A417 ‘missing link’

23rd May 2018

Following the MP for the Cotswolds, Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, lobbying of the Secretary of State for the Environment, Rt Hon Michael Gove MP and the Secretary of State for Transport, Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP, on the A417 ‘missing link’ Sir Geoffrey has received a letter from Michael Gove MP categorically stating that ‘tunnel options were identified but were ruled out on value for money grounds’.

Gloucestershire’s MPs will continue to press the Secretary of State for Transport for a decision on his preferred option so that the DCO process which will include planning, design and tendering can all be slotted into place so that construction can begin as soon after 2020 as possible.

Commenting on this news, Sir Geoffrey said:

“I understand the environmental concerns about this road scheme passing through a very sensitive part of the Cotswolds AONB. I will continue to work with the Department for Transport and Highways England to ensure that this is as an environmentally friendly as it can possibly be which could include features such as lowering the road into the landscape and green ‘cut and covering’ of the junctions all of which should be accompanied by a substantial tree and shrub planting scheme.

“The daily queues appear to be getting worse and it is essential from Gloucestershire’s regional and national economic point of view and the creation of jobs and business that this scheme is completed as soon as possible and Gloucestershire’s MPs will continue to press for that.”

Member of Parliament for Cheltenham, Alex Chalk commented:

“There isn’t a bottomless pit of public money, and we’ve already secured a pot equivalent to a fifth of the total annual roads budget for the entire UK. Too many people are dying on this dangerous road, and it would be a tragedy if this opportunity were to slip through our fingers, by getting bogged down in the pursuit of the unachievable. Let’s not forget: perfect is the enemy of the good.”

Member of Parliament for Tewkesbury, Laurence Robertson said:

“It is essential that we move ahead with this work. The queues on the road are getting worse and the accidents, sometimes fatal, tragically continue. All the options, including a tunnel, have been fully explored over many years and now is the time to act. I’m pleased that the government is taking a similar view.”

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