DEPUTY Prime Minister Nick Clegg revealed in Berwick today that improvements to the A1 in Northumberland are being examined by the government, but he stopped short of promising that the road will be upgraded to dual carriageway.
Visiting Berwick today as part of a tour of English constituencies held by the Liberal Democrats, Mr Clegg told the Berwick Advertiser that the Department of Transport is assessing the business case for making improvements to the A1. He expects an outcome in March.
“I don’t have a magic wand, and I don’t come bearing an absolute guarantee dualling will happen,” he said. “But what I can tell you is Danny Alexander has been doing excellent work with the Department of Transport, looking at the business case, and there will be an outcome from that in March.
“That’s an important step. I don’t know where it will lead, we have to be led by the evidence.
“I entirely understand that this is something that everyone wants to see happen. I’ve had experience of the route myself and I will do again, as I drive northwards.
“In the meantime I’m acutely aware of the strength of feeling here, and I totally understand this is an umbilical cord for the region.
“It’s an absolutely vital route south on which so many families and businesses depend.”
Berwick MP Sir Alan Beith is “encouraged” that the A1 is being examined.
He said: “If we are serious about keeping this country together as a United Kingdom, then the dualling of the main east coast link between Newcastle and Edinburgh has to be a priority.
“I am encouraged that Danny Alexander, the transport secretary, has made a small amount of funding available for the Department for Transport to look at possible improvements.”
During a public question and answer session at Berwick Town Hall attended by over 100 people, Mr Clegg also discussed the state of the high street, housing and the proposed ‘bedroom tax’, as well as A Level reform and tuition fees.