adrian Gunson, Norfolk County Council's cabinet member for planning and transportation and chairman of the A47 Alliance, said: 'Once again Norfolk is being marginalised.

'We are expected to have some of the fastest housing growth but the government won't provide the infrastructure.'

He added that the A47 Alliance would consider the plans and how to lobby against them when it met on Friday of next week.

'It's a damaging blow to the Norfolk economy that the government doesn't see the A47 as a strategic national corridor,' he said.

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