Following repeated requests by Jamie Reed MP, the Government have failed to back a specific study into the feasibility in upgrading sections of the A595.
In February this year, Jamie Reed, MP for Copeland, secured a debate in Parliament on the A595. During this debate, he outlined major issues with the road as it is. 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.
In other responses to debates and Parliamentary Questions, the Government have said the road is the responsibility of Cumbria County Council, despite a large stretch of the road being designated a ‘Trunk Road’ and therefore coming under the responsibility of Government.
Using a Parliamentary Question, Jamie Reed has the Government to ‘conduct a feasibility study on improving the trunk road section of the A595’ – A specific question about the section of the road the Government has responsibility for. In response, the Government would not give a commitment to undertaking the study instead giving generic information about the nationwide plans of Highways England.
Copeland MP and Labour’s Shadow Health Minister, Jamie Reed MP said:
“The best days of West Cumbria are ahead of us, but upgrading the A595 is crucial to allowing us to achieve our economic potential. Without significant investment, we simply won’t be able to take full advantage of the economic opportunities coming our way.
“The Government have tried to abdicate responsibility to the County Council, but they are responsible for the trunk road section of the A595 and they won’t commit to a feasibility study to determine what improvement works are needed.
“We are trying to build a 21st century economy on 20thcentury infrastructure. The Government can’t brush this matter under the carpet, they must act.”