Council’s selfish view on A14

I READ your article on the impact of the A14 re-routing plans on air pollution around Brampton and Buckden (October 31). The whole project proposed by the Highways Agency is based on outdated data and, it is clear, takes little account of environmental i

I READ your article on the impact of the A14 re-routing plans on air pollution around Brampton and Buckden (October 31).

The whole project proposed by the Highways Agency is based on outdated data and, it is clear, takes little account of environmental issues or local and national transportation costs.

Looking at air pollution, the new route will lengthen the driving distance between for east/west traffic between Ellington and Fen Ditton by an additional three miles - about 30 per cent more pollution from east/west traffic. And it will increase the driving distance between the current A1/A14N link by five miles to around 14 miles thus increasing vehicle pollution by 55 per cent from north/south traffic.

As north/south traffic volumes now exceed east/west, it is clear that A14 vehicle pollution will increase by around 35 per cent as a direct result of the proposed re-routing and without any increase in traffic volumes.

This will seriously affect Brampton and Buckden which already suffer from the A1, not forgetting Huntingdon and Godmanchester, which will still be downwind of the polluted air.

Quite apart from the rising local vehicle pollution levels, the new road will increase transport costs in the local, national and international contexts, contributing towards inflation. Indeed, it is inevitable that to reduce costs some vehicles will divert off the A14 on to local roads through Huntingdon and Godmanchester.

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Throughout the discussions around this project there has only ever been one solution proposed by the Highways Agency: a southern bypass as originally recommended in the CHUMMS report, which is based on an examination of east/west traffic only between Ellington and Fen Ditton.

Re-routing north of Huntingdon was not considered, simply because the A1/A14/M11 traffic was not included within the CHUMMS terms of reference. Now, 10 years later, it is obvious to anyone who drives regularly along the route that A1/A14/M11 traffic is now the largest proportion of traffic between Spittals and the M11, and increasing, as traffic on the M25 is advised to take "M11/A1 for the North".

The section between Ellington and Spittals is no longer a major problem following the installation of traffic lights at Brampton and Spittals roundabouts.

In the late 1980s it was proposed to extend the M11 north from Bar Hill towards Peterborough to improve north/south links but the project was withdrawn as a cost-saving measure (along with re-routing the A1 between Buckden and Black Cat roundabout and other motorway projects).

If implemented, this would have halved A14 traffic between Spittals and Bar Hill and reduced vehicle pollution in Huntingdon and Godmanchester. This alternative has not been considered by the Highways Agency simply because it is not within their terms of reference, which appear to be to implement the now obsolete CHUMMS report which takes no account of any other potential developments, such as Cambridge airport/Marshalls moving to either Alconbury or Wyton airfields, re-routing the A1, dualling the A428, Northstowe and other building developments north-west of Cambridge, etc.

Surely it is time now to press for a wider study to consider the road and transport requirements both on a county and national basis before committing ourselves on such a flawed report as CHUMMS?

GREG HUNSTONE, Park Road, Buckden

Editor's note: A northern bypass of Huntingdon was one of the four options considered by the CHUMMS group, when it reported in 2001. Re-opening the St Ives-Cambridge railway was part of the same option. It was rejected on cost grounds.

* BRAMPTON Parish Council has resorted to shameful nimbyism in expressing its anger and opposition to the recent announcement by the Highways Agency, which favours the Orange route of the proposed A14 Ellington to Fen Ditton bypass.

By any considerations the Orange alignment offers the very least destruction, both preserving the beautiful expanse of countryside to the west of the village and maintaining the tranquillity of the nationally important Brampton Wood.

The Orange route will also permanently ring-fence the village against further southward developments at the BP services complex.

Alternative alignments increase this threat greatly, particularly from warehousing at this commercially strategic point. Most importantly, the Orange route strengthens the council's hand in opposing future residential development of existing farmland between the village and the A1, which is not inconceivable and would clearly negate noise and pollution concerns.

It's really disappointing to think that, at a time when we are all asked to sort our egg cartons from our yoghurt pots and have greater personal concern for the environment, our local politicians show neither foresight nor regard for the countryside in their own parish.

WAYNE FENDLEY, Bassenthwaite, Huntingdon