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Campaign launched to oppose A14 toll road

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Businesses and a local MP are supporting a campaign launched by Suffolk Chamber of Commerce ‘No Toll Tax on Suffolk’ to oppose government plans to turn part of the A14 west of Cambridge into a toll road.

“For many years, Suffolk Chamber, our members and firms across the county have been calling for improvements to this major part of our economic infrastructure, however not at the expense of tolling,” said John Dugmore, the Chief Executive of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce. “There is no doubt though that the proposals put forward by the Department for Transport will be damaging to our economy and tolling of the A14 will have a detrimental impact on business and Suffolk.”

The proposals being consulted on over the next two months see part of the A14 in Cambridgeshire being upgraded into a toll road. It means that individuals, families and businesses travelling to and from Suffolk will have to pay the toll with the only way to avoid it being a 20 mile round trip through the Cambridgeshire countryside. If given the go ahead construction on the toll road will begin in 2015.

“These proposals provide a unique disadvantage for Suffolk,” John Dugmore continued. “Suffolk businesses will be unique in facing a toll to get goods to market and to get supplies from businesses around the country.”

“The Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg last week suggested that the new toll road would ‘spread the burden’ on improvements to the A14. Spreading the burden is exactly what tolls will not do. Rather, they will put a greater burden on this particular part of the country.”

Suffolk Chamber of Commerce have launched the campaign with the new web pages

Over the coming weeks and during the consultation period Suffolk Chamber will be lobbying MPs and other stakeholders on the campaign and the detrimental effect the tolling will have on the county.

Therese Coffey, MP for Suffolk Coastal said: “I am very proud to be able to back the campaign ably led by the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce. We know we need improvements to the A14, but it should not be singled out as the only road improvement scheme to have a toll. This would have an unfair impact on Suffolk residents and businesses. I will continue to press for a change of heart from the Government and urge as many people as possible to respond to the consultation. I have also launched a petition that I will present to Parliament which can be found at"

Stephen Britt, managing director of Anchor Storage in Stowmarket, said: “The imposition of a toll has caused dismay among businesses and the general public. Vehicles travelling north up the A1 or coming south on the A1 to join the A14 will have to cover an extra 6 miles adding fuel costs of £1 for cars and £4 for lorries in addition to the tolls. These proposals are very unsatisfactory and that is why we are backing No Toll Tax on Suffolk.”

Steve Lee of Concierge Couriers in Bury St Edmunds said: “Improvements to the A14 are needed, but the current proposal appears to be a ‘band aid’ and it does not address the issues for the region. This plan lacks ambition and empathy for the needs of both businesses and individuals. We’re backing No Toll Tax on Suffolk as clearly this extra cost is unfair and will have a negative impact to all who are living in and using the county.”

Graham Burchell, managing director, Hadleigh-based Challs International said: “As an SME manufacturer based in Suffolk, we are against the proposed tolling of the A14. The A14 is the primary transportation route for our raw materials coming to our factory and our finished goods getting to our customers. Inevitably any toll charges will be added to our operational costs and will disadvantage our business against competitors based elsewhere in the country. Essentially we see this as a selective incremental taxation that will have a detrimental affect on our ability to compete both in the UK and internationally.”

Last Updated ( Thursday, 31 October 2013 09:19 )