HEREFORD'S MP has thrown his support behind an eastern river crossing for Hereford, saying he first suggested the idea 13 years ago.

Jesse Norman, MP for Hereford and South Herefordshire, said he had proposed a crossing to the east of Hereford as far back as 2008.

The Conservative MP said his vision would be one lane in each direction across the river from Rotherwas.

"It essentially takes the foot off the throat, off the windpipe, of Rotherwas and opens up the eastern side of Hereford city," Mr Norman said.

"The east of Hereford city is an area where an awful lot of the destinations and activity, whether it's the colleges, the railway station, the bus station, a bunch of other stuff like the hospital, are.

"It makes a lot of sense from a communications standpoint, connectivity standpoint and economic standpoint as well."

He said the idea could be run alongside a Hereford bypass – which Herefordshire Council voted to scrap earlier this year – or not. 

"When I was at the Department for Transport the Government had very deliberately set aside a very substantial amount of money, up to £200-odd million to support a bypass, but it needed the council to step forward having done all the work and make that bid," he said.

"This council has decided it isn't going to do that."

He said there were environmental considerations on both sides, such as arguments against building new roads, but also diverting lorries away from "thousands of people in the city, including students going to our new university".

Mr Norman said there was a change in how people are travelling, and the impact of cars and vans wasn't as predictable as people might think.

Speaking in February, Herefordshire Council's roads chief felt an eastern river Wye crossing, connecting Rotherwas with the Ledbury Road, was achievable within five years.

Infrastructure and transport cabinet member Coun John Harrington said: "We could achieve a second river crossing within five years.

"It's a different type of bridge which is trying to provide a crossing for what is existing demand.

"We are focused on finding what the case is for the east and precisely what the road would look like as soon as possible.

"We will be very sensitive to the ecology issues around the special area of conservation.

"What we've got in the east is a proximity to a site of special scientific interest so we are absolutely determined we are not going across the Lugg flats which was the thing that prevented progression of an eastern crossing in the past."