MEA Council plays role in Union Connectivity Review
Mid and East Antrim Borough Council has welcomed the opportunity to contribute to a call for evidence for the Prime Minister’s Union Connectivity Review.
The purpose of this review is to examine how best to improve road, rail, air and sea links between all four UK regions and to bring forward funding to accelerate infrastructure projects.
Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor Peter Johnston said:
“We believe that the links between the regions of the United Kingdom are of the utmost economic, social and cultural importance. As a Council we have placed the promotion of ‘Sustainable Jobs and Tourism’ at the heart of our Corporate Plan for 2019-2023 and we recognise that good connectivity with the rest of the UK will be key in delivering our aspirations for the Borough.”
Mindful of the potential impact the EU Exit on the local economy, Council has been closely monitoring developments during the transition period and has recently carried out extensive engagement with key stakeholders on a number of associated issues including Unfettered Access, the NI Protocol and Freeports.
Cllr Johnston continued:
“Trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland has been a key component of our Union for over two hundred years, so we want to ensure the flow between East and West is easier, cheaper and supportive of our ‘just in time’ supply chain. Any restriction of access to this market would have a significant impact on the Northern Ireland Economy.”
Deputy Mayor Councillor Andrew Wilson added:
“Through the North Channel Partnership, Council have been engaging with A75/A77 Action Groups, supporting road improvements that would benefit local communities, as well encourage road hauliers and tourists to choose Larne – Cairnryan as their preferred route across the Irish Sea. However, we’re concerned that the continued lack of investment in the A75/A77 roads will result in alternative travel routes to and from NI being used, thus reducing the development potential for Larne and the A8 corridor. In addition, the cost of crossing the Irish Sea through the North Channel is high and can be prohibitive in terms of choice of transport thereby limiting connectivity. Government needs to address this and find a suitable solution.”
Mid and East Antrim Borough Council will continue to work with key players to ensure Northern Ireland continues to get its fair share of resources to improve the prospects of the region and its people.