I am greatly looking forward to my adjournment debate later today in the House of Commons on roads in Hertfordshire – it’s an issue that is very important to our local economy. Adjournment debates are held at the end of a day’s sitting and they last for half-an-hour. They present an opportunity for MPs to express their opinions on matters of local importance, and they always end with a reply from a Government Minister. Hearing the Government’s reply to the issues I raise will be of huge interest to everyone in Hertfordshire.
Tomorrow afternoon, I plan to raise the three most important road issues for the people of North-East Hertfordshire. The first issue is the section of the A1(M) between Stevenage and Welwyn, which I believe needs widening from two lanes to three. The A1 serves a large number of major towns and cities from London all the way to Edinburgh, and places like Stevenage are home to many major international companies. In order to ensure that these companies can get the commuters they need and access to UK markets to sell their products, the A1 needs to be a top-quality road. Sadly, it is not, and the Hertfordshire section of it suffers tailbacks morning and evening every working day. Hertfordshire is one of the powerhouses of the UK economy, but this is damaging it. Some economic potential is being left unrealised, and local people are struggling with heavy congestion, making travel around the County more difficult.
The second of these is my campaign for a bypass on the A10 around Royston. I held a similar debate in the House during the early days of the last Government, in which I called for three bypasses to be built. Two – one around Baldock, and one from Wadesmill to Puckeridge – have now been constructed, but the third – diverting the A10 around Royston – has not. The joint successes of London, Hertfordshire, and the Midlands, the development of the town and nearby areas in South Cambridgeshire, and natural population growth are exerting ever more pressure on our road networks, and Royston’s problems are becoming more serious. The heavy traffic makes life very difficult for people trying to use Royston Hospital, and for children in getting to and from school. Royston is the only town on the A10 from London to King’s Lynn without a bypass. We need one.
Thirdly, we have been very fortunate locally in recently gaining funding from Government for a bypass on the A120 around Little Hadham and for improvements to the A602. Hertfordshire County Council is currently consulting on the detail of the schemes, but given the strategic importance of the link between the A10 and the A120 in relation to Stansted Airport and travel on the A120 east of Bishop’s Stortford, I will argue that a by-pass around Standon is needed to complement the works just recently agreed.
The debate should start at around 2.30pm, and will be shown live on BBC Parliament. It will then be available to read in Hansard and to watch online on http://www.parliamentlive.tv/