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Eurocrats strip A47 of 'major' status

PUBLISHED: 17:34 17 January 2008 | UPDATED: 10:18 03 July 2010

HOPES that the A47 will become a dual carriageway spanning Norfolk have been dealt a blow by Brussels after the road was quietly stripped of its status as a major European route.

HOPES that the A47 will become a dual carriageway spanning Norfolk have been dealt a blow by Brussels after the road was quietly stripped of its status as a major European route.

Eurocrats have downgraded the A47 from the transEuropean network (TEN-T) of major routes linking the key economic towns and cities of the EU - despite the opening of the outer harbour in Great Yarmouth next year.

Campaigners had hoped TEN-T status would put pressure on the British government to dual the route throughout Norfolk.

Currently only intermittent stretches of the road are dual carriageway, while upgrading the stretch between Blofield and North Burlingham is pencilled in to start between 2011/12 and 2015/16.

Supporters of full dualling believe the opening of the outer harbour scheme and the prospect of more than 78,000 new homes being built in the county in the next 20 years - means upgrading the road should be given priority.

But East Anglian Euro MP Robert Sturdy has discovered that the A47 was removed from the main TEN-T network because it would not be completed in the next decade.

An exchange of letters between Mr Sturdy and transport minister Tom Harris makes it clear the road had been downgraded by EU Commissioners because the A47 was not a route they expected the British government to upgrade before 2020.

Mr Sturdy pledged to lobby Transport Commissioner, Jacques Barrot, to get the road reinstated.

“It seems ridiculous, we are going to spend all this money on the Yarmouth outer harbour, yet there is no main link into the port,” the MEP said.

Adrian Gunson, chairman of the A47 Alliance and cabinet member for planning and transportation at Norfolk County Council, said the case for dualling was more urgent than ever because of the outer harbour and the extra housing growth. There ought to be a fully dualled route from Yarmouth to the north and midlands.”

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