A14: Coffey to raise toll road issue at Prime Minister’s question time

The A14 is a key route for busineses across the region.

The A14 is a key route for busineses across the region. - Credit: Archant

Community leaders are objecting “most strongly” to proposals for a toll on a new stretch of the A14 – fearing it could drive away hauliers and shipping lines from Britain’s biggest port.

Felixstowe Town Council agreed unanimously to lodge the objection amid worries at the impact on the Port of Felixstowe if there is no alternative free route for the thousands of lorries which travel between the terminal and the Midlands every day.

Today Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey will take up the matter in Parliament, having secured a debate on the issue and ask David Cameron a question at Prime Minister’s question time.

Town councillors were told that trucks taking cargo between the Midlands and Felixstowe port’s newest rival, London Gateway, due to open this year, will not have to pay a toll.

Mike Deacon said the toll would add tens of thousands of pounds a year to the costs of some of the haulage businesses based at the port and this would have to be passed on to the shipping lines that import the goods.

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He said: “It doesn’t take much to turn one customer away and the loss of one big customer would make a great big hole in the economy of our town and the wider region. If you have 50 or 60 lorries going through there every day both ways the cost will be huge.”

The county council’s Conservative group has tabled a motion for next week’s meeting of the authority warning that a toll on the road would put Suffolk at a disadvantage compared with other regions.

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The New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership has also formally registered its opposition to a compulsory toll, saying it would be “an unfair tax on the local economy”.

LEP chairman Andy Wood said: “The opposition to tolling from businesses and elected members from Suffolk and Norfolk should not be underestimated.

“We are concerned that the toll will be a significant barrier to growth for our business community. We are also not convinced the revenues raised by the toll will make a significant contribution to the cost of the road.

“We urge the Government to think again about the tolling proposals and the negative impact they will have on our local economy.”

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