New A14 will harm Brampton children's health

OF COURSE Terry Hayward, Ieuan Evans and Mike Boyle (Letters, July 23 and 30) are right. We must rebuild and retain the A14 viaduct. I note that Peter Newman (August 6), who lives some miles away in Raunds, resents its ugly intrusion and believes it mus

OF COURSE Terry Hayward, Ieuan Evans and Mike Boyle (Letters, July 23 and 30) are right. We must rebuild and retain the A14 viaduct.

I note that Peter Newman (August 6), who lives some miles away in Raunds, resents its "ugly intrusion" and believes it must go.

Here in Brampton, we have very much more to be concerned about. With the demolition of the viaduct, Brampton residents are facing the prospect of the new A14 - an elevated six-lane highway, running from the planned Fen Drayton interchange on the existing A14, across the flood plain of the River Ouse, until it reaches the Brampton interchange (some eight metres high), then reduces to four lanes at ground level running alongside the A1, in turn widened from four lanes to six lanes at Brampton.

Yes, that's the reality - a total of 10 lanes of highway within 300 metres of housing, with forecast traffic of 116,400 vehicles daily, some 25 per cent of which will be HGVs. How would you like that on your doorstep, Mr Newman?


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The resulting air and noise pollution (not to mention visual intrusion) is a recognised threat to the health and well-being of our community. Parts of Brampton are already designated as an Air Quality Management Area because of nitrogen dioxide emissions from the existing A14, which is only four lanes wide.

Additionally, an important medical study has identified nitrogen dioxide emissions as the cause of impairment in the lung development of children living near a motorway. Professor James Gauderman, lead author of the report, assures me that under the Highways Agency's planned A14 "improvements", Brampton falls well within the criteria of the study (size of highway, volume of traffic, proximity of housing). Should we not be concerned about the health of our children, Mr Newman?

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Most people agree that something must be done about the A14, but the Highways Agency's new A14 is not the answer.

Freight traffic is a huge contributor to congestion on the A14. For some time I have been advocating substantial investment in the ports rail freight network, rather than new roads. This would alleviate congestion on the existing A14 from Felixstowe to Huntingdon, and beyond, not merely 22 miles from Cambridge to Huntingdon - at the staggering cost of £1.2 billion.

Due to the lower carbon emissions of rail (some five to 10 times lower per tonne carried - EWS 2007), it would also help the Government meet its carbon emissions reduction targets. Climate change is the biggest global challenge we are all facing. I wonder what Mr Newman thinks about that.

EILEEN COLLIER

Centenary Way

Brampton

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