Road schemes move step closer

PLANS for major transport developments in Suffolk and north Essex have moved a step closer after being endorsed by a regional panel.The new Regional Partnership Group gave its backing to the transport schemes at a meeting in Ipswich.

PLANS for major transport developments in Suffolk and north Essex have moved a step closer after being endorsed by a regional panel.

The new Regional Partnership Group gave its backing to the transport schemes at a meeting in Ipswich.

These included the building of the B1115 relief road in Stowmarket and a £312million stretch of the A120 from Braintree to Marks Tey.

A major sustainable transport scheme for Ipswich, which would see improvements to bus and cycle links, and the A11 Fiveways scheme at Barton Mills were also looked at.

They had earlier been approved by the East of England Regional Assembly (EERA) as priorities for Government investment over the next 10 years.

Following the group's endorsement, the recommendations will now be submitted to Government for millions of pounds-worth of funding.

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However, the Government has no obligation to go along with the views of EERA and the group, which includes representatives from local authorities in the region, as well as organisations such as the Highways Agency, Learning and Skills Council, English Heritage and the Environment Agency.

Chairman of EERA and Suffolk county councillor Sue Sida-Lockett, who chaired the meeting, said afterwards: “The assembly made its recommendation and, out of courtesy to our regional partners, we said 'this is what we will be sending to the Government and it will help our cause if you agree with us'.

“We asked them to endorse it and they made comments, which we have taken on board. That will then go onto the minister.”

The meeting sparked a protest from around 25 people from environment campaign groups across East Anglia outside Endeavour House, in Russell Road, which was monitored by police officers

Speaking for local Green Party branches, John Matthissen, from Stowmarket, said they were objecting to road schemes which he claimed would increase emissions, accelerate climate change and damage sensitive local environments.

He said: “With 20% of the eastern region below existing sea level, we have more incentive than most to take action against climate change, yet these regional bodies are promoting more than a dozen schemes, costing many millions of pounds, which will make the problem worse.”

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