YORK'S proposed bid for millions of pounds that could be used to dual the outer ring road received a boost when the new minister for Yorkshire and the Humber hailed the plans.

Rosie Winterton was speaking after a meeting in York with representatives from the city - including York MP Hugh Bayley - during which the bid was discussed with the minister.

York is set to make a bid in October to the regional transport board for £160 million to pay for improvements to the outer ring road, some of which could be dualled under the scheme.

The city is also poised to later this month submit an application to the board for £26.5 million to fund three new Park&Ride sites in York.

The Highways Agency is proposing to put in a bid to the board this month for £7 million to fund upgrades to the Hopgrove roundabout.

The bids are collectively known as Access York.

Last week we launched our Access York campaign in support of the moves - and we are urging readers to complete and return our petition calling on the board to back the bid.

The minister said: "I was very impressed with the city's approach to integrating economic regeneration with environmental improvements through, for example, maximising the use of Park&Ride schemes as well as encouraging public transport, walking and cycling.

"It was extremely useful to have a detailed, thorough briefing on the proposals being put forward to the regional transport board."

City of York Council leader Coun Steve Galloway said in terms of the outer ring road the cash would be spent first on upgrading particular junctions on it.

He said the three new Park&Ride sites would be at Askham Bar, on the A59 at Poppleton and in Wigginton Road.

York Green Party leader Coun Andy D'Agorne said he was "encouraged" by the minister's visit.

"She took a keen interest in learning about the potential for sustainable transport options as part of the development of the York Central site," he said.