December 11 2013 Latest news:
Ben Woods, Business writer
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Ministers have been warned of the “unfair tax” that could hamper the growth of Norfolk and Suffolk businesses if a controversial plan to toll the A14 is given the green light.
The New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership has opposed proposals that will see upgrades to the A14 between Cambridge and Huntingdon funded by a compulsory toll – amid concerns that it will erect a “barrier to growth” for local businesses.
In a letter to the Highways Agency, Andy Wood, chairman of the New Anglia LEP, said the organisation understood the capacity constraints on the road, but said no cost-benefit analysis had been carried out to assess the impact on local firms, and no toll-free alternative had been tabled.
It comes ahead of a Parliamentary debate on the A14 tolling proposals led by Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey and is part of a campaign led by the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce against the tolling proposals.
Dr 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.
Dr Wood has also argued against the multi-million-pound cost of introducing smart-tolling technology and criticised the level of consultation on the scheme.
According to the Highways Agency, the consultation on the plans for the UK’s first toll in 10 years has attracted more than 800 responses.
Two hundred jobs are set to be created after one of west Norfolk’s largest businesses was granted permission to expand its King’s Lynn facilities.