A £42m scheme to cut traffic through villages and a market town has been given the go-ahead, after being delayed for years over funding.

The Department of Transport has announced it will provide £29m for the Bedale A684 bypass, which is hoped with improve journey times for both residents and visitors to the Yorkshire Dales.

The communities of Bedale, Aiskew and Leeming Bar will be bypassed, making their roads quieter and safer, while access to the Leeming Bar Industrial Estate, which includes a number of expanding food sector businesses, will also be improved.

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Transport Minister Baroness Kramer said: “The A684 scheme will provide significant environmental improvements to the communities bypassed.

"The very important local tourist market will benefit and the bypass will help support growth of the local economy.

The scheme includes a 4.8km single carriageway road from the A684 north of Bedale to the A684 east of Leeming Bar, which links into Junction 51 of the A1(M).

The A684 is the principal east-west route between Northallerton and the Yorkshire Dales.

Work is scheduled to start on the route shortly and is expected to be completed by May 2016.

North Yorkshire County Council leader Councillor John Weighell said: "This is tremendous news.

"This bypass has been on and off and has struggled to get through all the hurdles."