Euro cash sought for A14 improvements

EUROPEAN cash is to be sought for improvements to the A14 to help traffic going to and from the Port of Felixstowe.But while Whitehall is supporting road projects to boost the soon-to-be-expanded port, it has decided not to recommend to the European Commission that work to the Felixstowe-Peterborough rail line to take cargo off the roads and put it on the rails gets grant aid.

EUROPEAN cash is to be sought for improvements to the A14 to help traffic going to and from the Port of Felixstowe.

But while Whitehall is supporting road projects to boost the soon-to-be-expanded port, it has decided not to recommend to the European Commission that work to the Felixstowe-Peterborough rail line to take cargo off the roads and put it on the rails gets grant aid.

East Anglian Conservative MEP Geoffrey Van Orden welcomed the news that the A14 was being recommended for EU funds as part of the Trans European Network (TEN) transport systems.

“We recognise that EU funding is, in fact, British taxpayers' money recycled through Brussels. That makes it doubly important that we make full use of such funding whenever there is an opportunity to benefit the East of England,” said Mr Van Orden.

“For years now we have struggled to get TEN funding to help improve our abysmal road and rail structure.

“Traffic jams on our major roads have become almost an accepted part of life.

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“The rail system is creaking and still it does not carry a sufficient proportion of freight.

“Over the coming years, traffic from our ports will increase. These are national assets and I am concerned that the necessary improvements to road and rail infrastructure will not be in place in time.

“We very much welcome the fact that the A14 has made it onto the list of bids, but it is a great pity that proposals to improve the rest of the A120 and the Felixstowe-Peterborough rail lines have not.

“Both Essex County Council and Harwich Haven Gateway have had deputations in Brussels to seek a way ahead. Now the Department of Transport says that the A120 upgrade and Felixstowe-Peterborough rail scheme 'have not reached the level of maturity required to be eligible for TEN support'. This is an enormous disappointment.”

Mr Van Orden said campaigners would continue to put pressure on the Department of Transport to reconsider the position.

It is understood improvements projects will be eligible for up to ten per cent funding. There has been growing concern over congestion and accidents on the A14 around Ipswich, but while schemes have been suggested - including tolls on the Orwell Bridge, a second bridge or a northern by-pass - no projects have yet been put forward.

Do you think tolls on the Orwell Bridge would be a good ideas? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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