WE have had some good success with our campaigning in the last few of weeks I am delighted to report.

The Government announced plans to improve one of our major routes, the A1, in Northumberland, which is vastly overdue, by decades, but still very welcome indeed.

I know the A19 and its congested pinch points, such as the Tees Flyover, are possibly more at the centre of people’s minds reading this column, but make no mistake the A1 is very fundamental to thousands of businesspeople in our region.

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This road is a key strategic route for us, and we’ve long campaigned for the investment it has begun to see, building on the improvements to the Western Bypass at Gateshead.

We’re pleased Highways England’s plans are progressing, and the routes chosen on these stretches should deliver the maximum benefit in the long-term, while minimising disruption to road users.

It’s important these upgrades are now delivered as quickly as possible, and that we continue to work towards the ultimate aim of a fully dualled A1 all the way to Scotland.

This will benefit many businesses who have been unable to plan with any degree of accuracy travel times for their products and services.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has told us the success of Northern Transport depends on the North itself.

In a media article he set out clearly he saw the Government’s role was to provide funding and a delivery structure, but it was for the North to take control of designing and managing transport improvements.

This position was met by widespread approval from political and business leaders across the North, when they met in Leeds.

That desire to move decision making out of Westminster and have it better reflect local priorities is a fundamental one when it comes to Northern transport.

But, the Secretary of State’s statement made clear the need to come forward with full plans which Government would be able to support.

We will be playing an active role on making sure this happens.

First rate connectivity around, not just our region, but the whole North and beyond, is a necessity for a thriving business sector.

We have had results with this latest A1 announcement, hot on the heels of the good news on new routes at Durham Tees Valley Airport, but there is still work to do.

James Ramsbotham is chief executive at the North East England Chamber of Commerce