MP Criticises Lack of priority given to Southern Relief Road Scheme

Developing better North South relationships and furthering European trade opportunities should be a priority for the Northern Ireland Executive

“In July 2006 the Department for Regional Development instructed Roads Service to undertake a study into the impact of a Southern Relief Road and the possible lines for a new link road. In 2008 the Department for Regional Development began work on a Feasibility Study for Southern Relief Road. This study was completed in April 2009.

In November 2009 the then Minister for Regional Development advised that the Feasibility Study had been extended and that further environmental and engineering assessments would be carried out and consideration of the preferred corridor undertaken,. Now in April 2012 Minster Danny Kennedy has confirmed that this work still continues with an expected completion date of mid/late 2012. If this expected completion date is correct it will have taken Roads Service three years to complete these assessments.

This lack of priority to date in the delivery of the Southern Relief Road is unacceptable. I am calling on the Minister for Regional Development to look at the history of this case and ensure that priority is given to this scheme. Minister Kennedy must ensure that the road and transportation needs of South Down and the South East are given equal treatment to those transportation schemes elsewhere in Northern Ireland.

Business and Tourism development in the South East and South Down must be given priority. The development of the Southern Relief Road for commercial and business traffic along with development of the Narrow Water Bridge as an iconic and practical link from North to South is the catalyst that is needed to development future business and tourism trade in South Down and the South East.

Linkages between North & South, developing better North South relationships and furthering European trade opportunities should be a priority for the Northern Ireland Executive. Minister Kennedy must take a fresh look at how he can lever in money to bring these projects to reality.”