A1 working party is looking at improvements after 'unacceptable' action says Stamford MP Gareth Davies
Firstly, let me begin by wishing everybody a Happy New Year. The year has begun just as last year ended, with great pace and with lots going on in Parliament as we continue to tackle the virus, face down increasing Russian aggression, and work towards rebuilding our economy.
Locally, I am continuing to closely follow the progress of the planned Mallard Pass Solar Farm to the north of Stamford.
Last week, I met with representatives from Mallard Pass to discuss the results of the first stage of their consultation, which concluded in December, and to set out what future opportunities would be available for local people to share their views.
Out of the 13,000 homes contacted about the consultation, I am pleased that over 900 hundred contributions were made by residents, both supportive and oppositional, some citing the importance of building renewable energy infrastructure for the future of our country and our planet (and content that our local area play a part in that effort), and others who expressed deep concerns about different elements of the initial scoping of the project put forward by Mallard Pass.
During our meeting I took the opportunity to express this deep concern of residents, indeed my own concern, about the sheer scale of the initially proposed plot for development. While I received assurances that environmental mitigation measures are a key consideration and the developers are reconsidering using land close to houses and villages, like residents, I await further details from them following the consultation.
The second stage of the consultation is due to open in the spring which will give everybody an opportunity to view the revised plans and provide feedback to developers. In the meantime you can contact Mallard Pass by phone or email to share your views, and I would encourage everybody to do so.
In Parliament this week, I spoke in a debate on the safety of the A1 to highlight many of the challenges we face in using a road which is so often closed due to preventable accidents. The period between 2015 and mid-2021 saw 290 accidents on the road with 68 being either severe or fatal, a rate far higher than the national average for an A-road. As a critical artery both locally, and nationally the present lack of activity to lower this accident rate is unacceptable.
I repeated my calls for a review of the crossovers and lengthening the slips roads as, while the government provides over £27 billion of funding for our motorways and A-roads, this can be difficult to access due to the internal bureaucracy of National Highways, the organisation ultimately responsible for the maintenance of our highways.
Trudy Harrison MP, minister at the Department for Transport highlighted that a number of safety schemes are currently in the planning stages including at the junctions by Colsterworth. This is welcome news and I hope that this is just the start of delivering long-overdue measures to make the A1 a safer route for us all.
Finally, I am pleased to hear that Lincolnshire Police have taken strong action against hare coursing this week by issuing a dispersal order as part of Operation Galileo, as well as seizing the vehicles and dogs of anybody found to take part.
The punishments for this barbaric act will be strengthened further as part of the new Police Bill which will make coursing punishable by an unlimited fine as well as six months imprisonment.