MEPs demand answers from European Commission after scheme designed to reduce A14 congestion has funding bid turned down

Congestion on the A14.

Congestion on the A14. - Credit: Archant

An attempt to secure funding for rail improvements in East Anglia, which would ease congestion on the A14 by shifting millions of tons of freight from road to rail, has been rejected by the European Commission.

Engineering work would include removing level crossings and redoubling parts of the track between Felixstowe and the Midlands, potentially taking 800,000 lorries off the roads each year.

But a bid to secure £86million EU funding for the £300 million scheme has been rejected, prompting Conservative MEPs from East Anglia and the Midlands to challenge the European Commission.

They have written to Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc protesting over her department’s refusal to help fund the project.

East of England MEP Vicky Ford said: “We are not asking for special treatment, just a fair recognition of the UK’s unique position as an island nation operating major trading links with Europe and the rest of the world.

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“This scheme is good for our regions and good for the UK – but it is equally good for Europe as a whole.

“We hope this is just a miscalculation or a misjudgment that can soon be reconsidered. Getting such massive volumes of freight off our busy roads and onto the railways has to make sense.

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“British taxpayers help fund the EU budget - we should get our fair share back. We have had success in bidding for EU grants on this line in the past and we want to be able to ensure that when we resubmit the bid it is successful.”

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