Tuesday, 22 November 2011

A14 Begins To Move Thanks To Cambridgeshire-Led Campaign

The new Secretary of State for Transport has been praised by Cambridgeshire council chiefs for listening to their arguments and moving improvements to the A14 a step closer.

Cambridgeshire County Council has been leading discussions for partners with the Department for Transport (DfT) on finding ways to improve the congestion blighted A14 corridor.

This week the DfT has announced that money has been made available to carry out the first two stages of a new A14 survey with the first phase due to be completed by Christmas.

The first short stage will see experts reviewing the problems and challenges surrounding the A14 corridor given the cancellation of the previous road improvement scheme. The second stage will be looking at what solutions, including rail freight and public transport as well as road measures, could meet these challenges. All parties are clear that this work is not about revisiting the detailed study work done some time ago (the Cambridge to Huntingdon Multi Modal Study, or "CHUMMS"), but rather looking at the current situation and deciding how best to move forward.

Ever since the Government announced there was not enough money for the original proposed improvements the County Council has been leading on negotiations with Government for the importance of this transport corridor not to be forgotten.

Together with support from a wide range of partners, including District and City Councils, neighbouring County Councils and the Local Enterprise Partnership the County Council has made sure that Cambridgeshire will be part of any future decision making for the A14 corridor. The improvement of this corridor is critical if jobs are to be created and Cambridgeshire is to play its full part in the national economic recovery. .

Cambridgeshire County Council Leader Nick Clarke, said: "Addressing the transport problems along the A14 corridor is a top priority for this council. It is of local, national and international importance that we can find a way forward, to reduce congestion and delay, unlock development opportunities, and most importantly save lives. From the point when the Government announced they did not have the funding for the original scheme we have been campaigning for action on these issues, and made sure Cambridgeshire and our partners have been able to have a say. I am very pleased to see the new Secretary of State for Transport has listened to us and given the green light for the funding of these important stages of the survey. We will continue to work with the DfT and our partners, and to campaign for the much needed improvements along this corridor."

Neville Reyner, CBE DL, Chairman of the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership added : "Finding a solution to east-west movements across this part of our area is absolutely critical to our economic growth aspirations. We know that we have many of the right ingredients to generate significant private sector job growth and to allow our existing companies to grow, and to attract others from overseas. However, until a solution is in the offing for the problems of the A14 corridor, it will continue to hamper our growth prospects. As the LEP for this area we are committed to working across the private and public sectors to find a resolution to a problem that we all know cannot be allowed to remain unresolved."