Chambers East calls for regional rail investment
Four of the East’s leading business organisations have come together to push for more spending on the region’s rail network.
Essex, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk Chambers of Commerce, operating together as Chambers East, have provided evidence about how the lack of investment in the region’s railways is holding back business growth in the region.
The Chambers are partners of the region's sub-national transport bodies and worked with Transport East to prepare its recently published 'State of Rail Report'.
The report sets out the current picture for rail across the East, identifying areas of weakness and where future improvements could be focused. The report was launched at the House of Commons in the presence of the rail minister, Huw Merriman MP.
Vic Annells, chief executive of Cambridgeshire Chamber of Commerce said: “The East Anglian Chambers are pleased that the State of Rail Report highlights the need for improvements at Ely and Haughley. Improvements will remove bottlenecks and provide better passenger services to the North and South as well as to the East and West.”
John Dugmore, chief executive of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce added: “Improvements at Ely and Haughley will mean that more freight from Felixstowe can go by rail rather than road. A reduction in HGV traffic on the A14 and A12 will help us achieve net zero goals.”
Nova Fairbank, chief executive of Norfolk Chambers of Commerce spoke at the event and said: “The rail network in the East plays an important part in driving the regional economy – connecting the region’s fastest growing centres with each other. For those of us who live and work in the East, we know how special our region is, however for anyone in business, it is not without its challenges. The East is home to Britain’s largest and busiest container port at Felixstowe – yet the rail links to enable easy access for freight are hugely constrained. With the right investment, the region could see 170,000 new jobs in the next 20 years.”
Denise Rossiter, chief executive of Essex Chamber of Commerce also welcomed the State of Rail report: “We are very pleased that Transport East has worked with us on this report. Chambers of commerce have many thousands of members across East Anglia and we are the voice of business in the region.”
Chambers East is an arrangement allowing the component chambers of commerce to more effectively deliver campaigns and lobbying at a regional level, in addition to within their county areas. The British Chambers of Commerce is their national organisation.