Plans to extend the M11 north of Cambridge through the Fens have “quietly died” due to lack of funding, according to a senior combined authority board member.
Councillor Lewis Herbert, leader of Cambridge City Council, who sits on the board of the combined authority, said some projects, including the extension of the M11, were no longer being considered as priorities by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority.
The authority initially set aside £1.25 million for its work on the M11, and still says it is an important “long-term” project for the region. The plan had been for the motorway to be extended north from Cambridge to Peterborough, providing a better link between the two cities.
Speaking at Cambridge City Council’s strategy and resources scrutiny committee on Monday (February 11), Cllr Herbert said the project had now “died” due to a lack of funding.
Cllr Herbert said: “The dream there would be an M11 running past Cambridge through Fenland has quietly died because there is no funding.
“I think there is still a serious risk money is being spent on schemes that will never happen.”
Cllr Mike Sargeant, who sits on the authority’s overview and scrutiny committee, said he thought the mayor should push forward with fewer projects which would definitely deliver rather than trying to advance ambitious schemes which may get no further than initial studies.
Despite this, James Palmer, mayor of the combined authority, insisted the extension of the M11 remained an important project for the region. He said he would continue to push for Government backing for the scheme.
Mr Palmer said: “The extension of the M11 north of Cambridge is still very much a long term ambition. This scheme fits with the combined authority’s ambition of ensuring our economic growth can continue by redressing years of underinvestment transport infrastructure.
“I have worked to keep this scheme under the noses of Government and last year the Department for Transport said it was reviewing extending the M11 up through Cambridgeshire, into Lincolnshire and through to the Humber.
“This was one of the schemes to be considered as part of the Government’s £25billion road fund announced in last November’s budget.
“Extending the M11 would create a huge uplift in the economy of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough – an economy that already contributes a net £5billion into the UK Treasury annually. Investment in this scheme would repay itself many times over and I continue to raise the M11 extension with ministers when I meet with them.”