HEREFORD'S MP has defended his interest in seeking to improve a Gloucestershire junction, saying that 90 per cent of those responding to his research have supported his stance.
Conservative Jesse Norman recently claimed that the A417 over Birdlip Hill is a “massive problem” for Herefordians wanting to get to Oxford and London.
In the emails sent out to many of his constituents, Mr Norman mentions a scheme that has been proposed to solve traffic issues at the junction that lies some 40 miles away from Hereford.
He also invited responses from those who he had contacted on the subject.
Despite a number of comments on social media and the Hereford Times website from constituents asking him to focus on problems closer to home, Mr Norman maintains that he is "fighting 24/7 for Herefordians on local and national issues".
He said: "I live in Hereford and know full well how difficult it can be to get around the city at the best of times and I have been deeply engaged in trying to improve the city and its traffic congestion for years.
"The chaos caused by the recent congestion, and by the earlier road closure at Holme Lacy, highlights exactly why we need an Eastern Link Road and a second river crossing – something I have been campaigning for since before 2010.
"As for Birdlip, the fact is that many people in Hereford and South Herefordshire use this road. They rely on it in order to get to work, to run their businesses and to see their families.
"The extremely positive local response to my survey reflected this, with nearly nine out of 10 respondents in support."
Mr Norman said he would also continue to push for more to be done to solve problems on Herefordshire's roads – especially with regards to potholes.
He added: "In Parliament I have extensively pressed the Secretary of State for Transport and the Chancellor of the Exchequer for more cash to repair Herefordshire’s roads. Last year the government made available an extra £140 million for potholes, of which Herefordshire received £3.5 million. This year the Chancellor has announced a new £200m Pothole Challenge Fund specifically aimed at rural areas.
"I have also been pushing the Highways Agency to act on the poor state of the A49 through the city — something that contractors have brought forward in response to this concern, and to vigorous cross-party lobbying by local councillors."