Tuesday, June 14, 2011

CATCH 22 FOR THE A14

Business Leader John Bridge OBE is continuing to press the government to reconsider the decision to scrap the A14 improvement programme, claiming that its refusal to follow-through with the public inquiry is leaving the congested route in a Catch 22 situation.

The long-term campaigner for improvements to the A14 has renewed calls for Mike Penning MP, the Under-Secretary of State for Transport, to reinstate the process that he claims will result in a viable scheme being put on the table.

John Bridge OBE, Chief Executive of Cambridgeshire Chambers of Commerce, said:

Business Leader John Bridge OBE is continuing to press the government to reconsider the decision to scrap the A14 improvement programme, claiming that its refusal to follow-through with the public inquiry is leaving the congested route in a Catch 22 situation.

The long-term campaigner for improvements to the A14 has renewed calls for Mike Penning MP, the Under-Secretary of State for Transport, to reinstate the process that he claims will result in a viable scheme being put on the table.

John Bridge OBE, Chief Executive of Cambridgeshire Chambers of Commerce, said:

“The Minister has written once again and told us that the region needs the private sector to provide funding for any proposed scheme. However we have no scheme that a private sector organisation can consider for funding and he will not reinstate the public inquiry which will give us a tangible scheme.

“Here we have the Department for Transport once again confirming in writing that they believe ‘mobility’ along the A14 to be critical for economic success an growth. I think we’ve all come to terms with the government’s refusal to invest in this key section of our region’s infrastructure but what I can’t believe is that they are continuing to hamper growth by refusing to reinstate the public inquiry and therefore further delaying any sort of progress being made.

“Regrettably we don’t seem to be getting anywhere, except back to a talking shop where the government’s refusing to stock the shelves.

“The business community don’t care who pays for what, they just want action. They need to know that their staff are going to be at their desks on time, their deliveries are going to meet their contractual deadlines and that supplies can get through, when they need them. Right now, would a business consider locating in Cambridgeshire when gridlock on such a key through-route is making the traffic news on national radio on an almost daily basis?”

A recent survey of senior business decision-makers in the East showed that 75% of respondents agreeing that the key road network needs significant investment and improvement in the near future (1).

The Minister’s response to John Bridge’s letter of 7th February had to be re-sent after the letter the Department for Transport claimed to have sent on 1st March never arrived. Clearly the letter must, like many of us, have had to travel on the A14.

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