Suffolk Chamber presses case for A14 at ministerial meeting

Suffolk Chamber presses case for A14 at ministerial meeting

The county’s leading business organisation took full opportunity of a meeting with the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Department for Transport on 27 June, to press the local and national case for improvements to the A14 in Suffolk.

Chief Executive, John Dugmore, and Policy director, Nick Burfield, joined Bury St Edmunds MP Jo Churchill in meeting with Jesse Norman MP in his office at the House of Commons.

John Dugmore explains: “The No More A14 Delays in Suffolk campaign is one of our most important current strategic lobbying initiatives and we wanted to emphasise the importance of the highway not only to local businesses, but as the arterial route for goods passing through Felixstowe to and from the Northern Powerhouse and Midlands Engine.

“I think the Minister got the message about the A14 in Suffolk and we were encouraged by his level of interest and the responses he gave.”

Jo Churchill MP added: “The meeting was a constructive discussion about the importance of the A14 including, for my constituents, around Junction 43 and 44 of Bury St Edmunds. It is vital we continue to push for improvements to this stretch of national strategic infrastructure.”

Highways England, the government-owned company with responsibility for the operation, maintenance and improvement of the motorways and trunk roads in England, issued its Strategic Road Network Initial Report late last year. Within it, the A14 in Suffolk is marked as a ‘current, planned and potential expressway’. Expressways are motorway-grade two-lane highways and their designation requires that all junctions off and onto them are enhanced.

The report outlines the phased process in upgrading a highway into an expressway, including improvements to junctions with other roads – the key demand of the Suffolk Chamber-led campaign which is calling for £800m of investment at seven pinch points.

Suffolk Chamber and its partners submitted their support for these proposals during the consultation by the Department for Transport (DfT) into this report at the beginning of the year.

The DfT is due to announce the successful schemes within the next year, with work expected to begin on these between 2020 and 2025.