County council welcomes announcement that A14 toll plans have been scrapped

The A14

The A14 - Credit: Archant

Cambridgeshire County Council has welcomed news that plans have been scrapped by Government to impose a toll on the A14 to help pay for the road’s improvement.

Cllr Ian Bates

Cllr Ian Bates - Credit: Archant

Government has said the decision will not delay the 2016 start and the council will continue to work with the Department for Transport to make sure this vital project does not slip.

Organisations across Cambridgeshire came together to press the Government to put the scheme back on the agenda after it had previously been dropped for being too expensive.

But the partnership, led by Cambridgeshire County Council, argued the improved A14 would reduce accidents and support growth in the county which is good for the local and UK economy.

The new improvements were to be paid for by the Government, a local contribution from authorities along the length of the road and through tolling.

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Today (Tuesday), the Government announced it was dropping the tolling portion of the funding package and making up the shortfall. It has also said work will start in 2016.

Cambridgeshire County Councillor Ian Bates, cabinet member for growth and planning, said: “This is very good news. This vital scheme had been dropped and it was not until we and our partners put pressure on Government that it was put back on the agenda and is now moving forward.

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“We have always been clear we did not accept the principle of tolling but were told by Government this was the only way it would be funded. We with our partners have argued against this and it is good to see Government has listened.

“We now need these improvements to start on the ground and stop the regular accidents and traffic jams that plague this route which is vital to the local and UK economy.”

And, Grahame Nix, chief executive of the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership, added: “The news that Government has committed to upgrading the A14 without tolling is welcome news for our area and the rest of the East.

“We have always said that upgrading the road is our number one infrastructure priority, and to receive the commitment that the road will be delivered without tolling is very welcome news. We now look forward to seeing the plans continue to move forward and work commencing on this much-needed upgrade.”

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