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Regional and National Transport Links

Volume 682: debated on Thursday 22 October 2020

We are committed to supporting regional and national connectivity, and we recently launched the union connectivity review.

The A66 is a vital route for residents of Barnard Castle and right across the north-east—[Laughter.] This happens every time I say that. Can my right hon. Friend please give me an update on the dualling of the A66, and will he meet me to discuss the issue of the Rokeby junction?

A popular question, Mr Speaker. I thought my hon. Friend was going to rise to discuss the A68 and the Toft Hill bypass, on which I know she has campaigned a lot, but the A66 is in the second road investment strategy—the RIS 2—for the period 2020 to 2025. Earlier this year, I launched the preferred route for the A66. That is completing its analysis, and it will then go for a statutory consultation, so it is moving at pace. I can confirm that someone has even set up a Twitter account about the A66, which she might like to follow.

The HS2 East Midlands hub will be located in Toton in the heart of my constituency. Can my right hon. Friend reaffirm the Government’s commitment to the construction of the eastern leg of HS2 to deliver vital jobs and investment into Broxtowe and the wider region?

As the House will know, the eastern leg is called the 2b, and, as the Prime Minister has said from this Dispatch Box, it is not a question of “to be or not to be”—it will be; it will be constructed. I think my hon. Friend will be pleased to hear that, through the integrated rail plan, we will ensure that we can properly connect up the midlands to the north, going up to Leeds on the eastern leg, and do so in a way that now takes into account the many plans that have evolved since HS2 was originally dreamed up 10 or 15 years ago.