Over many years, I, like many of the residents of Allestree, Darley Abbey, Little Eaton and the surrounding area have been used to sitting in traffic jams as a result of the lack of implementation of the original design of flyovers on the A38. Patiently we waited.
As the local MP, I was inundated with complaints about the delays when the recent works were done to ease the problem, and voiced my constituents’ concerns both within and outside Parliament. Works were delayed by disasters ranging from burst water pipes to white clawed crayfish, of all things!
Now the works have been completed, the congestion on the road has abated slightly. Out of rush hour, the traffic now flows much more freely, but during rush hours, it becomes clear that a more permanent solution is required. That is why last week, I was delighted to hear that three new solutions have now been given the go ahead for an underpass for the Kingsway island and flyovers for the Little Eaton and Markeaton roundabouts. This marks an important step forward for Derby, and will improve not only the flow of traffic, but air quality and carbon output, as motorists would spend less time stuck in traffic jams. The work will begin in 2016, but it really cannot come soon enough. It has taken years to get this solution, originally proposed before the A38 was even built, but it is this Conservative led government that will deliver at long last the plan so desperately needed alongside many other needed infrastructure projects.
I am also very excited about the potential new cycle routes across Derbyshire, which will provide local people with recreational routes and a means of commuting into Derby. Last year, I spoke in the Commons’ Chamber about the need to extend the Peak District National Park’s cycleway to the Derwent Valley Mills Heritage site. As things stand currently, there is no safe way families can enjoy cycling in the area, which given its historical and social importance is a shame. I wrote to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to ask them to fund this.
The Derwent Valley Cycleway Group I convened in 2013 is doing some fantastic work to get the people of Derbyshire cycling. They recently assisted in mounting a successful £2 million bid by Derby City Council, to provide access to the existing routes around the City and the first stage from the southern end. I have worked closely with the group to garner the maximum support for the project, and have written to various Government Ministers, East Midlands Trains and the Chief Executive of D2N2 asking for support for the cycleway. It appears that it has attracted support from a number of public bodies and local people alike. As the wife of a keen cyclist, and a supporter of more cycling to remove cars from the road, I know how important promoting sustainable transport like cycling is. Those living along the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage site need a safe route to cycle which would also encourage more much needed tourism to boost the spending in places like Belper, winner of the Great British High Street award as well as the Best Market Town award.
There are a number of great transport projects going on in Derbyshire, and I believe the next 10 years will be key in determining the future of the county in this regard. It is clear that the present Government have an interest in promoting better air quality and a better road network to reduce emissions in the area, which will have a positive impact on local carbon output. However, there is still much to be done locally, and I am determined to use my position to do all I can to make my constituency of Mid Derbyshire a greener, more connected place to live.