Freight News, Road

Updated-2: Road improvements welcome ‘if they happen’

[ December 1, 2014   //   ]

Better links to the Port of Liverpool and congestion-busting measures on the A27near Southampton were among a £15billion package of road improvements announced by Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin on 1 December.

There will also be upgrades to eliminate the last sections of single-carriageway on the A1 as far as the Scottish border, a ‘smart’ lane on the M62 from Manchester to Leeds and an upgrade to the A47 between Norfolk and the A1 and A11.

Director general of the British International Freight Association, Robert Keen, gave the plans “a cautionary welcome” saying that he ‘expected to see some spades in the ground’. He said: “On behalf of our members, which rely on the UK roads network to collect and deliver the vast majority of the UK’s imports and exports, we hope that the plans mean that the talking is over and we will actually see construction taking place.”Malcolm Bingham added: “Our challenge now is to make sure that these announced schemes are taken forward and the work that will be inevitable during construction is done with the minimum of disruption.”

And the chief executive of the Port of Dover, Tim Waggott, said delighted that a scheme to enhance junctions on the A20 had been highlighted as one of the key investment schemes by the Government. He added: With record levels of roll-on roll-off freight traffic being achieved this year, the Port’s role as the gateway to Europe is vital in ensuring the UK can prosper and grow following several years of economic challenge.”

Pall-Ex group managing director Kevin Buchanan, pointed out: “Successive governments have failed to deliver the major investment that has been required across our road networks. Road haulage is the most common method for moving goods in the UK, and the strength of the industry is intrinsically linked and critically important to the health and growth of the wider economy.

“Here at Pall-Ex we are firmly on the side of the hauliers. We understand the many pressures, such as Euro legislation, fuel costs and driver CPC requirements, which are forced upon transport providers. The sector needs to be nurtured and supported for the good of the overall economy.

“This level of budget commitment to road improvements is a strategy that we welcome. However, a wide range of investment is needed, in people and in the sector as a whole. With further, comprehensive support, this strategy would have the potential to improve the prosperity of the haulage industry, and therefore the UK economy as a whole.”

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