Prioritise funding to get freight back on track
I REFER to your article on further delay over the announcement of the proposed route for the off-line section of the A14. As we all know from watching the lorries that pile along the A14, this is a trans-European route carrying vast quantities of freight
I REFER to your article on further delay over the announcement of the proposed route for the off-line section of the A14.
As we all know from watching the lorries that pile along the A14, this is a trans-European route carrying vast quantities of freight through, rather than to, our region. The Government is now seeking European funding for the road as part of the Trans-European Network transport programme (TEN-T).
What everyone has so far ignored in the rush to get this road built is that the Felixstowe to Nuneaton rail freight improvements are also identified in TEN-T, yet Secretary of State for Transport, Ruth Kelly, is not backing a bid to get these improvements funded. The East of England Regional Assembly says in its recent newsletter: "The rail link between Felixstowe and Nuneaton is part of a significant European transport route and improvements would encourage a switch from road to rail freight and help to move lorries from congested roads such as the A14."
Yet it too seems to be backing a bid to finance the A14. Given that funds are limited, surely it makes more sense to do the rail improvements first.
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Getting freight off the road and onto the railway would have significant environmental benefit and would improve air quality for villages such as Brampton and Fenstanton, which currently suffer from pollution. Further, if the long distance freight were moved onto rail, the need to build a new road, rather than make improvements to the existing route, might be obviated.
I believe the time has come to re-assess the road/rail balance in our region and to question whether we really can afford the environmental and financial cost of yet another major road carving up our remaining countryside at a cost of almost £700 million.
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NITA TINN, Whitwell House, Offord Cluny