Suffolk MPs and business leaders banging the drum for improvements to the A14
Meeting delegates Jesse Norman, John Dugmore, Jo Churchfield, Nick Burfield Picture: ANNA TREVERS
Business leaders seized the opportunity of a meeting with a government transport chief to press the case for improvements to the A14 in Suffolk.
An £800million drive led by the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce was high on the agenda when members of the organisation and Suffolk MPs met at the House of Commons on Wednesday.
They set out their vision for investment at seven pinch points on the road, which businesses rely on as the main artery for delivering goods from the Port of Felixstowe.
Chief executive of the Suffolk Chamber, John Dugmore, joined policy director Nick Burfield and Bury St Edmunds MP Jo Churchill for a summit with Jesse Norman, parliamentary under secretary of state for transport.
“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,” said Mr Dugmore.
“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.”
Highways England issued a major report late last year, and within it, the A14 in Suffolk is marked as a “current, planned and potential expressway”. Expressways are motorway-grade two-lane highways and all junctions off and onto them are enhanced, leading to hope that the A14 is in line for big improvements.
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.”
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.
The Department for Transport is due to announce the successful schemes in the next year, with work expected to start between 2020 and 2025.