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A12 widening criticised by councillors

PUBLISHED: 06:04 12 February 2003 | UPDATED: 16:17 24 February 2010

PLANS to widen parts of the A12 in Suffolk have been angrily rejected by councillors after they met to discuss a Government study into improving traffic flow south of the county.

PLANS to widen parts of the A12 in Suffolk have been angrily rejected by councillors after they met to discuss a Government study into improving traffic flow south of the county.

The London to Ipswich Multi-modal Study (LOIS) recommends that, in the future, the A12 could be widened into three lanes all the way up to Ipswich from Essex. The report also states the A120 between Colchester and the M11 should be upgraded to dual carriageway

But the majority of councillors on Suffolk County Council's executive committee felt the study did not take any environmental impact into account and does not do enough to encourage more people to stop using their cars.

Joan Girling, portfolio holder for sustainable environment, planning and transport, said during yesterday's meeting: "I am very concerned about where the Government is going with some of these studies.

"They seem to be turning from no more road building to more and more road building. They are not looking at the bigger picture like improving the railways and that is very worrying in an area such as Suffolk.

"We are trying to build our way out of congestion instead of looking at alternatives."

Widening the A12 would have a severe impact on some of the most scenic Suffolk countryside, Ms Girling added.

"There needs to be a balance between road building and protecting the environment," she said.

Other plans proposed in the LOIS include extending a bus and coach corridor from Ipswich to Sudbury as far as Stansted Airport.

Despite this being labelled as "an immediate priority" in a report before the executive committee, councillors criticised the idea because the journey would not be efficient.

Peter Monk, leader of the council's Liberal Democrat group, said: "Of all the ways to get to Stansted, going via Sudbury is not one of the ones I would have thought of."

Kathy Pollard, portfolio holder for access, community involvement and consultation, pointed out that a direct coach link between Ipswich and Stansted was pulled because it was not cost-effective so a route going through Sudbury would be equally problematic.

The executive committee will make their feelings known to the East of England Local Government Conference (EELGC), which will report to Transport Secretary Alistair Darling.


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