I READ with interest Ian MacKellar’s article (June 16) about the A14 scheme and proposals to make it a toll road to help fund its construction. This is particularly significant at a time when the scheme appears to be a prime candidate for the Treasury’s axe.
I READ with interest Ian MacKellar's article (June 16) about the A14 scheme and proposals to make it a toll road to help fund its construction. This is particularly significant at a time when the scheme appears to be a prime candidate for the Treasury's axe.
Brampton is the community worst-affected by the Highways Agency's scheme. This would result in not only 10 lanes of traffic close to family homes, which would threaten the lung development of children living there (Gauderman report), but also extensive quarrying and cement works, which could pose a health threat to residents with respiratory problems. Brampton is not alone in having concerns about the Highways Agency's proposals. At the formal pre-inquiry meeting (PIM) on May 24, only one council supported the Highways Agency's scheme. All others present, including Cambridgeshire County Council, Huntingdonshire District Council, many parish councils and campaign/action groups, including SUSTRANS and the national Campaign for Better Transport, objected to the scheme in part or in its entirety.
As a Brampton parish councillor I trust that serious consideration will be given to finding an alternative solution to reduce A14 congestion that safeguards the health and well-being of our community, especially our children, who would be most at risk.
As an environmentalist, I expect the alternative scheme to comply with sustainable development principles and meet legally-binding transport sector carbon reduction targets, which the current Highways Agency scheme fails to do.
The Brampton A14 Campaign Group, which I lead, submitted an alternative (multi-modal) scheme to the Highways Agency in March 2007. Broadly, this is based on scrapping the new road from Fen Drayton to Ellington, upgrading existing roads to disperse traffic more widely and increasing capacity on existing rail freight routes to/from Felixstowe.
As detailed in our statement of case to the public inquiry, these proposals should be combined with more sustainable lower cost options such as demand management measures (which could include road tolls); technological solutions, including Active Traffic Management (ATM) - currently being installed along the A14 from Felixstowe to the M1; and elements of the DfT's 'smarter choices' programme (such as car clubs, walking, cycling - including improved cycle parking facilities at rail stations).
Under Treasury value for money guidelines, the Highways Agency is required to assess alternative proposals. The planning inspector at the pre-inquiry meeting on May 24 instructed the Highways Agency to draw up schemes submitted to the inquiry and agree them with proposers. Brampton A14 Campaign Group experts expect to work closely with the Highways Agency on this and to continue to explore the rail freight element of our alternative scheme.
For a fraction of the cost of the A14 scheme, a significant increase in rail freight capacity could help to reduce congestion caused by freight lorries along the whole length of the A14 and beyond - not just from Cambridge to Huntingdon, help to reduce carbon emissions owing to the much lower emissions of rail options, and help the Government reduce its transport spending. A win-win-win solution?
I really think that C Graham (Hunts Post, June 2) needs to substantiate his/her claims with regard to the cost of an A14 upgrade, blaming '..almost half the cost..' on the A14 Joint Action Group. I do not belong to this or any of his so-called 'disparate bodies' but recall from the outset the Highways Agency quote of £1.2bn when the three alternative routes were proposed.
His subsequent outburst against those who wish to ensure that our younger generations are not blighted by, and still paying for the A14 for years and years to come, is of course regrettable and ignores the basic principle of free speech.
If he/she feels so strongly then I'm sure the Inquiry would welcome his/her opinions as well as those who have opposing views - we do live in a democracy after all.
Dr Richard Hodder