In my first Adjournment Debate in the House of Commons in 1997, I described the deplorable state of the A5 north of Shrewsbury. Since then, I have lobbied Ministers to dual the whole road. There have been 1,785 casualties on this stretch of road up to the Welsh Border at Chirk since 1991. 1,407 of these were slight, 320 were serious and 58 of these were fatal. These accidents disproportionately affect my constituents with over half of those involved living in an SY, TF or CW postcode. Each death is tragic and each accident is appalling. The estimated cost to the public purse is a staggering £223.9 million. Many of these accidents could be avoided by upgrading the road, starting with dualling it entirely. The road is simply unfit for purpose.
Ten months ago I made significant progress when I arranged for the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State Andrew Jones to visit North Shropshire. I drove him along the road so that he could see for himself just how badly it needs upgrading.
In October, I invited the new Minister of State for Transport John Hayes to travel to the constituency. Last week I showed him why it is so imperative that the A5 gets dualled. We stopped at Shotatton; the Minister crossed the A5 in a tractor to see for himself how dangerous it is.
I then organised a meeting with a whole range of local interested parties including councillors, senior Shropshire Council officials and emergency service chiefs in Oswestry. Mr Hayes was impressed by the tremendous turnout and with the quality of the contributions. Shropshire Council gave a clear presentation, fully detailing the case for dualling the A5. I am grateful to all the attendees who clearly showed that it was a matter of local concern. Because of this effort, the Minister has agreed to consider the long-standing proposal again.
We then went to see the A483 at Pant and Llanymynech to discuss the longest running bypass campaign in the UK, which I refuse to allow officials to kill off. Although the proposal is currently dormant, we have now had the second Minister visit in ten months and he gave a clear promise to look at it again and work with Welsh colleagues. We now have very active Welsh cooperation with Welsh Infrastructure Minister Ken Skates and Welsh Assembly member Russell George. It has also been confirmed that they are able to contribute financially to the project. I am grateful to the Welsh Government and to the residents from the area for their continued support.
I will be writing to John Hayes to ensure that he follows up on his visit. I am determined to see these two roads improve.