Suffolk; A14 toll ‘not right’ say IoD and New Anglia LEP as they back No Toll Tax campaign

Luke Morris, chairman of the Suffolk branch of the Institute of Directors

Luke Morris, chairman of the Suffolk branch of the Institute of Directors - Credit: Archant

Big business hitters have thrown their weight behind a campaign opposing the introduction of tolls on a stretch of the A14.

Chris Starkie of New Anglia LEP

Chris Starkie of New Anglia LEP - Credit: Eastern Daily Press � 2011

The Suffolk branch of the Institute of Directors and New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) have announced their support for a campaign against plans to replace parts of the A14 with a toll road.

Suffolk Chamber launched a ‘No Toll Tax on Suffolk’ campaign on Tuesday, in which it hit out at Government proposals to upgrade the A14 and fund the work through tolls. It is estimated the toll measure will cost the Suffolk economy £5.7million a year, even at the minimum level proposed for the tolls.

Suffolk IoD branch chairman Luke Morris said: “The Institute of Directors is not opposed to toll roads in principle but this proposal means Suffolk drivers and haulage businesses will be asked twice to pay to travel on the A14, first through their vehicle excise and fuel duty and second through the toll.

“That’s not right. Nor does it make sense to trial such a policy on a stretch of road that’s vital to so many businesses in our county.”

Chris Starkie, managing director of New Anglia LEP told BBC’s Sunday Politics programme yesterday that the scheme would be a tax on growth.

“Improvements in infrastructure, including the A14 are vital for business growth, so we back the Government’s decision to go ahead with the road. However, the Government proposal to cover part of the cost through a toll will have a serious impact on our business community,” he said. “This is the only toll of its type in the country and its impact on the regional economy would be far-reaching.”

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The Department for Transport proposals involve widening and improving junctions on the existing A14 to the north of Cambridge and building a new dual carriageway south of Huntingdon.

The plans include the demolition of part of the existing A14 close to the centre of Huntingdon, leaving heavy goods vehicles with little choice but to pay the toll, as the alternative will be a lengthy detour, partly on single carriageway roads.