Anne-Marie's statement on the decision of 6 June to delay the formal go-ahead for the main groundworks of the A1 dualling scheme until December 2022.
Decision and reasoning for it can be read HERE
"As you can imagine, I share the disappointment at the news of this delay to the go ahead to the start of the main works. I have very regular meetings with the National Highways team running the scheme, who have been working hard for years, and have made good progress on the works so far. They are ready and raring to get started on the main dualling as soon as possible, and I stand behind them in that desire.
"The official planning go-ahead for the main works is taken by the Secretary of State in what is known as a “quasi-judicial” capacity, meaning I was not able to speak to him about the decision prior to him making it. Having spoken to him on Monday, I know he appreciates the importance of this scheme not only to our part of Northumberland but to the wider north east.
"You may be aware of the Union Connectivity Review, undertaken by Sir Peter Hendy which I made a formal submission to, which is looking at how to boost transport links between our four nations. In my submission, I stressed the importance of the A1 in those links, a view shared by Sir Peter Hendy. The Secretary of State’s reason for pausing the start of this scheme, and others close to the border with Scotland, is to ensure the merits of the scheme in terms of its importance to wider connectivity with Scotland is taken into account – a sentiment I welcome of course, but it is disappointing that in order to ensure that is done, there has been this short delay.
"Having campaigned and stressed to Government on the importance of this scheme for over a decade, I have no intention of stopping now. There is no one more keen than me to see this project come into effect, and you have my word I will not rest until the A1 dualling scheme gets fully underway."
Photo: on site at the works already commenced as part of the scheme.