'Highways or the environment' - Councillor says wrong choices are being offered

Councillor Christopher Hudson says that using railways instead of building a new link road would be a far better solution

Councillor Christopher Hudson says that using railways instead of building a new link road would be a far better solution to the traffic at Copdock Interchange. - Credit: Archant / Suffolk County Council

A councillor has said the "wrong solutions" have been put forward by National Highways to improve traffic at the Copdock Interchange. 

Councillor Christopher Hudson for Belstead Brook argues that a better solution to reduce traffic would be to transport goods via railway, and that the effect on the environment had not been considered. 

The councillor had previously said neither option would be satisfactory for the people he represents.

Two options were put forward by National Highways in October last year. 

The first would be to widen the circulatory carriageway and provide free-flowing left turn lanes at three of the four entry arms. 

Option two – which National Highways refer to as option four – would involve building a new free-flow two-way grade-separated link road, connecting the A12 (South) with the A14 (East), reducing traffic at the junction. 

“We’re trying to build our way out of an impossible situation. If all those things coming from Felixstowe were on the trains, that would be a very clever fix. I know that would cost billions, but so would these new roads,” said Cllr Hudson. 

“It's a short-term fix to a long-term problem.” 

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“We need a railway running east-west, to get rid of that HGV traffic. That would be a strategic aim. 

“All these trucks, from all over Europe and England, are really not the way to deal with an environmental catastrophe.

“We’ve got to make a choice – highways or the environment, they’re two opposite desires,” Cllr Hudson said. 

“Option four will not improve your access to Ipswich. Add that to Bramford to Twinstead, then Freston, then we've also got the situation at Sizewell [C] and we're turning from a heritage area and coast to just an energy coast and a transport hub.  

“The energy we're creating needs to be green, I agree with that 110%. But when it hits the shore, my god, it isn't green. It's just an environmental catastrophe.  

“We need to make sure that we co-ordinate [a response], and this seems very piecemeal."

Suffolk County Council's deputy leader Richard Rout, speaking in a personal capacity, had previously said "it is fundamentally a choice between which we see as more important - roads or the environment."

Planning for the Copdock Interchange is still in preliminary stages, and funding has not yet been granted by the Department for Transport. 

James Goodman, National Highways Project Manager, said: "We received more than 800 formal responses to the consultation which has been consolidated and summarised in our consultation report, and we continue to review the scheme alongside the Department for Transport.”