Monday 15 July 2024
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Nottingham

Nottinghamshire MPs call for fourth road bridge across the Trent in Westminster Hall debate

MPs for Nottinghamshire constituencies called a debate to get support for calls for a fourth road bridge across the River Trent.

The Transport in Nottinghamshire debate, known in this case as a ‘Westminster Hall debate’ because it’s held in the Grand Committee Room off the hall.

Westminster Hall debates give MPs an opportunity to raise local or national issues and receive a response from a government minister.

Any MP can take part in a Westminster Hall debate.

A fourth road crossing cross the River Trent has been mooted for some time, and especially since the Clifton Bridge works, in February 2020 the bridge had to be closed for engineers to access the internal structure – the work continued until October 2021.

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This debate was to ask transport minister Katherine Fletcher, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport) to ‘pull a business case together’ for the idea, she said ‘the proposal is in its embryonic days’, but agreed to take it forward and give the idea ‘official help.’

Tom Randall, Conservative MP for Gedling called the debate and opened saying:

“There are three bridges across the River Trent in Greater Nottingham. The latest was opened to traffic in the early 1980s, having originally been built as a railway bridge in the 1870s.

“Over time, the growing city has had to rely on these existing connections, which lie in the centre of the western city’

‘In February 2020, it was discovered that water damage had corroded steelwork under the Clifton bridge, which is the only dual carriageway crossing in Greater Nottingham.

‘That caused the temporary closure of the east bridge, which carries all eastbound traffic and one lane of westbound traffic, while the bridge was repaired.

‘The closure of the Clifton bridge brought large parts of the city to a standstill at rush hour, including traffic on the A612 in Gedling, which is on the other side of Greater Nottingham.’

‘Midlands Connect has described the A46, which runs from Somerset to Lincolnshire, as one of the country’s most important trade routes, performing an important local, regional and national function.

‘The Government have previously signalled their commitment to the importance of the A46 in Nottinghamshire by widening the single carriageway section between Newark and Widmerpool, and there are plans for an A46 Newark bypass.

‘A fourth Trent crossing would connect Gedling to the A46 corridor. I spoke earlier about the East Midlands freeport and the thousands of green jobs that it is destined to create.

‘I want my constituents to be able to access those jobs, which a fourth Trent crossing would help them to do.

A full bridge would be costly, and I appreciate that infrastructure projects take time and need to progress step by step.

‘However, I would be grateful if the Minister signalled her support for a strategic outline business case for such a project, which even in these financially straitened times would come in at a much more manageable £150,000.’

Ruth Edwards, Conservative MP for Rushcliffe said:

‘…the fourth bridge—the one over the Trent, that is, as showcased earlier by my hon. Friend the Member for Gedling.

‘My hon. Friend described the chaos that rained down on Nottinghamshire the weekend when Clifton bridge was shut for emergency repairs.

‘I think I remember reading at the time that, on that weekend, Nottingham was the most congested city in not only the UK and Europe, but the world.

‘In conclusion, at the moment our infrastructure for crossing the Trent is stretched to capacity.

‘I really hope that the Minister will commit to delivering the initial assessment of proposals so that we can consider our options, including costs and timescales.

‘We have made fantastic leaps forward with big infrastructure investments, but we now need to focus on the issues that affect people getting around our constituencies every single day.

‘Buses and trains need to be reliable and frequent; if they are, I am sure people will use them more and more.’

Cllr Ben Bradley, Conservative MP for Mansfield and Leader of Nottinghamshire County Council said:

‘I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Gedling (Tom Randall) on securing this important debate.

‘I echo his words about the fourth Trent crossing; he is a keen campaigner on this issue and has been lobbying hard for several years to bring forward an idea that he has discussed with me in my role as leader of the council.

‘The project is well beyond our local budget, but I would welcome the opportunity to work with the Government and bring forward a business case in the way my hon. Friend has described.

‘I also welcome my hon. Friend the Minister, who, even during our short seconds of conversation before this debate, has already made me decide that she is a breath of fresh air. I hope that will continue.’

Katherine Fletcher, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport), and Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office):

‘A number of Members also mentioned the fourth Trent crossing—as someone who has got stuck in Nottingham when traffic grinds to a halt, I recognise the points they made.

‘My hon. Friends the Members for Gedling ( Tom Randall ), for Mansfield ( Ben Bradley ) and for Rushcliffe (Ruth Edwards) all highlighted that issue and mentioned wanting to pull a business case together in order to go ahead with the investment and ease congestion.

‘I am happy to take that away.

‘The proposal is in its embryonic days, but perhaps I can write to Members with the routes and the opportunities there are to build an investment case locally and get that on to the DFT’s slate. I will follow that up with official help.’

The debate in full can be viewed here: https://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/d0932ae7-fdfc-44c2-acce-77d5a3c869a8

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