Chamber, local MP & businesses step-up pressure for A14 Growth Corridor improvement funding
The A14 Growth Corridor campaign group is made up of a dozen local businesses from a range of market sectors, plus Transport East, the regional transport body, and is a task & finish group of the Chamber’s longstanding Transport & Infrastructure Group (TIG), chaired by veteran Chamber activist, Steve Britt.
The A14 group has been charged with providing the local business perspective in lobbying for to get a number of tactical improvements approved by government. In particular, these include the rail scheme to upgrade Haughley Junction, as part of the Ely Area Capacity Programme and move forward proposals to improve the A14/A12 Copdock Interchange junction.
Steve Britt, chair of the TIG, explained that: “This group is all about the art of the possible – trying to nudge tactical projects over the line along the corridor from Felixstowe to the Cambridgeshire border that in turn improve our collective case for further infrastructure investment, not only road and rail but 5G and EV charging points as well.”
The most recent TIG meeting, held in June 2023, heard how National Highways, during their current consultation, are looking to focus on smaller strategic road improvement schemes. Jo Churchill MP will be writing to the Roads Minister, Richard Holden MP, seeking clarification as to what this will mean for the current proposals and already much-delayed timetable for the Copdock Interchange, as well as other plans to upgrade the whole A14 in Suffolk
The meeting also pushed Network Rail to refresh its current business case for Haughley Junction as the current version, written two years’ ago, fails to fully quantify its contribution to Suffolk’s decarbonisation ambitions.
Jo Churchill, who alongside other local MPs, recently met with Huw Merriman, the Rail Minister, will be writing to him again suggesting that Haughley Junction should be the first phase to be completed if the Ely programme finally receives Government funding. She said: “Suffolk delivers so much for UK PLC, but to do more we need support. Better connectivity on road, rail and mobile that connects us to the west and north to allow greater prosperity to be spread across the country is essential. Rail connectivity for freight, passengers and the environment is a key objective”.
Steve Britt added: “Suffolk Chamber remains convinced that Suffolk can only make its full contribution to national prosperity if it has the best infrastructure available from the Port of Felixstowe westwards and including the key junctions with other major roads.
“Whilst this means having a step-change in investment decisions to ensure we have a twenty-first century road, rail, mobile and EV system in the longer-term, the work of this A14 Growth Corridor is vital in landing short-term wins – which can then be built upon.”
Find out more about the Transport & Infrastructure Group (TIG) here