'Enough is enough' – MP George Freeman calls for cross-county support to dual A47
PUBLISHED: 18:19 02 February 2018 | UPDATED: 19:02 02 February 2018
Archant Norfolk 2018
A Norfolk MP has called for the revival of a cross-party campaign group to push through vital upgrades to the A47 in the wake of two deaths on the road in recent days.
George Freeman said fresh impetus was needed to impress upon government the importance of dualling the trunk road west of Dereham and east of Acle.
A man was killed in a crash between two lorries at Scarning at around 8.30am on Thursday. Police confirmed on Friday that a man whose can was involved in a collision with a lorry at 9.30am on Sunday at Tilney All Saints had also died.
Mr Freeman, the MP for Mid Norfolk, said the road had been neglected “for decades”, despite the £300m investment announced in 2014 to dual portions of the road, due to begin this summer.
“I’m calling for us to get back together as a cross-party, cross-county group of MPs in Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire. This is a key road that goes from Lowestoft through Great Yarmouth and Norwich all the way across to the A1. We must make sure we get the second phase funded and committed and the third phase, to complete the road, locked down.
“This road has been causing tragedy, cost and chaos for too long and if we are really going to unlock the Norfolk economy we need to make sure the junctions are safe and get the thing dualled.”
Mr Freeman conceded the A47 Alliance, which campaigned for the first phase of funding – announced by then-prime minister David Cameron on a visit to Dereham in 2014 – had not been as active during a turbulent two-and-a-half years since the 2015 election.
Currently just 54 miles of the 115-mile road is dualled, causing slower journey times, increased risks when overtaking and limiting the growth of businesses, says the A47 Alliance.
The Alliance’s priorities to 2025 include dualling the Acle Straight and between Tilney and East Winch, which it says would also boost other major schemes such as the Great Yarmouth third river crossing and Lowestoft Lake Lothing crossing.
Mr Freeman was speaking at the MPs Event hosted by Norfolk Chamber of Commerce at the Holiday Inn near Norwich Airport.