Sorry, Fenland, but you’ll have to wait at least another year before we give you A47 decision

FENLAND will have to wait at least another year for a decision which could free up tens of millions in EU funding for improvements to the A47 which could bring thousands of jobs to the area.

Caroline Williams, chief executive off the Norfolk Chamber of Commerce said: “It is very disappointing to hear that the European Parliament will not be considering the proposal for the A47 to be a Core Route on the TEN-T network until next year.”

She said the local economy “would benefit considerably from improvements to the A47 “which in turn would help with the creation of jobs, homes and investment.

Euro MPs met this week to review how roads across the continent are funded. Norfolk County Council and the county’s MPs hope to change the status of the A47 to that of a so called TEN-T core route, meaning it would qualify for funding.

Norfolk’s main East - West Route is currently classified as part of the so-called “comprehensive network”, meaning it doesn’t qualify for funding.

East Anglian MEPs Geoffrey Van Orden and Vicky Ford attended the transport committee hearing which discussed the roads guidelines.

After the meeting, Mr Van Orden said: “I called for greater flexibility to enable countries such as the UK to use EU funds not just in the core networks but also on the wider comprehensive network. This could then include roads such as the A47 and indeed the requirement for a third bridge at Great Yarmouth.

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“While the point was well taken we are a very long way from agreement even on the guidelines, let alone the funding. The guidelines will not be finalised until early 2013 and then the discussion will start in earnest over actual funding.”

Mrs Ford said: “Upgrading the A47 would bring economic benefits, jobs and growth. “Therefore it was disappointing to hear the EU Commission saying that the TEN-T network should not be expanded.

“However if we can get more flexibility on the sort of projects which are eligible, including being able to use more EU funds for the comprehensive network, then this may help. In the meantime it is important that we continue to lobby the UK Department of Transport for investment in this road.”

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