Mercury Column – January 2017

My first Mercury column of 2017 gives an opportunity to look to the year ahead. I’ve written extensively about Europe over the last six months, and more vital stages of Brexit will occur this year, but perhaps I can concentrate this month on some very localised projects.

Just days before Christmas, Highways England wrote to me confirming that the long-asked-for safety improvement works on the A47 Acle Straight will start in February. This will include improvements to traffic signs, road markings and kerb alignment at the A47/A1064 roundabout; new warning signs, road markings and hazard posts at farm accesses in the vicinity of Werryman’s Way and improvements at the dangerous Halvergate Junction.

I’m delighted that Highways England have finally announced a start date for these vital works, as everyone locally knows what a dangerous stretch of road this is, and any improvements are welcome. As Member of Parliament I have lobbied both the agency and government transport ministers on numerous occasions, and over many years, about this issue. Yet, we can go much further in improving safety. I’ve written to Highways England requesting a meeting to discuss this matter further, as I feel much more can be done and I am keen to see these works completed quickly. Neither Highways England or transport ministers must lose sight of the long-term aim, widely supported in the Great Yarmouth area, of a dualling of the Acle Straight.

And there’s hopeful news for Bradwell and Burgh Castle residents, as Anglia Water has confirmed upgrades to their sites on Morton Crescent and Stepshort Road will start soon. Residents in these areas have experienced serious flooding problems for well over a decade, exacerbated by new developments and a failure by the water company to improve infrastructure at the same time. Despite pleas from me, councillors and residents for new investment, it always seemed to fall on deaf ears. Persistence has paid off and the company has finally listened.

And finally, a quick reminder that you’ve still time to nominate someone for the Great Yarmouth Inspirational Young Person’s Award, which recognises a young person who deserves special recognition for the work they do in their community. You can nominate someone online at or by email to