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Petitions

Volume 622: debated on Thursday 9 March 2017

Petition

Thursday 9 March 2017

Observations

Transport

Construction of a A36-46 link road, east of Bath

The petition of residents of Bath and the wider North East Somerset Area,

Declares that transport networks in Bath need improvement to reduce congestion in the area; further that a link road between the A36 and A46 should be built; further that an A36-46 link road would provide economic benefit to Bath; further that it would improve transportation links; and further that it would reduce congestion and air pollution.

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to work with Bath and North East Somerset Council and Highways England to bring this long discussed and much needed project of building a A36-46 link road to fruition.

And the petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Ben Howlett, Official Report, 8 February 2017; Vol. 621, c. 574.]

[P002010]

Observations from the Minister of State, Department for Transport (Mr John Hayes):

I greatly appreciate Mr Howlett’s efforts in campaigning on this matter and welcome him bringing this important issue to the Government’s attention.

I recognise the importance of an efficient road network in supporting economic growth across the country, and the environmental benefits of moving long-distance traffic away from built-up areas. For these reasons, the Department takes a long-term approach to guaranteeing substantial funding for strategic roads, such as the A36 and A46, through five-year Road Investment Strategies (RISs). The current RIS, involving over £15 billion of investment, runs from 2015-2020. It includes over 100 major schemes across the country, with over £2 billion of investment in the South West of England.

Unfortunately, it was not feasible to tackle all the issues on the strategic road network in this first RIS. That is why I am currently collecting evidence to determine which schemes will go ahead in the following RIS (‘RIS2’), which will run from 2020-2025.

Through this evidence-gathering exercise, I have been made aware of concerns about congestion around the east side of Bath, where north/south traffic travelling between the A46 and A36 has to enter the City and use the Cleveland Bridge across the Avon. I am also mindful of the economic, environmental and health benefits that an improved road network in the area might bring, along with the challenges of building adjacent to this unique urban and natural environment.

Bath and North East Somerset Council and Highways England are considering a wide range of options, including construction of a link road, to alleviate the current problems. The findings from this work, along with other evidence I receive, will inform my decisions about further investment in the strategic road network in the area.