Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

The A1 Would Be Safer If It Was like This; Police Commander's Message to Government's Consultants

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

The A1 Would Be Safer If It Was like This; Police Commander's Message to Government's Consultants

Article excerpt

Byline: William Green

THE campaign to dual the A1 through Northumberland has won backing from police and health chiefs. Northumberland police commander Mark Dennett said transforming the road would improve safety as well as cut congestion, while Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust - which runs hospitals around the county - said dualling the A1 would reduce the number of fatal road accidents, provide safer conditions for staff using the road and improve journeys for ambulances and patients.

News of such heavyweight support has emerged in a freedom of information request and will heap pressure on Transport Secretary Philip Hammond to funds an upgrade the road after he said there was "no prospect" of the scheme going ahead in the next five years.

Letters from Northumbria police chief superintendent Mark Dennett and Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust were contained in a report compiled by the A1 Action Group - which was submitted to consultants hired by ministers to look at changing the status of the route to recognise its national significance.

In his comments, senior police officer Mark Dennett said he had responsibility for policing a substantial geographical area - including the major roads linking England and Scotland.

He said: "Policing the A1 presents numerous challenges including tackling travelling criminals, assisting to manage the traffic during adverse weather conditions and ensuring that those using the road do so safely.

"On the issue of transforming the single stretches of the A1 into dual carriageway, there can be no doubt that such a conversion would reduce congestion and delays for those motorists using the road, particularly in the busy tourist season and most importantly improve road safety."

He added: "I would qualify this observation with the view that the single carriageway stretches of the A1 are not hazardous per se, however driver behaviour does increase the risk of road traffic collisions along these stretches of road. …

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