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Road Connectivity: Midlands

Volume 656: debated on Thursday 21 March 2019

As my hon. Friend will know, Highways England is spending a lot of time and effort thinking about improving the strategic network around the midlands through its investment strategy; smart motorways and junction improvements on the M5 are part of that. I am sure he will also join me in celebrating the recent announcement of our large local major schemes, including the A4440 at Worcester-Carrington bridge.

What plans does the Department have to improve the A46, a vital artery that is key to unlocking economic growth, jobs and housing right across the midlands, and how is the Department working with Midlands Connect in achieving those goals?

My hon. Friend will be aware that we are already investing in the A46 link road phase 1 at Stoneleigh junction and in junction improvements around Coventry. We have also funded Midlands Connect to carry out a full corridor study designed to look at potential improvements, and that is an important piece of work. We expect to receive its corridor investment strategy later this year and will be taking it very seriously.

Will the Minister join me in urging Midlands Connect to have a balance of schemes in the east midlands and not just the west midlands? Perhaps he will commend to Midlands Connect the M1-A38 link road and Codnor bypass as it will be a perfect scheme to prove its commitment to the east midlands.

I thank my hon. Friend for registering that point in the most public way possible. I am not aware of any particular bias in Midlands Connect; I do not think it has one. We work closely with it on any of the schemes that it brings forward.