The case for the A417 solution

For more than 20 years, Gloucestershire and surrounding counties have been looking for a solution to the ‘Missing Link’ on the A417. The 5km stretch of road, near Nettleton Bottom, is the only single carriageway along the strategic 50km route between the M4 and M5.

The route is a key link between the West Midlands and London and is used daily by more than 34,000 vehicles.

The ‘Missing Link’ is often very heavily congested and there are frequent accidents, affecting people across Gloucestershire and further afield.

The county council has campaigned and lobbied for a solution to the ‘Missing Link’ over many years. As part of the Government’s transparent route selection process Highways England will be expected to review all options which have the potential to meet the scheme’s objectives. The shortlisted options will be presented at a public consultation which will inform the decision of the preferred route.

Gloucestershire is firmly behind the A417 ‘Missing Link’ scheme and although our campaigning has paid off we will continue to push for work to start in 2020, as promised by the Secretary of State.

I hope you will join me in supporting this scheme.


Cllr Mark Hawthorne MBE
Leader, Gloucestershire County Council

Quick links

The problem

The ‘Missing Link’ has been a problem for Gloucestershire for more than 20 years.

Aside from the fact that it’s the only single carriageway section between the M4 and M5, the missing link has many other issues.

It is the worst congestion hotspot in the county and daily delays have a major impact on commuters and local businesses. There are frequent accidents – the road has seen more than 340 casualties in the past 15 years, some of them fatalities.

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The solution

Highways England has started to develop proposals for the scheme with the intention that it will be ready to start construction as early as possible in the next Road Investment Strategy Period (2020 – 2025).

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Economic impact

A number of economic studies have been carried out over the past four years to identify the problems caused by the A417 ‘Missing Link’ to local businesses and the effects on economic growth.

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Have your say…

We firmly believe the A417 is a major issue and we are thrilled Highways England has started to investigate a solution. Pledge your support and get updates on scheme progress.

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Press release

People across Gloucestershire are being urged to support a campaign to secure funding to sort out the A417 ‘missing link’.

The government will set out its future road schemes at the end of March and Gloucestershire County Council is spearheading a campaign to see the missing link solution – the A417 loop – added to the list.

Read the full press release here…

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Our partners

Gloucestershire County Council has worked with local authority partners and national organisations to agree the proposed A417 Loop scheme.

Cheltenham Borough Council

Cllr Steve Jordan, leader of Cheltenham Borough Council: “As leader of Cheltenham Borough Council I have given my support to getting the Missing Link sorted out once and for all. This junction has been a problem for years as it was never dealt with when the rest of the road was upgraded. It is an accident black spot and it causes delays which both damage our economy and pollute our environment.

“In recent years, various solutions have been proposed, cheap options that would never have fixed the main problem and probably made things worse for Cheltenham, and incredibly expensive ones that would be unsustainable for our taxpayers. The A417 Loop is important for the whole of Gloucestershire and the wider area, but will not happen without central government support.”


Forest of Dean District Council

Cllr Patrick Molyneux, leader of Forest of Dean District Council: “The Forest of Dean District Council is in full support of the A417 loop scheme to help ease traffic congestion, improve road safety and benefit the county’s economy.”

Cotswold District Council

Cllr Lynden Stowe, leader of Cotswold District Council: “The Missing Link on the A417/419 is a huge cause of concern for road users and nearby communities in Cotswold district. The biggest danger is the risk to the lives of those using this stretch of road – it is a well known accident black spot and recent fatalities have highlighted the problems encountered by users. The congestion also leads to motorists facing frustratingly long delays, and the resulting traffic jams produce very high levels of pollution which blight the lives of local residents.

“Cotswold District Council designated the Air Balloon roundabout site an Air Quality Management Area in 2008 to try to secure improvements, but we are fighting a losing battle. There is also an economic dimension – many hauliers must allow for substantially higher costs because of the time and fuel expended in negotiating delays.  Motorists are also faced with higher fuel costs as well as unnecessary disruptions to their daily lives. Needless to say, this also has a big impact on local businesses and eats into the time of many local residents who use the road each day.  

“I firmly believe that resolving the ‘missing link’ problem will benefit the whole country and not just North Gloucestershire.  We have already gone beyond the bounds of what is tolerable and, if action is not taken to fix this problem, the risks to life, health and safety in communities, and the wellbeing of the local – and national – economy will keep on increasing.”

Tewkesbury Borough Council

Cllr Robert Vines, leader of Tewkesbury Borough Council: “Tewkesbury Borough Council is firmly behind the A417 Missing Link campaign. The loop solution would have an immediate beneficial effect, not just in Tewkesbury Borough and the rest of Gloucestershire but much further afield. This is a route that is absolutely crucial for the future development of our economy and, in Tewkesbury borough specifically, the solution would enable Brockworth Business Park to become even more successful, something which would provide a real boost to our local economy.

“We are encouraging our local businesses and residents to join us in pledging support for this campaign – for the Government to add the A417 loop solution to the Highway Agency’s major scheme development programme as soon as possible.”

Stroud District Council

Cllr Geoff Wheeler, leader of Stroud District Council: “Nettleton Bottom and the Air Balloon roundabout are infamous when it comes to traffic problems. Barely a day goes by without this part of the A417 appearing on the traffic news on the radio, and during snowy winters this stretch of road grinds to a complete halt. I would encourage as many people as possible to support this project and make the most of an opportunity which may not present itself for another generation. Many of us often use this section of road, businesses depend on it and it’s an accident blackspot. It’s a key component of the county’s draft economic plan. We really need to fix this notorious bottleneck on one of the county’s primary routes.”

Gloucester City Council

Cllr Paul James, leader of Gloucester City Council: “As a growing and ambitious city it is important that we resolve the issue of the Missing Link to the M4 corridor and London, for us to fulfil our economic potential. Gloucester was recently ranked highly in the Centre for Cities report, which explained that a lot of our employment relies on businesses with headquarters in the capital. To ensure businesses continue to look at Gloucester and the wider county as a competitive location for their businesses, we need to ensure the route to London is less prone to accidents and delays. We cannot allow the loss of life which has taken place on this road over the years to continue and that is why I am supporting the Missing Link campaign.”

GFirst LEP

David Owen, Chief Executive of GFirst LEP: “Improving the transport infrastructure throughout the county is an important growth priority for GFirst LEP, particularly the Missing Link on the A417 as outlined in our draft Strategic Economic Plan (SEP), that was submitted to Government in December. 

“The Missing Link is of crucial importance to the economy of Gloucestershire and a number of neighbouring areas, as it provides connectivity to local, national and international markets and is a major strategic route from the Midlands to London, Thames Valley, key airports and the south coast ports. It is also a major tourist route gateway to the Cotswolds, Cheltenham and Gloucester, and the Forest of Dean that already attracts around 2 million tourists spending over £1 billion every year.

“As a strategic trunk road route linking the M5 at Junction 11a and the M4 at Swindon, the single carriage way of the A417 repeatedly suffers from severe congestion, high accident rates and long delays. The missing link is regarded by businesses as hampering economic growth across the region.”


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