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A1 named route of strategic national importance

Date: 25 May 2011

The Department for Transport has made the 65 mile stretch of the A1 running from Newcastle to the Scottish border "a route of strategic national importance".

Regional and Local Transport minister Norman Baker said the move was part of the Government's initiative to ensure the economic importance is recognised of routes linking England to the capital cities of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

Roads connecting Bootle with the Twelve Keys Ferry Terminal in Birkenhead, Merseyside will also be designated a route of strategic national importance due to the terminal being the main passenger and freight ferry link between Liverpool and Belfast.

Referring to the recognition of the northern section of the A1, Baker said: "While it does not guarantee funding - any proposed upgrade would need to be the subject of the decision making processes - it finally recognises the road's importance for freight and other strategic traffic traveling between Newcastle and Edinburgh."

In 2009 The DfT identified 14 Strategic National Corridors (SNCs), which included both road and rail routes, linking English cities with ports and airports in England.

However, the criteria did not include links to Belfast, Cardiff and Edinburgh.

The M4 and M48 connecting Bristol with Cardiff are already recognised as routes of strategic national importance and the latest changes bring links to Edinburgh and Belfast into the scheme.

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