December 9 2013 Latest news:
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Prime minister David Cameron made no promises that proposals for an A14 toll would be reconsidered this week - but said he would raise concerns about the impact it could have on the region with the Chancellor.
Six Suffolk MPs met Mr Cameron to raise concerns about the road - which links East Anglia with the Midlands - being singled out for the charge.
The Suffolk MPs lobbied their leader over the impact the toll could have across the East of England, if it was imposed to help pay for the £1.5bn project.
Car drivers could have to pay up to £1.50 to use the road between Cambridge and Huntingdon, with lorries paying double that sum, if plans for the first new toll route in the UK since a 27-mile stretch of the M6 between Birmingham and Wolverhampton opened in 2003 are given the go-ahead.
Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey said: “It was a very constructive meeting with all MPs contributing. The prime minister listened intently to our concerns and said he would discuss the matter further with the chancellor.
“He did not make any promises but we would not expect that at this time.
She added: “We put across a strong case on behalf of Suffolk residents and businesses. We will continue to do so with the Secretary of State for Transport, the Treasury and the Highways Agency.”
Last week Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said he was not going to “deviate from the view of tolling on the A14 and the principle of tolling” but pledged to listen to reaction.
He said: “We will listen to people, of course we will. I am just asking people, in return, to not rigidly dismiss tolling out of hand.
“Where we need to expand in road capacity perhaps we need to share that cost with taxpayers at large and people who actually use the road.”
Mr Clegg said the country was still paying off “a huge, huge national deficit which we inherited and we have to work on some ways of paying it off.
“That is why we should not dismiss tolling out of hand. Simply to say no to a toll is not necessarily the best way of finding the money for the A14.”
He insisted he was “not deaf to the controversy surrounding this issue” and said consultation was ongoing.