Council accused over roads
By Katy EdwardsGREEN party activists have accused a council of "greenwashing" over long-term plans to widen the A12 from Ipswich to London.Members of Suffolk County Council's executive committee are likely to recommend a motorway-style solution for the road as part of a forward-looking Government roads study for the Eastern region.
GREEN party activists have accused a council of "greenwashing" over long-term plans to widen the A12 from Ipswich to London.
Members of Suffolk County Council's executive committee are likely to recommend a motorway-style solution for the road as part of a forward-looking Government roads study for the Eastern region.
A report detailing the county council's stance on the future of the road and rail network said: "It is recommended that in the long-term the A12 upgrade should be to dual three-lane standard up to Ipswich."
John Matthissen, Suffolk co-ordinator for the Green Party, accused the council of giving mixed messages – on the one hand eager to appear environmentally-friendly, while simultaneously making plans to increase capacity on the roads.
He said: "This is a clear case of what has become known as 'greenwashing'. They cannot talk about stabilising traffic levels on the one hand and a dramatic increase in capacity on the other."
The future of the A12 will be discussed at its executive committee on February 11 along with a raft of measures to improve economic growth, protect the environment, improve the management of freight transport and encourage less car use in the region.
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The conclusions will form part of the London to Ipswich Multi Modal Study, commissioned by GoEast in 2000 to look at travel solutions for the next 30 years, and will influence the regional planning panel's recommendations to Transport Secretary Alistair Darling.
Improving access from south Suffolk to the M25 is likely to be considered a top priority.
James Abbott, regional transport spokesman for the Green Party, said: "What they are effectively recommending is a six-lane motorway from Essex to Suffolk.
"We are very concerned about the impact on local communities. Widening the A12 would cost hundreds of millions of pounds that could be far better spent on improving local bus and rail services."
Other recommendations will include:
a rail upgrade from Felixstowe to Nuneaton and improvements to the Ipswich tunnel gauge, allowing for freight movements to and from the ports
improved access from south Suffolk to Stansted Airport
extending a LOIS proposal for a new bus and coach corridor from Ipswich to Sudbury, as far as Stansted
upgrading the A120 to dual carriageway standard between the A12 at Colchester and M11 at Stansted to reduce congestion on the A12
a multi-modal study of the A14 between Cambridge and Felixstowe to ensure consistency in traffic-management plans across the region.
The committee will also be asked to discuss a study commissioned by the Government Office for the South-East examining future problems for orbital travel around London, specifically looking at the possibility of adding more lanes to the M25.