Brampton will choke

AS a Brampton resident, I heartily endorse the views of John Dillistone and Terry Hayward (Letters, January 3) on the Highways Agency s new A14 proposals and the possible removal of the viaduct on the existing A14 proposed as part of the Huntingdon visio

AS a Brampton resident, I heartily endorse the views of John Dillistone and Terry Hayward (Letters, January 3) on the Highways Agency's new A14 proposals and the possible removal of the viaduct on the existing A14 proposed as part of the "Huntingdon vision".

There is certainly nothing multi-modal about the CHUMMS (Cambridge to Huntingdon Multi-Modal Study) proposals. Local residents are merely being offered a choice of equally unacceptable routes.

The Highways Agency says the scheme is needed to improve journey time reliability and safety on the A14 - but the A14 is not merely a local highway between Cambridge and Huntingdon. It is a key element of the Trans-European Network for freight traffic linking the UK with mainland Europe and Ireland via the ports of Felixstowe and Holyhead.

The A14 also facilitates freight movement between the south coast ports and central England via the M25 and M11 and provides direct links to the north via the A1.

It is this high volume of heavy freight traffic that causes problems on the Cambridge to Huntingdon section of the A14. Clearly, the bulk of this trans-European traffic does not want to come to Huntingdon - or Ellington or Fen Ditton for that matter - but is seeking the most direct route to its destination.

The Highways Agency's proposals are also a health issue. The current options leave Brampton completely encircled by the existing and "new" A14 and the associated environmental pollution.

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Brampton is already subject to air quality monitoring by Huntingdonshire District Council due to high levels of nitrous oxide emitted by the heavy traffic on the existing A14. With prevailing westerly winds, the village is likely to be gravely affected by noxious emissions from the 10 lanes of traffic proposed close to the west end of Brampton (four lanes new A14 plus six lanes widened A1). Does the Highways Agency not have a duty of care when formulating its proposals?

Surely it is not too late to take a strategic overview of what is needed? Ideally, there would be a rail freight option similar to those in Europe but, if we must upgrade the road network, a new road should at least avoid Huntingdon and provide an alternative route to Kettering and beyond for heavy goods vehicles.

This could be achieved by building a new road link to the A6 south of St Neots and upgrading existing roads (A6/A428) where required. (EU funding is available for Trans-European Network routes.)

The existing A14 could remain, complete with viaduct, as a predominantly local route with reduced heavy freight traffic and improved air quality in Brampton, as well an improved route between Cambridge and Huntingdon.

It could also, as Terry Hayward points out, provide a diversion route if and when there is a blockage on the new trans-European route.

EILEEN COLLIER, Centenary Way, Brampton

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