‘Threat to economic growth’

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Council bosses say Government proposals to fund A14 improvements by imposing tolls are a threat to Suffolk’s economic growth .

Council leaders say the so called ‘Toll Tax’ will create unfair competition by making it tougher for local companies to compete with other areas in the country where there are no tolls, or there are viable alternative routes.

A14 - General View

A14 - General View

In a joint statement, Cllr John Griffiths, leader of St Edmundsbury Borough Council, and Cllr James Waters, leader of Forest Heath District Council, said: “While we support improvements on the A14, the Toll Tax seems flawed and short-sighted at a time when we’re trying to boost our economy and encourage growth.”

Colin Knight, chairman of Bury St Edmunds Chamber of Commerce, said tolls would discourage firms from relocating to the area and would affect everybody, not just hauliers. He is also concerned about there being no easy alternative routes.

He said: “We’d welcome improvements to the A14 - it’s a horrid road at the best of times. Improving that? Absolutely, and I think every business in the East of England would agree. But, imposing tolls? I think they’ve got that wrong.”

He is urging people to voice opposition to the scheme by signing an online petition.

Go to epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/54801

How to comment on the scheme:

Work on the £1.5 billion scheme is due to get under way in late 2016 (subject to statutory processes and continued value for money), with completion expected in 2019/20.

The Highway Agency’s public consultation ends on Sunday.

To comment, complete a questionnaire at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/DQNFRDN