Call for key road and rail investment in Essex raised in Commons
During oral Parliamentary questions in the House of Commons (16.07.19), Witham MP Priti Patel has called on Government Ministers in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to join her campaign to secure investment in new rail infrastructure on the Great Eastern Main Line and for funding to dual the A120 between Braintree and the A12. In combination, both infrastructure schemes could add over £5bn in gross added value to the economy, supporting inward investment and tens of thousands of new jobs.
In response to Priti’s question, Business Minister Andrew Stephenson MP praised her “tireless championing” of infrastructure improvement in Essex, expressed support for these schemes and committed to raising them with ministerial colleagues at the Department for Transport.
Speaking afterwards, Priti, who chaired two key meetings in Essex last week on these proposals, said: “Investing in our strategic road and rail networks in Essex will unlock billions of pounds of growth in our economy. We have a unique opportunity over the next few months to secure commitments from the Government to invest in these crucial economic corridors. With our growing population and strategic location connecting major ports and airports, the case for investing in the GEML and dualling the A120 is compelling.
“Robust business cases are being put forward and the Government should include these upgrades as essential parts of the industrial strategy.”
Priti Patel’s question and the Minister’s answer can be viewed at: https://bit.ly/2LSNCS5.
The full text from Hansard is as follows:
Strategic Transport Infrastructure Projects: Essex
16 July 2019
- If he will hold discussions with the Secretary of State for Transport to discuss the potential benefits to (a) businesses and (b) the implementation of the industrial strategy of funding strategic transport infrastructure projects in Essex. 
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (Andrew Stephenson)
Our national productivity investment fund of £37 billion will increase investment in areas important for economic growth, such as transport. The Government are also committed to deliver the Lower Thames crossing with an estimated cost of £5.3 billion. I will happily discuss infrastructure projects in Essex with the Secretary of State for Transport, when I next see him.
Last week, I chaired key investment meetings with businesses in Essex for the Great Eastern Mainline Taskforce and on the dualling of the A120. Those two projects alone would contribute £5 billion to the regional and national economy. Will the Minister and the Secretary of State encourage the entire Department to work with us to get behind this and get to the Treasury in particular to get the investment that is needed to get those schemes moving?
I welcome my right hon. Friend’s tireless championing of the case for improved road and rail in Essex, and I am happy to lend my support to her campaign. The county has a vibrant, enterprising economy, but greater investment in connectivity would deliver more jobs, housing and opportunities right across the region.