Cameron “listening” to A14 concerns – but toll still on the agenda

A stretch of the A14 at Huntingdon, which could be tolled

A stretch of the A14 at Huntingdon, which could be tolled - Credit: Archant

Prime Minister David Cameron has told the House of Commons that his government is still considering using a toll to help fund a new stretch of the A14.

But he also said he and his ministers were listening to concerns that were being raised by businesses and drivers across the region.

The toll proposal was brought up during Prime Minister’s Questions by Bury St Edmunds MP David Ruffley.

He asked: “The people and the businesses in Suffolk are driving economic growth in the East of England.

“But they are increasingly fearful that the proposed A14 road toll will put them at a competitive disadvantage with other counties. Can I urge the Prime Minister to seriously reconsider this toll?”

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Mr Cameron said that as a result of the campaign against the toll, he would be taking the views of the people of Suffolk into account when making a final decision.

However he also said: “I think the important point is we want more roads to be built and we all know there are shortages in terms of the capital expenditure we can bring forward.

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“The idea of having tolling for some new roads is an idea properly worth looking at.”

Speaking after PMQs, Mr Ruffley said it was necessary to maintain the pressure on the government, even though there had been some hopeful signals coming from the Prime Minister and Chancellor George Osborne over the last month.

He said: “I shan’t be giving up on this. I don’t think we can afford to sit back and think we’ve won the argument. I shall be raising it every opportunity I have – it is the issue that most concerns people in my constituency and across Suffolk.”

Mr Ruffley said he still felt the government was likely to make a decision on whether to introduce a toll before the end of the year.

Businesses campaigning against the toll were given a big boost earlier this month when Mr Osborne told a meeting organised by the Chambers of Commerce in Norfolk and Suffolk that the government was reconsidering its tolling proposals for the A14 around Huntingdon.

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