Hertfordshire’s business community has called upon the Government to address severe and long standing congestion on the A1(M) in an open letter to Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin MP.
The signatories, including GSK, Elstree Studios, the University of Hertfordshire, Rexel UK and Morrison Utility Group, are calling for a share of £15bn of government funding to fund improvements to the A1(M).
The letter notes: “The A1(M) is a vitally important transport link, supporting 200,000 jobs, 60,000 commuters and 861 hectares of employment land. Yet insufficient capacity is inhibiting further business and employment growth along the A1(M) corridor to the detriment of both Hertfordshire and UK Plc.”
The A1(M), which runs from the M25 near Barnet and links up to the A1 towards Bedfordshire, currently experiences significant congestion. This impacts journey times and is believed to affect casualty rates, particularly between Stevenage and Letchworth.
The open letter is the latest development in a campaign led by the Hertfordshire A1 Corridor Consortium, an alliance of local businesses and political representatives to secure improvements to the A1(M) in Hertfordshire.
As a first step, the Consortium is calling for immediate upgrades to the stretch between junctions 6-8, which links Welwyn Garden City and Stevenage, although longer term investment is required to relieve congestion all the way through junctions 1-9. This will build on the initial £2.2 million upgrade to junction 6 from the Highways Agency’s Pinch Point Programme.
The A1 corridor is set to experience significant economic growth – with the economy expected to grow by between £13.6 and £18 billion for 2013-2031. The Consortium believes that increased capacity will help ensure that this potential becomes a reality.
Chairman of the Consortium and Hertfordshire County Councillor, Terry Douris said: “The Consortium is determined to secure Government investment and will continue to work closely with the Highways Agency to develop a strategy to address existing congestion and future capacity issues”.
Andrew Percival, Consortium representative and board member of Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership said: “The range of businesses from across Hertfordshire’s sectors showing support for these A1(M) upgrades demonstrates the county’s real economic potential.
“The voice of Hertfordshire’s businesses is at the heart of our campaign and this letter will have weight with the Secretary of State. “
Ensuring that the A1(M) operates as a highly effective and free flowing transport link is a key element of the LEP’s Strategic Economic Plan (SEP), which was submitted to Government on 31 March.
John Gourd, Chair of the Hertfordshire LEP board said: “Our SEP includes an initial £1.3m investment for a series of transport measures on the A1(M) which will complement the Consortium’s efforts to secure large scale investment in the route.”
To view the letter in full please click here.