Transport Secretary Chris Grayling visited Emersons Green today and gave his backing to Kingswood MP Chris Skidmore, Thornbury and Yate MP Luke Hall and West of England Mayor candidate Tim Bowles in their bid to improve the local transport network.
Mr Grayling visited the site of the potential M4 Junction 18a and link road connecting the motorway with the A4174 Avon Ring Road in Emersons Green, South Gloucestershire.
Mr Skidmore and Mr Hall have successfully secured the £500,000 of government funding needed to conduct a strategic study into the scheme, which aims to ease congestion, reduce journey times and attract more businesses and highly-skilled jobs to the local area.
The study, which is due to be completed by February 2018, will assess the impact of the junction on the local and regional transport network and the project’s value for money.
The MPs’ plans have won the backing of Mr Bowles and the 100-plus businesses who have signed a petition.
Chris said: “I am delighted that South Gloucestershire Council is working with Highways England to complete the strategic study by February 2018 into this much-needed junction and link road.
“Working alongside Tim as Mayor and as part of a strong team of MPs, councillors and council leaders, we can really drive forward and deliver on the transport projects, infrastructure and networks we need locally.
“Tim is the candidate best placed to join me in talking directly to the government of today, pressing for more investment in South Gloucestershire and ensuring we are not left behind as we have been in previous decades.”
Mr Bowles, who has also met the Prime Minister, Chancellor, Home Secretary and Communities Secretary in recent weeks to discuss his plans, said: “Improving the local transport network is one of my top priorities.
“Having the right transport infrastructure is vital for the local economy and if elected I will continue to work closely with the strong team of Conservatives locally, the government, councils and others to push forward schemes like Junction 18a and the link road to the A4174.”
Mr Grayling said: “Chris and Luke have campaigned long and hard to improve transport links in this area.
“Today I’ve also been impressed by Tim’s vision to upgrade transport infrastructure across the West of England.
“Tim is the strong voice for the West of England. As Mayor he would play a key role in improving the local transport network for the benefit of everyone, in line with our Plan for Britain.”