HC Deb 18 May 2004 vol 421 c811
5. Mr A. J. Beith (Berwick-upon-Tweed) (LD)

If he will meet the Al Safelink campaign to discuss future strategy for the Al north of Newcastle. [173497]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Mr. David Jamieson)

Yes, I will be happy to meet the right hon. Gentleman and a small delegation of representatives from the Safelink campaign group.

Mr. Beith

I look forward to that meeting. Will the Minister prepare for it by examining the Al's strategic importance to industrial development in the north-east, which is recognised by all those involved in regeneration work? Will he also take into account the increasing importance attached to the A1 by the Scottish Executive, who pointed out in the national planning framework for Scotland the importance of improving road and rail links between Edinburgh and Newcastle, and Aberdeen and Newcastle, in terms of regeneration in both countries?

Mr. Jamieson

The right hon. Gentleman will know that according to the Al multi-modal study, which represents the local voice on this issue, there are fewer accidents on that road than on many others. It has also been said that dualling from Alnwick to Berwick is not justified in terms of traffic or of economic benefits, but that does not mean that we are not undertaking substantial work on the Al in that area; indeed, the Stannington and Seaton Burn junctions, the Morpeth to Felton dualling and the Adderstone to Felton dualling constitute £106 million-worth of work. But as the right hon. Gentleman will appreciate, in the light of the study and the view expressed by the Scottish Executive, further work is not thought to have any economic benefit.