FOUR major bypass schemes to improve travel times across England’s largest county have been prioritised, despite some of the routes being left off the Government’s recently announced Major Roads Network (MRN).

North Yorkshire County Council’s executive will consider whether to push forward a costly north to south bypass scheme around Northallerton on the A167 and bypass schemes north and south of York on the A19 at Shipton by Beningbrough and Burn, which are likely to cost up to £20m and £10m respectively.

While all three schemes have been assessed as being very cost-effective, officers said the other prioritised project, a Malton and Norton southern bypass, was “closely linked to potential local plan growth and addressing town centre congestion issues”.

Leaders of district councils in Hambleton and Ryedale welcomed the move to prioritise the schemes, saying they would prove a boost to residents while helping unlocking economic potential in the areas.

The county council’s executive member for highways, Councillor Don Mackenzie, added: “The list of prioritised major schemes has been in existence for many years, but we have to review it as every major scheme has to have a reasonable cost to benefit ratio.”

A report to the council’s executive states there has been a significant change in emphasis by Government on what major schemes should deliver, with the focus now on economic growth.

As a result, schemes which would see support new housing and employment growth, improve connectivity between major economic centres and improve cross boundary links are being prioritised.

While the Northallerton bypass initiative could cost in excess of £40m, as its benefits are described as “very high” compared to its cost, it has been prioritised despite it not featuring on the MRN, which would mean it would qualify for a stream of funding from vehicle excise duty.