Government must go further to clear the A14

November 5, 2007 1:11 PM

Lib Dems in Cambridge have welcomed plans to upgrade rail links between Peterborough and Nuneaton but urged the Government to expand the capacity of the route to take freight off the A14 and on to rail.

David Howarth MP in the House of Commons

David Howarth MP

Cambridge MP, David Howarth, has been campaigning for major rail improvements between Felixstowe and the Midlands for a long time. At the moment most freight coming from the port at Felixstowe is forced to travel on the overcrowded A14 in order to reach the Midlands. The

improvements announced this week are the first stage of the necessary upgrade and Lib Dems are demanding that the Government agrees to fund the capacity increases also required before the East to West rail line can take much of the pressure of the A14.

Mr Howarth said:

"I'm very pleased that at long last the Government has agreed to fund the first stage of the East to West rail improvements. Without a decent rail link for freight between Felixstowe and the Midlands, lorries are clogging up the A14 making the road dangerous and

congested.

"However there is still much more to be done if freight is to move from the A14 on to rail in large numbers. The Government needs to go further and increase the capacity so that this rail route really can make a difference to the A14."

Executive City Councillor for Environment and Climate Change, Sian Reid, added:

"The use of rail for freight must be maximized in order to reduce the case for investment in new roads and to reduce carbon emissions arising from road transport. Although I welcome this investment, we have had to wait a long time for this project as the Government appears to continue to prioritise new roads over rail."

Member of RailFuture, Geoff Heathcock, said:

"If there is to be a real shift from road to rail, it is critical that rail capacity is tackled. If the Sustainable Transport strategy launched by Ruth Kelly is to mean a jot it has to mean real investment, not reach figures. There should be a significant increase in grants for companies to have railheads built and incorporated into their industrial complexes to allow rail to deliver and collect materials - and there needs to be a commitment to a North-South

dedicated freight line."

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