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Updated: Cash for Felixstowe road, but more work needed on port demand

[ December 4, 2013   //   ]

Cash for Felixstowe road, but more work needed on port demand

Improvements to the A14 main road link to the port of Felixstowe aare included in the Government’s £375 billion National Infrastructure Plan, unveiled on 4 December. Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said the plan, partly funded by investment from the insurance industry, was aimed at reversing “several decades” of underinvestment in roads, railways and other infrastructure. Construction will start in 2016, says the Government, which also confirmed that the new road would be toll-free.

CBI Chief Policy Director, Katja Hall, said:  “It’s encouraging to see more detail on the timescales and financing of national infrastructure projects, but this still feels like a very long and hopeful Christmas list, rather than a true set of priorities.While this plan may look good on paper, now we urgently need to see action on the ground.”

Butshe added:“After so much uncertainty, the news that a decision has been finally made on funding for the A14 means this essential upgrade will get off the ground sooner.

“This will come as nothing short of a relief for businesses given the importance of this trade route to link the port of Felixstowe to the rest of the country.

“We now need to maintain this momentum by holding the Government to its commitment to finalise feasibility studies for priority roads by this time next year.”

On the same day, the Government also announced an increase in subsidies for offshore wind power schemes and a cut for onshore wind and solar energy schemes, which could provide a boost for some ports.

It also promised to reform the judicial review system to tackle delays to infrastructure delivery and “reduce the impact of meritless claims”. There would be a specialist planning court with set deadlines to accelerate the handling of cases.

On ports, the plan said that capacity should be located where it is most required. Forecasts of demand for port capacity in the period up to 2030 were last updated in 2007, before the economic downturn. The Government intends to commission fresh forecasts shortly.



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