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Felixstowe hauliers will suffer as A14 traffic builds, warns expert

  • 23 December 2013
  • By Chris Tindall

Operators using Felixstowe port may not be better off now that the A14 toll plans have been dropped, because motorists will fill up available capacity, according to the government’s former chief transport scientist.

Dr David Metz, who now works at the Centre for Transport Studies at University College London, told a Committee of MPs on Monday 16 December that tolling would work on the strategic road network, but that it had to be on newly built roads, not on existing stretches:”The government considered this approach for the A14 proposal north of Cambridge but then withdrew the idea of tolling following local opposition,” he said.

“The risk is then, because Cambridge is an economically dynamic area with a growing population, the new road will fill up with local traffic, particularly at peak times and so the long distance traffic from the east coast ports to the Midlands and beyond, may not be better off. Tolling can have a role, although it will only be when you put in place a new road because you can’t start very easily and politically tolling an existing road,” Metz added.

The Freight Transport Association’s, Karen Dee, told the Transport Committee that its members were willing to consider tolling: “They are business users and ultimately they will make a business decision about whether it’s worth paying for. But they are open minded.”

However, Jack Semple, director of policy at the Road Haulage Association, described the decision to shelve the plan as “excellent news”.

“The strength of feeling certainly from road hauliers, particularly in East Anglia, was certainly as much as we told the Department it would be,” he said. “I was also struck by the broader business response in East Anglia.”


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