A14 campaign meeting hears first-hand accounts of cost to business
The body co-ordinating the campaign to secure government investment at seven pinch points along the A14 in Suffolk took full advantage on Friday (15 September) of a meeting with senior staff from Highways England and the Department for Transport to explain the impact of delays on local businesses.
Chaired by Bury St Edmunds MP, Jo Churchill, the No More A14 Delays in Suffolk Strategy Board, held at Suffolk Chamber of Commerce’s Ipswich office, brought together officials from these two organisations with local business and council representatives.
The Strategy Board has already submitted a business case why these pinch points need to be included in the second Roads Investment Strategy (RIS2) which will cover the period from 2020 to 2025 and so attract £850m of funding.
Aside from alleviating the real costs of delays and congestion at these points, this investment would contribute to a massive increase in key economic indicators – of real benefit to the local and national economy:
- 7000 new jobs
- £362m extra in Gross Value Added
- Average of 13 minutes a day saved in travel time
Nick Burfield, policy director at Suffolk Chamber, said that “the officials were clearly really impressed by the first-hand accounts of the additional business costs and lost orders due to A14 delays. That is why we are still looking for more ancedotal evidence to add to the weight of our existing case.”
Matt Moss, commercial director at leading precast concrete manufacturer, Poundfield Products Ltd., based near Stowmarket, explained that “every delay for our lorries getting onto and off the A14 in Suffolk means lost time and increased costs for us.
“We are caught right in the middle of the A14’s pinch points. With clients all over the country, we extensively use both eastbound and westbound carriages of the road and so suffer at both the three western pinch points around Bury St Edmunds and the four circling Ipswich!
To support the No More A14 Delays in Suffolk campaign, Poundfield Products is keeping a ‘delay diary’, aimed at showing how the A14 costs the company in any given week.”
Matt concluded “now is the time for every Suffolk business affected by the A14’s pinch points to do the same and submit the evidence to the campaign”.
Jo Churchill MP added “it was a great meeting ensuring that Highways England and the Department of Transport realise how vital the A14 is for the local, regional and national economy and for helping keep Suffolk on the move.”