A Cornish MP says she will keep pushing the government to ensure safety measures promised for one of the most dangerous roads in the county are carried out sooner rather than later, after it was revealed that promised work to the A38 has been delayed.

The Department of Transport said the improvement work, which was due to take place between 2025 and 2030, had now been delayed as it “balances the books”. National Highways launched a public consultation in June 2022 into safety between Trerulefoot and Carkeel, which has a high collision rate.

The decision has been met with an angry response in the area with Kate Ewert, Labour councillor for the Rame Peninsula and St Germans, saying: “To now find out that we’re not getting any of the safety measures in the foreseeable future is a massive blow to the residents of South East Cornwall.”

Local Liberal Democrats are urgently calling on the government to revoke its decision. 

Cornwall councillor Colin Martin said “I’m absolutely appalled that the Conservative Government has ruled out funding any safety measures on the A38 until at least 2030. This road has one of the highest accident rates in the county and is in desperate need of critical safety improvements. National Highways are spending £24 billion on road improvements elsewhere, but can’t even find the cash for average speed cameras or a pelican crossing in South East Cornwall.

“Sheryll Murray MP promised that this road upgrade was a priority for her but once again this has turned out to be a hollow promise. It’s another example of South East Cornwall being left behind.”

The MP has responded that she will carry on “pushing” to get the work done as a matter of urgency. 

Mrs Murray said: “I have already expressed to the Minister he can expect me to keep pushing. One of the things I have already asked him to do is to look at other pots of money that might be available outside the road investment strategy programme to see if anything can be delivered on the A38 to keep it safer for people using it.”

Mark Harper, secretary of state for transport, stressed that the work would still go ahead although it would be delayed due to financial constraints: “It’s about us balancing the books and dealing with the difficult financial challenges we’ve got.”

The decision was also met with dismay by road safety campaigning group Safe38. 

Its chair James Millidge said: “We are frankly shocked and dismayed that funding for this vital safety improvement on one of the South West’s most notorious roads has been delayed. Safety cameras, lower speed limits and junction improvements would have reduced 30 per cent of collisions and seen a significant reduction in deaths and life-changing injuries.

“How can it be right that residents and visitors to South East Cornwall will have to wait until after 2030, potentially 12 years, for the most basic of safety interventions such as average speed cameras?”