Jamie Reed MP and John Woodcock MP, have launched a new campaign to secure Government funding to upgrade the A595. The campaign calls for investment to upgrade the A595 in order to ease current congestion levels and make the road fit for purpose as west and south-west Cumbria prepare for the biggest ever private sector investments the area has seen.
A Highways Agency report published in April 2014 revealed that the A595 was within the 20% of routes with the highest injury collision rates and is ranked as tenth least reliable within the North Pennines route.
As part of the campaign, Jamie Reed has called for a debate in Parliament to make the case for significant government investment.
Copeland MP and Labour’s Shadow Health Minister, Jamie Reed MP said:
“The vast economic potential of West Cumbria must be realised. Government must invest to upgrade the A595 so that we can realise the potential of thousands more jobs, greater inward investment, improved safety and a transformed economic landscape.
“The best days of West Cumbria are in front of us, but we urgently need investment to the key infrastructure upon which we all rely.
“With thousands of new jobs coming to the area, the A595 must be improved or we will not maximise the full benefits of the massive investments soon to take place in West Cumbria and Barrow. Locally, we are building a 21st Century economy, but we cannot rely on 19th Century infrastructure. No Government can continue to ignore the need for an improved A595 and the time to act is now.”
Barrow and Furness MP, John Woodcock said:
“My constituents use the A595 on a daily basis. The local economy and the economy of the region rely on this road, yet it isn’t fit for purpose. Congestion on the road at times make it unusable. With thousands of new jobs coming to the area, the current infrastructure isn’t sustainable and it must be improved.
“To make the road more reliable, the A595 must be upgraded. For Cumbria to realise its economic potential, the Government must back our campaign to invest in the A595.
Jamie Reed MP’s letter to Patrick McLoughlin, Secretary of State for Transport:
Dear Secretary of State,
Investment in the A595
The A595 is a crucial road in the Cumbrian economy, but is not fit for purpose. West Cumbria and south-west Cumbria is set to receive an imminent influx of investment in the form of new nuclear reactors, upgrades to the national grid and the construction of new submarines. These developments are part of a local plan set in train ten years ago and will see the creation of tens of thousands of highly skilled jobs.
In April 2014, then-Minister for Disabled People, Mike Penning MP, visited Sellafield nuclear site. Following his visit, the Minister wrote to your Department regarding the state of the road infrastructure. He wrote: “It was clear from my visit that the A595, the key access road from both the north and the south, would benefit from investment to improve and widen the road.” He went on to say “I would encourage the Department for Transport to facilitate action in this area.” The road carries over 10,000 vehicles per day, 1,000 of which are carrying freight.
Road infrastructure improvement works have the potential to greatly enhance the economic reality and potential of the entire region. The scale of incoming investment into west and south-west Cumbria means that the region has the potential to become one of the fastest growing sub-regions in the entire country. To realise this potential, and to ensure that local economic growth is sustained, investment in the A595 is now urgently required.
In April 2014, the Highways Agency published its North Pennines Route Strategy Evidence Report. This report highlighted a number of key concerns about the performance of the A595:
- The A595 is mostly single-carriageway with a number of at-grade roundabouts, and suffers from regular congestion outside the normal morning and evening peak periods due to the high levels of employees working shifts
- The A595 south of Whitehaven is ranked as tenth least reliable within the North Pennines route
- On the A595, most of the route between Sellafield and its junction is shown as having a high collision rate. The areas south of Whitehaven, southbound towards Whitehaven and Northbound to the junction with the A66 are within the 20% of routes with highest injury collision rates.
The report also states:
“The A595 and A590 in Cumbria are likely to be the major focus for economic development on the route with the expansion of activities related to energy generation along the ‘Energy Coast’ including the construction of a new nuclear power station at Moorside… Without any interventions, planned development is likely to result in further deterioration in network performance.”
This shows clearly that without any investment from Government, economic growth within the region will be stymied: this must not be allowed to happen.
The work already undertaken at Sellafield and at BAe Systems in Barrow is of national and global significance. New orders in Barrow and the NuGen Moorside development will only intensify this significance. Consequently, investment in the A595 will be of national benefit, in addition to helping to rebalance the UK economy physically and geographically.
Government ministers have recognised the issues caused by the current levels of congestion and this will only worsen as these major investments accelerate.
The economic potential of west and south-west Cumbria is vast. Now is the time to commit to the investment needed so that our area can realise the potential of thousands more jobs, greater inward investment and a transformed economic landscape.
As our constituents and businesses rely upon the A595, the case for Government investment is overwhelming. We hope to be able to meet with you soon in order to discuss the need for investment.
Jamie Reed MP and John Woodcock MP