North Somerset Council targets M5 improvements with regional transport body

PUBLISHED: 16:00 11 September 2018

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Improvements to the motorway and a major A-road are being sought by North Somerset Council after it agreed to join a new transport body.

The authority’s executive committee has signed up to establish a Western Gateway shadow sub-national transport body, joining nine other authorities including Bristol City, South Gloucestershire and the West of England Combined Authority.

Once set up, the board will implement more strategic planning regarding investment in transport priorities to help improve the region’s growth and productivity.

Councillor Elfan Ap Rees, North Somerset’s executive member with responsibility for highways and strategic planning, says the board will enable it to target congestion issues on the M5.

Cllr Ap Rees added: “It is a potential move towards improving congestion issues on the M5 and A38, and other major roads in the area.

“What we are talking about is the establishment of a shadow transport body which will probably continue for about two years while the various authorities involved talk about how it will work, and also while we are waiting for the Government to bring forward some of the more significant parts of the agenda.

“The gain for us of course is that we have to speculate to generate and we do envisage that once this is set up properly it will draw in funding from the Government towards improving the major road network in the area.

“Particularly for us I think we are looking for improvements on the M5 to reduce congestion and the number of accidents on that motorway.

“It will also help, hopefully, the A38 which of course is intended to be developed further.

“It is important for us to have a connection to Bristol Airport using the basic A38 and the roads therein.”

The South West is the only region in England which has not already established a sub-national transport body, but it is expected to make it easier for authorities to secure Department for Transport funding.

Cllr Ap Rees said: “We will initially contribute a very small amount of funding to set it up.

“We envisage that as it gets established the Government will actively provide funding.

“There are transport boards already in operation in other parts of the country and that has set a precedent.”

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