Ban lorries on A14 - call

RADICAL calls have been made for an outright ban on all freight lorries using the A14 in Suffolk and for containers to be ferried out on trains instead.

RADICAL calls have been made for an outright ban on all freight lorries using the A14 in Suffolk and for containers to be ferried out on trains instead.

The idea of ridding the A14 of freight traffic on Suffolk's key carriageway has been mooted by the Bury St Edmunds Society - and supported in part by transport chiefs at Suffolk County Council - but fiercely opposed by the region's haulage industry, which claimed tens of thousands of jobs in Suffolk would be put at risk.

Reg Sharpe, secretary of the Bury Society, said: “An initial project needs to be set up to achieve a 'night goods train system' for carrying all containers currently being transported by road to and from Felixstowe, so that within say five years all containers would be banned from the A14, and instead be moved by train.

“Computerisation of the destinations and tagging of the containers would enable the sorting and loading time for containers to be minimal, and there would be savings in transport costs as well as huge environmental benefit. Rumbling goods trains are sporadic and less noisy than constant road traffic.”


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Peter Butler, senior area manager of the Road Haulage Association, said there would be no advantage to ridding the A14 of freight traffic because at some stage all goods went on the road in its journey to the retailer.

He said the organisation had 243 member companies in Suffolk alone, which between them employed tens of thousands of haulage industry workers.

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“It is an important part of the economy and if you did this you would not just be putting the drivers out of work but the whole surrounding industry.”

Guy McGregor, roads and transport portfolio holder at the county council, said damage to the haulage industry was the major downside of such a proposal and he said it would never be possible to remove all lorries coming out of Felixstowe from the A14.

However, he maintained the idea of a Continental-inspired “inland port system”, in which ship freight is loaded straight onto trains and taken out of Suffolk towards their end destinations such as London or the West Midlands, deserved close attention.

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